The Canal de Marseille and Aqueduc de Roquefavour

A Ventabren walk posted on 26/02/16 by slinky. Update : 31/03/16

Leaving from Ventabren, a walk in the surrounding hills and then along the Canal de Marseille and ending at the Aqueduc de Roquefavour.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h50[?]
Distance Distance : 7.5mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 499ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 512ft
Highest point Highest point : 820ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 515ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Ventabren (13122)
Starting point Starting point : N 43.534678° / E 5.298949°
Map IGN Map (Click to buy) : Ref. 3143ET
Download : -

Description

Reach the heights of Ventabren via the Chemin du Plateau. Park at the start of a very large car park on the last bend, before you get to two sports facilities.

Few yellow markers that are not very visible

(D/A) Find the information-point signs at the entrance to the car park. Facing the signs, turn left on the track going southeast. Ignore an old botanical trail going off to the left and continue until you reach a barrier. Continue on the left to reach an intersection with two signs including one offering a "prière de la forêt" (prayer of the forest).

(1) Go left on the track that descends slightly. A few old signs from the old botanical trail are doing their best to resist the passage of time. Ignore a barely-visible trail to the left which leads to an old orientation table and continue straight on at the next junction.
The path descends a little more steeply, making two turns to before arriving at a tarmac road (D64). Continue straight on the road for about 300m up to a junction.

::2: Turn left on the Chemin des Marseillais in the direction of Le Ginestie. Pass the road on the left leading to Le Ginestie, and the right-hand path that accesses the house, and continue straight on to a gravel car park.

(3) Take the AR117 track, which is the left-most one in the car park, cross the barrier and climb through the pine forest.
Ignore a poorly marked path to the left and then after 300m, a path to the right.
Continue straight on and then pass a path to your left that leads to a hunting lodge (not marked on the map). Continue on the path and get to an intersection just after the tank 429. Follow the right-hand trail that offers beautiful views of Ventabren on the left-hand side and then over Eguilles, the TGV viaduct and the Sainte-Victoire mountain. The path goes down to join the hollow of a small valley.

(4) Move away from the paths to the left and right to follow the path that climbs along opposite a fence.
After going eastward, the path descends down to a tarmac road. Turn right to walk up this road for 100m until you reach a bridge over the TGV line. Cross the bridge to the left and go left again to reach the edge of the canal.

(5) Turn right along the Canal de Marseille to get to a small bridge. N.B. From this bridge until the next, all the paths on the right are inaccessible because they lead to a private property.
Turn left, cross the bridge and turn immediately right along the left bank of the canal. The path is narrow and close to the canal, so be careful if you're walking with children (or dogs). After 800m on this path, you'll reach another bridge.

(6) Ignore the path to the left and cross the bridge before going left along the canal, going under the TGV track. Follow the path and continue with a path coming from the right. Climb up slightly to leave the canal which goes under a tunnel, you'll come out on a tarmac road.
Cross the road and continue opposite, past the barrier and back onto the path. Ignore a path to the left and continue until you find an junction.

(7) Leave the track and turn left up to a new bridge. Do not cross it, but turn right along the canal. Follow this small trail along the contours of the canal to another bridge.
Ignore the bridge to the left, and the path to the right, and continue to follow the canal along the same bank.
Keep going until you reach two blue pipes that cross the canal.

(8) Leave the bank of the canal and turn right on a trail that climbs up. Join a track that comes from the right and continue left to reach a wide path. Follow it right, ignore a path that comes up very quickly on the right and take another right-hand track on a bend.
Continue to climb straight ahead, ignore another path to the right and reach a crossroads of four tracks.

(9) Turn left, pass the barrier and continue to climb southward to get to the entrance of a Celto-Ligurian oppidum (sign). Continue on the path and discover the remains of a few walls that are still there. Turn left in front of the walls and then right to reach the edge of the cliff.
Warning: the cliffs have no barriers.
Follow the cliff to the right and along the wooden barriers to get to a platform in line with the Aqueduc de Roquefavour.

(10) Turn your back to the aqueduct, cross the esplanade and continue straight ahead (north) to join a track. Ignore this track and continue left, and follow this until you get back to the first ruins. Keep going in the same direction to pass the entrance of the oppidum again, and to get back to the four crossing paths.

(9) Ignore the paths to the right and left and continue opposite on the path that climbs up to a small plateau. The track will descend slightly and then takes you to a crossroads.
Ignore the tracks AR208 and AR117 to your right and follow the left-hand path. After 200m, turn left to return to the gravel car park you saw on the outward leg.

(3) Continue straight and return on the D64 - the same way as you came.

(2) Cross the road and continue opposite, past the barrier. Ignore the very steep, rocky right-hand path and take the one that goes up slightly to the left (they meet further up).
After 100m, get back to the right-hand path and then ignore two successive paths off to the left to continue on the main path. 400m further on, take a path coming from the left and continue to the right. A final small climb leads to an intersection with exotic plants. Turn left and to find the intersection with the two signs.

(1) Continue straight on to get back to the car park (D/A).

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0
1 : mi 0.1 - alt. mi 0.1 - Intersection with 2 information signs
2 : mi 0.78 - alt. mi 0.78 - D64 junction - Chemin des Marseillais
3 : mi 0.9 - alt. mi 0.9 - Gravel car park
4 : mi 2.05 - alt. mi 2.05 - Small valley
5 : mi 2.93 - alt. mi 2.93 - Right along the canal
6 : mi 3.72 - alt. mi 3.72 - Cross the bridge
7 : mi 4.14 - alt. mi 4.14 - Left towards the bridge
8 : mi 5.14 - alt. mi 5.14 - Leave the canal
9 : mi 5.35 - alt. mi 5.35 - Intersection of four paths
10 : mi 5.74 - alt. mi 5.74 - Aqueduc de Roquefavour
D/A : mi 7.5 - alt. mi 7.5

Useful Information

You can start from the car park at (3) for a loop of approximately 10km.

We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 3143ET.

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

A trip to the village of Ventabren is possible, leaving your car in the start-point car park.
Aqueduc de Roquefavour which carries water from the Durance river to Marseille.

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