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Why Walking in the Luberon is a Great Way to Explore Provence

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. While, 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.

Walking in the Luberon

Near Rustrel: The Colorado de Rustrel area is one of 60 geosites protected under the Luberon Regional Nature Park, UNESCO Global Geopark. Walking trails meander through the forest and among the “fairy chimneys” (ochre towers). The Colorado Provençal is a magical natural site, with cliffs of varying hues, from snow white to bright orange. The hiking is not strenuous, but it is a good idea to walk in a group as there are several trail crossings, and it is easy to get turned around. Follow the trail guidelines, as there are some steep sections and cliff edges. Biking and horseback riding are not permitted.

Colorado Provencal Luberon Walk

Around Gordes: Abbaye de Senanque to Gordes is a walk from the famous monastery to the perched village of 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.

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 1300s. But did you know that as late as 1720, an outbreak in Provence took the lives of 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. Find more details here and here.

High Points: The Luberon Valley is spread out. However, from many angles, there are near-constant views of the tower on the highpoint of the Mourre Nègre, even at night, when it’s lit up. The hike to the summit is a 13 km (8 miles) hike that starts just outside of the village of Auribeau in the Luberon. The summit is at 1125m, not as high as Mont Ventoux, but certainly at an altitude that provides a glorious view of the Luberon Valley and all the way to the Mediterranean (on a clear day).


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Julie Whitmarsh

Julie and her husband Andy started visiting the Vaucluse area 25 years ago & over the years have increased the amount of time they spend there with their growing family. She has a deep affection for the area, finding it is a great place to visit, where the whole family can relax and enjoy time together.

She longs for the day when she can ‘up-sticks’ from her home on Dartmoor & relocate to the Luberon and spend her days cycling, walking, visiting markets & brocante fairs and of course enjoying the local food and drink.

Her blog VaucluseDreamer gives her a space to highlight some of her favourite things about the area from places to visit to particular activities that she and her family all enjoy.

She hopes one day it will be a place where she can share the process of renovating a house in France, but at the moment that will have to wait.

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