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Hiking trail

Joucas Hilltop Village Loop

Hiking trail · Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Lavender fields near Roussillon
    / Lavender fields near Roussillon
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • Place de la Fontaine, Joucas
    / Place de la Fontaine, Joucas
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • Grapes
    / Grapes
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • Joucas
    / Joucas
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • Joucas village
    / Joucas village
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • From Joucas
    / From Joucas
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • / Look out for fossils on the limestone escarpment
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • / Autumn lavender fields near Roussillon
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
0 150 300 450 600 m km 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

This circuit walk meanders through the pretty countryside surrounding Roussillon to the small town of Joucas before returning via an alternate route.

moderate
17 km
4:50 h
283 m
290 m

Leaving Roussillon, this walk descends to the valley floor below the town. The path winds through farmland comprising of orchards and vineyards as you approach the small town of Joucas which nestles on a ridge affording fine views back to Roussillon. Immediately after leaving Joucas the path traverses a ridge top forest at the top of a limestone escarpment before descending to join the road back to Roussillon.  Taking a mixture of farm tracks and low-traffic roads, you will return via the GR6-GR97 route towards Roussillon.  There's a sting in the tail, as you make the final ascent uphill back to Roussillon for some well-deserved refreshment.

Author’s recommendation

There are 2 very nice restaurants in Joucas, but as opening hours are not always a certainty (particularly at the start and end of the summer season, and on Mondays) it's a good idea to pick up some snacks and water in Roussillon before you leave.  There is a small Casino supermarket on the D105 (Avenue de la Burliere) as you enter the village.

outdooractive.com User
Author
Fiona Marshall
Updated: July 25, 2018

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
318 m
Lowest point
177 m

Safety information

There is not much shade on today's walk, so be sure to take a sunhat and sun cream to protect yourself from the heat of the sun. 

Equipment

Underfoot conditions are generally good, and much of today's route is flat, but as the section of the walk along the limestone escarpment is quite rocky, with some steep descents, a sturdy pair of boots with ankle support are recommended. 

Tips, hints and links

Eglise de Joucas

Joucas has a fine church which is open to visitors throughout the summer months. Located just off the small square beyond Place de La Fontaine, it boasts interesting friezes behind the alter and has some remarkable modern statues located on the square at the entrance.

 

Joucas Artist Colony

Joucas is home to a number of artists, mostly sculptors. Currently a sculpture garden is being created at the lower reaches of the village visible from the church.  The gallery showroom named La labyrinthe d'art is worth a visit.  More details can be found at www.sculpture-heybroek-plaud.com.

 

Senties des Ocres alternative walk

Should you wish to take a shorter walk today to accommodate a more relaxed approach, or to allow for more time to explore Roussillon, , we highly recommend the Sentier des Ocres (the Ochre Footpath) trail which is accessible from the village and detailed as a separate route in this app. This short route of approx 1.5kms meanders through the colourful cliffs and fairy chimneys of this former ochre quarry.  

 

Food and Drink

There are 2 very nice restaurants in Joucas, but as opening hours are not always a certainty (particularly at the start and end of the summer season, and on Mondays) it's a good idea to pick up some snacks and water in Roussillon before you leave.  There is a small Casino supermarket on the D105 (Avenue de la Burliere) as you enter the village.

 

This tour is available on the following itineraries:

WFSCP

Start

The Place Jean Eynard near the entrance to the Sentier des Ocres (315 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
43.901842, 5.293800
UTM
31T 684208 4863528

Destination

The Place Jean Eynard near the entrance to the Sentier des Ocres

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km – START POINT – The  road beside the car park at the Place Jean Eynard looking towards the Sentier des Ocres.  Stand with the car park to your left, and head STRAIGHT ON up the hill. For a further reference point, you are following the yellow sign indicating Lioux (6.2km). Continue on the main road, down and out of the village.

0.30km – At the bottom of the slope, ignore the road to the right and continue STRAIGHT ON. Walk carefully along the road (signed Route de St Michel) for a further 150m.

0.40km – Immediately before the gates to La Ferme St Michel, TURN RIGHT onto the dirt track and walk down the hill. Take the path to the left at the fork at the bottom of the slope and continue along what becomes a grassy path until you reach the road on the far side. Note the red and white markers which you will see frequently on parts of today’s walk.

1.20km – TURN LEFT on to the road and follow it for approx. 150m as it swings round to the right where you will see a yellow sign.

1.40km – TURN LEFT at the yellow sign onto the gravel track and head for Lioux (4.8km).

2.30km – BEAR RIGHT at the junction beside the farm with the impressive solar panel roof.

2.70km – Cross STRAIGHT ON over an intersecting track on to the Chemin de la Bastidonne.

3.20km – You will cross a concrete bridge, continue STRAIGHT ON.

3.70km – At the junction with the busier road, ignore the red/white path indicators and TURN LEFT walking carefully along the road for approx. 300m. Please be aware of oncoming traffic and use the grass verge when necessary.

4.00km – After crossing a small bridge BEAR LEFT down onto a dirt track that runs parallel to the road. Walk along this path, past a small stone building, and onto the road where the track rejoins it.

4.50km – At the junction with the road, corss over and BEAR LEFT on to the Chemin de Murs up pas the large house following the sign for Clavaillan. Stay on the tarmac road as it runs up past the house and over the crest of the hill before descending into open fields.

5.30km – After passing the small snail (escargots) farm on your right, you will reach a small clump of trees on the left of the path, TURN LEFT here and continue along the straight track.

6.10km – Shortly after the large farmhouse on your right, TURN RIGHT on to the Chemin des Gavelles and you will see the small town of Joucas directly ahead of you.  Continue until you meet a tarmac road.

6.80km – At the junction with the road, TURN RIGHT.

7.00km – At the T junction, TURN LEFT and cross the small bridge.

7.10km – Then almost immediately, TURN RIGHT up the road signposted to Joucas. Walk past the small play park and then follow the road into the village as it swings left towards the old town.

7.60km – After passing the restaurant and an art gallery, you will come to a small square called the Place de la Fontaine. TURN RIGHT into the square from where you can explore the rest of the village. This is an ideal spot for a picnic lunch and you can also replenish your water supplies from the fountain in the square. Once you have finished exploring, follow the stone steps from Place de la Fontaine between and the houses and UP to the top of the village. Continue around the corner until you see a yellow sign.

7.90km – At the yellow sign named Aires du Chateau follow the directions to Veroncles (2.4km) and TURN LEFT along the rough track. Follow the stony path and the red and white waymarks along this section.

8.20km – At the next yellow sign, BEAR LEFT in the direction signposted Veroncles (2km).

9.00km – At another yellow sign, TURN LEFT for Gordes (4km) and descend the rocky path.

9.30km – Arriving at the junction of 4 paths continue STRAIGHT ON looking out for the waymarks.

9.60km – TURN LEFT onto a wider path, looking out for yellow stripe waymarks here. Take care as this is a tricky turn and easy to miss.

9.70km – After approximately 100m BEAR LEFT onto a still wider track. Continue on this track until you see a small car park ahead.

10.10km – Before reaching the car park, BEAR RIGHT into the forest following a mixture of red/white and yellow waymarks. If you reach the car park or the polytunnels beyond it, you have gone too far. Again, take care as this is an easy junction to miss.

10.30km – At the next yellow sign named Bois d’Audibert BEAR RIGHT in the direction of Grailles (0.1km).

10.40km – After passing the farmhouse on your right at the end of the track, check for the yellow sign and TURN LEFT onto the tarmac track for Roussillon.

11.10km – TURN LEFT at the junction and walk carefully along the busy road for approximately 250m. Please take care of oncoming traffic.

11.40km – BEAR RIGHT onto the minor road and follow the red/white waymarks.

12.30km – Head STRAIGHT ON over the intersection with a minor road.

13.10km – After passing the equine centre on the right, head STRAIGHT ON over the intersection with the road. Continue along for a further 100m or so.

13.30km – At the yellow sign, follow the direction for Roussillon (3.9km) and go STRAIGHT ON heading along the dirt track. This narrows to a grassy path and heads through a wooded area. Keep looking for the red/white waymarks.

14.00km – BEAR LEFT up the slope where the path joins a wider track in front of the gates to a large house. Continue along the track until you reach a crossroads keeping an eye out for the red and white waymarks.

15.40km – At the crossroads, TURN LEFT and carefully walk along the road in the direction signposted Roussillon. You will be on the road for the next 2km so please take care with any oncoming traffic.

16.00km – At the bottom of the slope, head STRAIGHT ON along the road and over the bridge. Continue along the road as it winds up towards the village.

16.50km – TURN LEFT at the yellow sign named Ribas following the directions to Roussillon (0.75km).

16.80km – At the junction with the red cliffs in front of you, TURN RIGHT and follow the road past the car park on your right through the houses and up the narrow street to finish in the small square where you started.

17.20km – When you reach the car park in the Place Jean Eynard opposite the entrance to the Sentier des Ocres, you have completed today’s walk.

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Difficulty
moderate
Distance
17 km
Duration
4:50 h
Ascent
283 m
Descent
290 m

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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