Fontaine de Vaucluse: the giant spring of Provence
Fontaine de Vaucluse: a walk
Fontaine de Vaucluse has for time immemorable attracted artist and scientist that were both inspired and intrigued by this water source. Nestled at the end of a valley, at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, this natural spring is a wonderful place to enjoy a great day out, hiking up to this karst spring that overflows the river depending on the period of the year.
One of the biggest springs on earth
With an average flow of 630 million cubic metres per year, Fontaine de Vaucluse is the biggest karst spring of France and the third biggest worldwide. Depending on when you are walking up to the source, you will notice quite a big difference in its water level: usually in summer and winter, the spring is at its lowest level, meaning that most of the time during these few months, the water does not gush out of its bed. However, during spring and autumn, the water flow increases drastically thanks to the water and melting snow that infiltrates the soil of the Monts de Provence, the Lure mountain and the Mont Ventoux. The catchment of Fontaine de Vaucluse is of about 1100km2 and is the only place where the water gushes out of the soil in the entire department of Vaucluse.
The myths and the unknown
Fontaine de Vaucluse is « home » to two different legends: the legend of the Coulobre and the legend of the Nymph. The first one is story of the dragon, the Coulobre, that lived in the valley and that was chased by Saint Veranus. The second one is the legend of the nymph that appeared to a young man, Basil, that fell asleep on the path that leads to the spring. The nymph showed the young man how, by using diamonds, she increased the power of the water source.
On a more scientific note, Fontaine de Vaucluse attracted many scientists that were interested in discovering the maximum depth of this iconic spring: after 100 years of exploration, the finally reached a sandy bottom in 1985, at -308 metres.
Walking up to the source is amazing all year round as gives you the opportunity to discover one the nicest village and most beautiful spring in France. A hike in the Mont de Vaucluse is also highly recommended!
Our walking and cycling trips in fontaine de vaucluse
Our walking tour:
Our cycling tour: