Hiking in the Luberon

There are almost 2,000 miles of marked walking trails in the department of the Vaucluse and Luberon.

 

Walking trails are marked by small slashes painted on trees, rocks, utility poles, fence posts, even buildings. In many areas of the Vaucluse - including the Luberon - there is also a system of signposts with bright gold signs at key trail intersections. You may also encounter informal signage that someone has erected to help point people in the right direction. The trail or route is usually very clear, but you must still always watch the markings very carefully.

 

Sometimes the markings (called flèches in French) will simply indicate you are headed in the right direction, but in other places they are painted with an angle and indicate that you need to turn. When you see the markings painted in a big "X," , that means the trail doesn't go that way.

Hiking Tour "To Lacoste and Back", Duration: 3 hours

 

From the main roundabout at the bottom of the village of Bonnieux, follow the signs to the school (école) and park in the lot next to the school and in front of the Maison du Livre et de la Culture (library/community center).

 

Walk down the small road passing the schoolyard until the paved road dead-ends; turn right on a very narrow dirt path that runs next to a high wall.  The path winds down past a few houses, bears left and later a sharp right. Continue to follow this through the woods, past some houses and then along a wall looking down over a farm.

 

Eventually you'll come to a road and a yellow signpost. Cross this road and continue to follow the dirt path, winding through farmland, vineyards, orchards and woods.  There are occasional yellow marks.  Eventually you’ll come to another paved road near a house called "La Beguine." Turn left on this road and walk a short distance until you see a path on the right at a big tree; take this path, again through woods. You will emerge on another road near a big ruin called "La Maison Basse." Take this road just a short ways and then continue straight on the "Chemin du Passet." You will see Lacoste up above. The road eventually turns into a path and you will continue on a steep path up to the village, coming up alongside the Lacoste village school.

 

Take some time to wander around the village of Lacoste. Many of the restored buildings now belong to the Savannah School of Art and Design, which runs a satellite program here. Depending on the time of year, the terrace at the Café de France is a good place for a rest, a drink, and maybe even a light lunch-and definitely a fabulous view looking back over to Bonnieux. You can climb all the way to the top of Lacoste and visit the ruins of the castle of the Marquis de Sade. (The castle is now owned by designer Pierre Cardin.)

 

Leave Lacoste just before the Protestant church (temple), taking a path that descends to the D109 road below and the old "lavoir." Follow this curvy road for a while until you reach "Chemin de la Bernarde" on your right. Take this small road up a slight hill, passing through orchards and vineyards. Just past a tall house with extensive landscaping on the right, turn left on "Chemin de Trigaud," a small road. You'll see Bonnieux ahead of you and the Petit Luberon mountain on your right. Chemin de Trigaud runs into the D 109. Turn right on the D109 and soon after take a left on the Chemin de la Gardiole. Then you'll come to the path on the right (which you had descended) that heads back up to Bonnieux. Return to the school parking lot the way you came.

 

The Café Le Terrail (on the main square mid-way up the village) is a good place to have a drink after your walk.

Hiking Tour "Gorges De Regalon", Duration: 3.5 hours

 

From Cavaillon, take the D973 around the south side of the Petit Luberon (toward Cheval Blanc). About three kilometers before Merindol, take a left when the sign directs you to the Gorges de Regalon. There is a large parking and picnic area.

 

 

At the bottom of the parking lot, follow the signs to the Gorges de Regalon. The path runs alongside (and sometimes on) a creek bed and passes along a beautiful grove of olive trees.

 

The path through the Gorge is very clear. After you come through the narrow part of the Gorge, you eventually reach a large boundary stone marking an intersection.

 

Continue on the left towards the Mayarques and Trou du Rat. At the exit of the gorges, continue to the left toward the Vallon de la Galere.

 

Not long after you'll come to another intersection. The path on the right rises up toward Le Pradon and Oppede-le-Vieux, but you bear left. When you come to another crossing, take the left (Sign PL 21).

 

Once at the intersection of Montagnas (cistern 47), turn left in the direction of the farm of Mayorques. You will pass right by the farm building. Follow the sign on the fence pointing back to the Gorges de Regalon. You'll pass through la Crau, climbing down a rocky path toward the south to rejoin Regalon. (If the day is clear, you should be able to see the Alpilles mountains and the etang de Berre from the highest point.) Follow a gravel road and then arrive back at the parking lot.

Those two hiking tours are just a small example overview of the hiking possibilities around Bonnieux. The description was taken from "The Luberon.com"

where you can find more details and several more routes.

Ciel Du Luberon

Vacances Provence

BONNIEUX, France

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"Ciel Du Luberon", bonjour@vacances-provence.net