A more direct route to the Medieval Towers at the top of the limescale cliffs (called the Rocher here) is via the newly restored chemin des Escaillons.
From the place de la mairie, take the path behind the mairie (town hall building also called hotel de ville) up and stay to the right. When you get to the top you’ll be on the chemin du Rocher. Take a left and you’ll be hugging the cliffs that will stay on your right. You’ll soon see a small path going up on the right (it is signposted chemin des Escaillons). The path has recently been restored in the old fashioned manner with stones and also cement at the bottomto secure the path during heavy rainfall. Half way up you’ll see a green bench. Take a little break here and enjoy the breathtaking view over the village. Keep going up and you’ll eventually get to the road that leads to the towers on the right, or past the Mas de Lapins (a gate adorned with iron rabbits on top of both sides) towards the Chapelle St Martin and continue down the chemin du Derroc to complete the health circuit back into the village (Parcours de santé). It’s a terrific walk in the sunshine and only takes about 45 mins to an hour to complete at an easy walking pace.
On a sunny clear day, this hike is hard to beat! To walk the entire circuit my husband and I took about an hour and 10 mins but we were walking pretty quickly. Continue reading Circuit hike up to Chapelle Saint Blaise in Le Val
Happy new year! If you’re like me, you’re a bit fed up with all the drinking and partying of the month before and ready for a detox and healthy start to the new year 2018. What better way to start then but with a nice walk in the January sunshine (it was rather warm at 13 degrees C) by the lake, just 35 minutes’ drive from our home village of Cotignac! The bonus was discovering a new casual restaurant that serves fresh crepes sweet and savory, with fresh and organic ingredients and even catering to vegetarians and gluten-free diets. Don’t let the photos fool you, this place was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS and the price was right too! The four of us ate rather well for just 52 euros. A good lunch, followed by a brisk walk in the sunshine around the village and up near the olive groves on the mountain (West side). There’s a spectacular sight by the old church there too, where climbers will find challenging and steep rocks to climb. Bauduen is of course a very popular place for Summer visitors who come to enjoy the spectacular lake and water sports but it’s just as pretty in January.
If you’re a busy bee like me, you’ll try to fit in a quick brisk walk during the day to keep healthy. This one in Sillans is brilliant because it’s easy but combines clean air with pristine river, a wild path, and some scrambling at the end. Park in the old train station parking lot in Sillans-la-Cascade (the school) then walk across the street to the foot of the bridge. Follow the “panorama de cascade” sign and continue down the river on the left side. Stay on the left the whole way. Eventually you’ll see a floating foot bridge (this is fun to jump on!) but do not cross it, just keep going. The path narrows and you’ll eventually come to a tunnel bridge. Climb up the steep dirt path on its right side and you’ll get to street level. Go over the bridge and continue on the left. Make the next left turn and go down the path going back on the other side of the river. You’ll eventually find yourself behind the castle (you’ll see a couple of picnic tables). Stay left and keep going through the bottom road of the village and you’ll see the old lavoire. Voila, you’ve done your 15 mins circuit walk, bravo!
It’s always such a delight to visit Mr Gum at his boutique full of fabulous ceramic necklaces, earrings and bracelets in old Villecroze. Guillaume (owner and creator of the shop) is full of charm too and is always a real pleasure to chat with. What’s best is that his shop is right next to the now famous La Bohème Café with equally charming Liz as owner and hostess. Have a coffee, a piece of cake, a look around at Mr Gum’s then head for the beautiful rose park across the way with its stunning limescale cliffs and cave dwellings (kinda like a miniature Cotignac!!), a beautiful old house, picnic tables, tennis courts, and a great park for younger kids too. All this is just 25 mins’ drive from Cotignac. Worth the detour!! Continue reading Villecroze Park, Café La Bohème, and Mr Gum’s
Off the beaten path of the Ste Victoire mountain (Bouches du Rhone) lies this gem of a semi-gastronomic restaurant-inn with pool and gobsmackingly beautiful panoramic views facing south and stretching across the Ste Baume and Aurelian mountains. The service was just a little slow (due to being FULLY booked up on a Sunday) but the food was worth the wait. We arrived at 12pm and ended our meal at 2pm. Continue reading Restaurant Le Relais Saint Ser in Puyloubier
Just past the village of Puyloubier, this breathtakingly beautiful walk up to a tiny chapel hidden in the cliffs in a MUST DO if you’re a nature-walk-lover! It’s not long nor too difficult – about 30 minutes climb up to the chapel (technically an “ermitage”) and the same amount of time back (it’s important to pay attention to your footing as there are a lot of little rocks but it’s not too steep). Continue reading Hike up Ste Victoire Mountain from Puyloubier
Cotignac’s circuit walk is fun to do at any time of the year but it’s particularly pretty in the early Fall when the fruit is ripe for picking and the tourist crowds have gone. The temperatures are much cooler at this time too, making it a joy, rather than a pain, to walk in the sun. Count on taking about 45 – 55 minutes (leisurely) or 30 minutes (sport/fast walking). The walk is suitable for moderately fit to fit walkers but not suitable for the disabled or unfit elderly. Continue reading Cotignac’s circuit walk revisited
There are a lot of hiking trails around the Gorges du Verdon, but this one is by far the most beautiful and closest to the aqua blue waters of the “gorges”. There are several circuits (loops) but the shortest is about 3 hours of hiking. If you want to do less walking simply do a return-trip from the West side of the little bridge that goes over the mouth of the gorge that leads to the river where kayacks can be rented and swimming is alowed (warning: very cold water!!). Continue reading Quinson hike – Gorges du Verdon
The Lagoon Waterfall Walk (30 mins round trip)
Continue reading Cotignac Lagoon Waterfall Walk
The Rocher climb is one of the most popular things to do here in Cotignac. Last year 15,000 two-euro tickets were sold making it a big income attraction for the Municipality here; hence the many recent improvements made in the name of security and beauty. Continue reading The Rocher climb (Troglodytes), Cotignac
This is by far my favourite walk and an easy one for most people. Just 3 km from center of Cotignac, over past the Medieval Forts (towers), past grape vines and the oldest chapel around (12th Century Chapel St Martin), a big waterfall and over two bridges to get back down into the village – it’s just wonderful no matter what time of year! Follow this guide:
From the Place de la Mairie (town square) go up past the Tapissier (rue de la Placette) and follow up to rue Plan de Giraud, through the archway of rue de la Puade and up the hill (follow signs to the forts). You will walk past the old silk factory on your right (rue de la Puade) then to the two forts at the top of the village cliffs. These are called the « Tours Medievals ». Pass the forts on your left and continue following the arrow and sun signs (stay right). Keep you your right and keep going. Make a right turn when you see « le mas de lapins », two clay rabbits adorning a gate and follow the narrow path past an olive grove on your left. Make a left turn after passing the little hamlet of houses which will lead you across a small bridge and to the Chapel St Martin. Make a left at the chapel (chemin du Derroc) and continue past the vineyards and down the hill. You will eventually come to the path with the view of the waterfall on your left. Continue straight and eventually the path will lead you over a small foot bridge, then back to the village.
From just in front of the castle parking area in Sillans is a walk that is well sign posted, through the olive groves, leading to the bottom of the large double waterfalls that Sillans La Cascade is famous for.
You will not be able to get too close to the waterfall but the river below it with its own turquoise mini-waterfalls are worthy of shaking away a few branches and spiderwebs to get there. Just follow the signs and be very careful (use good walking shoes). 30 mins walk from chateau and 30 mins back. Sillans La Cascade is about 12 km from Cotignac and a 10 mins drive away to the North, on the way to Aups.
It’s one of Provence Living’s MUST VISIT villages if you visit our region yet it’s one of the least visible (on a map it is hidden behind Parc du Verdon!) making it a bit of a Provence secret. The stunning village, however, is very easy to get to from Cotignac. Plan on spending about a 45 minutes driving and maybe just a little longer in the Summer season. Continue reading Moustiers-Ste-Marie, a must see village
The “Chemin des chapelles et du Monastère” (10km)
From the front of the Tourist Office, take the hill up to the road that leads to the Notre Dame. Continue on the paved road for around 10 minutes. You will soon see a smaller path that runs parallel to the road that is called « le chemin des Pèlerins » (The path of little stairs) which will lead you up to the Sanctuary. Continue reading Cotignac St Joseph Monastery Walks
The « Petit Poucet » Walk (8.5km, 170 m climb, marked yellow and black)
From the centre of the village take the rue de l’Araignée (a hill next to Chez Loli restaurant). At La Bouide, make a left turn. The small lane will lead you to the Cassole river where you will see a beautiful waterfall to the right. Continue reading Cotignac Petit Poucet Walk
Around the Notre Dame (4.5 km with 80 metre ascent) From the Sanctuary, follow the signs for and head toward the St Joseph Monastery. Continue reading Cotignac Walks: The Notre Dame de Graces
The health course (« parcours de santé ») aka « Circuit Walk »- 3km
From the cemetery situated just behind the village church, follow the signs with arrow and sun symbols which will lead you to the bottom of the cliffs, then over to the road that climbs up past the old silk factory (rue de la Puade) then to the two forts at the top of the village cliffs. Continue reading Cotignac Circuit Walk