HALF DAY TOUR TO SAINT MAXIMIN AND THE HOLY CAVE OF SAINTE BAUME
The little town of Saint Maximin was transformed by the well-published discovery, 12 December 1279, in the crypt of Saint-Maximin, of a sarcophagus that was proclaimed to be the tomb of Mary Magdalena, signalled by miracles and by the ensuing pilgrim-drawing cult of Mary Magdalena and Saint Maximin, that was assiduously cultivated by Charles II of Anjou, King of Naples, and Count of Provence. He founded the massive Gothic Basilique Ste. Marie-Madeleine in 1295.
Even though it has never been achived, the Basilica is a gothic masterpiece, unusual in Provence. In the old town center, you will discover an interesting medieval heritage.
South of it, extends a somptuous mountain range, known as the Sainte Baume, which means the "holy cave". Even long before the christian era, this impressive massif was a place of devotion. There is a natural magic atmopshere, especially on its North slope, due to its wild and dramatic landscapes, isolate from big cities.
Why not climbing for about 30 minutes to reach the cave of Sainte Baume that gave the name to the mountain. According to the legend Maria Magdalena leaved here as an ermit until she died. There is now a small monastery on site.
The walk also worth it because of its incredible forest, very unique in Provence with some species of trees that we don't normally find in the mediterranean countries. The North slope of the mountain is like an oasis in the middle of the dry scrublands of Provence
9:00am Pick up at your hotel
9:30 Visit of Saint Maximin, its basilica and medieval city center
10:15 Drive to the Plan d'Aups - starting point for the walk
10:45 Gentle hike to reach the holy cave of Sainte Baume
12:00 Drive back
01:00pm Drop off