Need to Know
Buoux is one of the world's most iconic limestone climbing areas, one of Frances "Big Three", along with Verdon and Céüse.
Bories are dry-stone construction structures in the southeast of France. Bories date back to the Ligurians, from roughly 600 BC up to Roman times. These ancient bories are often near, and sometimes integrated with, oppidum (large fortified Iron Age settlements) and ancient bergeries (enclosures for keeping sheep). Being of universal practicality, these ancient bories have been used well into modern times, or more modern but identical versions built when needed.
The Luberon region is famous for its interesting bories, which mostly date back to the 13th century. Around the 18th and early 19th centuries, farmers and shepherds built everything from small stone huts (bories) to complete small farm complexes with this method. Although the bories were very useful, the reason for building them was very basic: to clear stones from the fields.
After an abrupt start from Vitrolles-en-Luberon, you pedal on the wide ridges and steppe grasslands of the Grand Luberon. From the beautiful track, you'll enjoy panoramic views of the sea to the south and Mont Ventoux to the north. The GR9
follows the ridge in parallel, if you want an easier alternative.
If you have the legs, you can go out-and-back to visit the Mourre Nègre (1 125 m.), the high point of the Great Luberon, before diving onto the north slope and its scrub oaks. This splendid singletrack, sometimes narrow and stony, deserves all your attention.
Via the beautiful sidehill path of Marauvière, you reach Auribeau, then the vast plateau of Claparèdes and its procession of fields of lavender and dry stone bories (ancient structures). Finally, Sivergues, a Provençal village made famous by writer Henri Bosco. After Sivergues, you descend into the beautiful valley of the perennial Aiguebrun stream, by a path that starts rocky, then softens. You pass close to the spectacular climbing cliffs and fort of Buoux.
The trail then takes you up, and not without effort, to the plateau to reach the village of Bonnieux and its maze of alleys, narrow as a ladder. From there, you change mountain ranges, leaving the Grand Luberon and climbing onto the flanks of the Petit Luberon by a succession of rocky trails. Some beautiful mas (farms) and large properties punctuate this postcard route. Finally, by a beautiful, wild and demanding singletrack descent, you arrive at Lauris. Though this ancient village seems significantly off-track, it's not a big diversion by distance or elevation.
NOTE: the kind folks at the French Cycling Federation must have used a motorcycle to map this route. You should break this up into no more than 30k per day.
Shared By: F Felix