Hiking Experience the beauty of Provence close up

Provence is hiking paradise, with its extensive trails, beautiful landscapes and delightful villages just a few miles apart. Whether you are a hardcore hiker or taking the kids along there are trails for every level.

The great thing about hiking in Provence is the beauty and variety of the countryside. You go through vineyards, orchards, woods, gorges, over hill and mountain, along cliff and river. And you come across things that are not on the tourist trail or in a guidebook – prehistoric caves, ruins from ancient civilisations, abandoned mills, churches and even villages that time has forgotten

In the Vaucluse department of Provence alone there are 1900 miles of marked walking trails. These trails are marked by paint marks which are most often on a tree, byt can also be on rocks, posts or buildings. At trail intersections there is often a signpost giving you directions and distances.

The markings usually just tell you are going the right way but can also show a turn to take, or if they make an ‘X’ they indicate this is the wrong way for this trail.

But you should definitely take a map, as trail markings are not that comprehensive.

Types of trail

  • The grande randonnée (GR trails) are long-distance trails, and are marked with red and white stripes.
  • If you see yellow and red stripes these signify a “grande randonnée de pays” (regional long distance path or GRP).
  • The local trails are called “petite randonnée” or PR, and are shorter, suited to a day walk. Petites randonnées are usually in yellow.

Times of year

Winter, spring and autumn are great times for hiking. In summer you need to take some precautions. It can get very hot in the middle of the day so you should leave early or late, take plenty of water and a phone, and prioritise shaded routes.

Some areas can be barred to hikers in summer due to fire risk.

Maps and guidebooks

You can create your own walk, but the easiest way is to follow a circular walk from a guidebook, along with a good map.

The best hiking maps are the official IGN maps: there are hundreds of them, each covering a small area. You can buy these maps in supermarkets, book shops, tourist offices, tabacs/presses. IGN maps show roads, tracks, GR and PR trails.

The official hiking association, FFRandonnee, publishes some good but French-only hiking guides called TopoGuides, available in the same places as the maps above. TopoGuides have circular walks with maps and descriptions.

Other good hiking guides

  • Randonnées en Provence – Luberon, by Laurent Meyer. 25 good circular walks around the Luberon in Provence with directions, maps and photos.
  • Walking in Provence (Cicerone Guide) features 24 walks in all parts of Provence, including the Luberon.
  • Les Nouveaux Guides Franck : Luberon – Monts de Vaucluse. A ring binder of hikes, each page is a map and description, and can be individually taken on a walk in a plastic envelope.
  • Balades nature dans le Parc naturel régional du Luberon. 15 nature walks and guide to flora and fauna of the Luberon.
  • The official Vaucluse tourism site has 50 walks described here
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Maison Saint Antoine: 43.941989, 5.068946
Avalon: 43.903628, 5.210137
Villa Roussillon: 43.890362, 5.299208
Les Vignes: 43.840439, 5.213013
La Rourette: 43.943627, 5.247753
The Lourmarin Cottage: 43.763342, 5.364171
Maison de Gordes: 43.915482, 5.208474
Les Coudelieres: 43.933545, 4.974167
The Ansouis House: 43.737360, 5.464647
Maison de Bonnieux: 43.822572, 5.309476
St Hilaire: 43.829442, 5.256647
Villa Lioux: 43.944654, 5.286570
Les Petitons: 43.832236, 5.165591
Les Madeleines: 43.898511, 5.076885
Moustier de Menerbes 1: 43.829105, 5.209177
Moustier de Menerbes 2: 43.828788, 5.209821
Les Ocres: 43.900737, 5.286419
Bastide des Oliviers: 43.858513, 5.103021
Mas des Oliviers: 43.859364, 5.102184
Domaine de Gordes: 43.915022, 5.209435
La Roubine: 43.915022, 5.209435
Mas de Joucas: 43.910775, 5.255365
Les Heyrauds: 43.845751, 5.220469
Villa Lavande: 43.861221, 5.315881
Villa Ansouis: 43.752575, 5.448521
Provence Pines: 43.869575, 5.414806
La Beaume: 44.115329, 5.054162
Mas de Menerbes: 43.851458, 5.190225
Grambois Manor: 43.762230, 5.588865
Menerbes Vista: 43.833362, 5.205084
Grand Fontvert: 43.864195, 5.516108
Fontvert: 43.864149, 5.515775
Domaine de l\'Oratoire: 43.857430, 5.291762
Capucine: 43.857276, 5.291290
Marquis: 43.857430, 5.291977
Libertine: 43.856997, 5.290947
Calavon: 43.856626, 5.290689
Senanque: 43.856842, 5.290132
Villa Lacoste: 43.827933, 5.247452
Mas d\'Oppede: 43.828569, 5.173143
Les Vignes: 43.826748, 5.251497
Le Paradesque: 43.845384, 5.167018
Mas du Thor: 43.956835, 4.974704
La Fontaine Basse: 43.892450, 5.569725
Mas Les Tours Ouest: 43.858849, 5.250644
Maison Oppede: 43.839449, 5.166171
Mas de Murs: 43.958362, 5.217971
La Grand Bastide Menerbes: 43.839559, 5.204869
Villa Menerbes: 43.830619, 5.210597
Mas d\'Apt: 43.868679, 5.388484
Maison Oppede: 43.828977, 5.161384
Villa Dumaines, Cabrieres: 43.892444, 5.152480
Villa les Oliviers, Oppede : 43.834379, 5.176289
Villa Castelas, Bonnieux: 43.823622, 5.311986
Villa Détente : 43.846982, 5.167645
Mas de Ruby, Maubec: 43.851597, 5.135625
Maison Lacoste: 43.833044, 5.273545
Mas du Chateau, Lagnes: 43.894793, 5.115951
Maison Briand: 43.823430, 5.306400
Maison Saint Andre: 43.762078, 5.369018
Villa de la Petit Etang: 43.928318, 5.381581
Mas Les Sauvestres, Gordes: 43.907180, 5.226460
Maison Lagnes: 43.894091, 5.113870
Maison Les Emiyeux: 43.913120, 5.413900
Mazet du Hameau, Gordes: 43.873568, 5.183056
Maison Saint Saturnin: 43.928468, 5.382581
Maison du Vallon: 43.842899, 5.192467
Les Blayons, Bonnieux: 43.823976, 5.312148
Mas de Royere: 43.856193, 5.161600
Villa Parisot, Cabrieres: 43.888486, 5.143130
Domaine des Pradelles: 43.926375, 5.375794
Bastide d\'Oppede: 43.842159, 5.177173
Mas de la Lone: 43.903436, 5.085105
Villa du Petite Bois: 43.846621, 5.167432
Villa Belle Roche, Menerbes: 43.830659, 5.207299
Le Clos des Hauts d’Oppede : 43.834397, 5.164938
Villa Puyvert: 43.758508, 5.340124
Mas des Vergiers: 43.845916, 5.012564
Villa Perreal, Saint Saturnin: 43.926255, 5.372998
Maison Pervenches, Viens: 43.891736, 5.563072
Clos de Colette: 43.846380, 5.112680