The Luberon mountains and countryside
delightful rural landscapes and hilltop villages such as Gordes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half-Day Hikes                                                                                           Full Day Hikes      

 

Nestled in the heart of Provence, the Luberon Regional Nature Park is a living and preserved countryside area that stretches over 75 km E-W on both sides of the Luberon mountains and over 2 départements : Vaucluse and Alpes de Haute Provence. It includes 77 municipalities and has a total population of about 180,000 inhabitants.

This rural territory is characterized by a mosaic of landscapes and of habitats, reflecting its geological history, climate and human activities.  The region is home to an exceptional biodiversity.

 

Vallon de l’Aiguebrun: Provence’s coolest spot !
Half-day

This shaded trail runs alongside the rock and narrow valley floor filled with lush vegetation. Even in summer, on very hot days, you can follow this route that have been followed for 50,000 years. The River Aiguebrun is home to several rock shelters and caves that were inhabited successively by Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnon men. It is today the only permanent river in the Luberon mountains. Auberge des Seguins, nestled at the foot of cliff faces with thrilling climbing routes, is a fabulous place to quench your thirst with a drink or savour a good meal.

Walking time : from 2 to 3 hours (point-to-point walk)
Rating : leisurely
Season calendar : year-round (summer : morning only, on very hot days).
Open even on high fire risk days (closed only in case of exceptional risk).

 From Gordes to Roussillon
Half-day or Full Day
 

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

Walking time : 3.5 hours / 4.5 hours with the Ochre Trail in Roussillon (point-to-point walk)
Rating : easy
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11:30am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

The villages of Cucuron, Vaugines & Lourmarin
Half-day

 

This pretty easy walk allows you to discover the delightful countryside of the Luberon and to stroll through the narrow, winding streets of three of its historical villages. You follow paths and back roads, amidst varied country landscapes, from vineyards, grain fields and olive groves to mixed woods made up of pine and evergreen oak. And you really enjoy the atmosphere so expressively described by writers and filmakers. It is no accident that so many movies have been filmed in these gently rolling hills, starting with “Jean de Florette” and “Manon des Sources”.  


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

Gorges de Veroncle,
an odd canyon near Gordes 
Half-day

Not far from the scenic village of Gordes, your local hiking guide leads you in the lowest section of a 5-mile canyon : it was cut by the River Veroncle into the south-western foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, a massif between the Luberon mountains and Mont Ventoux. What makes this short hike so unique is that the cultural heritage is even more valuable than the natural one : you see during your walk the remains of three watermills that were built between the 16th and 19th c.. These old buildings are of 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 open on fire risk days)

A hike in the ochre sands of Colorado Provencal
Half-day

 Among the numerous former ochre quarries still visible to the north of the Luberon Regional Natural Park, 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.  What brilliant color contrasts with the bright blue of the sky and the varied green shades of trees ! 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 mountains.

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

The Oppedette gorge
Half-day

The tiny village of Oppedette, a former Celtic-Ligurian oppidum, is situated to the north-east of the Grand Luberon, between Forcalquier and Apt. It sits above spectacular gorges carved out by the Calavon torrent, a small canyon that is among the most beautiful ones in Provence & Côte d’Azur. During this short trip, your local guide will first lead you to several beautiful viewpoints over the gorge before taking you down into it, allowing a real exploration.
Another loop route, about twice longer follows the edges of the cliffs on the western rim to the southern end of the canyon, where a country road bridge spans the stream.

Walking time : 2 hours (3 hours for the longer route)
Rating : challenging (steep slopes and impressive sections)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)
Cancelled on rainy days.


If you are afraid of heights, you had better choose another hike.

Not recommended for children under 10.

 Luberon hilltop villages :
from Lacoste to Bonnieux

Half-day or Full Day

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 on country lanes across olive groves and truffle plantations, vineyards and lavender fields. That’s 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 its very 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 (including  the villages’ visit): 3.5 hours (point-to-point hike) / 5.5 hours (loop)
Rating : from leisurely  to moderate
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, on the short itinerary).
Not allowed on fire risk days.

Buoux and the Valley of the Aiguebrun
Full Day

Hiking in the Aiguebrun Upper Valley, 10km upstream of the village of Lourmarin, is very special ; very different from hiking in the Luberon countryside. The contrast between the cool and humid valley, on the one hand, and the desolate plateau above, on the other hand, is startling. The first one is carpeted with lush vegetation and temperate climate plants as the other is covered with lavender fields and scrubby woods.

On a rocky spur high above the Aiguebrun Upper Valley lie the impressive ruins of a medieval fortified village : Fort de Buoux, only accessible by foot. Located in the heart of the Luberon mountains, this incredible site is today a beautiful and peaceful place. The Neanderthal man might have experienced this feeling of peace when he chose to settle down up there. Numerous vestiges of a 13th c. castle remain. And your local guide may lead you down a hidden staircase, which is an alternative way down from the fort : but it is not for the faint hearted !

Walking time : 5 hours
Rating : challenging (steep and rugged sections)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, on the short itinerary)
Not allowed on fire risk days.

 Among the mushroom boulders of Les Mourres
Full Day

The rock outcrops called Les Mourres 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
Full Day
 

During this nature walk, you can see one of France’s most beautiful little towns, Gordes, located east of Avignon in the Luberon Regional Natural Park. And your local guide shows you 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 12th c. Cistercian Sénanque Abbey, Hidden in the narrow Sénancole valley at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, it has harmonious ensemble of buidings 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 Sénanque Abbey not included

Walking up to the summit of the Luberon mountains
Full Day

This itinerary starts in Castellet, a tiny village on the Luberon mountains northern slopes. Your local guide takes you within two hours up to the top. 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 Western Provence‘s peaks. Northwards, you can see, in particular, the white ridge of Mont Ventoux ; and, southwards, besides Mont Sainte-Victoire, if not invisible in the heat haze, you can spot 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)

Gorges de Régalon and the Vaudois history
Full Day

 

This hike offers you the opportunity of learning from your local guide about the history of Provence : the Vaudois (or Waldensian) ‘heresy’ in the Luberon during the 16th century. Beginning in Mérindol, a village by the Durance river, it takes you up to the stony plateaus at the bottom of the Petit Luberon mountain. The final part is a descent into a narrow and spectacular canyon very special for its luxuriant vegetation: Gorges de Régalon has walls rising 250 feet above the path. Note these outstanding features on your way: a breathtaking passage you walk through that is only 30 inches wide and a remarkable cave. 

 

Walking time : 5 hours
Rating : moderate (stony ground)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am  &  6pm – 9pm only, on a shortened itinerary). Not allowed on fire risk days.

A walk from the terraced village of Bonnieux
to Roussillon, standing on its ochre hill
Full Day

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 as far as Mont Ventoux and the Southern Alps. Closer, you can catch sight of three other perched villages: Lacoste, Roussillon and Gordes.

You first walk down the narrow streets of the village and then roam the countryside made up of vineyards, orchards and woods. After marvelling at this mosaic of a landscape for 1.5hrs, under the unique light of Provence, you reach Pont Julien. This 2,000-year old Roman bridge spans over the Calavon river. Before the striking village of Roussillon comes out, the trail you follow 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 villages’ visit and the Ochre Trail in Roussillon) : 6.5 hours (point-to-point hike)
Rating : challenging
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31