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La Montagne Sainte Victoire


The Sainte Victoire montain the back spine of a natural rock mass, is a small massif: 18 Km long, 5 Km wide at an altitude of 1 011 metres. On the south side, after a brutal drop by a vertical cliff, lies the Cengle Plateau.


SAINTE VICTOIRE HAS MANY CENTRES OF INTEREST:

VARIETY OF NATURAL SITES
    - Serrate ridges and rocky cliffs
    - Calcerous slopes with sparce vegetation
    - Green meadows watered by brooks the Cause, the Infernet and The Bayon
    - The Bimont and Zola Lakes
    - Agriculture of Cengle and the surrounding Valleys (Vauvenargues, Tholonet)

VARIETY OF ITS TREASURES

    - A geological treasure: dinosaur egg and bone layers
    - A pre-historical treasure
      * Celto ligures relics: Untinos and Branefan Oppidums
      * Roman Relics: Tholonet Roman dam
      * 5th and 17th century worship: Ermitage de Saint Ser, Prieuré de Sainte Victoire
    - Architectural treasure: 14th century Vauvenargues castle and fortifications
    - Plant-life treasure: mediterranean vegetation on the south side and Alpine vegetation on the north side.
    - Ecological treasure ; part from the traditional faun (wild board, hares...) Sainte Victoire is also the privileged site of certain birds of prey: Bouelli, eagles, buzzards, sparrowhawks...

POINT DE REPERE DU PAYSAGE REGIONAL

La Montagne Sainte Victoire has inspired many artists: Cézanne, Picasso, Kandinsky. It is also the place of residence of well known contemporary authors, Jacqueline de Romilly (Franch Academy), Georges Duby (French Academy), Edmonde Charles-Roux (Goncourt Academy).

EVENTS CONCERNING THE MASSIF

Between the 28th and 31st August 1989, an extremely ferocious fire burnt 5000 acres of land , i.e. 60% of the listed site, destroying the faun on the south side and uncovering Layers, grottors, ruins and relics. Three villages were concerned by the fire: Beaurecueil, St Antonin sur Bayon and Puyloubier.
In February 1990, the "Intercommunal Syndicate of the Sainte Victoire massif" was created, regrouping the neighbouring villages, with the object of rehabilitating this patrimony, so dear to the Aixois.
After cleaning the massifs, a ground study was drawn up before starting the reafforestation. As of 1992 planting began, depending on the nature of the ground, where the natural regeneration was weak and by producing the species which had disappeared.
All the Forested regeneration techniques were put into use.
After 5 years of work, 1995 will see the new Massif ready to welcome its public again.

SAINTE VICTOIRE, PARADISE OF CLIMBERS AND HIKERS


In Provence la Montagne Sainte Victoire is an exceptional site. Its high white cliffs have for a long time interested geologists, climbers and hikers.

Climbing a sport more and more popular and Sainte victoire has become over the years a paradise for these climbers.
It all started about in 1940 with just an Alpine feeling for the mountain, then in the sixties the golden age for climbing started. Later came the discovery of hidden, as well as daring, tracks and paths and the climbers started deserting the main tracks for the secondary ones. Two of these become a legend: Les 2 Aiguilles et Saint Ser. Nearly all the cliffs of la Montagne Sainte Victoire are on the south side in the winds. The sheltered areas are mentioned in the book edited by the "Comité Départemental des BdR", the Fédération Française de la Montagne et de l'Escalade", refer also to the book written by D. Gorgeon, P. Legier and E. Palomar "Escalade en Pays d'Aix".

Hiking on Sainte Victoire is a favourite pastime on Sundays. The whole family is there, gourd on the shoulder, to walk, to admire the nature and take a breath of fresh air. Thanks to the map of the "Association des Excursionnistes Provençaux" the paths are marked out depending on their difficulty in order that everyone has a chance to benefit from the effort and have pleasure in hiking.

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