Exploring on Foot

Out of high season, The Luberon is a great area to explore on foot. There is a wonderful network of well-marked hiking trails, with many of the villages having their own circular walks too..

In the height of summer, it can be too hot to really walk any distance, and many of the forests and hills are closed to visitors, due to the high risk of fire.

But in the shoulder seasons and during the winter months, it is one of the best ways to explore the area and get under the skin of this beautiful little corner of Provence.

When you leave the car behind and set off along the tracks and back lanes, you find new views, peaceful spots and are quickly immersed in the natural wonders of the area.

You’ll find yourself slowing down and starting to notice the little things, whether it’s the tiniest of baby wild boar hoof-prints in the mud, or the first delicate field pansies, showing their pale yellow faces to the late winter sun.

You’ll notice the scents of the wild herbs growing in the verges; the strange smell of curry-plant mingling with wild thyme & the heady scent of lilac in early spring before, of course, the unmistakable smell of lavender, when it starts to come into flower from late May.

Whilst out and about, you may decide to stop at a cafe or boulangerie for a coffee, but equally may just decide to pack a flask and sit on a grassy bank, or well-placed stone to admire the view and listen to the birds.

It’s just as nice to park the car and walk to a local market, arriving into the bustle, noise and scent of a village market in full-swing, taking time to stroll around and browse the stalls, perhaps stopping for lunch, watching the world pass by, before walking back again. Here’s a little reel about one of our favourites, visiting the Friday morning market in Bonnieux

Perhaps you like the idea of treading in the footsteps of the past, following a section of the Mur de La Peste, near Cabrieres D’Avignon, which was an incredible, guarded stone wall, built to protect the Pope’s land during the Plague of 1720. A little spoiler here …. it didn’t work!

Or you could walk up ancient tracks from the Abbaye de Senanque to the beautiful village of Gordes, taking a path between high, beautifully constructed, dry-stone walls and past ancient stone bories

Popping across the departmental border into the Alpes De Haute Provence, you can take a walk in the footsteps of Rene Char & The Resistance, following paths through lavender fields to a hidden valley in the hills above Simiane-La-Rotonde, where a Wellington Bomber crashed in tragic circumstances during WW2; now the site of a poignant memorial, created from pieces of the plane

You may though, want to immerse yourself in colour, taking a walk through the woodlands and down through the ochres for coffee and croissant in Rustrel or Roussillon, which were at the heart of the Ochre mining in the area and are bright, colourful places to walk, although for these, I wouldn’t suggest wearing white shoes!

There are options to take longer walks, hiking up old forest trails to the beautiful abandoned village of Travignon, that sits high in the hills above Saint Saturnin Les Apt

Or climbing to the summit of the Mourre Negre, the highest point of The Grand Luberon, with jaw-dropping views in every direction, from the distant snow-caps of the Low Alps, to the sun sparkling on the Mediterranean beyond Aix & Mont Sainte Victoire

If you enjoy walking, then there are plenty of options here to fill your days and ensure you get the best from your stay in the area. There are a number of guided walks available on the local Tourist Board Website and the trails are well-marked and easy to follow.

The area is also very well-served with public bus services, so there are options for going further afield, if you want to leave your car behind, whilst you’re in the area

We are always happy to recommend and share favourite routes that we have walked as part of our personalised planning service for your holiday here. If you would like to know more about this, then please get in touch and we’ll do what we can to help you step off the beaten track and explore new places.

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