Hikes in the Sainte-Victoire Mountain, near Aix-en-Provence by Virginie in Provence
Here I will share with you the walks and hikes in the Sainte-Victoire mountain that we are used to doing as a family. I hope that it will make you want to take a walk in this extraordinary natural space.
The Montagne Sainte-Victoire is one of the most iconic sites in Provence, with its limestone cliffs, lush valleys, and steep trails offering breathtaking views of the region.
Cézanne was fascinated by the raw beauty of the mountain and spent many years painting it from different angles and at different times of day.
1. Easy and family hikes in the Sainte-Victoire mountain with Virginie in Provence and her family
The Ermitage de Saint-Ser walk
It is a short, easy hike (about one hour roud trip) that leads to the Ermitage de Saint-Ser.
The departure is from the Saint-Ser car park, which is located 10 minutes from the villa.
This is THE walk that we did the more often. We love it! We often meet wild goats when we arrive at the Ermitage.
It is located at about 638 meters above sea level and is accessible on foot via hiking trails.
The Ermitage is named after Saint-Sévère, who was a Christian saint of the fourth century.
The current Ermitage was built in the seventeenth century, although hermits have lived there since the fifth century.
The Ermitage de Saint-Ser is a pilgrimage site and a popular tourist attraction in the region, offering breathtaking views of the Arc valley and the surrounding mountains.
2. Moderate hikes in the Sainte-Victoire mountain with Virginie in Provence and her family
a. The Oppidum
The hike to the Oppidum from the Deux Aiguilles parking lot is considered moderate. But frankly we were able to do it with our children. Then they are used to walking.
The trail is well-marked but includes steep sections and rocky terrain, which can make the hike more challenging for those who are not accustomed to hiking in the mountains.
It is recommended to wear hiking shoes and bring enough water.
The Oppidum is an ancient fortified village dating back to the Iron Age, which is said to have been continuously inhabited between the 6th and 2nd century BC. It is located on a rocky plateau and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
b. Refuge Cézanne
To reach Refuge Cézanne from the Deux Aiguilles parking lot, you can follow the marked hiking trail towards the refuge.
The trail is well-indicated and steadily climbs through a pine forest.
The hike to Refuge Cézanne from the Deux Aiguilles parking lot is considered a moderate hike.
The hike takes about 2 hours and includes a fairly steep climb during the first hour, followed by a steep descent towards the refuge. If you are not used to hike, it can be difficult. It can be safer if you start by an easiest hike before.
I will of course recommend to wear comfortable hiking shoes, bring enough water, and follow safety guidelines.
Do not do as my husband who is hiking with flip flops.
3. Difficult hikes in the Sainte-Victoire mountain with Virginie in Provence and her family
I did the Crests Trail with a friend. It was much more easy when I start from the hike from the vilage of Vauvenargues. Otherwise you can start from Saint-Ser car park. But you will have to clim the mountain on some places. Alex did Imoucha Trail with friends. He fand it easy. I am not sure it would be the same for me.
a. Imoucha Trail
The trail starts from the Bimont parking lot, located about 30 minutes by car from Rousset. The circuit is about 6 km and will take you through the north slopes of Sainte-Victoire.
b. Crests Trail
The trail starts from the Saint-Ser parking lot, located about 10 minutes by car from Rousset.
The circuit is about 9 km and follows the crests of Sainte-Victoire. The departure can also be made from Vauvenargues. The drive is longer, but the climb to Pic des Mouches is easier.
c. Croix de Provence Hike
This is a difficult hike (about 5 hours round trip) that leads to the top of Montagne Sainte-Victoire, with a panoramic view of the region.
I did the hike 3 times with my students. It is really difficult because the mountain is steep and the ground is slippery. You need to be well trained, have enough water and to have the right equipment.
The first time in 2019 was with David from England, a young man. It was summer. The summer heat can be really overwhelming He was almost running. It was hard for me to follow him.
The second time was with Phil from Australia during winter. It was much more easier.
The last time was with Cristi from USA during autumn. It was absolutely amazing. I think that the training over the years helps me to live this experience in a more and more serene way
It can start from different locations.
If you want to do it when you are in immersion course in Provence with us, let me know. I would be happy to share the adventure with you.
d. Big loop of Sainte-Victoire
I have done this course several times but never in one go. If you have the time and the inclination, I think it's really worth it
The hike usually starts from the Sainte-Victoire parking lot, located 10 minutes by car from Rousset.
The circuit is about 16 km and can be hiked in both directions.
If needed, feel free to send me an email. I would be delighted to explain to you how to enjoy Sainte-Victoire during your immersion stay in Provence.
À bientôt en Provence !
Virginie In Provence