I have lived in Provence for around 5 years now and have always wanted to go up to the top of the famous St Victoire. I have had picnics around the bottom several times and once made it up to the refuge. But never to the top - until now!
The St Victoire is a limestone mountain ridge in the South of France close to Aix en Provence. It is around 18km long and over 1,000 meters tall. There is a huge 19 meter cross at the top called the Croix de Provence which stands out the most on the ridge.
The St Victoire mountain scape was painted many times by one of my favourite artists - Paul Cézanne (I will include several paintings below). I want to write a blog post more in depth about Cézanne and his life in Provence as it might be interesting to some of you.
The climb to the top was harder than I had anticipated. It took us a total of 6 and a half hours from the start to the end. Including a break for lunch, a stop at the top to admire the views and several stops on the way. I'm not a fit person, I don't exercise etc, so for me this was such a hard hike. But it was worth it in the end. It was great to tick that off my list and feel proud of myself for completing it.
We parked down by the Barrage de Bimont where there is a free car park. Then we crossed the dam, which is currently empty due to having work done on it. We walked around the front of the mountain and up to the top, then on the way down, we walked down the side. We did this to get different views, but also the way up was quite a hard route, and it would have been very slippy on the way down. So we decided to be safe and take the easier route.
I am so glad I finally did this, and if you're a sporty person or into your hikes, this one is not to be missed when visiting Provence. It is truly wonderful with magnificent views over the vineyards, olive trees and Provence towns. Enjoy!