A hike through the pines and scrubland of the Massif du Garlaban, so dear to Marcel Pagnol.
Starting from the Pichauris car park, the circuit first leads you to the Puits de l'Aroumi (the wells of Aroumi) then the Mont du Marseillais along beautiful, well marked paths, often along ridges, offering magnificent views over Marseille, Sainte-Victoire, Mont Ventoux and, in good weather, the Préaples de Provence. The intense luminosity of the rocks under the brilliance of the sun will leave no-one indifferent.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Access: from Allauch, go in the direction of Logis Neuf and then follow the D908, in the direction of Peypin. Turn right on the D46a when you get to the Auberge de Pichauris and park in the large car park located about a hundred meters further on.
'Yellow PR® route markers''
(D/A) From the car park, walk towards the monumental stone gate, pass it on the right-hand side and follow the wide trail up to a major intersection marked with a large marker post.
(1) Turn right (signposted Château de Ners), ignore a path to your left and reach a fork about 150m further on. Turn left following the PR®4 signs. At the following intersection that comes just after two stone walls on either side of the path, follow the wide track that curves to the right and quickly joins an open space.
(2) Take the first track on your left, and stay on this main path going in a general south-south-east direction, ignoring all paths going off to the left and right. Keep going until you reach a large intersection (tank n°480 on the right).
(3) Don't take the track to the left as prompted by the signpost "Puits de l'Aroumi" but continue straight on for a hundred meters to reach the next junction. Turn left off the wide track onto a narrower path that goes southeast in the direction of a few clearly-visible rocky ledges. Walking between the shrubs is a little more difficult on the trail which closes in like a ravine with a few rocky but easy sections.
Further on, ignore a path going off to the right and keep following the PR®4 markers, pass a ledge with a small shepherd's stone hut and carry straight on to reach a large track.
(4) Follow this track on the left until an intersection where you'll find a VTT6 marker post. Turn right to get to the Puits de l'Aroumi which is located under the trees on the right.
'Yellow PR® route markers''
(5) Take advantage of this idyllic rural location to enjoy a break. Rejoin the wide, flat path and follow it right up to a fork marked with a double marker post (PR®4 and ATV6).
(6) Leave the path to turn left onto a small stony trail which passes two successive intersections where you keep left. At the next fork, turn left (signposted Lascours).
(7) At the fork, continue straight (signposted Mont du Marseillais - Pichauris) on a stony but pleasant path that leads to a large intersection (tank 525).
Yellow PR® markers + yellow and red GRP®
(8) Take the first, wide path on the right leaving the tank on your left-hand side.
At the following intersection, continue straight ahead temporarily leaving the double markers that you'll rejoin shortly after. Turn left and continue until a wide track that accesses the facilities of the Mont du Marseillais.
(9) Follow this track right up to the summit.
(10) Go between the installations then fork left, climb the steep slope (carefully) and go right at the last pylon to follow a path that's not very visible at the start but where you'll soon get back to the double markers.
Once on the track, go right and follow it for about 300m.
(11) About 50m before a marker post visible on the right of the track, turn 90° left and drop down to another track that you can seen below (be careful because this route isn't well defined and you need to be vigilant).
'Yellow PR® route markers''
Turn left on this track, pass a tank on your right-hand side and continue straight ahead until you reach a T-junction.
(12) Turn right and continue to descend to a small road that you join at a bend. Follow the road to the left until the fourth turn (to the right).
Go carefully because the road is narrow, the visibility is poor and there is no verge on the majority of this section.
(13)At the turning point, leave the road to take a large path on the left that goes through undergrowth. Ignore the first path on the left and then a second on the right.
(14) At the intersection, continue straight on and then, after a hundred metres, fork left on a particularly steep-sided, ravine-like path, which descends rapidly. Go straight at the next intersection (spot height 383) and continue for about 300m.
(15) When you get to a small cairn (not obvious and easy to miss) go right on a small path that meanders through the bushes. Very soon you'll come across lots of paths and possible routes. The best option is to follow the tracks in the direction of the partially ruined buildings of the hamlet of Pichauris which can bee seen clearly opposite, leading to a large, flat trail on the edge of the grassland.
Follow this track to the left, keep right at the next intersection and rejoin the first markers.
Turn left, go back over intersection (1) and you'll soon arrive back at the start-point car park (D/A).
D/A : km 0 - alt. 314m
1 : km 0.28 - alt. 324m - Large intersection, marker post, turn right
2 : km 0.76 - alt. 329m - Fork, PR4 marker, turn left
3 : km 2.36 - alt. 417m - Intersection, tank 480, straight ahead
4 : km 4.45 - alt. 655m - Intersection with wide track, turn right
5 : km 5.15 - alt. 636m - Fork, VTT6 marker post, right
6 : km 5.83 - alt. 623m - Fork, PR4/VTT6 marker post, left
7 : km 6.34 - alt. 554m - Fork, Mont du Marseilles marker, straight ahead
8 : km 7.3 - alt. 580m - Intersection, tank 525, turn right
9 : km 8.38 - alt. 602m - Access path to the Mont du Marseillais, right
10 : km 8.9 - alt. 607m - Mont du Marseilles, steep climb left
11 : km 9.6 - alt. 549m - Leave the track, steep descent left
12 : km 10.51 - alt. 483m - T-junction, turn right
13 : km 11.24 - alt. 445m - Right turn, take the path to the left
14 : km 11.98 - alt. 489m - Intersection, go straight ahead
15 : km 13.05 - alt. 392m - Small cairn, leave the trail, turn right
D/A : km 14.58 - alt. 314m
Important notes on the markers for this hike.
- Apart from a few sections of the circuit, namely those between(4) and(5), and for a hundred metres after (11) and (13), the yellow PR® marker is consistently present.
However, taking into account the number of trails and routes marked in yellow in this part of the Massif du Garlaban, be very attentive at intersections and follow the description carefully.
- AVTT marker and GRP markers are mentioned from time to time.
The VTT markers can be found on different parts of the circuit but references to this have been limited so as not to cause any confusion by multiplying markers.
- On the other hand, do not rely fully on the directional signposts because the route described here is not the most direct route.
This is particularly the case for reaching the Puits de l'Aroumi where several signs might lead you off onto a different route. Here also, follow the description carefully.
There are several wells (puits) along the route, but the quality of the water is not controlled for most of them. You'll therefore need to take extra water accordingly, especially during hot periods because most of the hike is in the sun.
Good walking shoes necessary due to the numerous stony and difficult sections on which you could hurt your ankles.
Walking poles recommended for the same reason.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
There's a very wide choice of hikes in the Massif du Garlaban, including several that follow the steps of Marcel Pagnol
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The Calanques de Cassis on foot or by boat:
- The Calanques on footpaths
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.