Excursion 1: Aix-en-Provence with its neighbor Montagne St. Victoire

An early start can make sense for those who plan to climb the Montagne St. Victoire. The temperature tends to rise quickly throughout the day, but the 2 hour hike up (1.5 hours down) is well worth it! 

Due to the great risk of forest fires during the summer months, new regulations came into force during the spring of 2013 making it more difficult to plan for summer hiking.  On the morning of the hike, you therefore need to call 0811 201313 for exact information.

To get to the north side of the Victoire mountain, drive into Aix by D14, which crosses the dual carriage way just north of the City centre. The sign will say D14 to Puyricard and Aix par D14. Take the D14 towards Aix centre and unload potential shoppers where you hit the one way ring road around the Old Town. (100 meters before the ring road follow the signs to the parking Pasteur for any parking for the City centre.)

Take the ring road around the centre of Aix. You need to follow it almost all around until you see the sign for Vauvenargues. Drive eastwards towards Vauvenargues (avoid rush hours on the ring road). After approx. 10 minutes driving eastwards, you will pass the village of Saint-Marc-Jaumegarde and just down the hill after that you take off a road to the right marked Barrage you Bimont. You park at this huge dam, and the hiking trail to the summit begins on the other side of the dam.

You will need the local map for walking (IGN 3244 ET: Montagne Ste-Victoire). You could also try one of the proposed hikes from here in my hiking blog by following this link. There is also a great view of the mountain Victoire from the dam, and lots of woodlands in relatively flat terrain, which is used a lot by Aix residents on Sundays. 

Eat your lunch at the top of the mountain or for shade inside the large walls surrounding the Chapel or on a the sidewalk cafe in the centre of Aix for the shoppers. The day could easily be expanded to an all day outing by visiting Aix in the late afternoon and end with dinner at one of Aix's many hundreds of restaurants in the evening.  The drive home to Cucuron takes about 30 minutes from the parking Pasteur.

Link to the Photo Gallery - Montagne Sainte Victoire

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