The crests of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

A demanding route that climbs up to the crests above Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, where you will have unrivalled views.

Technical sheet
A Fontaine-de-Vaucluse walk posted on 31/12/14 by slinky. Update : 11/12/17
Calculated time Calculated time: 6h15[?]
Distance Distance : 14.8km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 833m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 824m
Highest point Highest point : 669m
Lowest point Lowest point : 83m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Monts de Vaucluse
Location Location : Fontaine-de-Vaucluse (84800)
Starting point Starting point : N 43.91985° / E 5.127502°
Map IGN Map (Click to buy) : Ref. 3142OT
Download : -

Description

Park in the car park beside the D24, 250m before the bridge.
N.B. The car park is payable after 10 am: 4 Euros.

(D) From the car park, walk left along the D24 for 150m until you reach a cobbled lane leading up to the right.
The lane winds up the hillside, and is signposted Château.
When you reach Evêques de Cavaillon castle, take a break to enjoy the views, being careful on the cliffs, and then carry on up the path to the right (due south).
In January 2015, unofficial blue waymarks appeared on the portion that was not waymarked.
There are dry stone ruins dotted along the footpath. When the path becomes flat, just before it begins to go down again, look for the cairn and the waymarks indicating the start of a small path off to the left (1).
Take this path, which leads up to the rocky outcrop. Follow the track and make your way around the cliffs to the right above the Vallon de la Fontaine de l’Oule.
When the path comes back over to the cliff edge, turn left and look for the section in the cliffs with a rope attached (apparently there was no more rope on 12 May 2015).
You will need to climb fifteen metres vertically up the rock face using the steps cut into the rock!

Easier variant: It is possible to continue on the footpath along the cliffs until you reach a path that climbs up to the left to the ridge. Once at the top, bear left until you reach the chapel (2)

The first section takes you up to a rock shelter with the help of a rope, and then there is a final series of steps, with no rope, which takes you up to the top of the ridge.
Once at the top, turn left to reach the ruins of a dry stone chapel (2). From here there are 360° views to reward the brave hiker perched 230 metres above the fountain.
Retrace your steps and then carry straight on up along the ridge (northeast) following the cairns.
Be careful as there are several trails marked with cairns, which can make it hard to know the right path to take, so you need to keep following the line of the ridge wherever possible or follow the blue waymarks.
A large cairn marks the summit (3). The path takes you due north for about 500m before bearing off northeast and then east.
The vegetation around the path here becomes denser and the path often cuts through 3-metre high boxwood, so you can’t go wrong.
When you see a crossing up ahead, ignore the path to the left, which leads towards the Mourre de la Belle Etoile telecom tower, and instead go right for 300m until you reach another footpath.
(4) Turn left onto the footpath and at the fork 10m further on, take the path slightly to the left opposite you. Ignore the next path off to the right and keep going until you reach a wide plain. Take the path to the right until it reaches the GR6-GR97 (Grande Randonnée – Long Hike).
Turn left onto the GR track and keep going until you reach the crossing signposted Les Trois Luisants.
(5) Turn left towards Poste de vigie. This flat section leads you to a fire surveillance point that is used in the summer, and which has beautiful views all year round.
When you reach the surveillance point, ignore all the paths off to the left and right and go down on the path to the right of the observation post towards Mourre Pelé (6).
The path takes you down the mountainside and ends with some unpleasant scree. You will reach a large cairn.
Take the path to the left which climbs up a little until you reach the rocks overlooking Valescure valley. Follow the waymarks on the right, which lead to the forest, where another cairn indicates the path down to the left (7) into Valescure valley.
Follow the waymarks, which take you to Valescure Farm (8) (under renovation by volunteers for the last few years), and then continue on the path down, which is an access track to the farm. Further down, ignore the path that runs alongside the track on the right and continue on the track. After passing water cistern N°. 159, continue south, still on the GR waymarked path, which leads to the crossing signposted Cabane 500m further.
(9) Take the path to the left that climbs up to a borie (dry stone hut), and then continues down again.
Before long there is a second borie that is well hidden to your left, followed by another more visible one.
The path completes its descent alongside some olive trees planted in dry stone terraces (restanques) and then arrives at the crossing signposted La Perrière.
Carry straight on down the tarmacked road, Chemin des Beaumes Rouges, which then meets Chemin de la Fontaine.
(10) Turn left to do a return trip to visit the fountain (11).
Retrace your steps until you get to the bridge, which you then cross to the left.
Continue down the D24 under the arcades until you get back to the car park on the right.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0
1 : km 0.86 - alt. km 0.86 - Left fork
2 : km 1.49 - alt. km 1.49 - Ruins of a chapel
3 : km 3.48 - alt. km 3.48 - Highest point on the ridge
4 : km 5.66 - alt. km 5.66 - Left down the path
5 : km 7.13 - alt. km 7.13 - Les Trois Luisants
6 : km 7.64 - alt. km 7.64 - Observation post
7 : km 8.95 - alt. km 8.95 - Left fork
8 : km 9.83 - alt. km 9.83 - Ferme de Valescure
9 : km 10.93 - alt. km 10.93 - Hut
10 : km 12.96 - alt. km 12.96 - Left down Chemin de la Fontaine
11 : km 13.63 - alt. km 13.63 - Fontaine de Vaucluse
D/A : km 14.8 - alt. km 14.8

Useful Information

(N.B.!) The steep passage up the cliff to reach the ridge is very exposed and demanding, and it is only advisable for people who do not suffer from vertigo. On 12 May, the rope on this section was reported missing...

A variant is possible if you have vertigo, avoiding the steep passage up the cliff.
The proximity of the cliff edge is still a potential risk however, so be careful.

This route is not suitable for children or dogs.

We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 3142OT.

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

Evêques de Cavaillon castle probably dates from 1030 and was the property of the Bishops of Cavaillon and the lords of Vaucluse. It was also a place of pilgrimage.

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