A symbol of Provence, like Mount Ventoux and the Sainte-Baume massif, the major landmark of the Aix Region and Cézanne’s muse, Sainte-Victoire Mountain reaches an altitude of 1011 m.
A perfect area for walking, it can be explored along its paths peppered with dry stone walls. You can stop to look at several sites of religious heritage on your rambles: the Sainte-Victoire Priory, built in the 17th century, the Saint-Ser Hermitage, a tiny chapel surrounded by wonderful Provencal scenery and built in a cave to preserve the memory of a 5th century hermit who sought refuge in this place, and the Cross of Provence, perched on the western tip of the massif. From the Pic des Mouches, the highest point, there is a spectacular view stretching out over Provence and the rolling plains of the Aix Region as far as the eye can see. On a clear day, you can see the sea, Mount Ventoux and the Alps.
To admire Sainte-Victoire’s two faces, follow the road which encircles the mountain. On the south side, the sharp rock face towers over the Arc basin. To the north, the terrain slopes gently in a series of limestone plains: Bibémus, the Cengle and Pallières. Superb views, starting points for walks and idyllic villages all follow one another: Tholonet, Beaurecueil (the prettiest view of the mountain) and Saint-Antonin-sur-Bayon bursting with nature, Puyloubier and Pourrières surrounded by vineyards, and Vauvenargues stretching along a verdant valley.
For more sporty visitors, mountain bike riding, paragliding and rock-climbing are just some of the activities on offer in this area. Experienced instructors are available to help you learn and practice these activities.
Go for a picnic with your family in the shade of the pine trees and surrounded by the song of the cicadas. The children can go for a donkey ride or fly their kites in the departmental park of Roques Hautes.
Summer 2016 – Temporary closure of the Bimont Dam’s Crest.
Important building work has been undertaken by the Provence Canal ‘s Company (SCP) on the Bimont dam. Access to the crest will exceptionally be closed to everyone, including pedestrians on:
- July: 5, 7, 18 and 28.
- August : 3 and 26.
- September: 7, 8 and 9
Grand Site de France
Sainte-Victoire Mountain has been recognised as a Grand Site de France since 2004 and is a French jewel of natural heritage which must be preserved.
Covering 35,000 hectares near Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, the Concors and Sainte-Victoire massifs form the largest single wooded area in the department of Bouches du Rhône, and residents, walkers, hunters and those who love sport, nature and heritage all happily co-exist there.
Forest, agricultural and pastoral activities have shaped the typically Provencal landscape which is marked by a stunning stone monument, the Sainte-Victoire Mountain, so dear to the painter Cézanne.
Its biological diversity justified its inclusion in the huge Natura 2000 site. In the heart of an urban region of 1.3 million inhabitants, with 1 million visitors overall, 75% of whom are local, land of Cézanne and a natural reservoir, the Grand Site Sainte-Victoire is heritage with more than one title!