Saint-Michel de Frigolet Abbey
It offers rocky escarpments, hillsides covered with herbs from Provence and hidden valleys where olive trees grow. You will also find, on its outskirts, a village where man has long worked the rich and irrigated land of the Rhone Valley to produce many fruits, including apricots ... You just want to chew them !!
Saint-Michel de Frigolet Abbey
The Saint-Michel de Frigolet Abbey is located near Tarascon inside the Montagnette massif. Isolated in a wild valley in the middle of pines, it takes its name from "ferigoulo", thyme in Provencal language. The abbey hosts a community of Prémontrés canons since the twelfth century. In the past, it was abandoned several times, or used outside its ecclesiastical setting. Thus between 1831 and 1841, the site became a college frequented by Frédéric Mistral.
The Montagnette is a 6 000 ha massif whose relief is of low altitude (150 m approximately), but relatively abrupt. Dating from the Neocomian secondary era, 70 million years ago, it is marked by a series of hills and valleys essentially oriented north-west / south-east, parallel to the axis of the mistral. With a significant agricultural and pastoral activity, the Montagnette massif has a relatively low afforestation rate (30%), mainly composed of Aleppo pines.
Orientation table of the Bonnet mill
This orientation table was installed in 2002, at the initiative of the children of the primary school of Boulbon, a few meters below the Bonnet windsmill. It offers a magnificent panorama with on the left the Boulbon village and Montagnette, on the right the Rhone and the outskirts of the Gard department, and in the center the lowland cultivated by many fruit trees and the city of Beaucaire in the background.
Located in the Montagnette, Moulin windsmill, was created in the eighteenth century, the golden age of windmills. The Rhône valley, swept by the Mistral, is an ideal site for mills. In operation until the 19th century, they were supplanted by industrial mills. In 2002, the Bonnet windsmill is the subject of a complete restoration : the tower has a roof and wings. It is the first windmill in Bouches-du-Rhône to have been put back into operation.
This feudal castle, above the Rhone valley, has long been a sentinel of the county of Provence facing the Kingdom of France. Dating from the 11th century, it belonged to different owners, some of whom have left their names in history, like Raymond de Turenne or King René. The last Count of Boulbon, Gaston de Raousset, died in Boulbon without direct descendants in 1956. The castle is classified on the list of Historical Monuments since a decree of January 2nd, 1976.
Précoce de Boulbon
Précoce de Boulbon is an apricot tree that has almost disappeared. Around 2010, some trees were found in Boulbon, which saved the variety of the disappearance. It is a variety with early flowering that must be placed near other varieties, mainly Roussillon red apricot, if we want to ensure optimal pollination. The fruit is big and oblong. It has orange-yellow skin, carminated in the sun with small red spots.
The olive tree
Emblematic culture of the territory of the Alpilles, the olive tree is the symbol of the dry Mediterranean climate. Its multiple trunks are the result of a release at the strain level following a significant frost in 1956. Today, some of the olives and oils produced in the Alpilles are recognized nationally and internationally, benefiting from the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
The Alep pine is very present in the Alpilles. He appreciates the low altitudes (below 900 meters) and the Mediterranean regions (warm climate, dry soils, sunshine). It has the particularity to grow very quickly. It is observed therefore repel after the passage of fires, because it is the first essence which reconstructs the landscape. Highly flammable, its bark was previously used for tanning skins or dyes.
View on the Alpilles
The Alpilles massif is a low altitude mountain range, made up of limestone white rocks. It stretches from west to east between Tarascon and Orgon over an area of ??50,000 hectares and sixteen municipalities. It is one of the emblematic reliefs of the Bouches-du-Rhône, dominating in the north the gardening lowland of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and in the south the Crau lowland The Opies, to the east of the massif, constitute its culminating point, with 498 meters of altitude.
From the car park, head for the Saint-Michel de Frigolet Abbey. Take the path on the right that goes along the wall. Follow the rocky track towards "Boulbon 1h", then 100 m after the trail on the left. At the next intersection, continue in the middle of the kermes oaks to the track to cross twice.
1- At the next crossing, follow the indication "Boulbon 50mn". After the small collar, go straight down, then climb a second hill. Shortly after, cross the drivable track at the end of the valley to go up on the hill opposite. Cross successively two other valleys. Continue, leaving the basin on the left. 100 m after, cross a track, then take the path towards a factory chimney visible in the distance.
2- Then descend to Boulbon, through the valley of Saint-Michel. At the end of this gorge, turn right and follow the marking of red dots to access the Bonnet mill and its panorama (30 min return trip). Once back at the foot of the gorges, reach the village by the Gaston de Raousset street.
3- At the junction of the end of this street (fire hydrant), take the left for Barri street, then the second right on Météline street. Continue on the Breuil path, to the road. 250 m after the purification plant, turn on the road on the left marked PR (yellow), then find the road again on 100 m.
4- Take the intersection and follow “Pas de Bouquet” path. After 2 km, turn left towards "Saint-Michel de Frigolet abbey 1h40" by the San Salvador path. Continue for about 3 km.
5- At the highest point of the Montagnette (San Salvador, 161 m), dive by a small path on the right. At the crossing in "T” form then take a left. At the next two crossroads, always take the left.
6- Turn right on the track, then at the junction forming a triangle continue to the right. Find shortly after the departure path, "abbey of Saint-Michel of Frigolet 10mn".
For your safety, and for the preservation of forest areas, access to natural areas is regulated from June to September. Inquire during the summer period on 08 11 20 13 13 (price of a local call) or on www.bouches-du-rhone.pref.gouv.fr Download the application for free MYPROVENCE ENVIE DE BALADE (available on Appstore and Android Market).
Bureau d'information touristique (BIT) de Tarascon en Provence
62 rue des Halles, 13150 Tarascon en Provence
+33 (0)4 90 91 03 52
House of the Alpilles Regional Nature Park
2, boulevard Marceau, 13210 Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
+33 (0)4 90 90 44 00
Located in the heart of the city centre of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, the House of the Alpilles Nature Park welcomes you to its completely renovated premises. This new vibrant place is multifunctional: it accommodates the Park's engineering team but also has a public reception space and showrooms. A true resource centre of the Park's heritage, it aims to support and promote locals, visitors and tourists on all 16 municipalities of the Park.
Open Monday to Friday, from 9 am at 12:30 pm and from 1:30 pm to 5 pm.
Look for public transport on the website www.lepilote.com in the town of Tarascon.
Access and parking
18 km north-west of Graveson by the D570N, D970 and D81.
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