Outdoor markets and nature walks

 

 

 

We propose to you 3-hour walks starting from four Provençal historic towns where you can discover in the morning a typical, colourful open-air market. The first 3 hikes are loops.

  • on Mondays : Forcalquier, in the Eastern Luberon
  • on Wednesdays : St. Rémy de Provence, in the Alpilles
  • on Saturdays : Apt, in the heart of the Luberon
  • on Sundays : L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue near Avignon

 

A beautiful example of rural dry stone masonry:
‘Cabanons Pointus’ in Pays de Forcalquier

 

On Monday morning in Forcalquier, Eastern Luberon, you can enjoy a bustling market. Then, the pleasant hike above the small town and the nearby village of Mane allows you to discover several picturesque dry stone huts. They are 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 most of the ones that are still up were built in the 19th c., the construction techniques go back as far as the Iron Age.

 

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

In the footsteps of van Gogh in St. Rémy de Provence

 

During his five years in France, van Gogh spent one year in the Saint-Paul de Mausole asylum in St. Remy de Provence, that lies only 12.5 miles from Avignon. This beautiful walk begins in the old town and takes you to many of the places where the Dutch painter set up his easel ; he painted here more than 70 works, transfixed by the luminous nature sceneries. Your professional guide leads you to the outdoors through plains where vineyards and olive groves carpet the landscape, before walking amidst a vegetation and surrounded by an avifauna both typical of Mediterranean nature. As you climb up to the Alpilles crest, in the middle of a pine grove, you can soon enjoy outstanding 360-degree views. This hike could also have been called the Rocher des Deux Trous (Rock with two holes), due to a rock formation at the base of which two big circular holes, invisible for long, suddenly appear as you are getting closer.


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

Visits of Saint-Paul de Mausole and Glanum non included

            Van Gogh’s Provence
(Photographs of sceneries that could have inspired the Dutch painter)

The hilltop village of Saignon on its beautiful spot

 

From Apt‘s market, one of the Luberon largest ones, your local guide will take you high above, up to a magnificent village, leaning against a tall rock : Saignon. Known for its heavyset Romanesque church, the small town is a typical Provençal one, with its dry stone gate, narrow streets, old houses and pretty fountains. To reach Saignon, after going through the perched hamlet of Rocsalière, you follow a balcony trail ; then you walk on a backroad at the bottom of low cliffs, on a hillside above Apt and the Calavon valley. 

 

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

 

From the pretty little town of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

 

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue‘s market is known for being one of the largest antique ones in southern France. The town is an island through which the Sorgue river flows. After spending the morning exploring the market and discovering the old town, you leave L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in the afternoon, en route to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. One hour later, you are walking by the small Canal de Carpentras, lined with giant reed, that will lead you to the Monts de Vaucluse foothills. Before arriving to the village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, nestled at the foot of these hills, you have to climb for a while, among a mixed forest of oak and pine.

 

Walking time : 3 hours (point-to-point walk)
Rating :  leisurely
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31