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Half-day trips through the low mountains of Luberon and hilltop villages



From Lacoste to Bonnieux, 
two hillside villages of the Luberon


For centuries, they have been standing face to face, each one on its hill, at the foot of the Luberon mountains. Lacoste is dominated by the imposing ruins of a castle which belonged to the Marquis de Sade. From the village, you walk across olive groves and truffle plantations, vineyards and lavender fields, enjoying the local color that set the charming ambiance of Peter Mayle‘s novels. On your way to Bonnieux through the countryside, you have a multitude of viewpoints over the village’s picturesque terraces. Once there, you get a panorama that extends from Lacoste to Roussillon and Gordes, three of the loveliest perched villages. In the background, you can see Mont Ventoux


Walking time : 3.5 hours 
Rating : leisurely
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)




The heart of the genuine Luberon : 
the hidden Aiguebrun valley 


You would be very lucky to come upon this spot nestled in the foothills of the Luberon mountain. Because the tiny upper Aiguebrun valley and the hamlet of Sivergues, snuggled above, are off the main tourist routes. Yet, the place is very special, peaceful. Its imposing cliffs are known by rock climbers. And if only a few dozen people live in the area today, it has been occupied by men for at least 50,000 years. The feature that makes it so special is probably the contrast between the cool, humid valley and the desolate plateau above. The first one is covered with lush vegetation and temperate climate plants, as the second one with lavender fields and scrubby woods, so parched in summer.
A gem to discover !


Walking time : 3.5 hours 
Rating : leisurely
Season calendar : year-round (summer : not allowed on fire risk days)





The ochre sands of Colorado Provencal


Among the former ochre quarries still visible to the north of the Luberon region, one of the most prodigious spot is called Colorado Provencal. It displays fascinating landscapes, sculptured over the ages both by nature and man, in a broad palette : colors vary from saffron yellow to blood red and include white sands as well. In addition to the breathtaking views you get from the pathway, the last remains of the ochre industry can be shown to you by your local guide. And this one provides you with interesting facts about this economic activity.  It was during the 19th and early 20th centuries that it flourished in the Luberon.


Walking time : 3 hours 
Rating : leisurely
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11:30am only, not allowed on fire risk days)





Gorges de Régalon


Starting from the Durance valley, this hike first takes you up to the foothills of the Petit Luberon mountain. You walk accross an open landscape, very stony, where sheep herding has been practised for millennia. Before the slope becomes too steep, you are on your way down a narrow and dry valley. In the final part of your descent, you roam through the scenery of a spectacular canyon, ever narrower. This canyon, very special for its luxuriant vegetation, is called the Gorges de Régalon. In places, the walls rise 250 feet above the path and somewhere else, the distance that separates the two rocks in between the water made its way is barely one meter!


Walking time : 3 hours
Rating : moderate (stony ground)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : not allowed on fire risk days)




From Gordes to Roussillon, in the heart of Provence


Gordes and Roussillon, along with Bonnieux, Ménerbes and Saignon, are the most beautiful of the Luberon hilltop villages where you enjoy life by walking down cobbled streets or savoring a terrace lunch. Midway between the towns of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Apt, these medieval villages have contributed to the reputation of this Provence region in France and all over the world. On this gentle walk, your local hiking guide will lead you during a half-day trip from Gordes to Roussillon through landscapes made of rolling hills, vineyards, olive or truffle tree groves and pine woods. Walking at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, you will keep in sight on your right the range of the Luberon mountains on the horizon.

Walking time
 : 3.5 hours 
Rating : easy 
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11:30am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

Ochre trail in Roussillon not included.



Gorges de Veroncle, a half day trip from Gordes 


Not far from the picturesque Provence village of Gordes, your local hiking guide will lead you in the lowest section of the 5-mile canyon that the Veroncle river cut into the south-western bottom of the Monts de Vaucluse. What makes this short hike unique is that the cultural heritage is even more valuable than the one nature has left : you will see during your walk the remains of three of the ten watermills that were built between the 16th and 19th centuries. These old buildings are of a high quality in an area that is not easily accessible : dams, cutstone penstocks, retaining walls, large reservoirs and long canals carved out of the rock, and numerous millstones. A wild and beautiful spot.


Walking time : 3 hours
Rating : challenging (some rocky passages, a few ladders)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)











In the Luberon Mountains

Day trips through the low mountains of Luberon and hilltop villages



A singular walk through the intriguing Mourres rocks


The Mourres rocks  can be found to the north-east of the Luberon, next to the charming town of Forcalquier. It is a fascinating site, where can be seen several hundreds of strangely shaped rocks : some look like giant mushrooms, others like big weird muzzles. As you climb up to the highest part of the trail, you enjoy a beautiful view of the Alps on the horizon. And before the end of the circular walk, you have the pleasure to see a few Cabanons Pointus. These picturesque traditional dry stone huts are typical of the Pays de Forcalquier. You will certainly hear stories about them from your local guide.


Walking time : 4.5 hours 
Rating : moderate
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, on a shortened itinerary)




The dry stone heritage of Gordes and Sénanque


During this nature walk, you will see one of France’s most beautiful little towns, Gordes, located less than 25 miles east of Avignon. And you will be able to discover 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. Another major attraction is the Abbaye de Sénanque, nested in a narrow valley at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, whose harmonious ensemble of buidings is considered as one of the purest examples of the cistercian architecture.


Walking time : 4 hours
Rating : moderate (stony ground)
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

Visits of Village des Bories outside Gordes and Abbaye de Sénanque not included




Walking up to the Mourre-Nègre,
summit of the Luberon mountains


On this itinerary starting from Castellet, a tiny village on the Luberon northern slopes, your guide takes you within two hours up to the top of the mountain. If the trail across the downy oak forest is steep, the result is worth the effort: you get, from the Mourre-Nègre (3,690 ft), a 360 view that allows you to gaze at all the summits of Western Provence – particularly the white limestone crest of Mont Ventoux – and, if not invisible in the heat haze, the Mediterranean Sea.


Walking time : 4 hours
Rating : challenging (steep slopes)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 7:30am – 1pm only, not allowed on fire risk days)




On the heights of the Petit Luberon


The Petit Luberon is the western area of the Luberon range. Although lower than its neighbour, the Grand Luberon, it looks more mountainous, because of the great number of steep rocky cliffs, ravines and gorges. This beautiful trail climbs the southern slopes from the foot up to the ridge of the mountain. Your local guide leads you through a mixed and mostly low vegetation (scrubland, pine groves, holm oak woods). Later, on the summit plateau, you walk accross a Cedar Forest. The tall Atlas cedars up there were planted in the 19th c. Back amid a more open environment, you have the opportunity to admire spectacular boulders and other massive rocks. And then, you start your descent into the valley.  


Walking time : 6.5 hours 
Rating : challenging (2,000 feet elevation gain, 14 miles)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : can be very hot, not allowed on fire risk days)




 From the terraced village of Bonnieux 
to Roussillon, standing on its ochre hill


At the foot of the Luberon mountains, Bonnieux, one of the largest villages, rises in tiers on a hillside. From the top, you enjoy panoramic views, seeing as far as Mont Ventoux and the southern Alps. Closer, you can catch sight of the three famous perched villages of LacosteRoussillon and Gordes. After walking down through the narrow streets of the village, you roam the countryside made up of vineyards, orchards and woods. You marvel at this mosaic of a landscape for an hour and a half and then reach Pont Julien. This is a 2,000-year old Roman bridge that spans over the Calavon river. Before the quaint village of Roussillon comes out, the trail on which your guide takes you snakes its way accross wooded hills. To top it off, a dramatic walk on a pathway starting in the heart of the village awaits you : it allows you to discover the wonderful red colored cliffs of the former ochre quarries.


Walking time (including the visit of villages) : 6.5 hours
Rating : challenging
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/30  &  9/1 – 12/31

Visit of ochre museum (Okhra) outside Roussillon not included.





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