A Cliff Hike in the Luberon, France

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Luberon Cliff Hike
Amazing view while walking along those cliffs

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. The Luberon nature reserve includes 31 communes of the Vaucluse region in France. Click To Tweet

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

First part of the hike, an easy walk through amazing landscapes

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!!!)

The view after the uphill
Me at the edge of the cliff, trying to make my dog look at the camera… apparently it worked.
A cairn, a stack of stones made to mark a location

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.

Amazing view while walking along those cliffs

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!

The dog was less afraid than me!

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!

25 COMMENTS

  1. Awesome! Looks like you enjoy hiking! This part of France reminds me of some places here in Greece actually! I suppose you will need a whole day for this excursion, right? And a light camera, otherwise your hands at the end of the day will be exhausted 🙂

    • I love hiking!!! you can do this one in either 1 day if you really want to have a longer break etc or in half a day if you prefer to have a more sporty walking rythm. A light camera during hikes always comes in handy 🙂

  2. This hike looks amazing!! 13 km though?! Definitely longer than any hike I’ve ever done, but I would love to try. I’m actually moving to the South of France in about two months so hopefully this isn’t too far from me!

    • Hey Tarah, what region are you moving to? South of France has so many beautiful regions, that wherever you stay you are blessed with gorgeous scenes! 🙂

  3. The Luberon cliff hike looks really interesting and the views of the hills capes and from the cliff are really awesome. A well-written post with all the tips. Do we need to come back also on the same day or are there options for camping on the top?

    • I don’t think you’re allowed to do some camping up there, but there are so many little “gîtes” (B&B houses sourrounded by nature) in the region to stay in those idyllic landscapes.

  4. This place looks pretty cool, I’ve not heard of it before. I’ve mostly stayed around Bezier. Great that furry friends can join on the adventure! Thanks for sharing your story and photos and expanding my travel bucket list!

    • Thanks a lot, Jodie. There are so many great places in the South of France… it’s impossible to know them all or visit them all.

  5. Provence is so pretty…we visited several small towns and loved each one of them. And the countryside is just breathtaking. That stack of stones is really interesting…those colored flags look like Buddhist prayer flags!

    • I think thoose are Buddhist prayer flags, weird to find them on top of a cliff in Provence though. I try to visit as much as I can in Provence, I absolutely love it here. 🙂

  6. Provence was a quick visit for me. Couldn’t dream of a trek there then. How I wish I had the time. The views are gorgeous.

    • France is such a beautiful country, you should really try and visit something outside Paris… like for a weekend gettaway. South of France will spoil you with sun, awesome landscapes and delectable food & wine… just sayin’ 😉

  7. This looks like quite a unique place, with the cliff structure towering above the place. The moderate difficulty level makes it easier for folks to do this hike and enjoy it. Reminds me of one of the hikes in Hong kong that I took two years back.

    • Haven’t yet been to Hong Kong, but if the landscapes are similar… I’d love to roam around Hong Kong’s hillscapes as well 🙂

  8. Looks like one awesome trek! The view is indeed awesome! I wonder what those cairns are for. I spotted a few in other places too! I’m glad your furry friend also managed to complete the trek in a fantastic way!

    • I think those cairns are stones put together to mark land… at least that’s what I understood they meant in France. I don’t know what they mean in other countries though.

    • Absolutely Agness, If you get the chance to visit Luberon for a few days, you should definitely go on a hike! But best would be not during the scorching hot summer months 🙂

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