PROVENCE - THE LUBERON - VILLAGES
Said to be one of the most impressive and well known Luberon villages, in size and amenities, Bonnieux is also one of the most picturesque in France. Built on a plateau above the valley, the village offers a spiral of cobbled streets winding their way up to the medieval church that sits at the highest point in the village. This is one of the most historic hill villages in the region dating back to Roman times. The village offers plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from, an excellent market, and even a bakery museum.
This compact hilltop town at the foot of the Vaucluse Mountains has become one of the trendiest places to live in Provence. Gordes is a beautiful village to explore along its narrow alleyways and streets offering numerous restaurants and cafes, as well as a thriving arts scene. The village is dominated by its church and 11th-century castle, ancient symbols of the fight against invading armies. A favorite site to see in Gordes is the ancient Borie village which was restored in the 1970`s.
Today, Gordes has been completely renovated and is overflowing with high-end residences that relocated to the village for it`s natural beauty and stunning views. Your explorations will take you to the spots where the view outward from Gordes is also stunning, high over the Luberon plain.
Goult, perhaps the least known and visited village, is situated in the Parc Naturel Regional de Luberon. This area is a jewel of a village boasting a pleasant atmosphere that will be enjoyed especially by history and nature lovers alike. As you stroll through its picturesque streets enjoy the huge olive trees, attractive oaks, fruit trees and vegetable gardens amongst many beautiful buildings made of stone and ochre.
Joucas is a peaceful and well maintained village built on a hill opposite the ochre of Roussillon. The village offers plenty of picturesque narrow streets, paved with ancient stone to explore. Largely overlooked by tourists, but because of this, it is easy for visitors to take advantage of the laid back atmosphere the village offers. There are many walking trails to discover the beauty of the surroundings and appreciate the stunning views of the ochre cliffs which can be seen from the village. Make sure to visit the church (rebuilt in 1766), which is home of a magnificent museum of Italian painting in `tompe l`oeil`.
Isle Sur La Sorgue
The Isle Sur La Sorgue, the `island city`, lies at the foot of the Vaucluse plateauin the plains of Comtat Venaissin. The town is famous for its many antique shops and boasts several canals running through it, giving the town its nickname, `Venice of Provence.` The area offers many waterside cafes and restaurants between the narrow ancient streets. There are charming pedestrian bridges to cross filled with flower boxes, and attractive water wheels throughout the town still in working order. The town offers a lively market each Sunday and Thursday, with local crafts and fresh produce.
Lourmarin is one of the loveliest of the Luberon villages, as well as one of the most popular. In contrast to many of the other Luberon villages in Vaucluse, Lourmarin is not a rugged perched village, but just slightly hilly with narrow cobbled and spiraling streets. The village offers a beautiful Renaissance castle, bustling café terraces that spill out onto the pavements and squares, and a relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere.
Menerbes is ranked as one of the most beautiful villages in France, and has the appearance of a stone ship. This medieval village is spread out along a hilltop in the center of the Luberon region and offers beautiful views in all directions of the Luberon and the Monts de Vaucluse. Menerbes has been home to many famous artists, including the painter Nicolas de Stael and Picasso et Dora Maar. Today, at the top of Menerbes is the Maison de la truffe et du vin (House of truffles and wine) in the beautifully restored, grand village house. Here you can find out all about the truffles and wines of the region.
Just outside the village of Menerbes, on the road to Cavaillon, is the unusual Corkscrew museum, with over 1,000 corkscrews to see. It is also a hi-tech winery, Coaine de la Citadelle, owned by the mayor of Menerbes, and has an excellent gift shop with all different kinds of wine paraphernalia.
Pertuis is a lavish town on the rich plain of the Durance, at the southern edge of the Vaucluse. Due to its geographical location between the sea and the mountains, Pertuis gets its name from the Latin translation - pertus, meaning the passage. You will be captivated by the narrow, colorful streets, and the old houses that have been attractively restored. Some popular places to visit nearby include Cucuron and Cadenet.
Saint Saturnin les Apt
Saint Saturnin les Apt is a large village of the Luberon and a hidden gem, less visited by tourists, which makes it a significant part of the appeal of this village. In the heart of the old village you will find numerous small highlightsof interest to discover. As you explore the narrow streets of old St Saturnin les Apt, you`ll witness the lovely views across the surrounding Luberon countryside. The village has a number of excellent restaurants, a grocery store, a green grocer, a butcher, and the market that is held on Tuesday mornings, which is small and quaint. This village is peaceful and very beautiful bit of Provence.