On the trail of Manon des Sources - Le Mémorial de Signes

A Signes walk posted on 06/05/15 by le dd. Update : 17/01/17

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.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h50[?]
Distance Distance : 9.55mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 656ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 682ft
Highest point Highest point : 1841ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 1211ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
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 43.27761° / E 5.801105°
Map IGN Map (Click to buy) : Ref. 3345OT

Description

You start the walk on the D2 between Signes and Cuges Les Pins. Park after the new roundabout on the first road to the right that leads to the "Lafarge" quarry (D/A).

From the road to the quarry, in the direction of the roundabout, turn right on the path parallel to the road and then right again onto a path next to a large pine tree (1)to access the Vallon des Marseillais.

You arrive at a clearing near a well with the "Ruine de Mounoï" on the right (2). To visit the Grotte Mounoï cave, go past the ruin and veer to the right onto a small path that carries on straight up. You'll pass another ruin before you get to the plateau. Turn right and walk for 250m to get to a clearing with a pine tree in the middle.

Fork left when you get to a cairn and descend a few meters to reach the Grotte Mounoï(3).

Retrace your steps until you reach the well(2) and take the path on the right that descends to the Vallon des Martyrs. Ignore a path to the left and then stay left at the following two intersections. Then go straight ahead to come out into a clearing with a Cross of Lorraine: the Nécropole des Martyrs or Charnier de Signes(4).

Leave this site and return to the trail. Lower down, at a crossroads, take the track to the right until the hairpin bend. Then turn right onto the path that gets smaller and penetrates a narrow valley bordered by a dry stream.

Get to a crossing at spot height 369 (5), turn left in the direction of a large field. On the right you'll see a farmhouse and, opposite, a large wall of stones that has partly collapsed. Go around to the bottom of this field on the left hand side and you'll arrive at a large pond in the thicket(6).

At the bottom of the field, behind the pond and thicket, walk along the stream bed bordered by cliffs on both sides. Follow the green route markers that have been partially erased. You'll arrive at a gully.

Continue the climb, go past the "pots" and leave the stream bed. Take the trail with a slight false-flat that leads you to a field. Continue, leaving the field to your right and climbing about 500m in forest until you get to a perpendicular track (7).

Turn right in the direction of the "Bastide Château Renard". Go past the inhabited farmhouse on left-hand side and continue on a track bordered by charred pines (following a fire).

You'll arrive at the first junction(8) (spot height 505), carry on straight ahead and do the same at points(9) and(10), at spot heights 511 and 528. The track is lined with electric pylons. At point(11), turn left and go behind the first farmhouse which is located on your right. Carry straight on at the following two intersections, pass the large Crispin farmhouse where you notice a small truck (12).

Keep going straight ahead to reach a nice wide track that you'll take to the right (13). After walking along this track for a while (about 3km), you'll get to a large junction with tank to the right (14).

Take the right-hand path which passes a field on your left. Don't leave this path and you'll find a very rocky path that descends into a small valley. Walk along a fence that borders the "Lafarge" quarry again, and climb up to the left to reach the tarmac road and the start point.

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0 - Roundabout, start point
1 : mi 0.66 - alt. mi 0.66 - Start along the Vallon des Marseillais path
2 : mi 1.7 - alt. mi 1.7 - The old Mounoï ruin
3 : mi 1.89 - alt. mi 1.89 - Grotte Mounoï (cave)
4 : mi 2.99 - alt. mi 2.99 - Charnier de Signes memorial
5 : mi 3.67 - alt. mi 3.67 - Spot height 367, turn left
6 : mi 3.82 - alt. mi 3.82 - The Bassin de la Perdrix (pool)
7 : mi 4.86 - alt. mi 4.86
8 : mi 4.9 - alt. mi 4.9 - Junction with the perpendicular track
9 : mi 5.13 - alt. mi 5.13 - Crossroads, spot height 505, carry straight on
10 : mi 5.39 - alt. mi 5.39 - Crossroads, spot height 511, carry straight on
11 : mi 5.77 - alt. mi 5.77 - Crossroads, spot height 528, carry straight on
12 : mi 5.95 - alt. mi 5.95 - Fork, stay left
13 : mi 6.31 - alt. mi 6.31 - Bastide de Crispin (farmhouse)
14 : mi 6.64 - alt. mi 6.64 - Junction with the large track, turn right
15 : mi 7.77 - alt. mi 7.77 - Intersection and tank, turn right
D/A : mi 9.55 - alt. mi 9.55

Useful Information

Take IGN map 345OT.
Take walking shoes and water.
This walk is not recommended in rain because of the stream bed that you need to walk along.

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

Click here to see how to reach the starting point.

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

Download sheet and map

During the walk or to do/see around

The "Charnier de Signes" memorial (4), where details of this dramatic war episode are recounted. This is where resistance fighters were killed in 1944. 29 were buried here, some of them alive. A commemorative plaque explains these historical facts.

Grotte Mounoï (3) : this cave was used to film Manon des Sources in 1986. This is where they shot the scenes where Manon discovers the spring supplying the Bassin de la Perdrix belonging to the village of Bastides Blanches.

The Bassin de la Perdrix pool(6) was also used as the setting for the film "Manon des Sources".

Bottleneck between(6) and(7) : this is where, in the film, Manon is bathing with very little clothing on while being watched by Ugolin.

Bastide Château Renard between (7) and (8) : this also served as the setting for the two films. The Bastide des Romarins farmhouse is the hunchback's house.

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