Rocks of Baude
« The Petit Luberon always seduces us. You can never get too much of this diversity of spectacular and intimate landscapes imbued in history, the rich nature so rare and diverse. Cliffs, balms, peaks, forests and mixed lawns, the former presence of man, the herds on steep slopes... It is fascinating and discovering it is always with a strand of adventure. Sophie Bourlon, Research Analyst from Natura 2000 at the RNP of Luberon.
The Taillades, a stone village
A picturesque village at the foot of the Luberon mountains, it has maintained a remarkable cultural heritage:: its church of the 18th century, the medieval Tower, the Théâtre des Carrières. In the old village, stone is used from the streets to constructions. The various dotted quarries are also the witness of a cutting stone past, hence the name of Taillades. Below, the Saint-Pierre Windmill, a former madder mill then flour mill, testifies to the industrial life of the 19th century.
Gorges of Badarel
"Badarel" comes from the Occitan verb "badar" which means to be wide open, meaning in a broader sense crevasse, gash, hole... The Badarel falls you have just passed were developed in 1904 on city council decision to "make the passage accessible to shearers and wool cattles... ». A metal ladder, a ramp and a rope were installed and traces of iron bars show an opening with explosives.
This beautiful mountain plant is found only rarely in the southern Alps. It finds here one of the only four stations that are favourable to its development in the Luberon. Its beautiful dark blue flowers in clusters have straight spurs and do not appear until July. This plant has an impressive toxic product (delphinine) like most species belonging to the Ranunculaceae family, to which it belongs.
Exceptional lawns on the ridges
From the traditional practice of grazing and particular constraints of the Mediterranean and Alpine climates combined, the action of the sheep in the spring associated with bush clearing includes the extension of shrubs. Luberon lawns are home to many heritage species of plants and insects. They are also hunting areas for large raptors. Scientific monitoring of rare and sensitive species are conducted on several sites.
Saint-Jacques, the end of the Luberon
In the distance, the Saint-Jacques hill emerges from the plains, overlooking the town of Cavaillon. This is actually the continuation of the Petit Luberon massif, formed by the same limestone but separated from it by a gap created there over 30 million years after two rifts caved in. One of the two is the Salon - Cavaillon - Fontaine-de-Vaucluse rift. This is a major and active rift, with an important role in the geological history of Provence.
This plant of the Alps has developed in Provence a particular subspecies equipped with strong rhizomes which can penetrate cracks in the rock. During blossoming, its tufts have a multitude of blue flowers bells which, by dangling, clearly stand out in the white limestone walls.
Raptors: knowing them and protecting them
The Luberon massif is home to a remarkable diversity of preying birds. They breed annually, nest in the cliffs (Grand Duke, Golden Eagle, Egyptian Vulture ...) or in the forest (Short-toed snake eagle) and hunt in the grass and the scrublands. they are regularly monitored by naturalists, and their environment is preserved by a prefectural decree for biotope protection.
The enigmatic knapweed from Baude
On the heights of the circus of Baude, Georges Guende, an experienced botanist who worked in the Luberon Regional Nature Park for over 40 years, identified in 2013 a beautiful and robust knapweed,; the enigmatic "knapweed from Baude", which could be an ecotype of the Centaurea stoebe located on the nearby ridges of the Luberon. An ecotype is a subspecies created by the selection in a particular habitat and which has genetically adjusted to this habitat.
The rocks of Baude
The rocks of Baude are made of thick limestone beds eroded on several levels, in rock shelters (balms). This limestone was formed about 130 million years ago in a warm, shallow sea, as in the Bahamas today. Many organic debris (shells, corals, etc.) have accumulated over huge layers to form the so-called Urgonian limestone. They occupy most of the Petit Luberon and most of the Vaucluse mountains.
The springs of Boulon
At the foot of the rock, the crack from where the spring of Boulon flows is hidden. It hardly ever flows (a few days per year), but the flow can go up to 50L/ s. The water comes from the limestone massif of the Petit Luberon which is a karstic topography: It is characterized by forms of dissolution which can be superficial (lapies) and underground (caves) and which promotes the water flow. Rainwater penetrates the surface and sinks into the massive through to more or less wide cracks before exiting here.
Petit Luberon, the Mecca of biodiversity
Le Petit Luberon is part of the European Natura 2000 network like 8 other sites of the Luberon Park. Special efforts for the protection and management aimed at preserving the quality of the ecosystem and their remarkable biodiversity. A decree for the biotope protection since 1990 preserves the tranquillity of raptors by banning the practice of rock climbing and aerial sports (Ultralight aviation, paragliding, delta plane) as well as wildlife photography.
the Saint Gens Chapel.
Built in the late 19th century, this single-nave building seems to have never been blessed. Abandoned in the middle of the 20th century, it was renovated into an exhibition space dedicated to the history of the stone and the quarry tools and cutters. It owes its patronage to Bornarel Gens, a saint of the Monteux region of the 12th century whose miracles would have made him a rainmaker.».
With your back turned to the town hall, take the CHemin de Robion on the left and pass the cemetery.
1 - At the next intersection, continue straight on the road. Pass the Saint-Gens chapel, then 400m further, turn right on the Chemin de Boulon. Turn left on the edge of the woods. When reaching the big clearing of Boulon, go up the paved road for 200m and turn right.
2 – At the pole'Boulon', go down the gravel path and at the mouth of the field and the source of Boulon, turn left and, 50m higher, climb to the right on the path (steep at the beginning). Stay on the right until you reach the foot of the cliffs. Weave through the large balms while enjoying passages of cliff ledges. After the circus of Boulon, pass below the large face of the rocks of Baude. Cross the rock shelter and climb to the breach of Castellas avoiding the steps that descend towards the foot of the massif (the marking is tricky). Cross the breach and switch to the gorges of Badarel. Careful, the trail is quite steep and stony.
3 - At the bottom of the ravine (pole:'The Castellas'), turn right and start the descent of the gorges of Badarel. Caution, it is narrow, steep, rocky and it includes a short passage with a ladder. Continue through the bottom of the valley and reach a track. Head across, then at the first houses, cross a barrier and continue until the Chemin de Robion.
4 - Turn left to return to the starting point.
Careful! Even though the ride is classified as average thanks to its short distance, some of its passages are difficult. Vigilance on the ledges of the circus of Boulon and extreme caution in the gorges of Badarel; very rocky gravel ledge on the right-of-way of the trail, passage with a ladder. Caution with your ankles and some of the gravel descents.
House of the Luberon Regional Nature Park
60, place Jean Jaurès, 84400 Apt
+33 (0)4 90 04 42 00
In the heart the old town centre of Apt, the House of the Luberon Regional Nature Park welcomes you in a town house of the 18th century. The permanent exhibition of the geology museum has a rich collection of fossils evidencing the geological history of the Luberon.
On sale at the shop: books, maps, guidebooks, games, posters...
Open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm and from 1:30 pm to 6 pm (and on Saturday, depending on the program). Free admission.
Luberon UNESCO Global Geopark
60, place Jean Jaurès, 84400 Apt
+33 (0)4 90 04 42 00
OTI Luberon Coeur de Provence
Place François Tourel, 84300 Cavaillon
+33 (0)4 90 71 32 01
Access and parking
At 5km east of Cavaillon, through the D143.
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