Excursion 7: Valensole, Gorges de Trevans and the standing rocks at Les Mees - Excursion by car with a 3 hours walk into a small canyon with swimming.

Take your morning coffee in the small town of Valensole (one short hours drive from Cucuron) and buy any pies or other treats from the bakery for a picnic lunch. Valensole is located just east of exit 18 on the northbound motorway towards Sisteron. This large Valensole Plateau has traditionally been one of the main areas in France for lavender, but poor prices in recent years have reduced the production greatly. But there are still huge lavender fields there, and the flowering is not to be missed (late June and into July).

From Valensole, take the main road towards Digne (D8/D907) further along the plateau, and drive to the village of Estoublon (about 25 minutes). Just before the village, at an information centre on the main road, turn right for Gorge de Trevans (it is signposted only here!). Take the small paved road for about 5 km. from the information centre and you will see a parking lot on your right with a poster of the canyon.

Link to the Photo Gallery - Gorgede Trevans

The map for walking is IGN 3441 OT (Barreme), and can be purchased in Valensole if you did not find it in the yellow map basket at the bottom of the bookshelf. At the notice board on the road right after the parking lot, walk toward the Canyon and turn right over the bridge after only 400 meters. Here's a new large notice board with suggested walks. A nice 3 hour walk would be to follow the river upwards, and turn right just before  the next bridge. Now you will walk upwards and come down again to the river at Valbonnette. Here is a nice meadow down by the river (much shade) and opportunities for cooling off in the deep pool of the river.

From Valbonnette you cross the river again and follow the river downwards (due north), but the trail ascends again and you will soon be high above the river. Do not take the right turning for the Chapelle St. Andre if you do not have an extra hour. Continue north and you're going down to the river again; cross it and walk over a small hill, and you end up back at the river by the bridge you took off earlier (swimming is OK here, as well as several places down the river on the way back).

Les Mees
The drive straight back to Cucuron takes about 1.5 hours, but it does not take many extra minutes (may be 15-20 minutes) to follow the Digne-road a little further north, take the D17 to the left just after Mezel and follow the main road (N85) to Les Mees, where you take the motorway back. The point about Les Mees is to see the big rock formation surrounding the village (especially nice in the evening light).

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