It’s well worth the 25 minutes drive from Cucuron to the Buoux valley (park at the last car park before the Restaurant/Hotel Seguin) to discover a totally new “face” to the Luberon mountains. You will also find that this area has been inhabited by people from a very long time back. A kind of cultural trek.
Start by heading for the Fort de Buoux. Follow the red and yellow markers up through its iron gates and further on. If you have an hour to spare, it’s well worth a visit to the Fort, not at least for the fantastic views of the valley from up there. But this hike follows the red and yellow markers past the Fort and all the way to the top of the Grand Luberon, which you will reach at the 902 meter point or the 877 meter point in about 1.5 hours from the Fort. If you go back to the 898 meter point, you have a very nice place for a lunch. If it’s very windy from the north (mistral), you could lunch at “les Hayes”, at the 857 meter point almost straight south (15 minutes walk).
Half an hour down from the 854 meter point, you come to a large mountain farm called Castellas. This is a large farm and a Gite d’etape (hiker’s hostel). They serve fantastic meals if you like ham and goat cheese (lunches and dinners). Almost all raw material is from the farm and you see the animals walking free all around. They specialize in goat cheeses and their cheese selection served on a large plank must be seen to be believed.
Another good 15 minutes down the road, you come to the tiny village of Sivergues. At the cross point, take the trail for Buoux and Ravin de l’Enfer (yellow markers) to the left, but only follow the yellow markers for a few minutes down through the tiny village till you again meet tarmac. Here you follow the road to the left marked Chantebelle and Les Seguin. When you approach Chantebelle after half an hour perhaps, take the right hand road (not the sign “Chantebelle) around these houses and follow on for Seguin Hotel & Restaurant. The road eventually meet the GR9 coming down from the mountain, and simply follow the GR9 down and follow it across the river l’Aigue Brun (take a look at some of the parts of the river just up stream from the bridge) by following signs for Seguin. Go across to the Seguin Buvette or Café/Restaurant and join the rest. You will find the car just 300 meters down the road from the Hotel.
You could cut this walk down by about 1 hour by dropping the detour passed the Buoux castle. Simply start the walk by taking the GR9 directly up the oposite hill from the Seguin Hotel & Restaurant, and you will be on the Luberon Crete in about 1 hour (877 meter point). Here you continue the walk as described above along the Crete eastwards and down to Sivergues. This walk will take about 4 hours including short stops. You could make the walk even 30 minutes faster by taking the shortest path from Sivergues straight down to the river in about 15 minutes. From here, it is only 30 minutes back down the river along the main path to Seguin.
Distance: 15 km.
Ascent: 550 m
Start/finish: Buoux Valley/Fort de Buoux
Map: IGN 3243 OT (1cm=250 m)