Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lauris – Tête du Maupas & Cap de Serre ridge

This is a quick way to get fantastic views of the Luberon and the Durance vally and the walk could be as short as 1 ½ hours or extended easily to 3 hours or more. The key is the quick (½ hour) climb up to this ridge that goes just north of Lauris at 500 to 600 meters.

This quick climb is also surprisingly well "heated" during the winter season. I had zero degrees one february morning on the terrace, but arriving at the point of departure for this walk at 10am, it was already warm, and the whole dirt track up this hill receives the early moring sun, so don't take on too much cloths for the climb, but you might well need them on top, depending on the wind.

You drive and follow signs for le Meou (Gite d’etape) at Lauris and continue the road passed it. Drive all the way up to the cross section marked 266 meters on the map. Park under the trees here.

Walk along the dirt road taking you straight north, all the way to the top of the ridge near Tête du Maupas (1/2 hour). Here you feel you are in the wilderness and you could simply pick-nick somewhere on the ridge or follow it eastwards to Cap de Serre. From here you could stay on the ridge going northeast towards Tour Philippe and return down the Combe du Sautadou. But that would be a long walk.

The best place for lunch on this short walk is not Cap de Serre, but instead you turn left when your path meets the GR97. Only some 200 meters along the GR97 leads you to a large open grassy "summet" with the possibility of some shade. 

Generally this walk is ideal for a flexible walk. You simply walk as long as you fancy along the ridge and return the same way to the car. You could also return along the GR 97 towards Lourmarin and take right at the 525 meter point, but it will be a long way back to the car at the bottom.

A nice one hour extention to this walk would be to walk "around" the Cap de Serre Massive. On the GR97, just some 200 meters west of Cap de Serre (Cadasses), you take the path going straight down north, but only to the fist cross road (250 meters down). Here you take left along an old "road" and follow it around the hill till you reach the 508 meter point.. Here you are back on the GR97, which you follow to the left upwards, further around the hill. You are eventually back where you started (the loop takes about one hour).

Basic information:

Duration: 3h (Cap de Serre, there and back the same way.)
Distance: 9 km.
Ascent: 350 m
Difficulty: Easy
Start/finish: Lauris, 266 m point above la Marquette
Map: IGN 3243 OT (1cm=250 m)

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