Home » Regions » Guided hiking & walking tours around Aix-en-Provence & Mont Sainte Victoire

One-day hiking tours around Aix-en-Provence and Mont Saint-Victoire,
nature walks in the Provence immortalized by Paul Cézanne

 

Walking in the footsteps of Cézanne
Half-day

 

Nature landmark of the countryside around Aix en Provence, with its white limestone cliffs, 18 kilometers in length, and a drop over 1,500 feet (470 meters) on its south-facing side, Mont Sainte Victoire has not ceased to inspire artists, before and after Paul Cézanne. This painter is probably the one who has the most intensely immortalized the rocky mount. Trying to capture the ever changing contours, he painted more than 80 pictures of the mountain. Along this backcountry trail, with your local guide, you too will have the opportunity to admire the different views of Mont Sainte Victoire, like the famous painter used to. 

 

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

 

 

 

Mont Saint Victoire : Provence’s most emblematic mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressive limestone mountain, 5 miles east of Aix en Provence, Mont Sainte Victoire is well-known because of its unique shape that has fascinated people for millenia, Paul Cézanne, the local world-famous painter, in particular. 

Walking from one lake to the other
Half-day

 

Taking place halfway between the city of Aix-en-Provence and Mont Sainte Victoire, this 3-hour nature walk allows you to enjoy beautiful views of the lakes Zola and Bimont. From the last one, the hiking 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 walking with the imposing mountain located about 2 miles east. 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 distinctive vegetation, 3 other walks are proposed to you in the Theme tours menu item on page Botany explorations in Provence garrigue

 

 

 

 

The easiest route to climb Mont Sainte Victoire
Half-day

 

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 side of the mountain to the top mainly takes place through an oak grove, 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 hours
Rating : leisurely (rugged terrain)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

 

 

 

 

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 hours
Rating : leisurely (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 hours
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 following the east ridgeline for almost 2 hrs, you enjoy a fabulous 360° panorama. You then walk down to the valley toward the medieval village of Vauvenargues on a nature trail that will be 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