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We visit a friend near Toulon and we are going to sleep at his place. The first morning, we drive to the Hôtellerie de la Sainte-Baume, in Var département (‘county’).
Here is the mountain called Saint-Pilon, the climbing of which we are going to undertake. It looks rather formidable but in fact it’s easy enough, with good and shaded well marked paths. According to a tradition, Saint Mary Magdalene would have spent the last years of her life there and this mountain has been a place of pilgrimage since the Middle Ages. The cliff looks northwards and its shade allows a beautiful deciduous forest to grow. Those sacred woods are said to be ‘primeval’ because felling the trees has been prohibited since Gallic times. The encountered species are not Mediterranean and include beeches, oaks, maples, yews, holly. The path across the forest is marked with small religious buildings , like this oratory.
Here is the small ‘Parisians’’ chapel. St.Mary Magdalene’s church is a troglodytic sanctuary. Its small square offers a fine view.
The left side of the cave is fitted out like a usual church. During the masses, it’s possible to visit the right part. Then we go on and reach the Saint-Pilon pass, from where the view is stretching on all the Provençal massifs. Here is the Hôtellerie (hostelry) in the foreground and the Sainte-Victoire mountain in the background.
We have picnic at the summit of Saint-Pilon Mount (alt.1000m), close to a small chapel, straight above St.Mary Magdalene cave. Downwards in the forest, tiny flowers draw our attention.
We are again close to the Hôtellerie and zooming shows the sanctuary in its wild scenery, clinging to its cliff still plunged in the shade. At the end of the afternoon, when days are long, the mountain gets at last its meanest share of sun, but we can’t wait and perhaps another time we ‘ll be able to take a photo in optimal conditions.
We are now in Toulon, located on the seaside 30 km as the crow flies south-eastwards from the Sainte-Baume massif. On top of Mount Faron, a museum keeps alive painful memories. A more peaceful invention, this cableway, links the town and the hill. The view of Toulon harbour is gorgeous.
The dinner at a restaurant on St.Mandrier isthmus ends this pleasant day. The next morning, we enjoy this view on Toulon site and St.Mandrier peninsula from Sicié cape.
Now, you can see Sicié cape from a St.Mandrier’s hill.
On Six-Fours territory, this very ancient but well restored chapel is called ND.de la Pépiole. Huberaime