Thursday, December 1, 2016

Meyrargues round - 11 km

The walk starts at Chateaux de Meyrargue, here with Luberon in the background.
This is a great walk for winter time, when you want plenty of sun shine along the way. Easy and fairly short walk with a descent at the end that could challenge some. But take it slowly, and you will be all right.



Drive over to Meyrargues and park at the cemetery’s southern end, where there is a small car park next to the Roman “les Arcades”. Start the walk going further along the road up the short hill to the 277 meter point on the map right at the back of Chateaux de Meyrargues. On the top here, you turn left off the road and on to the yellow marked foot path that starts here going south (signposted for Venelles).


After 15 minutes uphill you arrive at a major crossing at the 360 meter point. If you want to enjoy the sun shine with a good view, you could extend this walk by some 20 minutes by walking up the little hill on your right here. There is a large table of orientation up there telling you what you see.




At the 360 meter point you follow the yellow markers on the forest road for another 4-5 minutes and now you leave the road going left at the sign post, still following yellow markings. After only another 4-5 minutes, you follow the right fork for “Yellow 1”. After another short walk you are joining another forest road southwards, and you stay on this road all the way to the Cistern at the 380 meter point (about one hour from the car now).






Tour de Guet which you pass on the way back.


At the Cistern, you turn left and follow the road with yellow markings. You soon see a restored cottage from the 19th century on your right, and this could be a candidate for lunch in the open.


From the top of the hill after the cottage, you descent slowly and join another forest road at the 406 meter point, but you just follow yellow markings further along the road till you reach the Cistern at the big road junction about 500 meters after the 480 meter point. To see the Cistern, you need to keep left twice here and you have now walked about 1.5 hours from the car. Another candidate for lunch in the open will be up on the right from the road about half way between the 480 meter point and the Cistern.


The restored cottage from 1870
Reaching the Cistern, you turn left along the forest road that meets you as a T-junction and follow north along this open ridge with good views of the Alpes. This road is not marked in any way, but just follow it for about 30 minutes till you see the Cistern on your left just below the 430 meter point. In this road junction, you should first keep left, then keep straight ahead when you see the Cistern down on your left.



Montagne Saint Victoire



You are now on the forest road up the tower of Guet at 498 meters. After about 10 minutes along the road you see the tower and very soon a foot path taking off the road to the left. Take the path and you will be up on the top in another 10 minutes. 

Enjoy the fantastic views of the Alps, the Durance river and valley, Montagne Saint Victoire and Pertuis with Luberon just behind.



Peyrolles with the Durance river and canal and the Alpes in background



For the last bit of this walk, we follow the mountain ridge further north eventually coming down at the large cylinder shaped water tank that is the water reservoir for Meyrargues. If you don’t feel up to a steep descent, I suggest you walk down back to the Cistern you saw at the 430 meter point and follow the road down past the Cistern and further, eventually passing the Cemetery where the car is parked. This route could also be slightly faster than the walk along the ridge.




Start the way back from the tower walking along the forest road going north for only some 150 meters. At the first bend in the road, a small path takes off to the left. Follow the path along the ridge of the mountain. Great sceneries and views in all directions.


The mountain ridge above Meyrargue
After about 15 minutes (still high up on the ridge) the path turns 90 degrees to the right, and here you see clearly the large cylindrical water tank you want to get down to. Follow the ridge further for another 150 meters and the path starts slowly to go down and after a while you pass over another small ridge. After about 10-15 minutes the path really decides to go down, and you follow. You will be down at the water tank in only 5 minutes but watch your steps to avoid falling.


Walk along the road down from the water tank and you will quickly reach the northern end of the Cemetery. Walk up the park along the cemetery to the roman arches and you will see the car park on your right.




Basic information:

Duration:       4h (including ½  hour for lunch)
Distance:      11 km.
Ascent:         360 m
Difficulty:      Easy, but with a steep descent at end, but alternative exists.
Start/finish:   Meyrargues
Map:             IGN 3244 ET Montagne Saint-Victoire



Ruins of the Roman Aqueduc "Les Arcades" by the Cemetery




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