Gorges de la NesqueGorges de la Nesque
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Gorges de la Nesque

Gorges de la Nesque

Located to the south of Mont Ventoux, the Nesque has cut deeply into the limestone plateau, digging a vertiginous canyon in the heart of Provence. From Monieux to Villes-sur-Auzon, the Gorges de la Nesque offer a wide variety of spectacular landscapes. They also offer outdoor enthusiasts a wide range of activities: hiking, mountain biking, cycling… Come and discover the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, in the south of France, as you never saw it.

A spectacular canyon

The Gorges de la Nesque are certainly the most spectacular gorges in the southern region of Provence, after the famous Gorges du Verdon. The once tumultuous waters of the Nesque river have patiently carved, over millions of years, impressive and vertiginous white limestone cliffs. For about twenty kilometres, the landscapes follow one another, sensational, spectacular and grandiose. The green of the vegetation contrasts with the grey of the rock to create a stunning landscape. The Gorges de la Nesque are one of the most beautiful balcony roads of France.

This wild territory has long served as a refuge for humans. Numerous prehistoric remains have been discovered here: flint tools, fragments of pottery, teeth and bones testify to the presence of Neanderthals on these lands for 150,000 years.

A tourist and panoramic road follows the route of the Gorges de la Nesque, offering several striking viewpoints. But it is on foot or by bike that you will be revealed its most precious treasures and secrets.

Hiking and nature activities

Numerous marked trails and routes have been laid out for the enjoyment of walkers. From easy, uneven walks to physical and technical itineraries, both occasional walkers and the most experienced sportsmen will enjoy walking through the mineral landscapes. Long-distance hikers can discover this exceptional natural site by taking a famous footpath in Europe: the GR® de Pays Tour du Massif du Ventoux – Gorges de la Nesque et Mur de la Peste. This 3-day loop starts in the charming Provençal village of Pernes-les-Fontaines, and enables you to discover the foothills of Mont Ventoux and the Sault region.

The tracks and paths of the gorges also welcome mountain bikers, who can alternate between ascents and descents to take in exceptional views or get as close as possible to the Nesque. Cyclists can also take to the many roads in the region. The most courageous (or the most trained) can even attempt to climb the Mont Ventoux, the legendary stage of the Tour de France.

A protected biodiversity

Birds of prey are a daily sight in the skies of Provence. If you look up, you can observe the majestic flight of the peregrine falcon or the golden eagle. More discreet, the spotted salamander comes out of its hiding place when people and other animals return to their homes. Many species of insects also flourish in the region, to the delight of amateur entomologists.

The Gorges de la Nesque are included in the Mont Ventoux “Biosphere Reserve”, which is structured around six core areas. A Natura 2000 site of 1233 hectares, between the communes of Méthamis, Blauvac and Monieux, completes this protection system.

From Monieux to Villes-sur-Auzon

Upstream from the Nesque gorges and a stone’s throw from Sault, Monieux dominates a small fertile plain, where spelt, an ancient variety of wheat and lavender have been grown for generations. The region is also famous for its truffle fields, as the Musée de la Truffe du Ventoux testifies. Take the time to stroll through the cobbled streets and discover the picturesque architectural heritage. Artists, seduced by the light and the scenery, have taken up residence in the village: you can push open the doors of their studios and discover their works.

Downstream from the Nesque gorges, Villes-sur-Auzon owes its prosperity to wine growing. The vineyards produce tasty red, white and rosé wines with the AOC Ventoux appellation (label of quality) (to be enjoyed in moderation). The circular shape of the historic village is a reminder of its medieval origins: in the past, powerful ramparts encircled it. You can stroll between the golden stone houses, or take a drive or cycle along the roads to discover the other villages on the southern foothills of Mont Ventoux.

Practical information

You can reach the Gorges de la Nesque by car from Lyon or Marseille:

  • Take the A7 motorway
  • Take exit 23 (Avignon-Nord towards Carpentras/Sorgues/Vedène)
  • Follow the direction of Carpentras, then head towards Mazan and Villes-sur-Auzon

Would you like to explore the Gorges de la Nesque on foot or by bike? We recommend that you bring suitable equipment, including
Hiking: walking shoes, sufficient water, sunglasses and hat for the sun, snacks (energy bars)…

Mountain biking: helmet, sufficient water, sunglasses and hat, snacks (energy bars)…

The massifs in the Vaucluse may be closed depending on the weather conditions, particularly during the summer season: drought, high temperatures, violent winds, etc. We also invite you to consult the page https://www.risque-prevention-incendie.fr/vaucluse/ the evening before or the same day, in order to check the access conditions to the massif.