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Villages and markets

Excursion to the Luberon

Today I’m taking you on a day trip to discover the villages and markets of the Luberon. I don’t feel like waiting, so I’m putting on a coat and am ready to brave the cold to discover this fabulous region of Provence! How about it? Let’s explore it together!

Published on 28 February 2024
Virginie Verdi
  • Marseille in 3 words

    Solar, contradictory, bubbling.

  • My favourite neighbourhood

    The Castellane district. Always lively even on Sundays. You can have a drink with friends, have a coffee before going to work or stroll around the market on Saturday morning.

Off to the Luberon

Our appointment is at 8 a.m. on the Vieux-Port, I admit, it stings a bit, but if we want to take advantage of it to see as much as possible, I make the effort to get up at the same time as the sun! (Even if it’s decided to hide a bit today). We’re loaded into a very comfortable minivan (we’re a small group of 5). Our guide, Florence, gives us our instructions and the day’s program, complete with documents and maps, so we’re in for some great discoveries!

A morning in the Aix hinterland

Along the way, Florence gives us explanations and anecdotes about the places we pass. Well versed about the history of Provence and the painters who made it famous, she takes us on a journey through the history of Cézanne, the cursed painter of Aix-en-Provence, the stone of Rognes (the village we pass through) known here as ‘golden limestone’, and the wine of the Aix hillsides – a veritable well of knowledge! We arrive at our first stop of the morning, Lourmarin, where the 15th-century château sits proudly at the entrance to the village, where exhibitions, concerts and other events take place all year round – but that’s not for today! Instead, we’re off to explore the village. Time seems to stand still in these hidden lanes and passageways. We discover some incredible houses, typical of Provence, a lovely stroll, but it’s already time to set off on our Provencal tour! A pleasant surprise awaits us: our guide suggests an olive oil tasting, so we stop off at the Bastide du Laval oil mill. A real taste experience! We’re treated to a tour of the mill and a tasting of some exceptional oils, which we’re delighted to sample and leave with our arms full… a quick trip to the store is a must! On the way, we pass by the cedar forest of Bonnieux, with a breathtaking view of the Luberon valley.

In the heart of the Luberon

We now head for the village of Roussillon, well known for its ochre deposits. It’s a hilltop village, as many are in this region. On the path that takes us there, we immediately notice the change in color: the earth is tinged with red and orange, it’s incredible. Florence explains to us that ochre is a pigment that doesn’t fade in the sun, which is why we find so much of it in Provencal buildings and decorations. This village is one of the most beautiful in France. So we make our lunch stop here. The view is breathtaking, and a cliff of orange-red rock opens the way to the sentier des Ocres, a 50-minute stroll through a veritable cinema set, but unfortunately not for today. The weather doesn’t allow us to take full advantage of the ochre quarries, but I’m already planning to come back in the spring! After a quick trip to the market and lunch, we set off to explore the village and take in the exceptional view.

On to Gordes, most beloved of villages!

On the way, we pass many fields of lavender, olive trees and vines; the symbols of Provence! It’s winter, so there’s no flamboyant color, but I can only imagine what visitors must see at the height of summer! The mauve of the lavender and the yellow of the sunflowers, a real postcard! All the more reason to come back! We soon arrive at the world-famous village of Gordes, voted most beautiful village in the world in 2023 by an American travel magazine. A village straight out of a Provencal fairy tale! It’s so perfect, it looks like a Christmas crib! Everything is in its place. We make a short stop here, just long enough to discover the village from the inside.

Discovering the mystical Fontaine de Vaucluse

Our last stop of the day is Fontaine de Vaucluse. An atypical and unmissable spot when visiting the Luberon. The village lies at the bottom of a small valley, with only one road to get there and back. This is where the Sorgue river rises, in a mysterious chasm whose depth we don’t really know. It’s the largest resurgence in Europe. If you come in summer, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to see the chasm, but if you come in winter, as I did, the water is high and clear. You’ll have to walk a little and climb up to the source, to the famous chasm. The contrast between the calm water and the power of the currents a few meters below is striking, and we stand there for a while admiring the unreal emerald-green water. This spring is a real intrigue of nature. Now it’s time to set off again – it’s been a day full of discoveries. Despite the wintry weather (don’t even scare me!), I took in the sights! I can only imagine how beautiful it must be in spring or summer, when the sun is shining, everything’s in bloom and the markets are bursting with local produce! Provence is home to unsuspected gems that absolutely must be discovered, and this tour is perfect for that. I’m really delighted, both with the tours and with our guide, who was fantastic. So if you want to spend a beautiful day in the Luberon and don’t know where to start, let us guide you and book now! I recommend it with my eyes closed!

And if you’d like to find out even more about this beautiful region of Luberon, don’t hesitate to visit the official website

Official website of the Tourist Office of Marseille