Hiking the Gorges de Régalon in Provence
Hiking in Provence
The idea for this hike came from a friend at the International Hiking group of Provence. The twosome needed to find a short hike that was not too far from the house, so they would have enough time to get the car to the mechanic.
Nutmeg consulted her “Must Do” list for Provencal activities; it was February so a day at the beach was not rising to the top of the chart. Not too far down the list, was this walk, les Gorges de Régalon a short, challenging hike that was close to home.
Les Gorges de Régalon is located between Cavaillon and Mérindol, in the Vaucluse. The circuit is only 9km and certainly offers a bit of everything. The walk starts at the easily accessible parking, which is free in the off-season. The first stretch is a walk along a creek bed and then passed a small olive tree grove. Immediately after the olives, the trail heads straight into the gorge. The direct path is evident as the canyon walls close in, and there is little choice but to scramble along the rocks and follow the narrow corridor. This is not a hike for those with claustrophobia and unequivocally not on a wet day. Continue reading here to see Nutmeg’s photos of this great hike near Cavaillon.
Sturdy hiking shoes are a MUST for this hike.
Allow 3-3.5 hours for the circuit.
If you are challenged with steep downhill grades, hiking poles are a good idea.
There are signs, rock piles and paint flashes to indicate the way.
DO NOT tempt this hike if there is any threat of wet weather.
In some sections of the Gorges de Régalon, you need to use a lot of upper body strength. If you suffer from shoulder issues, this hike is not recommended.
Hiking Resources in Provence
The beautiful thing about this 30 kilometre stretch of mountains is you might never tire of the opportunities to explore on foot. The Grande Randonnée (GR) #6 traces the summit from Tarascon to Aureille. Look for red and white flashes to follow sections of this multi-stage trail.
Crisscrossing the agricultural land surrounding the peaks are other walking trails marked by yellow paint flashes. These routes are shorter, but no less scenic than the high-level trails. From the centre of most of the Alpilles villages, you are spoiled for hiking choices. Head towards the hills, and it’s almost impossible to miss the trail marker signs. Read about our picks for top hikes here.
The area around St-Rémy-de-Provence is wonderful for hiking. The Alpilles Mountains are crisscrossed with well-marked trails that offer fabulous views.
But let’s face it, who wants to schlep through the mountains on a hot summer day? Isn’t there a better way to stretch your legs and still see the beautiful countryside?
Yes—a canal walk.
St-Rémy is surrounded by agriculture—vineyards, olive groves, and fields growing fruits and vegetables of all kinds. A vast network of canals, built around the main Canal des Alpines, supports it all. The walk from St Remy to Eygalieres is a fabulous mostly shaded path and a terrific way to spend a few hours. Read more here.
Mur de la Peste: When most people hear of “the Plague,” they shudder and think of the Black Death that killed nearly a third of Europe’s population in the 1300’s. But did you know that as late as 1720 an outbreak in Provence took the lives over 100,000 people? And that the Pope and the King of France built a great wall to stop its spread? Today, the Mur de la Peste is seen mostly by hikers and dog walkers. Sections of the wall are still visible, and some areas are restored (approx. 6km) to demonstrate the enormity of this project and the desperate attempt to stop the spread of the plague. More details here and here.
Abbaye de Senanque to Gordes: Julie took her dog on a walk from the infamous Abbaye de Senanque to equally renowned Gordes. The Abbey can be a mass of people at the height of the lavender season, with everyone attempting to get that perfect shot of the lavender rows framing the Cistercian monastery. However, in the off-season, this part of the Luberon is magical for hiking. Here are the details.
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