Cézanne’s windmill and the Zola dam

A lovely walk which includes a chance to see Cézanne’s Windmill, to discover the ancient ruins of the Roman aqueduct and its waterfall and the Zola dam. In the distance you can see Mont Sainte-Victoire.

Technical sheet
No. 4098880
A Le Tholonet walk posted on 10/09/15 by visorando. Update : 23/12/18
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h50[?]
Distance Distance : 6.94km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 306m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 306m
Highest point Highest point : 304m
Lowest point Lowest point : 180m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Sainte-Victoire (Massif)
Location Location : Le Tholonet (13100)
Starting point Starting point : N 43.522264° / E 5.510519°
Download : -
Cézanne's windmill


Access : Arriving from Aix-En-Provence on the D17 (Route Cézanne), at the first car park on the right after the castle.

(D/A) From the car park, tackle the road to the right on the D17 (Route Cézanne) and, at the fork, stay on the left of the road until Cézanne’s windmill. Turn left, walk past the windmill. When alongside the cemetery, pass by the road headed right and left and continue ahead to on the Chemin de Doudon. Turn left at the gate, cross the fence and continue for approximately 210 m.

(1) Head left along the poorly marked trail (Yellow dots on a stone) which climbs up through the rocks, then back down to meet up with a path to the left. Head down this path (Red markings) as far as the ancient ruins of the Roman aqueduct and its little waterfall. Cross the water and climb the winding footpath ahead, passing behind Tholonet castle and arriving at an intersection. Take the stairs down to the small road below (at the information board).

(2) Turn right (Green markings). At the next intersection, turn right crossing the fence and head due north along a steep hill as far as the next intersection.

(3) Continue in the same direction (still marked with Green) on the trail that turns left soon afterwards, and heads down towards the log cabin (with picnic tables) and the Zola dam. Cross the dam, head uphill along the safety fence and follow the trail which heads south. Once this path turns left towards the east, look out for a trail ahead between rocky bars (with Green dots).

(4) The path heads downhill and joins a trail. Follow this to the left as far as the next intersection.

(5) Turn right (Yellow markings). Pass in front of the Doudon Aqueduct. Follow the path downhill to the right, heading west. It opens out further on to meet up with point (1).

(1) Return to the start along the first path of the walk.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 180m
1 : km 0.59 - alt. 221m - Car park
2 : km 1.64 - alt. 184m - Barrage romain
3 : km 2.14 - alt. 200m - Crossroads after Tholonet castle
4 : km 2.93 - alt. 288m - Crossroads before the dam
5 : km 3.88 - alt. 235m - Barrage Zola
6 : km 4.64 - alt. 296m - Crossroads after the dam
7 : km 5.31 - alt. 284m - Turn right, yellow markings
D/A : km 6.94 - alt. 180m

Useful Information

The car park is located after Tholonet castle, to the right when arriving from Aix en Provence.

There are picnic tables just before you arrive at the dam.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

  • Cézanne’s windmill.
  • Tholonet castle.
  • The ruins of the ancient aqueduct and its waterfall.
  • Zola dam
  • Panoramic view over Mont Sainte-Victoire

Opinions and comments


Global average : 3.89/5
Number of opinions : 3
Description quality : 3.67/5
Routemap quality : 3.33/5
Walk interest : 4.67/5

Admin hiker
on Mon 20 Sep 2021 13:10:52 CEST

I'm sorry to read your message.
Could you please explain to me where starts the private property and/or the cliff exactly ? So I might be able to modify the track and the description to avoid this section.
Do not hesitate to contact me in private !

Aurélie - Community manager.

on Mon 13 Sep 2021 09:52:52 CEST

Global average : 2 / 5

Date of walk : 09/09/21
Description quality : Very disappointing
Routemap quality : Very disappointing
Walk interest : Good

The description of the walk started well for about 400m then there was no way to be able to follow the route described because of a cliff!! And a private property belonging to the Canal de provence. We had to give up And do something else we found on google map. Dommage

on Tue 08 Oct 2019 13:22:52 CEST

Global average : 4.67 / 5

Date of walk : 19/09/19
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Very good

We really enjoyed this walk and there is something for everyone. It starts with a pleasant climb up through the trees, and emerges into high land with vivid red soils and green vegetation. The views at the dam are very good. The starting point has a large free car park.

The instructions are fine but lose a little in translation from the French but its Ok if you keep attentive (example:- at one point the route is described as going behind a castle, but not the sort we get in the UK - the original word 'chateau' would be better. Also some low barriers across the tracks are described as 'gates').

Overall a good walk and well worth doing - recommended.

on Tue 13 Nov 2018 15:52:21 CET

Glad to hear it! Thanks for your feedback

on Mon 05 Nov 2018 09:12:42 CET

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 05/11/18
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

Loved this walk! So fun for kids too, it was a bit longer than described but otherwise it’s a perfect description!

Other walks in the area

distance 18.24km Vertical gain +878m Vertical drop -887m Durée 7h45 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Saint-Marc-Jaumegarde - 13 - Bouches-du-Rhône

A beautiful hike up one of the highest mountains in the Provence: the magnificent Sainte-Victoire. Enjoy 360° views as far as the Alps and the Ventoux. The Priory alone is well worth the effort.

distance 7.04km Vertical gain +736m Vertical drop -731m Durée 4h05 Extreme Extreme
Starting point Starting point in Saint-Antonin-sur-Bayon - 13 - Bouches-du-Rhône

A physical loop hike along Sainte-Victoire, a climb to Prieuré Sainte-Victoire / Croix de Provence through Bau Cézanne and going back through "le Gouffre de Garagaï" and "les deux Aiguilles".

distance 9.73km Vertical gain +711m Vertical drop -707m Durée 4h50 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Saint-Antonin-sur-Bayon - 13 - Bouches-du-Rhône

A loop hike on the south side of Sainte-Victoire Montagne allowing access to the ridge via the Marbrière and the Brèche du Clapier (gap). The walk along the ridge towards the Croix de Provence offers splendid views. Descent via the Priory, the Pas du Berger and the Cézanne Shelter.

distance 13.88km Vertical gain +721m Vertical drop -727m Durée 6h00 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Vauvenargues - 13 - Bouches-du-Rhône

Sainte-Victoire is a highlight of Provence for hikers and climbers.

Before you start, make sure access to the massif is allowed because a regulation is applicable from 1 June to 30 September which and can limit access hours. See the link below:

distance 11.5km Vertical gain +1015m Vertical drop -1011m Durée 6h10 Very difficult Very difficult
Starting point Starting point in Puyloubier - 13 - Bouches-du-Rhône

An energetic loop in Sainte-Victoire leaving from the Saint-Ser car park. The climb up goes via the east of the Bau de l'Aigle and the descent back down is via the 'Pas du Clapier'.

For more walks, use our search engine.

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.