Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Encore Provence; Part 4. Mt Ventoux

This is one seriously weird mountain! White at the top as if covered with snow. And “vent” is the French for wind. Our first few days in Sablet were very windy, in fact a mild Mistral, so we weren’t going up Ventoux then. But Tuesday was bright, clear and calm, so off we went.

This mountain is used as one stage of the Tour de France. We approached from Malaucene. Every kilometre there were little markers with the distance to the summit and the degree of grade, such as 12%, over the next kilometre. I am told you can buy replicas as souvenirs. There are also photographers lying in wait who will photograph your upwards efforts and have the prints ready for you at the summit. After all that work, who could resist?

Naturally the road was steep and winding. A few kilometres out we reached the timberline where pine gave way to a low scrub and then…nothing! Just a white scree that made the mountain seem like a giant’s sandcastle. Driving up was eerie, no trees, just a low wooden barrier which in itself is unusual for French roads. This is so difficult to photograph because everything is white. This was the best I could do.


The approach with just a tiny patch of snow

The top was spectacular. Views to forever, in fact about 250km to Mt Blanc, and this feeling still that it was all somehow artificial. There truly are no rocky outcrops or areas that look stable. In fact, it all looks like it will slip downhill if you step off the road. Which may explain the marked run below.

The summit with communication equipment
A marked run of some sort, maybe a ski run or walking track


Nick’s panorama from the summit

And the rather over-processed picture with Mt Blanc in the background


But the most fun was had using the polarisor on the camera with the blue skies and white scree

ventoux1 ventouxsummit2

Then down the mountain, the way marked by snow poles (and the memorial to the cyclist who died on the ascent).


Well worth the visit, and the cyclists say well worth the effort. They seem to want to do it again and again.

Next episode, visits to further places from Sablet.


  1. Love the polarized shots. And all the earlier village photos. Truly charming and colorful!

  2. Many thanks Tour. Keeping up to date is getting more difficult.