Cézanne’s windmill and the Zola dam

A lovely walk which includes a chance to see Cézanne’s Windmill, to discover the ancient ruins of the Roman aqueduct and its waterfall and the Zola dam. In the distance you can see Mont Sainte-Victoire.

Technical sheet
No. 153064
A Le Tholonet walk posted on 10/09/15 by laurence30. Update : 23/12/18
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h50[?]
Distance Distance : 4.31mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 1004ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 1004ft
Highest point Highest point : 997ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 591ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Sainte-Victoire (Massif)
Location Location : Le Tholonet (13100)
Starting point Starting point : N 43.522264° / E 5.510519°
Map IGN Map (Click to buy) : Ref. 3143ET, 3244ET
Download : -
Cézanne's windmill


Access : Arriving from Aix-En-Provence on the D17 (Route Cézanne), at the first car park on the right after the castle.

(D/A) From the car park, tackle the road to the right on the D17 (Route Cézanne) and, at the fork, stay on the left of the road until Cézanne’s windmill. Turn left, walk past the windmill. When alongside the cemetery, pass by the road headed right and left and continue ahead to on the Chemin de Doudon. Turn left at the gate, cross the fence and continue for approximately 210 m.

(1) Head left along the poorly marked trail (Yellow dots on a stone) which climbs up through the rocks, then back down to meet up with a path to the left. Head down this path (Red markings) as far as the ancient ruins of the Roman aqueduct and its little waterfall. Cross the water and climb the winding footpath ahead, passing behind Tholonet castle and arriving at an intersection. Take the stairs down to the small road below (at the information board).

(2) Turn right (Green markings). At the next intersection, turn right crossing the fence and head due north along a steep hill as far as the next intersection.

(3) Continue in the same direction (still marked with Green) on the trail that turns left soon afterwards, and heads down towards the log cabin (with picnic tables) and the Zola dam. Cross the dam, head uphill along the safety fence and follow the trail which heads south. Once this path turns left towards the east, look out for a trail ahead between rocky bars (with Green dots).

(4) The path heads downhill and joins a trail. Follow this to the left as far as the next intersection.

(5) Turn right (Yellow markings). Pass in front of the Doudon Aqueduct. Follow the path downhill to the right, heading west. It opens out further on to meet up with point (1).

(1) Return to the start along the first path of the walk.

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 591ft
1 : mi 0.37 - alt. 725ft - Car park
2 : mi 1.02 - alt. 604ft - Barrage romain
3 : mi 1.33 - alt. 656ft - Crossroads after Tholonet castle
4 : mi 1.82 - alt. 945ft - Crossroads before the dam
5 : mi 2.41 - alt. 771ft - Barrage Zola
6 : mi 2.88 - alt. 971ft - Crossroads after the dam
7 : mi 3.3 - alt. 932ft - Turn right, yellow markings
D/A : mi 4.31 - alt. 591ft

Useful Information

The car park is located after Tholonet castle, to the right when arriving from Aix en Provence.

There are picnic tables just before you arrive at the dam.

We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 3143ET, 3244ET.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

  • Cézanne’s windmill.
  • Tholonet castle.
  • The ruins of the ancient aqueduct and its waterfall.
  • Zola dam
  • Panoramic view over Mont Sainte-Victoire

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4.61/5
Number of opinions : 97
Description quality : 4.58/5
Routemap quality : 4.6/5
Walk interest : 4.67/5

on Tue 08 Oct 2019 13:22:52 CEST

Global average : 4.67 / 5

Date of walk : 19/09/19
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Very good

We really enjoyed this walk and there is something for everyone. It starts with a pleasant climb up through the trees, and emerges into high land with vivid red soils and green vegetation. The views at the dam are very good. The starting point has a large free car park.

The instructions are fine but lose a little in translation from the French but its Ok if you keep attentive (example:- at one point the route is described as going behind a castle, but not the sort we get in the UK - the original word 'chateau' would be better. Also some low barriers across the tracks are described as 'gates').

Overall a good walk and well worth doing - recommended.

Moderator hiker
on Tue 13 Nov 2018 15:52:21 CET

Glad to hear it! Thanks for your feedback

on Mon 05 Nov 2018 09:12:42 CET

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 05/11/18
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

Loved this walk! So fun for kids too, it was a bit longer than described but otherwise it’s a perfect description!

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