Aix en Provence & Mont Sainte Victoire
The spots that inspired Cezanne








Half-Day Hikes                                                                                  Full Day Hikes




The southern ridge of Mont Sainte-Victoire soaring up from the rural scenery outside Aix





Walking in the footsteps of Cezanne

Along this half-day hike with your local guide, you approach the nature landmark of the Aix-en-Provence countryside: Mont Sainte Victoire. The craggy mountain has not ceased to inspire artists, before and after Paul Cezanne. Its white limestone cliffs, 12 miles in length, with a south-facing drop-off over 1,500 feet, are easily identifiable. Cezanne is probably the painter who has the most intensely immortalized the rocky mount. Trying to capture its ever changing contours, he painted more than 80 pictures of the mountain. Along this backcountry trail, you too have the chance to admire the so different views of Mont Sainte Victoire. Will they fire your imagination, as they used to do with the famous painter? 

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

Walking from one lake to the other

This 3-hour guided hike takes place in the outdoors halfway between the city of Aix-en-Provence and Mont Sainte Victoire. And it allows you to enjoy views of two beautiful lakes: Lac Zola and Lac Bimont. From the last one, the walking route follows the bottom of the beautiful gorge downstream through a mixed vegetation of pine wood and garrigue¹, this low scrubland so typical of Provence. On your way back, you will be hiking in the Mont Sainte Victoire foothills, with the imposing mountain about 2 miles away. The lack of shade along the trails makes the hike a perfect one on cool, sunny days of spring, autumn or winter.

Walking time : 3 hours
Rating : moderate (rugged terrain / steep slopes)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

garrigue¹ : to explore this singular vegetation, 3 other walks are proposed to you in the Theme tours menu item on page Botany explorations in Provence’s garrigue

The easiest route to climb Mont Sainte Victoire

If you are not an athlete or if you only have one morning to climb Mont Saint Victoire, this hike is for you. The backcountry road from Aix en Provence to the trailhead is a little bit longer (15 miles), but you only need to walk one hour to reach the ridge of the mountain and 45 minutes more to be on the Pic des Mouches (1,011m), its summit. This climb up the northern mountainside to the top mainly takes place through pines and oaks. But as you walk along and approach the crest, nature around you changes and the landscape becomes barren. You then enjoy a panoramic view of all the surroundings.

Walking time : 3.5 hours
Rating : moderate (rugged terrain)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8:00 am – 11:30 am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

Mont Sainte Victoire

Provence’s most emblematic mountain













Imposing mountain wall, east of Aix, Sainte Victoire is well-known thanks to its unique shape that has for millennia fascinated people, such as Paul Cézanne, the local painter.







Pic des Mouches, Sainte Victoire highest peak
Full day

This route, leading to the top of the mountain (1,011m / 3,317ft), is much less visited than the others leading to Croix de Provence, its western top. The reason is that the trailhead is located twice farer from Aix than the others. However this is the easiest climb for several reasons: lower elevation gain, more gentle slopes and a less rugged terrain.
During the hike, your guide helps you explore the eastern part of the mountain. Once you reach the ridge, the vista you get from up there is really amazing: you gaze at the surroundings in all directions. The view over the village of Puyloubier, just below, at the foot of the southern slope, is particularly impressive! And on dry days, you can see in the distance Alpine peaks topping 3,000 meters (10,000ft).

Walking time : 5.5 hours
Rating : moderate
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

At the foot of Mont Sainte-Victoire
Full Day

Starting from the surroundings of Le Tholonet, a village about 3 miles east of Aix-en-Provence, this beautiful nature walk gets you first to the Roche Percée. This large rock with a big hole in it, is part of a splendid red clay outcrop. Then, the trail gradually leads you through olive groves and pine woods to the foot of Mont Sainte-Victoire, brushed into history by Paul Cézanne. From the small mountain refuge, whose name was given after the painter’s one, you will then be walking down with breathtaking views to the south.

Walking time : 4.5 hours
Rating : moderate (rugged terrain)
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

 Climbing up to the Croix de Provence
Full Day

Symbolic peak of Mont Sainte-Victoire, though not the highest, the Croix de Provence, a giant metal and stone cross, overlooks Aix-en-Provence and its vicinity, rising to 946 meters. This beautiful hike, starting 6 miles from the city, is not long ; but it is challenging because of the elevation gain and some rocky stretches with demanding gradients on the way. It is pure delight though, especially when you take time, a natural Provence walking dream. And as you reach the crest around sunrise, the emotion is at its peak. The breakfast snacks that you eat up there remain definitely engraved in your memory for a long time.

Walking time : 4.5 hours (out-and-back or point-to-point, according to the downhill route)
Rating : challenging (rugged terrain / elevation gain)
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

Climbing Montagne de Régagnas
Full Day

Along this scenic trail you will walk up Montagne de Régagnas, a small mountain that offers a great panorama over an underlating landscape of farming and nature, 15 miles southeast of Aix-en-Provence: all around, incised valleys covered with fruit orchards and vineyards are enclosed by steep rocky hills, that are themselves dominated by the two major ridges of the area: Mont Sainte Victoire and the Sainte Baume mountains. The Ermitage de Saint-Jean du Puy will be one of the spots of the day: occupied by monks between the 5th and 15th centuries, this hermitage overlooks the Arc valley.

Walking time : 5 hours
Rating : challenging (rugged terrain)
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

 Hiking along the ridge of Mont Sainte Victoire
Full day

On this legendary hike, your local guide takes you from the bottom of the northern slopes of Mont Sainte Victoire up to the ridge. As you get to it, you find the Priory, built in the 17th c., before reaching the most famous peak of the mountain, the Croix de Provence. As its name tells us, it is topped by a monumental cross made of metal and stone, which is visible 10 miles around. While heading east along the ridgeline, you then enjoy a fabulous 360° panorama for almost 2 hrs. You finally walk down to the valley toward the medieval village of Vauvenargues along a nature trail that becomes progressively more and more wooded.

Walking time : 6.5 hours
Rating : difficult (rugged terrain / steep slopes)
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31