Buis les Baronnies is the ideal destination if you are looking for a small town in Provence with some of the conveniences of a larger city without the traffic, noise and crowds.
There are schools, a hospital, several supermarkets and many bars and restaurants to choose from. And, believe it or not, a guide’s office or Bureau des Guides. Normally found in more mountainous regions, the ‘Baronnies’ may lack glaciers and high mountains, however it makes up for this with hundreds of excellent routes, for the most part bolted with abseil anchors and chains. The limestone is often of very good quality with a large selection of easy and intermediate routes from 4+ to 6c+.
If you are a climber or thinking of trying climbing, Buis is really at the epicentre of a region rich in climbing areas, most of which have been professionally bolted by local guides.
The guide’s office in Buis, run by two mountain guides- who have pretty much bolted every route in the area’s guide books- sells gear, rents equipment and offers a variety of services from climbing instruction to paragliding, via ferrata and canyoneering ( crazy sport of jumping into freezing water and abseiling down slippery waterfalls).
Located on the aptly-named Allees des Platanes, the main street through Buis which is lined by Plane trees, the shop is easily found as it is next door to the Carrefour mini-market and just a few doors down from La Berlue. www.guides-baronnies.com +33-(0)4-75-27-03-46. Joel and Frank, the bureau’s main guides are often on hand to give advice on routes, weather and best activities for ability levels.
As our children are keen climbers, we opted for a half-day of instruction with Joel Mailhe, one of the most prolific route-setters in the region. As parents, we would like our children to enjoy climbing but they have to learn the basics before they can be let loose on local crags. Joel taught them basic rope work, how to lead and how to get to the anchor and make your self safe before threading the rope through the anchor and being lowered down. Not easy if you are only 9-years old!
In a few short hours, Joel was able to instruct Anna and Enzo on how to place quick draws properly, how to use a belay device and reach the anchor safely and then feed the rope through to be lowered to the ground. This was well worth the 120 Euros charged by the Baronnie guide’s office for a 4 hours of instruction.
The guide’s bureau also offers a pretty amazing selection of clothing and gear for such a small shop. Lots of popular brands can be found from La Sportiva, to Black Diamond and Petzl. Staff is knowledgeable and have a large selection of stock, so if you cannot find your size, they often have it in the back.
The Rocher Saint Julien, which dominates the skyline above the village, is a large fin of limestone with hundreds of bolted routes. It also offers beginner to advanced via ferrate and gear hire is available for 15 euros for helmet, shoes and slings for the via ferrate. A short walk from town, the Rocher St Julien is perfect day out for a family wanted some excitement!
Bureau des Guides Buis les Baronnies can be reached by email at: [email protected]
You can speak to Frank or Joel directly.
Joel: +33-(0) 6-80-68-68-10