Amazing places for nature lovers
Short of ideas? The Provence Nature application is the ideal tool to discover places to go for walks, hikes and bike rides throughout the Bouches-du-Rhône department’s parks and sectors. The application is free and user-friendly and proposes places to go according to your level and where you are. Each park offers a number of paths that are listed according to their type: walking or biking, and difficulty: length, time and climb. Provence Nature also provides a lot of useful and practical information. By clicking on the biodiversity tab you can find out all there is to know about the natural heritage of the different sites.
We have selected two off the beaten track excursions for you. The first takes in the Sinne observatory and Citadel in the Sinne-Puits d’Auzon departmental domain, one of the green lungs of Montagne Sainte-Victoire. This fairly easy 6 km walk begins on the D10 road in Sinne-Puits d’Auzon (car park) heading towards the Citadel. After the thyme and juniper covered plateau, the path rises up to the crest where you can take in breath-taking views of the snow-capped Alps, the Mont Ventoux, the hills of the Luberon and the Parc du Verdon. Be sure not to miss the Sinne observatory where members of the Vauvenargues amateur astronomy association will show you the stars! A huge telescope under the domed roof is available for all budding astronomers to try.
The other, slightly more physical option takes you to the hills above Gémenos. It begins above the entrance to the Saint-Pons departmental park on the D2 road. On the menu: the Gémenos glacier, home to a natural spring. A garrigue limestone landscape leads to a spectacular viewpoint atop the Pic de Bertagne with, on the other side, beyond the valley, La Ciotat and Cap Canaille.
Down below you can explore the Vallon du Chemin de Fer where lignite was once mined. Then move on to discover the Grande Baume grotto, a Neolithic cave that for many years was used as a sheepfold.