Want to get outdoors? Explore our top 10 nature walks in Provence - Provence

Top 10 nature walks in Provence

Slip on your walking shoes and set out to roam the landscapes of Provence. Whether you’re travelling with family or friends, the scenery of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is enchanting in every season.

 

Get a breath of fresh air in Hyères

An ideal winter walk, the Route du Sel (Salt Route) is a definite must-do – and all the locals will agree. This pretty, 4-kilometre route, lined with breathtaking scenery, can be enjoyed on foot or by bike. Set between Plage de l’Almanarre beach and the Salins des Pesquiers ancient salt marshes, it is home to many bird species, including iconic pink flamingos. Remember to take your camera! At the end of the walk, treat yourself to a well-earned break at the Port de la Madrague: the perfect spot for a waterside lunch or some improvised shore fishing.

Take a walk along the Basses Gorges

Everyone has heard of the Gorges du Verdon canyon! Lesser famed than its big sister, the Basses Gorges – the lower gorge – boasts stunning panoramic views over the Gorges du Verdon, minus the crowds. From Pont de Quinson, head out on an adventure along the footpath – some sections are carved into the rock itself. In this quasi surreal decor, where white cliffs contrast strikingly with turquoise waters, you can enjoy playing explorers in the only tunnel still open to the public. Don’t forget your torch!

Discover the Montagne Sainte-Victoire 

An endless source of inspiration for Paul Cézanne, Montagne Sainte-Victoire offers truly jaw-dropping scenery and is a paradise for hikers and casual strollers alike. From the picturesque village of Le Tholonet, climb to Bibémus Plateau – the departure point for an array of pretty red stone footpaths. The plateau offers stunning views over Sainte-Victoire. If you’re feeling sporty, head skywards to the Pic des Mouches – make sure you take along at least two litres of water.

Stroll to the Grotte de la Sainte-Baume 

What could be better than a forest walk for appreciating the colours and fragrances of Provence? If you’re seeking a scenic, tranquil escapade, take the Sentier du Canapé departing from the Hostellerie de la Sainte-Baume. The veteran trees of this official “exceptional forest” will guide you to the famous Grotte de la Sainte-Baume cave. Climb the 150 steps carved into the rock to reach this world-renowned place of pilgrimage, tucked inside a natural grotto. For the return journey, take the easy-going Chemin des Rois, once walked by Louis XIV himself!

Follow in the footsteps of Pagnol

It’s time to head to the Garlaban hills, for a full immersion in the work of Marcel Pagnol! Manon’s Grotto, the village of Aubignane and Angèle’s farm are just some of the emblematic sites featured in Pagnol’s works dotted along the way. If you want to learn all about Pagnol and the Pays d’Aubagne area, book a guided tour with the Tourist Office. Simply delightful.

Meet the Ichthyosaurus of La Robine

Enjoy meeting one of the region’s oldest inhabitants at the Géoparc de Haute-Provence. Follow the path running alongside the stream to discover the incredible fossil of an ichthyosaurus: a half-reptile, half-fish that lived here 185 million years ago. Just nearby, a larger-than-life surprise awaits you: the incredible dalle aux ammonites (ammonite rock) – the Geopark’s most famous site – where you can admire over 1,550 fossils. A not-to-be-missed natural curiosity!

Get some colour on the Colorado of Provence

An exceptional natural site, the Colorado of Provence in Rustrel is a little slice of America at the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon. Choose from one of the several footpaths to make the most of these magnificently-colourful landscapes. Don’t miss the most famous of them all: the Route du Sahara is truly breathtaking. Your kids will also love exploring the Chemin des Fées (Fairy Path), dotted with mysterious geological formations.

Explore the Marais du Vigueirat in the Camargue

A little paradise for nature lovers, you can explore the Marais du Vigueirat Reserve, set inside the Parc Naturel Régional du Camargue on foot, on horseback, or even in a horse-drawn carriage! The marshes shelter over 2,000 plant and animal species: don’t forget to bring your camera along to capture the moment. To make the most of the marshes, opt for the 5-km walk in the company of a nature guide, who will teach you how to camouflage yourself to observe the birds and animals and unveil the reserve’s many fascinating secrets.

Take the ancient customs officers’ path

Follow in the footsteps of early 20th-century customs officers on the Sentier des Douaniers path running between Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer and Bandol. From wild little coves to dense pinewoods, this must-do walk along the coast is a treasure trove of marvels. Stop off for a welcome dip in the Med along the way: you’ll find plenty of idyllic spots for bathing and tanning.

 

Hike in the Massif des Dentelles de Montmirail

After visiting the little village of Gigondas, to the South of Mont Ventoux, head to the Massif des Dentelles de Montmirail for a delightful nature walk with all the family, lined with awe-inspiring jagged rock formations. You don’t need to be a seasoned walker to tackle the hike: the highest point of the range lies at just 780 metres.

 

REGIONAL NATURAL PARKS

Provence is home to 6 Regional Natural Parks in the Camargue, Baronnies Provençales, Alpilles, Luberon, Sainte-Baume and Verdon, reflecting the vast touristic diversity of Provence. Recognized for their rich natural, cultural, agricultural or architectural heritage, Regional Natural Parks are committed to both conservation and sustainable economic and social development.

 

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