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near Taillades, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (France)
On this hike, you will explore the extreme western ridges of Petite Luberon. Starting at Taillades, you mount Petite Luberon by the narrow Gorge de Badarel and continue to Crane de Colombier. Now, you descend to Robion by Vallon de la Brayette. To really explore the mountain cliffs between Robion and Taillades, you return to Taillades by mounting the Rochers de Baude and you continue around the Sommet du Castelas. It is great mountain walking that requires a sturdy foot and you should not suffer too much from vertigo.
This walk has an even shorter alternative, described below under Alternative Route, and the walk is a very good options on days with Mistral winds from the north. Most of the cliff face between Taillade and Robion are well protected from the Mistral, and for an alternative return to Taillade from the 500 meter point, turn right down to the Bergerie below (see map). The whole valley back down to the village of Vidauque is very well protected from the Mistral. You will have to map read your way from the bottom of the valley and accross to the forest road leading you to Taillade. Head for the water reservoir (citern) near l'Aiguille and continue the yellow marked route all the way back.
Start off from Taillades (parking at le Mairie) along Avenue Luberon. When you have passed the cemetery, you take the first road to the right. You are now on a yellow marked hiking trail and you walk up this road till the end, trip over a low barrier and continue to the next yellow signpost (about 10 min from Taillade). Take care; you have 3 choices: Follow the sign for “Le Castelas” 0,8km. You quickly enter the Gorge du Badarel and it will take you another 35 min to walk up the Gorge until you have the next yellow signpost in sight. (It’s here the yellow path from the T-junction described below joins in.). However, you continue upwards in the direction of “Le Pin de Maillet”.
Another 5 minutes, and you are done with the main climbing for now. Nice spot for lunch here. The yellow path follows nicely along a ridge all the way to the 500 meters point, just after Crane de Colombier (1h 30min from Taillades). The yellow signpost at the 500 meters point says “Le Pin de Maillet” straight on, but you don’t want that. Take the unmarked trail to the left here, and just pass straight on at the next yellow signpost after only 200m (follow “ROBION”, written on the stone). If you don’t want to wait a good half an hour for lunch, take lunch somewhere up here.
Here, this walk has been extended to include Vallon de la Sapine and the return walk along the "Crete" to about where you are now. No description exists yet, you just have to follow the GPX-file route ( or VisoRando link).
The path for Robion takes you down through the forest along the Brayette valley and after about 30 minutes you are out on the cliff sides above Robion. Follow the path along the cliff side and later steeply down towards Robion. Try and follow the old yellow markings, but it really don’t matter much. I think all the paths down ends up at the same place on the small tarmac road between Taillades and Robion (2h 45min from Taillade) . This will be close to the 169 meter point and the water reserve.
Follow the small tarmac road south towards Taillades. After about 5 minutes, you pass a high point on the road, but only some 200 meters further down you see a yellow signpost. Take off the road here to the left onto the yellow marked path for “Le Castelas”. First the path crosses the woods, but soon you start climbing up into the cliffs between Robion and Taillades (well marked yellow trail). The path is surprisingly wide all the way, and fairly easy to walk apart from the share physical challenge of climbing upwards again. Fantastic views from the cliffs.
About 40 minutes from taking off the tarmac road below, you see a yellow cross on a large stone on your right, just as a type of steep path turns straight down the valley. You don’t take right here, but after only another 10-13 minutes’ walk you get to a T-junction. The yellow marked path goes up to the left, but I suggest you take down to the right in order to short cut the walk by as much as 1 hour’s hard walk.
Turning down right in the T-junction will mean 10-15 minutes on a steep path with rolling stones. It means you need a sturdy foot, but take it easy (hold on to small trees and branches with both hands – no walking sticks!) and you will arrive at a sort of small junction after 10-15 minutes. Turn left here and you will find yourself on an old orange marked path, which follows boundary markings (red on white background). Keep following this path fairly straight and make sure you don’t lose the boundary markings or the orange marking.
After only some 15 minutes along this orange path, you arrive down in Gorge de Badarel on the yellow marked path you were on this morning, and take right here, and you will be back in Taillades in another 15 minutes.