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1 week in the Gorges du Verdon= 2 campsites to discover the richness of this incredible site

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Le Vaucluse (84)


The land of fire

For who knows how to take his time, the Luberon conceals a thousand secrets. Almost 140,000 ha, this country, rugged cliffs, combes secret and covered by splendid forests welcomes an exceptional flora and fauna. You can even go back in time to discover 30 million years old fossils!

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Chalet on campsite at Castellane Mobile-home
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Camping pitches at Castellane Gorges du Verdon Pitches Gorges du Verdon
Starting from 18 €/Night

Location and access

Between the Rhone Valley and the Alps, the Luberon is a small chain of limestone mountain, oriented East-West, like most Provencal massifs. Straddling the departments of the Vaucluse and the Alpes de Haute Provence, the Luberon stretches Manosque in the East to Cavaillon to the West and of the Calavon Valley North of the Durance South. It culminates at 1,125 m altitude, atop Mourre Nègre.
The Luberon is skirted North - West by N100 d'Avignon in Forcalquier, and on the South by the D973 from the exit of the A 7 in South Avignon until Mirabeau, along the Valley of the Durance. Take the N96 from Sisteron or Aix-en-Provence. From Marseille, A7 or A55 until Pennes-Mirabeau exit Cavaillon, then take the D2 direction Apt.


The combe de Lourmarin, dug by the small river of L'aiguebrun divides the massif in two: East Grand Luberon forms massive and rounded, the Petit Luberon West, a plateau incredible limestone cliffs, gorges in ravines. The difference between the northern and southern slopes is no less important. The Calavon and Largue, to the North, valleys have steep gully slopes. To the South, the Durance Valley is more Mediterranean with its slopes Cypress and its garrigues.

Fauna and flora

Nearly 1,500 plant species have been identified, including some very rare as the Bertolon ophrys or fern of Petrarch. In the Petit Luberon grow Mediterranean plants such as bupleve igneux, the maritime cineraria flower yellow to gold, pistachio or "mastic tree", the gorse of Provence... The northern side of the Luberon, less sunny, is covered white oak and maple trees. The holm oaks cover the southern slopes mixed Aleppo Pine the Phoenician Juniper garance in ochres of the pays d'apt grows a flora consisting of calcifuges species or silicoles: Heather broom, Heather, bracken, Cistus and lupin...
Among large birds of prey, we meet the Bonelli's Eagle which nests in rock walls, the short-toed, the Vulture (the white Vulture of Egypt), the OWL... The most numerous mammals include wild boar and foxes, while Beavers have colonized areas of the Calavon and Durance.

To discover

•    The trail of the forest of the Cedars
On slightly more than 1 km in the Petit Luberon, the Park has created a botanical trail discovery of nature in the middle of the 250 ha of Cedars that thrive here since their introduction in 1864. Eight terminals located along the route reported a 50 typical species: crownvetch, honeysuckle of Etruria, Bellflower, Scabiosa chartersville Columbarium, Anthericum, geranium sanguineum, white Cistus. A ride that lasts about two hours, with magnificent views over a really wild country!
•    The Arboretum de Font - de - Elm
Between the communes of Merindol and Cheval-Blanc, the arboretum, which sprawls between 110 and 700 m, brings together some twenty different species.Beyond that, pick up the GR6 which leads to one of the most arid and wild of the Luberon "craus" tell of Saint-Phales, the Mayorques and the hole of Rat, formed by an impressive set of combes, gorges and incised valleys.
•    The ochre Valley trail
Departing from Roussillon, 15 km to the West of Apt by the R 100. The start of this trail, laid out by the Park, is located on the esplanade of the cemetery. The trail descends into the ancient quarries opencast, metamorphosed in circuses and cliffs color blood and gold. Twenty panels you learn everything on the ochre.Another inevitable discovery, the Provençal Colorado, between Rustrel (12 km from Apt) and Gignac (to 5 km of Rustrel). This is a succession of valleys cashed in the extraordinary colours of red blood to white, driven also by two trails. The first is located in 1 km after Rustrel, on the D22. The second begins before Rustrel. Take the path that leads to Colorado camping: you cross the Valley of the Fedo Morto and waterfall, the Valley of the Santons and its large boulders, before arriving at the Valley of Barries with its sources.

Provencal Colorado

•    The Sahara in the heart of Colorado
Colorado or monumental Valley, the country of Apt offered a colorful, an enclave in the ocean of limestone on which navigates the Provence, look elsewhere.Here, North of the regional park of Luberon, man revealed the bowels of nature by updating the ochre quarries. Erosion, rain and gullies on the crumbly rock did the rest, sculpting one of the most amazing landscapes of Provence.
Hidden by the surrounding forests, can penetrate through multiple paths through this maze of valleys on the Ridge which cling white oak or ferns, but the wiser is to park his car on one of the two parking lots in the vicinity of the site since Rustrel. Can then join the GR6 (arrow in green) and climb a track under a canopy of trees lookout kept by a "capped damsel". It draws its silhouette and her hat in stone above a sea of peaks in lace. Need you here as in other parts of the site the complicity of light, diaphanous so the site is cut out, so that the vermilion, yellow or red cliffs to flare up at sunset. At belvedere, you can descend on the circus of Bouvene (by a route marked in white) where the enchantment of colours and forms barely drawn paths will invest you adventurer. Normal, it has dubbed the site "Sahara", in reference to the mirages of the place, the sand cliffs hue and her nipples that stretch of dunes in Spurs by small canyons. You can then reach the GR.But you should beware of one thing: the drunkenness that provides the place and who made you careless for the benefit of the discovery. Nature is here all-powerful and friable soil.

The gorges of the Regalon

Located between Oppède-le-Vieux and Mérindol (take the D973 or the D31 departing from Cavaillon), the gorges of the Regalon cut the road to Cedar and carve an almost vertical gash in the foothills of the Luberon. Their picturesque stamp and their wild looks make it a beautiful discovery. Their ascent, however, requires great caution: the gorges are narrow (barely 1 m in places) and the course in its tortured meandering is very slippery. The place is still fresh and exotic, but his attendance is prohibited on rainy days.


The breath of the mountain

With his needle that plays with the clouds, the Ventoux is a landmark, the clock in the kitchen, one that indicates that the winter will be tough at the foot of the dentelles of Montmirail or Val de Durance. The (1,912 m) Summit is windswept or crushed Sun: the breath of the mountain did lose theirs more than one Tour de France rider and you will run in this lunar landscape for the same reasons. Because the Ventoux is ultimately more that a clock in Vaucluse, a large Bell Tower of Provence.

Location and access

The Ventoux is a life-size weathervane looking West the Comtat-Venaissin and the Rhône Valley, the Durance Valley and the Luberon to the South, the foothills of the Alps, Lure and the plateau d'Albion planed by the wind to the East, the chain of baronies and Drôme in the North.
Valencia or Marseille (A7) three outputs possible to Avignon-Nord and Orange (destination Carpentras then the D938) or in Bollène (destination Vaison then the D977).


Of the peeled mountain where do grow as pebbles and some stubborn flowers to the glowing red foothills of the Luberon, stretches a multicoloured carpet dominated by lavender blue and gold of the wheat fields. By its two slopes, the Ventoux plummets on a pristine limestone plateau and Moors to sheep, for then enter fresh and lush gorges who bring their waters to the famous fountains of the Vaucluse. Important element of the decor: roads and crossings of the 'country' roads are dotted with picturesque villages, bringing the mountain to touch hands (do not miss Brantes, the hamlet of bees...) and remains, oratories and Gallo-Roman monuments, making it a Mecca of Romanesque art in Provence.

Fauna and flora

White Oaks, chestnut trees and beech forests untouched by the massive operation were allowed, on the North and South slopes of the Ventoux, distant cousins, as Cedar or black pines of Austria. Reforestation operations helped to keep this great region of hunting a life important sauvage (wild boar, deer, partridges hares). The most popular game which invades the junipers of the pays de Sault, are the thrushes. Divided into four families the greenhouse (of the country), the quine, the chacha and the tourdre.
The plains of olive trees in the vast expanses of lavender and Clary Sage, passing through heathland sheep and sheep, the flora and fauna are rich and varied thrushes in addition, the "house specialty" is spelt and Mint there are more than 200 species on the banks of the Toulourenc, near the village of Savoillan including.


Du syndicat d'initiative of Bédoin distributes a leaflet that stretches rides on the northern slopes of the Ventoux; one of them, from the village to attend the sunrise on the mountain. But it's falls, flagship of the region and hub of tourism, that leave the most beautiful hiking, by Verdolier (for the southern slopes) or Aurel. If hiking is the most recommended, the region has been a passion for the horse and also offers numerous structures and multiple cottages and hiking, particularly in Bédoin and Malaucène, but side Revest-du-Bion, to discover the plateau d'Albion.
•    The gorges de la Nesque: a miniature Verdon
You can discover the gorges de la Nesque by car taking the D942 (from Sault in Carpentras) dotted with gazebos, but the canyoning (4 km) walk through the trails, offers a pleasant immersion in lush vegetation. The sky, here, is lowered by place in the green of the trees or Rocky overhangs vault, to better then cut on pristine limestone cliffs. Is parte Malaval dam (near Monieux) or the Castellaras Belvedere (a trail descends from the D942 400 m from the belvedere), one cannot miss the "Steeple" gorges: the rock of wax, a rock language that plunges into the river. This is the place where the Nesque "arches" as said Mistral, 250 m above the water. Downstream, the nature also knitted the tortuous maze site was explicitly called 'the Cathedral' and forced the path to rise through the maze.Throughout the ride, the observer will be able to afford a trip in time by counting the balms and caves. They are the rock (that of Jarle including) and served as shelter to our prehistoric ancestors.
•    The Toulourenc gorges
If the Ventoux plunges South into the Nesque, it plummets to the North in the Toulourenc and new gorges, less spectacular and shorter than the previous ones, but the picturesque stamp worth there also. Trails are arranged between Reilhanette and Montbrun (D942 and D542). There, the Gour of L'oule, a narrow gorge made the exact junction of the Ventoux and the plateau d'Albion. Above, by the D159 (downstream from Autan), combe Couranche surrounded by rocks lace stretches refreshing waterfalls on almost a kilometre.
•    The Dentelles de Montmirail
If the Ventoux faces the sea with power, the dentelles de Montmirail are an arc of circle attached to the Rhône and opened on the plain. This citadel of rocks is somewhat the border of Provence, a Gateway Arch stone. Almost a Sentinel. Woodland pine, covered in shimmering spring broom and the famous crus vineyards, one has the impression arriving here that nature worked limestone with the application of a lacemaker. A mesh in place, mesh, it has forgotten its needles. Erosion did the rest. The crests of Montmirail, cut and bristling with pitons, gave their name to the place. The cirque de Saint-Amand, near Malaucène, offers stunning views of the Alpine landscape despite a low altitude (714 m). Some say that not far from Avignon, this string opens up like a stage curtain. The laces are, however, the main actor of a bucolic walk. In the scent of lavender and of breeding birds that colonized the bowels of the cliffs, the neck of the case between Gigondas and Beaumes puts lace on hand. It is also the starting point of several trails. To get there from Malaucène (direction Vaison) d138 better take the D90 from Malaucène, descend on Beaumes, reassemble on Gigondas, then Sablet and the viewpoint of Samuel by the D23.
•    The village des Bories
Essential emblem of the regional park of the Luberon, les "Bories" are sentinels of Vaucluse and the bas-Alpine pastures campaigns. There in more than 3000.Built with arches ogival and flat stones [the "slate"], these round, square or rectangular huts depending on their use, have the look of menhirs. They "live" only at the edge undergrowth or in groups in busiest Prairie. At the exit of Gordes (on the D15 direction Cavaillon', a picturesque village with 20 restored Bories which are ordered around a round bread with a plugger grape.) In the sheepfolds, forks and araires reflect the work of the Earth until 1830. Organized in rural Museum, on view on the site, beyond the rules of construction and use specificities in each Valley, that the vocation of the Bories has not been that pastoral; they were used at several different times (in the Gallo-Roman era in the maquis of the Resistance) of refuge and place of residence.
•    Museum of lavender
Originally from Persia and the Canary Islands, this flower is inseparable from Provence. The museum traces the history of its distillation, from its origins to our days, thanks to a superb collection of 25 copper stills and a wheel that was used to make the 'concrete', concentrate. The essence of lavender was extracted for the first time in the 16th century and used by the Provencal peasants for its therapeutic properties. At that time, the wild lavender was widespread. But with rural depopulation and the appearance of the lavandin, derived from clones, propagated by cuttings, putting it into culture has gradually replaced wild lavender. It takes 130 kg of flowers to make 1 l of lavender oil. One hectare will give 20 to 25 kg.
•    The mill of broths
The most beautiful of the remains of the Roman occupation in Provence remains... the olive tree, the alma prima pomegranate as said Caesar: the first of all the trees, introduced here in 600 BC. The mill of broths continues the tradition pragmatic, cost-effective press and oil. Classified as a historic monument, it is the oldest of Provence. Special feature: it is a "blood" Windmill which does not attach Eole services, but those animals and the human arm to press the fruit. The wheel, cylindrical and stone, weighs 1,375 kg; the beam in the press, more than 7 t oak! The mill of broths obeys the principles introduced into Gaul by the Greeks washing the Romans): a carousel and a myriad of machinery bringing the water to the press by a gallery of 40 m capturing a source close.
•    (Le Barroux) llamas farm
No need to go to Peru to meet with llamas! For 10 years, this farm is specialized in their breeding and Pierre Scherrer has chosen to become lamas "shepherd" to exploit the talents of these "gardeners-brush cutters". The thorny Mediterranean vegetation, the origin of so many fires, do not indeed resists the Palace totally ossified these ruminants who know take advantage of spontaneous vegetation and are easily tackling the thorny of all kinds, Oak kermes to Juniper through Brambles and the scorpion broom: it is tough and pungent, best! But in addition to this function of "ecological Clipper", foot horse farm is also committed to valuing the fleece of its lamas: once washed, spun - either the zone or at the spinning wheel and woven, their hair in multiple shades dress, warm up or decorate our interiors...
•    The Vallis Clausa (Fontaine de Vaucluse) paper mill
With its foam curl 7 m diameter wheel and who brews the Vallis Clausa Mill River is one of the beautiful sights of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Because he exhales an ancestral whiff and beyond the forgotten decor, it serves to perpetuate the manual paper manufacture as it was practised in the 15th century. In his bowels, mill grinds, kneads, pummels and compact cotton, flax and hemp rags which give, after 24 h of torture, a paste paper white and clean, without other laundry that pure water from the springs flowing at the foot of the mill. Working before the public at all stages of manufacture, it is the opener, with its shape and its indoor, which gives shape to the future of leaves. Latter, parchment-like, are very prized by painters and serve to print editions of art of poetry, but also to create floral compositions decorating them with flower petals, worries, blueberries and Queens daisies preferably. Vallis Clausa, on texts of poetry, ferns can also serve as an ex-libris.

hiking - Verdon Gorge
hiking- Castellane
hiking - Verdon gorge
hiking - Roc Castellane

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