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Hiking trail

Petit Luberon 'Forest of the Cedars' Loop Walk

· 2 reviews · Hiking trail · Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
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  • Provencal Farm
    / Provencal Farm
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • The Eglise Neuve in Bonnieux
    / The Eglise Neuve in Bonnieux
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • Bonnieux
    / Bonnieux
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • Lavender for sale at the market in Bonnieux
    / Lavender for sale at the market in Bonnieux
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • Bonnieux
    / Bonnieux
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • Look out for the yellow waymark on today's route
    / Look out for the yellow waymark on today's route
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • / Descending from the forest
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • / The Foret des Cedres
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
  • / The signpost at the top of the ascent path at 3.90km
    Photo: Fiona Marshall, Macs Adventure
300 450 600 750 900 m km 2 4 6 8 10

This lovely circular walk takes you into the cedar forest of the Petit Luberon high above the village of Bonnieux, affording fantastic views back across the valley to your start point and towards the perched village of Lacoste. 

moderate
11.6 km
3:55 h
504 m
520 m

Starting at the Eglise Neuve, sometimes labelled Eglise Basse on maps, your walk today takes you up above the village of Bonnieux through woodland up on to a high plateau of the Petit Luberon.  After leaving the town on a quiet tarmac road, the route enters the forest. Climbing upwards on a hikers path, eventually you reach the top of the plateau from where there are fantastic views down to the valleys below.  On the summit of the plateau, you can enjoy the cooling canopy of the Foret des Cedres, the Cedar Forest.  There are several clearly marked walks in the forest should you wish to spend more time enjoying the shade. From the forest, the path descends steeply down back to the valley. Again joining a tarmac road for a short time you will walk through the farms and small vineyards that surround Bonnieux before arriving back in the village. 

Author’s recommendation

Take some time at the start of the walk (or the end) to explore Bonnieux. This pretty Provencal small town is set on a hillside and is a maze of small streets.  There are some interesting independent shops selling paintings, pottery, local produce and other artisanal products.  Remember that most French shops close between 12 and 3 each day for lunch. 

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

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
709 m
Lowest point
270 m

Safety information

Sturdy boots are definitely required today.  The ascent and the descent the plateau both involve walking on stony forest paths where it would be easy to turn an ankle or take a slip and fall. 

Equipment

You may want to consider taking walking poles with you to assist with the stiff and stony path on walk up to the plateau, and particularly for the descent.

Tips, hints and links

Eglise Haute, Bonnieux

A climb up to the 12th century Eglise Haute church at the top of the village with its high pointed steeple is worth it for the views.

 

Musee de Boulangerie

The Musee de Boulangerie displays a period bread oven and bread shop,  and explains the history of bread from Roman times through the Medieval era and the French Revolution. The museum is open daily except Tuesdays, 1 April to 31 Aug. Sept - Oct weekends only and is closed 1 Nov to 31 March. 12 rue de la Republique. http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/en/museum/bakery-museum-bonnieux

 

Market day

If you are lucky enough to be in Bonnieux on a Friday, be sure to check out the market which spreads up through the village from the Eglise Neuve.  An array of goods is for sale, including locally-grown fruit and vegetables, basketware, pottery, artisan honey, lavender oils, olive wood dinner ware and cotton clothing.

 

Food and drink

Be sure to take a picnic with you today as there are no places to stop for food after leaving Bonnieux.  Bonnieux has a small supermarket called "Utile" on the Rue Jean Baptiste. 

 

This tour is available on the following itineraries:

WFSCP

WFSCPIS

WFSCPH

Start

The Eglise Neuve in Bonnieux (350 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
43.824583, 5.307256
UTM
31T 685528 4854977

Destination

The Pharmacie de Luberon

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km – START POINT: The Eglise Neuve (labelled Eglise Basse on some maps). From the churchyard, TURN RIGHT onto the road and head towards the roundabout. From the roundabout, BEAR LEFT taking the lower road into the village following signs for Le Camping along the street past numerous shops until you see the pharmacy.  If you are staying at the Clos de Buis you do not need to walk down to the roundabout, simply locate the pharmacy further into town on the same road.

0.25km – BEAR LEFT and take the middle road, which slopes down out of the village.  Follow signs for Le Vallon and Sun e-bikes.

0.60km – BEAR RIGHT and follow the road round past the car park and the large noticeboard.

0.70km - After 100m, TURN RIGHT at the bottom of the slope and follow the sign for Foret des Cedres (5km). You will be walking on the road for the next 500m, and as it includes a sharp turn to the left, please be aware of oncoming traffic.

1.40km – BEAR LEFT off the main road just before it swings right again and head up the minor road in front of you. There is a no entry sign for all vehicles other than residents.

1.60km – At the junction BEAR LEFT ignoring the sign to La Maret.

2.20km – At the top of the road, BEAR RIGHT onto the stony path signposted Foret des Cedres. From now on you can look out for the yellow stripe indicator which will appear on trees and rocks telling you that you are on the right track. The next two kilometers involve a very steep climb up a stony path. Be sure to take plenty of breaks to take on water, and to enjoy the wonderful views of the hilltop villages of Bonnieux and Lacoste.

3.90km – When you finally reach the top of the climb, you will find yourself facing a tarmac road.  BEAR RIGHT and walk along the road, following the signs to Foret des Cedres (1.5km).

4.80km – At the large national park sign, head STRAIGHT ON and pass through the car park.  Just beyond the car park you will find a large information board, you will find details of many short walks you can enjoy in the immediate area. This is also an ideal spot for a picnic (or a well-deserved rest in the shade following your challenging ascent). Once you are ready to continue the circuit, head STRAIGHT ON. You will see the yellow sign to Le Pre de Roustan (0.30km). Head in this direction.

5.50km – At the junction, TURN RIGHT and follow the signs to La Valmasque (2.4km). Note: follow the wider path and the yellow indicators and not the narrow path on the right. Continue on ignoring any left or right turns.

6.00km – At the junction of 4 paths, head STRAIGHT ON down the stony path between the trees. You will now start your long descent (2.6kms) to the valley floor. Take care as the path is steep and rocky. Keep looking for the yellow indicators on trees and rocks, but essentially stay on the obvious path as it winds its way downwards.

8.20km – You will eventually reach a small car park beside the road. TURN RIGHT and follow the signs to Bonnieux (D3). You will be walking along this road for almost a kilometre so please keep to the side and be aware of oncoming traffic.

8.90km – TURN LEFT just before a large farmhouse onto a road named Chemin de la Bernarde. Stay on this minor road as it heads down then round to the right.

9.10km – TURN RIGHT on to the Chemin de Trigaud. You will see Bonnieux perched on the hillside ahead.

10.00km – BEAR RIGHT at the junction onto the main road.

10.50km – BEAR LEFT onto Chemin de Gardiole. After approximately 100m, leave the road and follow the signs to Bonnieux (1.2km) taking the gravel path that leads uphill between the trees and a wall on your right.

11.40km – Continue along this narrow path, until you are faced with a small stone cliff where you should TURN LEFT. After 100m or so, TURN RIGHT and follow the path up the slope.

11.60km – At the junction TURN LEFT up the steep tarmac road. BEAR RIGHT at the fork and head up the slope between the houses (there is a no-entry sign here for vehicles).

11.80km – At the top of the slope, TURN LEFT and you will find yourself outside the pharmacy in Bonnieux close to where you began today’s circuit. From here you can either return to your hotel or while away some time at one of the many bars and restaurants of this lovely little town.

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Reviews

4.5
(2)
Kath varcoe
May 14, 2019 · Community
Enjoyable day in the forest. A bit of a grunt on the way up, took care of knees on the way down but well worth the effort. Track easy to follow. A bit damp on top but lots of people having family picnics as it was Easter. Moroccan cedars were very impressive.
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Done at April 21, 2019
Moroccan Cedar
Photo: Kath varcoe, CC0, Community
Doug Weedon
May 04, 2019 · Community
First half of walk hard but rewarding and the forest of Cedars fantastic Decent a bit ankle breaking
show more
At the top forest of the Ceders
Photo: Doug Weedon, Community
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Photos of others


Reviews
Difficulty
moderate
Distance
11.6 km
Duration
3:55 h
Ascent
504 m
Descent
520 m

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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