A walking holiday in France: the Sainte Victoire mountain
- Just a few kilometres outside of the upmarket and vibrant university city of Aix en Provence stands the impressive Sainte Victoire mountain, culminating at 1011m above sea level. The mountain is 18km long and 5km wide and is still expanding according to a recent study that showed an increase of 7mm per year between 1993 and 2003.
- There are two very different facades to the Sainte Victoire : the northern slope is gentle and green with an alpine vegetation whereas the southern slope is exposed white limestone cliffs that reflect the dazzling sunlight and a Mediterranean vegetation. It is this slope that is so loved by climbers and walkers and paragliders. The Cross of Provence overlooks the whole from the summit.
- This glorious mountain is your challenge of the day on your walking holiday in France! Although steep and rather daunting to start with, there is no scrambling involved. You just need a bit of walking experience and some good sturdy walking shoes and poles!
A self-guided walking holiday in Provence: explore charming villages at the foot of the Sainte Victoire
- Along the itinerary, you pass through picturesque villages such as Vauvenargues at the foot of the northern slope. A lively little village with old farmhouses and terraced crops, a handful of shops and the castle where the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso lived for the final years of his life and was laid to rest.
- You also pass through the pretty village of Le Tholonet, one of Paul Cézanne’s favourite places with incredible views of the Sainte Victoire mountain
Getting up close and personal with Paul Cezanne’s muse on your walking tour in France
- Paul Cézanne was born in Aix en Provence in 1839 and became one of the most important painters of the impressionist era. He formed a close relationship with the novelist Emile Zola, through whom he met Pissarro and came to know the others of the impressionist group.
- Splitting his time between Paris and Provence for much of his life as a painter, Cézanne retreated into isolation in Aix en Provence near the end of his life. There, he focused – or rather obsessed – on the Sainte-Victoire mountain, his muse, which he would paint over and over, trying to capture its shape and essence. He is said to have painted it over 60 times.