Destination Guide: Saint Leger, France

The wonderful limestone valley of Saint Leger is home to hundreds of quality sport routes. Many of the routes are in the F7-8 grade range, but there are a smattering of worthwhile easier routes too. However to make the most of a multi-day trip at this venue, being able to operate in the mid F7 grades is probably best. For teams climbing at F6a-c other venues in this region are better - Orpierre for example.

Geoff Unger smashes the classic 7a of La Lévrotte on a great vertical wall at Saint Léger © Jack Geldard
Geoff Unger smashes the classic 7a of La Lévrotte on a great vertical wall at Saint Léger
© Jack Geldard

The climbing is mainly on the sunny south facing side of the river, where there are many sectors, however for the hotter days there is the shady side of the valley which is home to the less extensive but still good Face Nord, which stays out of the sun all day.

The climbing style is varied on pockets, crimps and tufas, with a mixture of short and long routes, mainly overhanging, sometimes extremely so.

The approach is short and flat; a pleasant stroll up the valley by the side of the river. The base of the crag is generally flat and friendly and the valley has no road, making it quiet and tranquil.

Saint Léger is in many ways a classic example of French sport climbing. Amazing rock, well bolted routes, beautiful scenery, excellent camping and restaurants nearby, and usually perfect weather. Did I mention the wine?

Dougal Taverner all guns blazing on the shortish, but power-endurance 8a of Hilti Blues © Stephen Horne
Dougal Taverner all guns blazing on the shortish, but power-endurance 8a of Hilti Blues
© Stephen Horne

A climber on the brilliant long 8a of La Farce Tranquille © Stephen Horne
A climber on the brilliant long 8a of La Farce Tranquille
© Stephen Horne

Logistics

When do I go?
The prime time is spring and autumn. However in summer it is possible to climb on the shady North Face and in winter the south facing crags do get a lot of sun, so if you get good weather you could be lucky.

Where do I fly to?
The closest airports that are served by budget airlines are Grenoble (2.5 hours from the crag) and Nimes (1.5 hours from the crag). A car is fairly essential for this crag as it is not close to a village and access on foot or by public transport would be difficult.

Where do I stay?

Campsites abound in this area, and can be found around the nearby towns of Vaison-la-Romanie or Mollans-sur-Ouveze .The village of Buis les Baronnies is 15km away and is a popular spot. More info is on the Buis les Baronnies website.

NOTE: Van camping is not tolerated at the parking for the crag.

There is a small gite a few km from the crag, halfway down the small approach lane, but the closest accommodation to the crag itself is the bergerie-des-salamandres gite which is situated at the crag parking.

15 minutes drive from St Leger is a gite, B+B and small caravan for rent from UKC user Enty. There's more info here: provencerock.com

What about eating out?
There are plenty of restaurants in the surrounding villages.

Where can I buy gear and food?
Vaison and Buis les Baronnies are your best bet for a bigger shop. with a variety of shops, bakeries, etc. The smaller villages nearer to the crag often have bakeries and small local stores.

What else is there apart from the climbing?
Fantastic wine, amazing scenery and top class road cycling.

Which guidebook do I need?

France : Haute Provence (Dec 2009)

France : Haute Provence The first in a series of guidebook to the brilliant sport climbing found in the South of France. Haute Provence covers the crags from Cse in the north, through Orpierre, Buis...
More info

St Leger Panorama © Alan James
St Leger Panorama
Alan James - UKC and UKH, Apr 2012
© Alan James

Photo Gallery

Unknown French gadger on Thierry Golé - 7C

Unknown French gadger on Thierry Golé - 7C
© Enty

Jerry Peel on a 7b at La Baleine - St Leger du Ventoux

Jerry Peel on a 7b at La Baleine - St Leger du Ventoux
© Enty

Crankin!

Crankin!
© Rich Kirby

Le Maître et son Disciple, St Leger.

Le Maître et son Disciple, St Leger.
© jon

Enty on the best 6C at St Leger

Enty on the best 6C at St Leger
© Enty

Rainbow at St Leger

Rainbow at St Leger
© Chris the Tall

Milesi

Milesi
© Seymore Butt

Terry Holmes on the best 6C at St Leger

Terry Holmes on the best 6C at St Leger
© Enty

Adam Jeeworth, 8a, Saint Leger, France

Adam Jeeworth, 8a, Saint Leger, France
© mikerolf

St Leger du Ventoux

St Leger du Ventoux
© John Reed

Piedra Salvage

Piedra Salvage
© Seymore Butt

The cliffs of St Leger du Ventoux from the summit of Mont Ventoux

The cliffs of St Leger du Ventoux from the summit of Mont Ventoux
© Enty


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21 Apr, 2012
How about taking this article down too?
21 Apr, 2012
I love St Leger! Went there for a few days last September, really amazing!
21 Apr, 2012
What does that mean?
21 Apr, 2012
Surprised (or not I suppose, depending on my cynicism) that the nice new photo topo local guide (with the updated supplement for the new sector, plus a lot more info than Haute Provence on what the routes are like ie "bouldery into a resistance section" etc which is a feature I quite like in helping pick routes) didn't get a mention - if nothing else it would add to the info to detail the easiest place to pick it up in the near vicinity. It will contribute towards the crag development as well, and make you less unpopular with the locals who put up the "topo vampire" sign (is that still there?) at the start of the walkin. Ace crag, can't wait to go back!
21 Apr, 2012
I really liked that about the local guide - good for picking routes of your desired style. Not climbed at the new sector but it looks totally amazing!
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