Garagaï hole, Sainte Victoire mountain, AixGaragaï hole, Sainte Victoire mountain, Aix

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  • Off the path Explo
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    Famous mountain but singular way to discover it!
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      5 / 5
      Very nice description and tips Fritz!
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      Yes. And you added many plans!
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      Yes, many!
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A vast natural cavity dug by the erosion forms a curious tunnel linking the Northern to the Southern side of the Sainte Victoire mountain.

My experience, Explo description: 

The north opening side of the tunnel is a hole about 7 to 8m in diameter. Beware, the rock is a bit slippery there.

The North opening side of the tunnel is a hole about 7 to 8m in diameter. Beware, the rock is a bit slippery there.

The vault of the tunnel is approximately 50m long. The cavity widens little by little and the South opening is 15m in diameter.

Approximately 10m lower, under the vault, you can find a small platform which is very pleasant for a fresh picnic.

At the Southern exit of Garagaï, on the left side of the trail, you can notice the entrance of a 150m deep abyss : it is called "Petit Garagaï", only accessible for well equipped speleologists.

You can take advantage of the cave to observe numerous birds which nest in the cavity : swallows, straps, hawks...

My personal recommendations: 

I advise non experimented hikers to go up using the "Venturiers" trail (see related article) from Vauvenargues to Priory, then to the Cross and finally to the Northern entrance of Garagaï, and return by the same path.

For more expert hikers, who know rock climbing, I advise to go up by the yellow trail of Bau Cézanne (see related article), to visit the Priory, the Cross and the Garagaï, and to come down by the green trail. It might be useful to have a 20m long rope to insure your mates in some parts of the descent.

How getting there: 
  • North access :

From the Croix de Provence (Cross of Provence) : go down on the GR9 trail (white and red signs) and follow it Eastwards. Then cross a first little pass with a beautiful sigh on the South side of the mountain : it is called "le balcon de l’arène" (918m, 2 minutes from the cross).

Just before the second pass, on the right, go up some metres (black and green signs) to discover the Northern entrance Garagaï, hidden behind a natural rail of rocks, approximately 5 minutes from the cross.

See related articles to get information about the access to Croix de Provence.

  • South access :

The Garagaï tunnel is crossed by 2 trails :

1) The black trail of "Saint-Antonin", which leaves from the Deux Aiguilles car park.
2) The green trail, or Forcioli trail, shorter but more technical, who joins the Cézanne shelter and the Plan d’Anchois car park.

These 2 routes have a common arrival : they join at a height of 770m, at the basis of a vast mass of fallen rocks.

Attention : these 2 routes are easier on the way up than to the descent !!

1) The black trail of Saint-Antonin :

Departure : car park of Deux Aiguilles, 600m (E) from Saint Antonin village.

Take the trail which is the most on the right, leading to the cliff (black signs). After 20mn, you will reach the basis of a of 7m high paving stone which you will cross in oblique to the left : it is called "le pas de l’éléphant" (the elephant step), due to a big hole into the rock.

Then, the trail still go West. Please follow the black signs !

After 50 minutes, you will reach the basis of a vast mass of fallen rocks, where you will join the green trail.

2) The green trail or Forcioli trail :

Departure : Plan d’Anchois car park. Go up on the red trail towards the Cézanne shelter. Just before the shelter, follow the green signs and take a trail leaving on the right, which joins a brown signs trail. Always go eastward. 35 mn away from the car park, the green trail goes left and joins the cliff at the basis of the "écaille de tortue", a big detached plate which you will climb on its left side. Please follow carefully the green signs. After a second obstacle, you will the basis of the big mass of fallen rocks and the black trail.

If you do not have a car, there is a bus service (la Victorine) connecting the mentioned car parks. The buses leave at "La Rotonde" (Aix en Provence main square). Fees : 1.1€.

Bus schedules :

Useful information: 
Visit duration: 

Time to go up : 2.00h. To g down : 1.45h.

Entry fees: 

Free !

Access security: 

Attention : access is restricted in summer for the prevention of the fires : from June 1st till September 15th. Information phone : 0811 20 13 13

Use good shoes because of the very rocky ground, and plan to take with you at least 1 litre of water per person, and even 2l in warm period.

In summer, you should start your walking tour early, before the warm hours.

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