An alternating view of pasture and fresh forests, this pleasant flat walk will lead you past the Notre Dame d'Esparron chapel and its small cemetery classified as an historical monument.
Crossing the tiny village of Artigues is also surprising. You'll particularly enjoy refilling your water bottles at the communal fountain.
The advantage of this charming loop that it's flat and very manageable, there are only one or two small climbs along the route.
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 the roundabout separating the D3 from the D561 in the direction of Artigues, drive for 2.8km.
Fork to the right at the small junction, continue 200 meters north-northeast and then you can park on the lower side.
(D/A) Go fully east on the dirt track bordered by trees (50 meters to the north of the small water-treatment building). After 800 meters, this track will cross the D561 to pass the building in a west-east axis for 2.5km (almost always between rows of trees, and often along the irrigation channels). The D561 is used very little.
(1) Continue until the point where the D561 curves southeast and you begin to move away from it.
(2) Take a right-angle turn fully south for 60 meters and then, as soon as you see the departmental road again, turn fully east for 150 meters along the fields, then the path goes southeast up to a cross which marks a very small intersection.
(3) Then descend the small asphalt road fully south up to the immense groves of old oak trees which mark the spot of the old Chapelle Notre-Dame and reach the old cemetery. You are then half way.
(4) Continue south on the wide track that climbs up to the hill, 80 meters away, when the track turns to the left, leave it for the small path that winds between the vines, fully west.
(5) Then follow the GR®99A trail, signposted red and white, which will take you gradually into the forest. Follow this GR® up to the village of Artigues, with a few houses, a château, a town hall and a drinking water fountain which is very pleasant in summer.
(6) Leave the village and start a descent on the D65 in a westerly direction, then southwest for 525 meters. Reach some wooden signs (to the left of the road).
(7) Walk through the forest still following the GR®99A trail. This is steepest section of the walk (50 meters elevation). After a few bends, the GR® goes mainly west.
(8) Start a long walk across the beautiful forest, following the GR® trail to reach the car park (D/A).
D/A : km 0 - alt. 358m
1 : km 2.66 - alt. 380m - Leave the D561
2 : km 3.32 - alt. 383m - Intersection on roadside
3 : km 4.2 - alt. 409m - Intersection with a cross
4 : km 4.53 - alt. 428m - Chapel and old cemetery
5 : km 4.82 - alt. 446m - GR99A intersection
6 : km 7.17 - alt. 477m - Leave Artigues on the D65
7 : km 7.74 - alt. 441m - Intersection with wooden sign
8 : km 8.04 - alt. 483m - End of hair-pin bends
D/A : km 10.64 - alt. 358m
A good hat in summer, water.
The first part has muddy sections after rain.
Fountain in the village of Artigues.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Benches in the shade of oak trees at the old Roman Notre-Dame chapel.
Pretty fields of flowers in the spring.
Some views of the Alps between gaps in the forest.
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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:
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.