Need to Know
V3+ difficulty. Not recommended in the opposite direction.
The Gorges de Véroncle below Murs holds a reservoir, now silted in, that powered a dozen flour mills in this rugged canyon between about 1500-1850. You can still see the ruins and tunnels and canals carved in the bedrock.
The Sorgue River emerges from the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse abyss fully formed. Producing 630-million cubic meters of water a year, this is the largest freshwater spring in France and the 5th largest in the world, gathering rain from 1,240 km2 and channeling it through a vast underground karst network to this, the only outlet. The Romans worshiped divinities of the spring, but divers only began exploring the abyss in 1878, reaching 23m. Jacques Cousteau made the deepest air dive at 74m in 1946. In 1983, scuba divers used helium-air mix to reach 205m. Robots found the bottom in the late 1980's, which lies as deep as 315m. A diver in 1997 reached 250m.
From Murs, you quickly ride into the beautiful Combe de Véroncle and onto a technical trail. You reach the famous perched village of Gordes and its dry stone architecture. After Gordes, the itinerary takes you to the Sénancole valley, a strikingly mineral landscape.
Then a long ascent lined with boxwood by the Grande Combe valley leads you to the Rocher des Trois Luisants (alt. 661 m). After, a long descent alternating trails and tracks in a rough landscape of limestone, to Saumane-de-Vaucluse and its castle. A last climb will take you above Fontaine de Vaucluse, for a final descent at a brisk pace, following the meanders of the Sorgue and its springs.
Shared By: F Felix