A heritage inventory of ancestral dry stone buildings
not far from Gordes
This walk, 20 miles east of Avignon, offers the opportunity to discover the ancestral talents of countryfolk with the amazing rural architecture of Gordes surroundings : dozens of huts and other ancient farm buildings, such as cisterns, vats, ovens, and sheep shelters, all built in dry stone. These are the remains of deserted hamlets at the foot of the Vaucluse Mountains.
Walking time : 3 hours
Rating : moderate (stony ground)
The remarkable dry stone sheep barns on Montagne de Lure
This guided hike takes place in a part of Provence away from the tourist route : Montagne de Lure. These uplands that nourished the famous writer Jean Giono’s dreams are a district “where deserts are really desert lands”, as he wrote : a limitless stretch of land, an area of shepherds, dry stone walls, barrenness and wind. During the walk, you will discover several ancestral dry stone building techniques by admiring four sheep barns, more than 150 years old, wherein one is still in very good condition.
Walking time : 6 hours
Rating : challenging
The land of “aiguiers”
Erosion has dug numerous faults, sinkholes, underground streams and caverns on the huge very thick limestone plate of Monts de Vaucluse in which rainwater flows down, leaving behind a very dry land. For centuries men have imagined ingenious systems to survive, carving cisterns out of the rock, often covered by a large vaulted dry stone cap, called “aiguiers”. During this long walk, you’ll have the opportunity to see seven of them. You will also admire two big dry stone huts.
Walking time : 5 hours
Rating : challenging (elevation change)
A beautiful example of rural dry stone masonry: huts in Pays de Forcalquier
This pleasant hike over the small towns of Forcalquier and Mane will allow you to discover a dozen of picturesque traditional dry stone huts, called Cabanons Pointus in this area and also known as bories. These rural buildings are one of the richest treasure troves of dry stone architecture in the Mediterranean countries and one part of Provence cultural heritage. They are made out of stones held together without any mortar. And if they were built in the 18th and 19th c., the construction techniques go back as far as the Iron Age.
Walking time : 6 hours
Rating : moderate