2023 Diary

Our last walk in France, which was in June 2019, before the pandemic, had been cut short by the intolerable heat, so this time we wanted to make sure that we did not repeat the same mistake. We decided to go earlier (in May), but just in case this was too early, we would start in the warmest part of France, namely Provence. It was exciting to be planning a walk once again and we came up with an expedition of 33 days, comprising a first part in the south and a second part more northerly.

The bassin, Cucuron

In the event we only walked for ten days, with two intervening rest days. It was not our greatest trip by any means, and there were several factors contributing to this.

First of all, the weather was dreadful – cold and rainy most days (we had only one completely dry day). Also the accommodation that we had planned often turned out to be unavailable for one reason or another. The very important factor of food was another disappointment – we seemed to live on pizzas a lot, and that is at the bottom of our list of dining choices.

The last reason was that Keith was taking a course of pills which robbed him of stamina, so he was not really up to the challenge.

Poppies near Cadenet

Nevertheless there were many delightful moments, which we hope to convey in the account that follows.

A quick visual summary of this walk can be seen in the yearly photo album (keep in mind that we only remembered to take photos when the sun was shining, so the dismal weather is not so obvious).

For the statistically inclined, there is also a spreadsheet that gives details of distances, costs etc.

We no longer use commercial maps – our home-made maps have much more detail than the Google Map below. We made them using the online IGN TOP 25 map, and our overall route can be seen here, superimposed on the IGN map. For those who are interested, there is a description of how we make these maps. There is also a lot of very useful information about maps and guides in our Beginner’s Guide.

Our route for this year

The diary has been broken up into the following sections:

Château-Arnoux to La Bastide-des-Jourdans

La Bastide-des-Jourdans to Mallemort

To see icons for each night’s accommodation on this map, press the full-screen symbol at the top right and then tick the accommodation icon box at the top left.

Zoom in on a particular icon to see its precise location. These accommodation icons are also shown on all section maps.

You can also see this map using Google Earth and take a virtual flight along our route.

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