Balade Nature Foret Sainte Baume Source Des Nayes Oti AubagneBalade Nature Foret Sainte Baume Source Des Nayes Oti Aubagne
©Balade Nature Foret Sainte Baume Source Des Nayes Oti Aubagne|JPVallorani

Massif de la Sainte‑Baume

OUR LEGENDARY TRACKS

The Sainte-Baume, a limestone mountain range straddling the Var and Bouches-du-Rhône departments, stretches from Tourves to Aubagne.

Le Regional Natural Park

The Sainte-Baume Regional Natural Park covers about 81,000 hectares and its summit peaks at 1148 m, an altitude equal to that of Grand Luberon and Sainte Victoire.

It boasts a Northern slope that is unique in Provence because very wet and covered with a humid vegetation consisting of deciduous trees and boxwood, valued for its coolness and its shade.

The Southern side is characterized by a gentle slope, bathed in sunshine and arid vegetation.

Water seeps into the rock to resurface in the foothill springs of the mountain and in the fountains of the villages around.

A rich religious heritage

Several religious orders established abbeys and monasteries around the Sainte-Baume. Its cliffs are home to Mary Magdalene’s grotto, an important place of pilgrimage.

On the way to Santiago de Compostela, you can stop at the “Hostellerie de la Sainte-Baume”, where the Dominican friars still carry out their mission as guardians of this unique site.

The Huveaune

This small coastal river rises in Nans-les-Pins in the Sainte-Baume massif and flows through the Pays d’Aubagne et de l’Étoile into the Mediterranean Sea in Marseille.

The Huveaune is 48.4 km long and drains a region of 198 km covering part of the Sainte-Baume, the Etoile Mountain range and the Saint-Cyr range, as well as the Marseilles district.

Among its tributaries are: the Peyruis (Saint-Zacharie), the Vede and the Merlançon  (Auriol), the Fauge (Gémenos) and the Jarret (Marseille).

To be discovered: The fairies’ tral of the Huveaune

Les Encanaux Spring

The spring of Encanaux:

This remarkable site of the village of Auriol is the starting point for Hiking to the Sainte-Baume massifs.

It is a pleasant walk along the river up to its spring. The site is fitted out with picnic tables and a sports course.

The icehouse of Encanaux:

Ice manufacture on the Sainte-Baume Mountain developed from the 17th century until the early 20th century.
The Sainte-Baume range was home to nearly twenty ice houses that supplied an area from Marseille to Toulon.
The Glacière des Encanaux (icehouse) is a testimony to this bygone activity. This old ice well was built in the 17th century.

La Grotte des Charbonniers (The Coalmen Cave):

Reachable from the Encanaux, the Infernets cave, or “Coalmen Cave”, about 120 meters deep, was discovered in 1895.
Remains dating from the Neolithic period were found there (axes, scrapers …) testifying of a prehistoric human settlement.