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The Sainte-Baume Guide Book…

A « little » guide book which has grown over the past ten years, whose initial purpose was to provide a link between all the people actively involved in the massif of the Sainte-Baume in Green Provence. Its 16 initial pages have turned into 52 pages in 2018, and its various editions together represent more than 150,000 copies distributed over the whole area. The Guide Book is free for its readers and entirely financed by its partners, the local players. It is edited and distributed by unpaid volunteers who are attentive to what is going on and share their passions, discoveries and knowledge in complete simplicity.

The Sainte-Baume, an exceptional wealth…

Its natural heritage

A primeval forest, protected by royal decision dating back to the Middle Ages. Today included in the Sainte-Baume Regional Nature Park, this forest administrated by the National Forestry Commission is visited by a wide range of people. Walkers in search of simple resourcing, hikers, sports people from various disciplines (running, mountain bike, caving), nature lovers come to admire its diversified canopy (oak, yew, beech, etc.) and its Mediterranean fauna and flora, and a large number of pilgrims come to pay homage to Mary Magdalene, not to mention nature cults celebrated since time immemorial.

Its cultural heritage mingling history and traditions

Legend has it that Diana, Daphne, Aphrodite, and Apollo walked its paths, the forest itself being inhabited by the presence of elves, fairies, sprites and gnomes.

A number of kings and queens came to the Sainte-Baume for various reasons. Louis IXth before leaving for Jerusalem on the crusades, François Ist, Anne of Austria to sacrifice to the fertility cult performed in the Grotte aux œufs (Egg Grotto), resulting in the birth of Louis XIVth … and a host of other anonymous visitors.

Pilgrimage is developing to pay homage to Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles, evangelist of Provence, who went into retreat in the Grotto in the heart of the Sainte-Baume forest until the end of her life before passing away in Saint-Maximin. Elevated by the angels 7 times a day to the Saint Pilon, above the grotto, she is held in great devotion and is one of the traditionally honoured saints of Provence.

Its ‘terroir’ and the people involved in its development

Winegrowers, olive oil producers, fruit growers, woodworkers, stonemasons, metalworkers … all trades flourish side by side in the Sainte-Baume. An economy nourished by its local players, entrepreneurs, craftsmen, and by its inhabitants.

The absolute musts of the Sainte-Baume …

  • The public woodland, the « Chemin des Roys » (Kings’ Road), Mary Magdalene’s grotto and the Col du Saint Pilon in the Plan d’Aups commune
  • The coolers in Mazauges and Auriol
  • The sources of the Huveaune river in Nans-les-Pins
  • Hiking trails starting out from Nans-les-Pins, Rougiers or Saint-Zacharie
  • The basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene in Saint-Maximin
  • The « Musée des Gueules Rouges » (Bauxite Miners’ Museum) in Tourves
  • Wine tourism

Markets

Meeting places with producers and local inhabitants. In summer, craftsmen present their creations at the « nocturnal » markets.

–> List of weekly markets

–> List of Tourist Offices

–> Local events

  • Whitsun
    • Pilgrimage of the Saints of Provence
  • June
    • Correns musical jousts
  • July
    • Plan d’Aups festivities
  • July-August
    • Mazaugues musical evenings
    • Nans-les-Pins cavalcade
  • August
    • Cuges-Auriol transhumance
    • Cotignac « Rock » Festival
    • Harvest Festival in Tourves
    • Bouchon tourvain (authentic Tourves restaurant)
    • Argilla Pottery Market in Aubagne
    • Wine harvesting festival in La Cadière d’Azur
  • September
    • Chick pea festival in Rougiers
    • Wood festival in Plan d’Aups
  • October
    • Quince festival in Cotignac

More info from the local Tourist Offices