The name Alpilles comes from the Alpes as they are its geological prolongations as well as of Luberon. This limestone chain is situated between the towns of Arles, Avignon and Salon de Provence. Small in their dimensions, Alpilles spread over approximately 40 kilometers between Rhone and Durance, dominating Crau and the resident of the Rhone plains.
Composed of lawns, garrigues, forests, cliffs, marsh, cultures... the massif offers a rich fauna and flora. Indeed 960 species of plants, 90 species of birds, 19 species of bats, several hundreds of insects can be found. While walking in the Alpilles, perhaps you will be likely to cross Eagle of Bonelli, a vulture percnoptère, or Minioptéré de Schreibers...
Since thousands of years, farmers, shepherds and foresters exploit the massif making that way a single balanced ecosystem. The landscape is formed of vine yards and orchards, of market gardenings separated by hedges of cypresses. When moving towards the peaks, you can discover the forests of holm oak and the bunches of pine of Alep, and sometimes of cedar. Higher,can be found, the garrigues, wild bundles of asparaguses and kermes oak. And at last, thyme and rosemary.
The Alpilles, like any natural environment are a true place of life. Thus, they require a vigilant behaviour and attention. You are invited to respect private estates as well as the natural setting that Provencal people cherish.
Let’s walk in the woods safely ! Between June 1st and September 30th, walking, driving or parking in aeras exposed to the risk of fire is ruled by weather conditions.
3 levels of danger are daily defined :
ORANGE : Acces to the forest all the day long
RED : Acces to the forest between 6AM and 11AM
BLACK : Acces to the forest forbiden
Please, dial 0811 20 13 13 to get informed about the situation. Informations are updated the day before at 6PM for the following day.
You can also register to the Departement Tourism Comittee website (www.visitprovence.com). Each evening, an email will keep you informed of the access to the Alpilles forest for the day after.
The former Marsh of Les Baux
The former Marsh of les Baux de Provence is a 1400 hectares wetland between the Alpilles and Crau plain near the villages of Paradou Maussane-les-Alpilles and Mouriès. Its name comes from the village of Les Baux de Provence, whose territory included all the villages in the valley of Les Baux in the Ancien Regime. In February 2007, the former Marsh has been incorporated in Alpilles Regional Park.
The former Marsh of les Baux de Provence is a unique biological and landscape heritage as evidenced by the presence of the 221 species of birds, 44 kinds of dragonflies and 13 species of bats and several natural environments of great value. The rare species include the European Roller, Purple Heron, Bonelli’s eagle, the Cordule, the Great Horseshoe Bat and the Turtle pond turtle. Remarkable natural areas include Laurons, the gallery forests with white poplar, marshes and Mediterranean wet meadows.
Alpilles Regional Park has identified this area as an area with high natural and cultural issues. It is also part of "Natura 2000" network, under the Habitats Directive Fauna Flora and County wetland inventory. This area is also affected by the Directive Landscape.
Historically, wetlands were leases land for grazing, hunting or fishing. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the "Moutouse" or "Rush Marsh" were culticated as bedding for horses and fertilization of olive trees. In the early 70s, the marshes have been reclaimed by building dikes and installation of electric pumps to evacuate water rising from the water table surface. Currently, the former marshes leases are operated by a dozen farmers who grow field crops (wheat, sorghum, sunflower), prairie hay and livestock (cattle and sheep). About 60 ha are most affected to agriculture and have been turned back to Marsh"
At the foot of Alpilles, Les Baux marshes offer a great landscape value, recognized by connoisseurs: herds of bulls and horses, wilderness inhabited by herons, ducks and waders. Some herds may be visited. Fishermen, hunters, naturalists and hikers can explore it on foot from the Towers of Castillon, the banks of the Vallée des Baux canal or path of Ilon.
Sources d’information : http://marais-des-baux.fr/
MAISON du TOURISME
Avenue des Alpilles
Tél : +33 (0)4 90 54 33 60
Fax : +33 (0)4 90 54 41 22
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Tous les jours de 9h00 à 20h00