Outdoor Activities


WALKING
Cucuron is a good starting point for many kinds of walks. You could go hiking up into the Luberon mountains, walk between villages or along the many vineyards.


In the woods just behind the town, there are many fine walks or jogging trails for those who fancy that. Local maps (1:25.000) can be found in the house (map basket in the bookshelf) or it can be purchased in Cucuron's own Tabac or in local bookstores. You will find various suggestions for local walks in the "Diverse" binder in the bookshelf (see under "Fotturer").


For some local walks and about 20 more advanced hikes in the region, see my hiking blog: www.aigeltinger.com and click "Luberon Walks".

Due to the great risk of forest fires during the summer months, new regulations makes it less predictable to plan a specific summer hike.

New regulations from 2013 makes all areas within Bouche du Rhone and Vaucluse subject for immediate closure depending on conditions. You therefore need to call 0811 201313 (Bouche du Rhone) or 0811 208484 (Vaucluse) for exact information for the area you plan to walk in during the period 1st June till 30th September. You need to make the telephone call after 18.00 the day before your walk for the latest information; thus making life unpredictable.

Red alert means you need to be out of the area before 12.00 in Vaucluse and before 11.00 for Bouche du Rhone. Black alert means you cannot walk all day. Orange alert means you can walk all day.



Here are the most convinient starting points directly from Cucuron for a walk or jogging:
Eastward: Yellow marked path starts from the cemetery and go directly eastwards.
Northward: Walk right up behind the Etang (village pond), past the school and beyond (yellow markers), either all the way up to the top of the Luberon (Mourre Negre, ca. 1125 m and 2 hours) or simply do a small loop (see the local map: Pertuis-Lourmarin).
Westward: Follow GR97 markings out of the village towards Vaugines (the same start as the Wine walk westwards) and follow the GR9 back towards Cucuron (1 to 1.5 hours there and back).
Southward: Exit the village on Boulevard du Sud. Find the yellow markers going south east, marked for the neighboring village Ansouis (about one hour one way).

Here is a link to my hiking blog for about 20 alternative walks in the whole region: 


SWIMMING

Etang de la Bonde (5 minutes in a car or 20 minutes biking on good roads with bicycle lanes.
Slightly east of Cucuron (5 km) is a small lake, Etang de la Bonde with a 400 meters long beach and excelent swimming facilities (500 meters accross one way). The swimming season depends upon oneself (open all year), but we use the lake from early May to early October. There are 2 cafes here on the lake (opens at 8 am), a grocery store and 2 restaurants; in fact le Restaurant du Lac is one of my favourite restaurants in the whole region. The water quality in the lake is regularly tested according to EU standards, but if in doubt, simply ask to see the last test from the guy the grocery store.  If you have extra energy, it is a nice walk around the lake.
Only 2 km. north-west of Cucuron is neighboring town Vaugines. Here is a hotel restaurant that has a pool that can be used by guests; could be quite nice for a summer lunch.

Plan d'Eau de Plantain in Peyrolles (30 minutes by car, right after Meyrargues, just south-east of Pertuis)
This is an artificial lake built up next to the Durance river as a recreational area with playgrounds for children, beach volleyball, ping-pong table, sandy beach, pick-nick tables etc. One pay a small fee for parking (500 places), but otherwise everything is free. Drive towards Meyrargues, thereafter towards Peyrolles and take left at the first roundabout (signposted Plan d'eau de Plantain).


Mediterranean Sea east of Marseille (60-75 minutes; motorway past Aix, direction Toulon)
To swim in the Mediterranean Sea, we find Cassis the most obvious base; a charming former fishing village, now full of small restaurants and shops. It takes over an hour to drive there (exit 8 on the motorway towards Toulon), but the area is quite unique because the whole coast line between Cassis and Marseille is inhabited with a wonderful and wild landscape, excelent for walking. There are beaches in the city, but you get a far more impressive scenery along the coast towards Marseille (les Calanques). It requires a walk, but it's worth it (use the map).
Alternatively, and far better for children, are the long sandy beaches of Ciotat Bay, just east of Cassis. Best among these is probably Les Lecques. Use motorway exit 10 towards Toulon, and find parking a bit up from the beach in Les Lecques. But La Ciotat Plage will also be good alternative (motorway exit 9).

Mediterranean Sea west of Marseille - La Cote Bleu (55 minutes; motorway past Aix, direction Marseille and Martigues)
There are a lot of cliffs and small rocky beaches here, but a sandy beach of some size is situated at la Couronne with fine cliffs on each side of the beach (just south of Martigues). Take the motorway past Aix towards Marseille. Take the A55 motorway towards Martigues and Fos, but exit for Carry-le-Rouet (D9). Continue west on D9 untill the road stops in the Mediterranean Sea at a large open car park near the beach. There is a coastal path along the coast here; at least from Carry-le-Rouet to Carro (well signposted).


CYCLING
The Luberon is good for cycling, with many small roads. My favourite route is along the really small lanes down to Ansouis and then up to Etang de la Bonde for a swim and coffee. For the return, I take straight north through the village of Cabriere d'Aigue and then straight back down again to Cucuron.
Mountain ridge of Grand Luberon
Mountain cycling is also popular in the mountain side behind the village and on the Luberon mountain ridge. The most useful starting point for the Luberon ridge (if one does not want to cycle the fire road up from Cucuron, as the French do) is the Cedar forest (Foret des Cedre) in Bonnieux. Drive towards Bonnieux, but turn left at the top of the Luberon, just before the road dips down into Bonnieux. Follow this small road all the way to the barrier and park here. Here starts a fire road that runs along the entire ridge of the Petite Luberon (westward). Those of you who do not fancy cycling could just leave the cyclists here, visite hill top villages in the northern Luberon or a city visit to Cavaillon, and pick up the cyclists in Cavaillon later in the day.

CANOEING
Gorge de Ardeche
The most challenging canoe trip is perhaps the Ardeche Gorge with many rapids. Here is a link to a day-trip to the Ardeche Gorge, where some could do hiking along the river Gorge and others do canoing.

Another starting point for canoeing will be Esparron-de-Verdon at Lac Esparron, a short distance east of the spa town Greoux-les-Bains (exit 17 on the motorway, north of Pertuis). Here you can paddle around on the lake or perhaps more exciting along the lower course of the Gorges du Verdon (Basse Gorges du Verdon, which must not be confused with the famous Grand Canyon du Verdon, further east). The Verdon river is dammed at Lac Esparron, so you have the same water level throughout this canyon, right up to the next village: Quinson, where you can also rent canoes. You could swim in some places up through the canyon and on the lakes. For a hike through the canyon, park at Quinson, which incidentally has a very famous museum of prehistoric times.

GOLF
The nearest and best golf course (18 holes) is Golf du Luberon at Pierrevert about 30 minutes drive north-east of Cucuron (25 km.). Take the inner road to Manosque, past Etang de la Bonde, Grambois and la Bastide-des-Jourdans. The golf course is located at Pierrevert, just before Manosque. It is quite a large area with a good restaurant and is located 380 meters above sea level with great scenery. See their web site:   www.golf-du-luberon.com

MOUNTAINEERING
Calanque de Sugiton
There are two areas that are particulary well known for good climbing. One is located just north of Cucuron, approx. 20 minutes drive at Buoux. Drive to Lourmarin and take the road towards Apt, but turn right down towards Buoux. Do not drive up to the village of Buoux, but drive into the valley to the road stops at the hotel/restaurant Auberge de Seguin. On the left you now have a long vertical mountain side, which normally has climbers scattered about.
The second area is Les Calanques de Marseille et Cassis, i.e. the same area as discussed above under Swimming - Mediterranean at Cassis. This is on the coast and a very large area with a great variety of challenges. One of the most popular places is the Calanque d’En Vau, about 1 hours hike west of Cassis.


Activities for children (try the web links)

Zoo de la Barben between Salon and Aix en Provence.

Magic Park Land near Carry on the coast.

La Foret Enchantee between Malemort and Venasque.

Le Jarditrain near Carpentras. 

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