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Highlights of Luberon


Hilltop Villages

From earliest times Provence, being a coastal frontier province, has always been susceptible to attack and invasion. Firstly pirates then Saracens, Franks and border disputes between France and Savoy, the Popes and later France and Italy. With such threats the easiest way to defend one’s home was to build it on top of a steep hill, adding a castle and walls to the natural features for greater defense. Hence were created the hilltop villages of the Provence.

Recommendations

We were fortunate in being able to visit the following famous “villages perchés” of Provence, : Oppède le Vieux, Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, Menerbes and Lacoste. All are featured in the AA publication Secret France—charming Villages & Country Tours, and were within 30 minutes of our gite. Once you have visited the six villages you will have seen the best, and maybe your full of hill climbing!

Warning

Remember that these are “hilltop” villages and as such most require a climb before reaching the village, followed by an even steeper climb to the castle above. You need good walking shoes and a reasonable level of fitness!




Above - Bonnieux Castle gate at Lacoste

Remember most of the hill villages are living villages with people’s homes so please respect their privacy and property. Your support of village shops, crafts people and restoration projects helps in the over all prosperity and the long term survival of the individual villages. Your generosity is appreciated.

 



Roussillon

Roussillon lies at the heart of huge ochre deposits The town of Roussillon and the ochre rock deposits are best viewed at sunset when they glow in a colours ranging from yellow-orange to red-brown.

While waiting for the sunset visit the Domaine de Tara just down the road.



Vistas

When you complete the climb to hilltop village you will be rewarded with expansive views over the countryside and beyond. Vineyards create a patchwork below you with a backdrop of the Vaucluse and Luberon mountains.

Lavender

When one thinks of Provence in summer, then one think of fields for lavender in bloom. In Cousteflet is the Museum of Lavender with interesting displays and video presentation plus a full range of products to buy. Well worth a visit.




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