Starting from Sainte-Madeleine Abbey at Barroux, this is quite a wild route offering many views over Mont Ventoux, the Dentelles de Montmirail and the surrounding plains.
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.
Start at Sainte-Madeleine Abbey situated about two kilometres north of Barroux. Park in one of the many spaces at the Abbey.
(D/A) With your back to the abbey, go down the access road until you reach the crossroads with Chemin des Rabassières.
"Waymarking in Yellow-Red"
(1) Take the path opposite which goes through the Holm oaks. It is quickly joined by a much wider path coming from the right, and then goes alongside the Saint-Louis Institute. The path goes down between the grape vines and meets the Bois Long waymarker.
"Waymarking Yellow-Red + Yellow"
(2) Turn left onto the tarmacked path in the direction of Issards. Ignore the path on the right and go through the hamlet of Bois Long - the path will change from dirt to tarmac.
Ignore the path on the left which goes along the houses and the one on the right which goes back to the vines, instead continue straight on.
50m further on, head to the right along the cherry trees and olive groves. When the path starts going up, it becomes tarmacked and then dirt again when the slope evens out. Continue on between the orchards, going past the entrance to the Domaine des Usclades a bit further on on the left, until you reach a crossroads.
(3) Head slightly to the left, following the main path. At the end of a vineyard (with a sign for Mairie du Barroux), ignore the path on the right and continue straight ahead on a path.
Ignore the path immediately on the left and go past a ruin. Ignore another track on the left after the ruin (not shown on the map). The path climbs again and bends to the right before meeting a crossroads (stone wall).
Follow the path to the left along the wall until you reach the waymarker for Issards.
"Waymarking Yellow-Red + Yellow + Blue + Red-White"
(4) Continue along it to the left in the direction of 'la Chaîne'. Ignore the path immediately on the left (not shown on the map) and continue on the flat section along the stone walls. Ignore another path on the right marked with a cairn (not shown on the map) and continue on until you reach a wide path about 100m further on.
Follow this path to the right uphill which is soon joined by a path coming from the right. Keep climbing up towards the D90 at the Col de la Chaîne.
(5) Turn left and follow the road in the direction of Combe Fréu. 150m further on, leave the tarmac and take the path on the right which goes alongside the road for a bit, higher up.
"Waymarking Red-White + Blue"
Continue on for about 150m until you reach a fork on a small flat area.
"No more waymarking, but there are still some old Red and White marks"
(6) Ignore the path going downhill on the left and follow the path on the right marked with a Blue cross.
Continue into the forest, going past a small view point and then arriving at a small lookout marked with a large cairn. Enjoy the beautiful views of the Dentelles of Montmirail.
Ignore the path heading off behind the cairn (not shown on the map) and continue across the balcony on the well-marked path. Join up with a crossroads marked with a cairn at a small pass.
"No more waymarking, only cairns"
(7) Take the path on the right which climbs into the garrigue vegetation to the north-east and then eastwards. Be sure to locate the cairns as the wayfinding is via the rock formations.
You will reach a summit (which doesn't have a name), marked with a large cairn and with 360° views of the tops of the Vaucluse and the Drôme.
Continue on the only track which heads to the north and then north-east, following along the Arfuyen ridges. Look out for the cliffs!
Ignore two tracks which you quite quickly get to on the left, marked with a cairn, and instead continue ahead until you reach a T-junction in the boxwood trees.
(8) Ignore the path on the right and follow the path to the left instead. The descent back down is quick, but steep and slippery. You will reach a large clearing. The path is no longer visible, but you need to keep going in the same direction for about 20m (there is a hut on the right further below) until you reach a grass path.
Follow the path to the left and then, after a flat area (olive groves on the right-hand side), the path goes into the forest.
Ignore the path climbing to the left and instead continue going downhill via a few wide zigzags, staying on the main path. You will reach a crossroads just before a small ru (ref. point 392).
(9) Ignore the track on the left (not shown on the map) and instead veer to the right, cross over the small trickle of water and head to the left 20m further on. A little further on, leave the footpath and bear left up a steep track. Follow it for about 300m until you reach a footpath.
"Waymarking Yellow-Red + Blue"
(10) Turn left and follow the path which climbs into the forest to begin with, and then goes through a more open area as it veers to the west. Follow the track below the ridges for about 400m, then at a fork take the main track to the left which will lead you to a crossroads. Continue about 10m to the right until you reach a signpost for La Pousterle ('Pas du Loup' on the IGN map).
"Waymarking Yellow + Blue"
(11) Follow the direction of Combe Fréu, by retracing your steps 10m back to the previous crossroads. Take a relatively flat path opposite you to reach the signpost for Combe Fréu. Turn right towards Suzette to reach the signpost for Le Partifiage.
(12) Turn left in the direction of Suze. Stay on the main path, ignore a path to the right shortly afterwards, and continue gently around the Cirque de Saint-Amand. You will arrive at a crossroads of paths, turn right onto the path going downhill and then, 150m further on, leave it and take the path going downhill to the right towards the D90.
Cross the road and join the Chemin du Dégoutaud opposite further down.
(13) Follow this tarmacked path going downhill to the right, with the hamlet of Suzette and the Dentelles of Montmirail in your line of sight. Go past the access road to Dégoutaud on your right and continue on downhill.
After several zigzags, the path arrives at cistern No 230 and leaves the tarmac behind. Turn right onto the path, ignoring the following path off to the right, and stay on the main path. At the hut, the path becomes tarmacked again. Continue for about 400m, go around a small bend, ignore the path on the left and follow the sharp bend to the right.
(14) 100m further on, in the curve of a bend to the left, leave the tarmac and take a sharp left onto a stony path (rubble). This path climbs up, going past several orchards and then joins another path.
Turn left and then, ignoring the path immediately on your right, continue along the Chemin des Rabassières.
Go past the eponymous marker and continue straight ahead.
After 300m, ignore the paths on the right and then left until you reach the entrance into the abbey again.
(1) Head to the right and return to the car park (D/A)/
D/A : km 0 - alt. 378m - Sainte-Madeleine Abbey (Le Barroux) car park - Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux
1 : km 0.27 - alt. 363m - Chemin des Rabassières
2 : km 0.58 - alt. 342m - Bois Long Marker
3 : km 1.41 - alt. 388m - To the left
4 : km 1.98 - alt. 419m - Issards marker
5 : km 3.51 - alt. 470m - Col de la Chaîne (Chain Pass)
6 : km 3.88 - alt. 494m - Head to the right, no more waymarkers
7 : km 4.46 - alt. 541m - Small pass, head to the right
8 : km 6.27 - alt. 564m - T-juntion in the boxwood trees, head to the left
9 : km 7.84 - alt. 407m - Crossroads near a ru
10 : km 8.12 - alt. 446m - Turn left on the path
11 : km 8.95 - alt. 571m - La Pousterle (Pas du Loup)
12 : km 9.6 - alt. 592m - The Partifiage
13 : km 11.49 - alt. 424m - D90 crossroads - Chemin du Dégoutaud
14 : km 13.91 - alt. 298m - Right-angle turn to the left
D/A : km 15.09 - alt. 378m - Sainte-Madeleine Abbey (Le Barroux) car park - Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux
There are tarmacked sections between (2) and (3) , and then (13) and (14).
There are no waymarkers between points (7) and (10). Use the cairns and the directions in the description to find your way.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Saint-Madeleine Abbey in Barroux is a Benedictine abbey, situated in Barroux in the Vaucluse. Founded in 1978, the community of monks has been part of the Benedictine Confederation since October 2008.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.