R03 Papal Milestone Path
Positive elevation gain
Negative elevation gain
Min. 297 meters
Max. 479 meters
Tourist service in Valréas :A walk combining countryside and historic heritage. Interpretation panels.
The coming of the Popes to Avignon in the early 14th century made these lands politically and economically important. These new overlords greedily bought up the land all around, seeking to expand the Comtat Venaissin to the north, into the lands of the Dauphiné. Their acquisitions remodelled the region’s geopolitics; the papal boundaries were the most direct expression of the expansion of the Popes’ influence.
The new owners took care to demarcate their newly acquired lands with precise boundary markers on the borders of their properties. Thus, a number of papal enclaves sprang up in the Dauphiné.
A series of boundary-marking campaigns were carried out following these acquisitions, the remnants of three of which can still be seen today: 1324, 1414 and 1457. Twenty-four boundary markers lie on the present-day limits of the canton of Valréas / Enclave des Papes.
They are stone slabs 30 cm thick, 40 cm wide and 150 cm tall, carved with one or more coats of arms representing the identities of the feudal lords whose lands they are demarcating. Some are marked with one or two lines on top to show the direction of the territorial limits. The arms of the Comtat Venaissin, belonging to the pope, were two crossed keys; those of the Dauphins showed a dolphin. Occasionally, a third coat of arms specifies the identity of a particular feudal lord of the Dauphiné. Thus, on a marker near Bollène, we see the cross of the Bishop of Viviers. These papal boundary markers in our present-day landscape are an irrefutable reminder of our history. To discover them is to walk ancestral paths, offering much food for thought and serving as a pretext to explore the region. The papal boundary markers are currently being systematically catalogued.
Go to the route
Possible bus : Line 3 Orange-Valréas.
More information on the Bus network
Respect the regulations preserving protected natural areas – find out about restrictions to accessing the massifs during fire risk periods, from 15 June to 15 September.
Before heading out, check the website
- This is a circuit dotted with panels that enable you to learn more about the history of the Enclave des Papes and their “papal boundary markers”.
- Landscapes alternating between oaks and vineyards.
- Wonderful views of the Lance mountain, Mont Ventoux, Vinsobres.