I’ve checked out some hikes in the Provence region, South of France, where I’m lucky enough to live my newly found expat life. Nature lovers, sports enthusiasts, wine fanatics and connoisseurs of fine food regularly make their pilgrimage towards this spectacular region of Europe’s most famous hexagon. Provence is truly one of the most beautiful regions of France (and of Europe if I dare say so). This month I went to visit the Luberon. So many of my friends and acquaintances touted the beauty of that destination; Luberon is literally in every passionate hiker’s mouth. Why not give it a go then?
The Luberon (on the map)
The Luberon is a rock mass in central Provence, South of France. It has an altitude of 1,256 m and it is most famous, because of its picturesque, perched hilltop villages, the sunny and spectacular countryside, its beautiful vineyards and, it goes without saying, the delectable natural produce.
Luberon Nature Park
The Luberon, is the perfect invitation to the discovery of an exceptional geological heritage. It’s landscapes, limestone rocks and especially the perfectly preserved fossils you can come across are worth a detour. A National Nature Reserve has been created to protect this beautiful piece of earth and its history. [bctt tweet=”The Luberon nature reserve includes 31 communes of the Vaucluse region in France.” username=”thetravelbias”]
The beauty of its sceneries and landscapes makes it a privileged region for hikers and nature lovers of all sorts. On a sunny day, there’s nothing better than pack a bag with some snacks and drinks and immerse yourself into the beautiful surrounding hillscapes!
The Madeleine Cliff Hike
So, let’s get talk a bit about that hike! The first part of this hike is a simple peregrination through vineyards and Provençal greenery. At the beginning of this walk you come across the Saint Madeleine chapel and its little hermitage that you can visit.
The second part, however, starts with a steep uphill path and runs during a few kilometres close to the cliff top. (Yikes!!!)
To my opinion, this is generally an easy walk. The ascent, though, can be tricky if you are not used to walking through sloping landscapes. Take some breaks to catch your breath; the views up on the cliffs are worth the hassle.
If you are afraid of heights, keep in mind though, that the second part of the hike is a walk along the 7 km long cliffs.
Description of the hike
The starting point is Lioux windmill (500 m before the actual village of Lioux, follow the cemetery)
Ascent: 484 m (nothing too challenging) Length of the trek: 12,9 km Average duration: 4h30 (if you’re a tad sporty and you want to have break for a pit stop with a picnic the hike can be done under 4 hours)
Fitness level: Intermediate. Compared to the hike Le Jas du Pié Gros et de la Combe de Malaval at Mt Ventoux, the intermediate level is justified. I thought it was an easy walk, but don’t underestimate the almost 13 km and an ascent of 484 m between Part 1 and 2.
Ground: Easily walking ground during Part 1, a bit rockier during Part 2 Type: Closed Circuit (it’s a loop) Participants: Everybody with an intermediate fitness level. Small children will have difficulties making their way up to the cliffs. The cliffs might also be quite dangerous for children.
What should you bring?
- An App or watch with gps tracking
- Adapted walking shoes, keep in mind that this trek is about 13 km long
- Depending on the season and weather, a windproof jacket
- Snacks & drinks to enjoy a picnic somewhere overlooking spectacular landscapes
- A camera to catch the beauty of the sight
When to go?
The best would be to avoid the high season and the scorching heat of the summer months (July & August). This is an all year-round hike, but don’t forget to check the weather forecast: it can be tricky to hike around the cliffs with a strong Mistral (strong, cold, northwesterly wind typical to the region)
Furry friends accepted
Since this is not a National Park, dogs are allowed to take part in the adventure, but they should be sporty and have some endurance. Don’t do this hike with your pooch in the blistering heat. Don’t forget to bring water for the dog & keep him away from the cliffs!
Want know more about the Luberon, here are some handy links
Last but not least, if you get the chance to visit this region of France, you definitely should go on a walk or a longer hike, with consideration to your fitness level. Anyway, whichever itinerary you choose, you shouldn’t miss out on those beautiful landscapes!
Cheers & happy hiking!