LES BAUX DE PROVENCE - Le Val d'Enfer
Over the years, erosion has given the limestone rocks around the Baux-de-Provence forms all more original than the other, which have inspired many beliefs. The omnipresent minerality of the village creates breathtaking landscapes, as well as an exceptional heritage, such as troglodyte buildings.
View of troglodyte houses
The Baux-de-Provence valleys have been coveted by the man, in search of shelter. The limestone rock easy to dig, called "molasse", allowed the construction of many caves serving as habitats from the Neolithic era. On the land registries of the sixteenth century. you could find a whole neighbourhood of troglodyte houses, named "La Balm de Roucas" (Provencal "balm" meaning cave and "roucas" rock). Today, the troglodyte habitat is still present in the village.
Carrières de Lumières
First known as the Grands Fonts quarry, this stone quarry site ceased operations in 1935. In 1959, the place is reinvested by Jean Cocteau who turns there "The Testament of Orpheus". Then, from 1977, the old quarry was rehabilitated as a cultural center, offering innovative sounds and lights on the rock walls.. This exceptional site, now called "Carrières de Lumières", offers an immersion in the heart of the works of renowned painters.
View of Sarragan quarry
Opened a century and a half ago, Sarragan's quarry is today the last operating site in the Alpilles massif gallery and the only underground mining quarry in the region. It is distinguished by its columns from 20 to 25 meters high, monoliths of 800 tons which carve the hill. The white limestone rock of Les Baux-de-Provence is extracted and worked on site to create different interior and exterior decoration elements (staircase, fireplace, bench, etc.).
Western view of Alpilles and Opies
Here, many reliefs of the Alpilles are distinguished, including Opies, the highest point of the massif with its 498 m altitude. Dating from the Jurassic, the Opies are part of the oldest rock formations of the Alpilles. From the tower that symbolizes the summit, it is possible to see up to the alpine massifs. ;This tower was a lookout built at the dawn of the twentieth century. to prevent fire risk in the massif. It is now used to house the Mistral adventurers who have reached the summit.
View of the Baux-de-Provence castle
Here is a superb panorama at 360 ° C, which offers a breathtaking view of the Baux-de-Provence and their castle. Built in the 11th century under the orders of the lords of Les Baux, this castle was subsequently destroyed several times during the conflicts affecting Provence. The semi-troglodyte specificity of this fortress is that we still found today part of the dungeon relatively well preserved and seen very well from afar, from the surrounding lowlands.
The erosion eye
The erosion eye is a rock, on the heights of Baumayrane, offering a fine example of taffoni;(word of Corsican origin meaning "hole"), common phenomenon around the Baux-de-Provence. Its cavities dug by erosion can have very different shapes and sizes, depending on the structure of the rock and its ability to absorb water. Here, the erosion eye is pierced through, allowing to see through.
The Val d'Enfer is a valley famous for its rocks with strange shapes, sculpted by erosion. There are also impressive openings in the rock along the road and traces left by limestone quarries. at nightfall, many thought they recognized the rocks and caves of "The Hell" from Dante. ;Jean Cocteau, another great writer turned filmmaker, shot his "Testament d'Orphée" in 1959, in the natural setting of Val d'Enfer.
The Baux de Provence
Les Baux-de-Provence, which has the label most beautiful villages in France, is the only village located in the heart of massive, atop a rocky outcrop. Les Baux-de-Provence are characterized primarily for the castle there, witness the power of the family of Baux. Feel free to wander the narrow cobbled streets of the village and discover the history of this place where the occupations of men have followed.
With your back to the Tourist Office, turn right and cross the esplanade. At the end, go down the stairs and follow the road on the left. At the intersection, follow the road to the right in direction of Maillane. Go past the Quarries of Lights, ignore the road that goes down to the left, and just after the sign of end of agglomeration take on the right the way marked PR. Continue straight on this road for 500 m.
1- At the crossing, turn right on the blue marked path, then ignore the path on your left. At the next intersection, climb the path to the left and continue for 1 km. Ignore the path on your left and join immediately after a crossroads near a buried cistern.
2- Take the marked GR® trail on the left and follow it to a DFCI barrier. Climb the very wide path on the right leading to a panorama. Go down the path on the left. Follow the road on the right for 200 m to reach the pierced rock. Return of the descended path by foot.
3- Turn right on the path, follow it for 500 m, and find the intersection of point1. Go down the path already practiced in the other direction and join the end of agglomeration sign. Follow the road towards the Carrières de Lumières and take the marked road PR on the right. Follow it on 200 m.
4- At the level of the stone, engraved ""Le Val d'Enfer - les Portelets", take on the right the way with the feet of the rocks on a few meters, then to return on your steps. Continue on the marked road PR, until the small parking of the old school of Les Baux On the left of the school, go up the concrete road to join the D27.
5- (Caution, traffic) Cross the road and climb the stairs on the right to a parking lot. Once on the parking lot, climb the paved street, pass a fortified gate and cross the town center of Les Baux to reach the starting point.
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).
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.
Access and parking
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