This varied hike visits the remains of the famous Devil's Bridge, which cost the lives of many cart drivers loaded with ice packs. They came down from Sainte Baume as fast as possible, to deliver the people of Toulon or other citizens.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
From Aubagne, take the D8 towards Toulon. At the crossroads of the Camp, take the D2, in the direction of Signes. At appropriately 1 km from Signes, turn left towards Chibron quarry. Continue on past it and, just after Veolia, turn left onto a wide trail to the car park under the pines (D).
Take the path on the right with the slightly faded blue markings and start climbing to reach a wider (1) track.
Turn right and, after 50 metres, reach a crossroads (2). Here, turn right and make a detour to see a waterfall and then retrace your steps a few metres and go right to get back to the path (3).
About 100 m further on, turn right again along the Latay that, as long as the flow of water is strong, is beautiful. Turn left at hairpin bend and return to the path (4).
Turn right onto this track by keeping an eye on the right in order not to miss the path that goes along the small Latay canal. This will now head on up to a first ford of little interest. Cross the ford and continue in a north-easterly direction. Follow the rightmost path and walk along the stream. This path will take you through the pine and oak trees. The canal, which is very old, is sometimes at our level, sometimes high above us. Here you might find small crayfish. Do not leave this path, even if it is sometimes a bit muddy because it is not on the IGN map, although it is very visible on the ground.
At point (5), leave the trail to visit the last freezer ever built and never used!
About 500 m further on, cross another ford, which ran with water on the day we walked, but is usually barely damp.
We then reach the GR9 and its red and white markings (6). Turn left and follow these markings ignoring two turns off to the right off the track. At the fork (7), take a detour to the left to see the ruins of the Devil's Bridge and then retrace your steps and climb to the Col des Glacières.
After a short hill with a large cairn on top, hill marker 634 (8), leave the GR and turn 90° left onto a path that is oriented south-west. At a small water reservoir (9), turn left on a wide track and turn right after about 250 m (10).
Follow this track ignoring several paths heading off on the right. The track follows several loops and then joins up with the path at the first ford. Continue back through points (4) and (3) up to the T-junction (11), where you turn left. This brings us to point (1). Turn left taking the outbound path to reach the starting point.
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0
1 : mi 0.38 - alt. mi 0.38 - Intersection with the trail. Turn right.
2 : mi 0.41 - alt. mi 0.41 - Crossroads. Turn right.
3 : mi 0.78 - alt. mi 0.78 - Intersection. Turn right 100 m further on.
4 : mi 1.04 - alt. mi 1.04
5 : mi 2.77 - alt. mi 2.77 - Starting point of the detour to the freezers.
6 : mi 3.17 - alt. mi 3.17 - Junction with the GR9. Turn left.
7 : mi 3.81 - alt. mi 3.81 - Starting point of the detour to the Devil's Bridge
8 : mi 4.08 - alt. mi 4.08 - Fork and cairn. Turn 90° to the left.
9 : mi 4.61 - alt. mi 4.61 - Reservoir. Intersection. Turn left.
10 : mi 4.74 - alt. mi 4.74 - Intersection. Turn right.
11 : mi 7.54 - alt. mi 7.54 - T-junction. Turn left.
D/A : mi 8.07 - alt. mi 8.07
No drinking water refill point.
The time indicated takes into account time to explore.
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.
If you still have some energy, it is well worth the climb to explore the Col des Glacières.
You can see the details of their construction and the water collection basin, the small canals etc.
Note: Some have been bought by individuals who turned them into homes. We contacted the town of Mazaugues for written authorisation.
In winter, the "glaciers" channel water to fill these large shallow pools. The water had frozen and the ice was cut into large blocks. These were packed in the bottom of the freezers. Each layer of blocks was covered with straw to prevent them "sticking" together.
Do not hesitate to leave this path to see the waterfall of Devil's Bridge.
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The path alternates between shaded areas in the Mediterranean scrubland and parts where the sun heats the limestones of the La Colle massif.
On this walk you'll discover some of the locations used to film Manon des Sources and Jean de Florette (1986): the Grotte de Mounoï cave, the dried-up stream and the Villa Renard - the hunchback's house.
This route will also let you discover the Vallon des Martyrs, with its monument commemorating resistance fighters executed by the SS in 1944. All along the walk you'll experience incredible Provence landscapes and the Sainte-Baume.
This hike is not very difficult and is suitable for the whole family.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.