Exploring the Sainte-Baume Massif

Jouc de l'Aigle 1148 m

The mythic ridge of the Sainte-Baume Massif about 20 km from the Mediterranean Sea as the crow flies offers great views and extraordinary hiking. But the greatest attraction in this area is Maria Magdalena’s cave and the rather sombre chapels that were built around it. According to the legend, Maria Magdalena arrived first to Marseille and then to this remote cave where she lived for several years.

We started our hike from the Hôtellerie of Sainte-Baume (670 m), following the GR 9 trail which took us past a field before it dove into a magnificent forest (Foret Domaniale de la Sainte-Baume). We ascended along a wide trail to a crossroads where we forked right, making a detour to the cave and the chapels.

After the visit, we descended back a bit to follow the GR9 trail and ascended along it to Col du St-Pilon (953 m) on the ridge of the Sainte-Baume Massif. From here, the GR 9 trail runs to the east, following the ridge whereas to western part is marked as GR 98. We forked left as we had planned, ascending gently in a barren and rocky terrain. The trail was very well marked with white/red signs. The highest point of the ridge (1148 m) is in fact shared by two summits: Jouc de l’Aigle and Signal des Béguines, about 1,5 km further east.

From Col du St-Pilon, the ascent to Jouc de l’Aigle was only about 200 m. Just before the summit, some easy scramble was needed. A cross was erected on the summit. In spite of the haze, we saw Mont Sainte-Victoire in the northwest and the Mediterranean Sea in the south.

We used the same trail back as far as to the crossroads below the cave. Here we took the wide right-hand trail which descended in the forest to “Trois Chenes”, then headed back to our starting point less than a km away.

Climb: 480 m

Duration: 3h 10

Distance: 9,7 km

Map: IGN 3345 OT Signes Tourves Massif de la Sainte-Baume

Our GPS track is shown below

Hike trail to Jouc de l'Aigle Sainte Baume


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