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Wandeling Het oude klooster van Prébayon © Genestal

Hiking around the Ancient Monastery of Prébayon

Uncover the Secrets of Sablet, the Charming Provençal Village located to the West of Mont Ventoux

Surrounded by villages whose names represent prestigious wine-growing appellations, Sablet lies above an ocean dedicated to Bacchus. People usually go there to talk wine; others are drawn by its traditional literary festival in July. However, it would be a shame not to go a step further to the sombre, thousand year old ruins of the ancient monastery of Prébayon, which lie beyond the vineyards. This chapter of local history, which has long been overlooked by visitors searching out some of Sablet’s more obvious attractions, is waiting to be explored. Séguret, a village whose astounding beauty has earned a place in the list of officially designated « Plus Beaux Villages de France », makes for the perfect detour on the way back from the monastery.

1 – From Sablet to the Ancient Monastery of Prébayon

Journey through the mountainous Dentelles

You set off across vineyards before reaching a stretch of age old conifers which appear frozen in time and place, along the climb to the Cheval Long ridge. The route offers beautiful views over the village, bathed in the morning sun. The dramatically jagged outline of the Dentelles Sarrasines stands out against the crisp blue sky, reminding us how close the quaint village of Sablet is to this rugged landscape which serves as a sanctuary for rock climbers and hikers. After passing through the Fontaine des Fées, a gap in the oak trees offers you a glimpse of the little-known cliffs of Saint-Amand. Beyond this area of woodland, hectares of vineyards form flawless furrows before the land dips further, where they disappear from view. The few passable roads you may encounter, lined with olive or cypress trees, are reminiscent of Tuscany and ahead, a narrow path dives beneath a cover of oak trees. As the vegetation becomes denser, shielding you from any noise or distraction, it is quiet enough to meditate. It is no surprise the monastery is not far away.

le saviez-vous ?

Not to be missed

The village of Sablet holds an annual literary festival where exhibitors and authors attract an audience over two days dedicated to books. This summer will be the 36th celebration of the festival, with last year’s bringing together more than 60 writers ! Taking place in July, this event is definitely something bookworms will want to add to their calendars.

Vue sur Sablet

2 – The ancient monastery of Prébayon

Monastère de Prébayon
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Did you know?

Saint Rusticula was the daughter of a lord who owned land between Séguret and Nyons. She entered the convent of Arles, where she was to become the abbess, and turned to Saint Radegund, wife of Frankish King Clovis’s son, for help to build Prébayon and enable her to return home.

1400 years of history lay beneath our feet


This secluded place sits at the bottom of a rectangular ravine, through which water from the Trignon river would have run. Many centuries ago, it would not have been cloaked in vegetation, but was home to a religious congregation of around thirty nuns, all from the most prestigious families of the Comtat and Dauphiné regions. They lived there according to the principles of Saint Benedict; in other words, work and prayer. Its foundation dates back to the year 611AD – an astonishing 1,412 years ago. However, barbarian invasions and the later flooding of the Trignon led to the gradual abandonment of the monastery towards the end of the 10th century. All that remains of the monastery today is a wall which has worn away over time, but it remains a sacred place of great spiritual importance. Centuries of wear and tear have taken its toll on the rest, and what has not collapsed has been eroded away by vegetation. In the winter months, the place is bathed in a cold but moving atmosphere, as the ruins serve as a reminder of the powerful story of these nuns who devoted their entire existence to their faith.

3 – Take a small detour through Séguret

Explore what has been officially deemed, “Un des Plus Beaux Villages de France”

On the way back from the monastery, stop off in Séguret and whilst there, why not visit the ruins of its castle which sit at the top of the hill, overlooking the village which nestles at its foot. It is a beautiful Provençal setting, elevated above vineyards and woven through by winding cobbled streets. The vast ocean of vines which stretch out beneath the village of Séguret have become internationally renowned, so it comes as no surprise that this small town is classified amongst “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France”. After passing the Porte Regnier, wander through the cobbled streets, absorbing the charm of the area. Perhaps take a seat on a café terrace, climb up one of the elegant staircases or visit a local artisan’s atelier. Séguret glimmers with natural beauty throughout the year; it is one of those villages that you fall in love with at first sight and are impatient to revisit. Fiery autumnal colours wash over the Ouvèze valley below, making for a breathtaking spectacle on the wander back towards Sablet. It truly is a magical place.

le saviez-vous ?

Did you know?

Sablet takes its name from the yellow sandstone geologists call “saffre” which makes up the bedrock of this ‘terroir’, classified in the AOC Côtes-du-Rhône Villages since 1974.

Vue depuis Séguret


This hike, full of hidden treasures at every turn, can be adapted to suit hikers of all abilities. I particularly enjoy the breadth of the view out onto the vineyards between Séguret and Sablet on autumnal evenings. A great option for lovers of beautiful landscapes and heritage sites.

David Genestal

David Genestal

Good to know

Download the step-by-step description of the route here

Find all the information about the walk here

Details:
– Distance: 15 km
– Altitude climbed: 513 m
– Duration : 4h
– Difficulty: Difficult

bus

To travel by bus: from Apt, take the ZOU bus line 904 (Route d’Orange stop)