Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Buoux round

The l'Aiguebrun river
This is a very nice walk along the “inner” landscape of Luberon. It takes about 6 hours including an hour for lunch and a dip in the river. But it require good knowledge of map reading and keeping directions. You start in the small village of Buoux and walk passed the restored Chateaux Buoux and down into the l’Aiguebrun river valley (l’Aiguebrun is the only river in the Luberon mountain that does not dry up in summer, with many small “pools” along its way.) You follow the river upstream for almost an hour before turning back along the top of the cliffs west of the river.

Interesting sights along the way (sometimes a small detour) will be “le Fort de Buoux”, la Baume de l’Eau cave and the small village of Sivergues. The latter will only apply if you change the main walk to include Sivergues instead of the last bit of the river walk after the hotel/restaurant Seguin. It would be ideal to do the Sivergues walk outside the summer season, when it gets a bit hot.

Park the car in the visitor’s car park in the village of Buoux. Walk passed the Town Hall and another 150 meters on the road, direction south. Here you take right along a yellow marked dirt road and you will walk the 3 km. over to Chateau Buoux in about 45 minutes. Walk down to the Chateau and walk passed down the road straight south. After only about 1.5 km., you meet the main road going into the l’Aiguebrun valley. Turn left and follow the road 1.2 km until you have just passed over the next bridge over the river.

Just after this bridge, you have a large car park down on your left. Walk down into the car park and take the path along the river at the end of the car park. The number of cars parked here is normally people doing mountain climbing in the vertical cliffs on the other side of the river.
When you get to the point where the path crosses the river (no problems unless it has just been raining), you do just that unless you want to spend an hour or so to see the famous “Fort de Buoux”. At this point, you have just passed a small path on your right up to the road. Turn around and find the path and the road, and walk on to the Fort de Buoux, which is signposted to the right from the main road a bit further on.

The river path continues on the northern side of the river all the way up to the Hotel/Restaurant Seguin, and further. At Seguin, you have to decide whether to continue along the river (fine for summer and hot weather) or take the old road up to the small village of Sivergues. This will be a detour and will make the walk about 1 hour longer and the total ascent 170 meters extra.
For Sivergues, you go back over the river by the car bridge at Seguin and follow initially the marked path. Stay on the dirt road upwards, however, and do not leave the road like the marked path does. Only 5 minutes up from the bridge, GR9 comes up from the left just before a sharp right hand turn. Do not follow the GR9 around this bend, but take the dirt road that turns left here and follow this along, past Chantebelle (25 minutes from bridge) and on to Sivergues. Just stay on the old road around all the curves and bends, and you arrive in Sivergues after about 55 minutes. You arrive just underneath this lovely village, and you now want the path marked Aiguebrun and Seguin on the same signpost. After perhaps a browse around the village, you take this yellow path straight down to the river. It takes about 15 minutes down to a very sharp left bend in the path. Now walk on another 3-4 minutes before you cross the river at the same point as the people coming directly from Seguin along the river path. At this spot, the mountain wall hangs a bit over the yellow marked path, and you turn right down towards the river (yellow cross on the tree) and cross the river over to a small opening.

The Buoux river valley
Now, for the people who want to skip Sivergues. Walk straight on through the open area of the Hotel/Restaurant Seguin. Walk between the Bavette and the swimming pool and turn left just behind the buildings up to the main path that follows the river here. You will soon join the GR9 for a bit, but just having passed the “bridge” across the river, turn to the left down into the actual riverbed. Follow the path that goes along the eastern bank of the river upstream (not marked). You have to climb a bit at one point, but take your time. If you do not fancy following the riverbank upstream, just follow the GR9 a bit longer uphill, and turn left along the yellow marked trail for Sivergues. The latter will also be the quickest route.

The people following the riverbed path, will soon join the yellow marked path for Sivergues, and after a good 10-15 minutes’ walk, you should look for the place to cross the river, described from the opposite direction above. If you are not sure, walk to the sharp bend on the yellow path (right hand bend in this direction), and turn around and walk back the 3-4 minutes it takes.

Now the more difficult bit starts, by walking up hill from the little opening on the second small path to the left. Walk through the bushes uphill, but soon take the right hand turn along a cliff shelf and further around its corner. Well around the cliff corner, follow the path at the same height for about 5 minutes until you reach an inlet in the mountain with a bit of trees (do not turn left after only 2 minutes).

Continue the path upwards to the the built up “road”. Taking the “road” to the right, you see immediately the large open cave. People have been living here for 20.000 years. Turning left on the “road” brings you up to the path that goes along the cliff top. Soon you will meet an even larger trail along the cliff top and you will soon be out into the open. Just follow the trail along side the various fences.

Bori along the cliff top
You pass a small cairn on the left, and it’s here you can go down a bit to take a look at the small basin called la Beaum de l’Eau as a small detour of 5 minutes.
At the end of the fields, the trail goes down to the left and soon meets up with the GR9 that comes up from Hotel/Restaurant Seguin and continues all the way back to the car at the village of Buoux.

If you for some reason have problems finding your way up the steep mountain side and up to the path that goes along the cliff top, stay down on the yellow trail along the river and walk back  down towards the Hotel/Restaurant Seguin. The yellow trail will meet the GR9 in the forest just before Seguin, and simply follow the GR9 (signposted for Buoux) up the hill behind Seguin and then on to Buoux, where the car is parked.








Basic information:

Duration:       6h ( 7h by Sivergues)
Distance:      14 km. (16 km. by Sivergues)
Ascent:          200 m (370 m by Sivergues)
Difficulty:       Moderate (some difficult passages, but alternative given)
Start/finish:    The village of Buoux
Map:                IGN 3243 OT (1cm=250 m)

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