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Magical Luberon

Gorges Most Beautiful Village in France

 Village of Gordes in Luberon considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in France.

Luberon is an area in Provence in southern France which is blessed with the most breathtaking countryside, three mountain ranges, valleys with quaint villages, vineyards, stone farmhouses, ancient castles and crumbling churches. The lifestyle in Luberon is peaceful and authentic and the climate and air are pure and clear. Much of the region has been protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Luberon Natural Park. Locals live the gentle life, Provencal art de vivre surrounded by the ochre colored homes, golden dry stone walls, vineyards, fruit orchards and village squares with gurgling fountains at the center. 

The rich agricultural life of Luberon means that foodies will always be satisfied by the cuisine produced with locally sourced fresh ingredients. To sample the many flavors of the region visit the village markets where locally produced fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, herbs, olive oil, jams, honey and wine is sold. If you are in Luberon in the winter then don’t miss the delicious truffles. Some Luberon markets not to miss include those in Cavaillon, Coustellet, Apt, St. Martin de la Brasque, Cadenet and La Tour D’aigues.  

To get the most of Luberon you need to move around, exploring each village as well as the countryside. You can hike, walk, cycle or take a car through the region stopping at points of interest. Pick a rental home in one of the villages as you home base, explore during the day, come back to your own swimming pool and comfortable kitchen and baths in the evening. Hiking is a popular pass time in Luberon, there are many marked paths which walkers of all levels can follow. Alternatively you could explore the countryside by bike. There are cycle routes  across Luberon which take you passed the Roussillon ochre rocks and through the Vallee d’Aigues. The Calavon cycle trail is particularly popular as it is for non-motorized vehicles only.

The Most Beautiful Villages in France

Several Luberon villages have been named among the “Most Beautiful Villages in France.” Traditionally the villages were built into the sides of mountains with the houses perched on hillsides around a central chateau. In these villages you can enjoy a meal or drink at a café on the village square and wander through the cool narrow lanes. You’ll find artisan workshops open to the public and many specialty stores selling local products. Some Luberon villages are associated with historical events and cultural giants, for example Samuel Beckett lived in a winery in Roussillon, Cave Bonelly, during World War II and Peter Mayle (author of A Year in Provence and A Good Year) lived in Menerbes.
Among the most beautiful villages in Luberon visit Lourmarin – for the Renaissance castle and sidewalk cafes; Saignon for the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame de Pitie and le Potager d’un Curieux ecological garden; Buoux for rock climbing; Apt because it is one of the most beautiful villages and has a lively market; Lacoste for the cobbled streets and castle ruins; Cucuron for the Michelin star restaurant La Petite Maison and Ansouis for the castle, Musee Extraordinaire  and ice-cream. Gordes is particularly beautiful and is the site of Senanque Abbey while Cavaillon has a fascinating synagogue. Maubec is authentic and quaint, Bonnieux is visually stunning and Menerbes is superb.

Gordes is one of the best places to base yourself in Luberon. It is one of the official Most Beautiful Villages in France. It has tightly knit alleyways, a thriving art scene, small cafes on every corner, a castle, ancient church and is not far from lavender fields. While here visit the Musee du Verre et du Vitrail, nearby unique Village des Bories and the Mines de Bruoux.

Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a market town on an island in the Sorgue River. It is larger than the most picturesque villages in Luberon and can provide you with the creature comforts while you tour the area. Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is nicknamed the Venice of Provence because of the abundance of water everywhere you turn. Antique lovers will be enthralled by the many stores selling antiques. Visit on a Sunday or Thursday for the market, see the 12th century church, follow the babbling streams in the town and walk along the riverside.

Roussillon has been left relatively untouched for the last 60 years, it retains its hilltop charm and distinctive ochre-colored glow. Start exploring Roussillon in the town square, a picture perfect scene from an idyllic Provence town. Roussillon is built next to the world’s largest deposit of ochre (a deep orange-brown soil); this explains the dominant orange, yellow and red hues of the town buildings. Visit the ochre canyon and follow Le Sentier des Ocres, a route through the former quarry and Trip Advisor’s top recommended attraction in Luberon.

France Homestyle offers a number of vacation rental properties in the Luberon in Southeast France to make your visit to Provence a truly memorable experience. Provence Luxury Villa is an exceptional private property built in 2000 with a modern architecture and extensive use of local white stone. Comprised of two separate houses, several outdoor terraces, heated pool, gourmet kitchen, and an immense garden with breaktaking views, this is the place to relax in luxury in the heart of the Luberon. Ferme de L'Isle and La Maison sur la Colline are 18th century restored stone farmhouses both of which have 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms with outdoor pools, garden terraces, and all of the modern conveniences to make your stay a comfortable, carefree experience. 

France Homestyle also offers several Villas, Goult Villa and Lourmarin Villa, both of which are just outside their respective villages of Luberon. Goult Villa is a six bedroom estate that is fully renovated yet completely retains its provencal character with a natural stone pool, winter and summer dining areas, central courtyard and spiral staircase that leads to a second story library with lounge area. If you are looking for something smaller, consider Isle Sur La Sorgue One Bedroom that is a small cottage on the Sorgue river that has been renovated in 2013.