Circuit of Signs via Taoule and the Pont du Diable

A hike with beautiful viewing points over Sainte-Baume and the surrounding mountains, a nice stream in Latay and vestiges of former houses.

Technical sheet
A Signes walk posted on 03/03/16 by rumax. Update : 24/01/18
Calculated time Calculated time: 7h05[?]
Distance Distance : 11.51mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 2415ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 2398ft
Highest point Highest point : 2976ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 1155ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Sainte-Baume (Massif)
Location Location : Signes (83870)
Starting point Starting point : N 43.29119° / E 5.863702°
Map IGN Map (Click to buy) : Ref. 3345OT
Download : -

Description

Start from the village market square (place du Marché) or the Rue Louis Lumière

(D/A) Take the Rue Louis Lumière, then the Rue de l'Hôpital that continues after it. After crossing the village, climb north following the GR9 marker (red and white), shared with PR markers (yellow) that run along the stream. Go past an oratory, ignore the path on the right-hand side that leads to the source of the Raby and reach a fork shortly before the Chapelle de Château Vieu, which is the way you'll come back.

(1) Leave the GR9 and take the trail on the right signposted in yellow. It passes above the Gorge de Lavène, along the Raby stream. Continue up to the Notre-Dame des Anges oratory, a simple cross supported by a pile of stones. (Alt. 747m).

(2) Follow the trail that first goes southeast and then northeast, go to Mourre d'Agnis and arrive at the Quille de Tillet (Pyramid of Cassini in the shape of a truncated cone).

(3) Descend west on the yellow trail, which is relatively steep and stony at the beginning, then go through undergrowth to finish on a large meadow next to a pond 200m from La Taoule.

(4) Take the track to the left, with green and white markers, leading to the river Latay through the Vallon de la Cau. Ignore two paths on the right and get to a T-junction.

(5) Turn left, then go left again at the next fork and then left again after 50 meters to reach another fork.

(6) Turn right on the hairpin bend, stay to the left and walk along the Vallon de la Cau from which you can see the Font Mauresque château which emerges through the vegetation (private property). Join a wide track, turn left and then take a right at the fork to then cross another track, coming out at the Latay stream.

(7) At the fork, go right on a hairpin bend and then take the trail to the left about 50 meters further on. At the following branch-off, take a sharp left to cross the stream just above the waterfall and climb up to the Haut Latay.

(8) At the sheepfold, turn left, join the track you left previously and follow it right to join the ford, following the signposts.

(9) Do not cross the ford but turn left to take the GR9 which goes southeast and climbs quite steeply. At the beginning the GR, walk along the track and then deviate to the right (spot height 607) on a relatively hilly and rocky trail. Follow the markers and ignore several trails on each side. Go past a small shed located on the right, under the vegetation.

(10) Before the junction with the GR and the trail marked yellow (1), take a trail to the right which passes the Chapelle de Notre-Dame de l'Éloignée (also known as the Chapelle de Château Vieux). Return to the GR, go right and join the intersection you passed on the outward leg.

(1) Turn right to return to the car park (D/A).

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0
1 : mi 1.07 - alt. mi 1.07 - Fork, take the trail on the right
2 : mi 2.31 - alt. mi 2.31 - Notre-Dame des Anges
3 : mi 3.64 - alt. mi 3.64 - Mourre d'Agnis, pyramid of Cassini
4 : mi 4.92 - alt. mi 4.92 - Turn left, green and white markers
5 : mi 5.68 - alt. mi 5.68 - T-junction, turn left
6 : mi 6.39 - alt. mi 6.39 - Fork, go right
7 : mi 7.76 - alt. mi 7.76 - Ruissea de Latay (stream), fork right
8 : mi 8.1 - alt. mi 8.1 - Haut Latay sheepfold
9 : mi 8.43 - alt. mi 8.43 - Ford, do not cross
10 : mi 10.09 - alt. mi 10.09 - Ford, do not cross
D/A : mi 11.51 - alt. mi 11.51

Useful Information

Drinking water at Ruisseau du Latay stream, and shelter in case of rain at the Haut Latay ruin.

We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 3345OT.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Quille de Tillet : Beautiful viewing point of:
- The Château de Font Mauresque with its two-tone tiled roof,
- The fortified farm of Taillane flanked by two round towers,
- The ruined sheepfold of Taoule,
- the Sainte-Baume, the distant hills and mountains.
Latay : The water in the stream is clear and safe for drinking. This location is nice to wander about in (waterfall by the Pont du Diable bridge and various ruins).

Chapelle de Notre Dame de l'Eloignée : built on the hill of the Château Vieux where you'll find vestiges of the old village dating back to the twelfth century.

Nougat producers open from mid-September to 24 December, located at the beginning of the Rue Louis Lumière.
The market square dominated by the clock tower with a café-terrace to finish off the walk nicely.
Maison des Frères Lumière, so called because, during the Second World War, their cinematographic equipment was hidden here.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.