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recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

Edmonds, Washington
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recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

We will be spending 7 days with a car and based in the luberon area. We are looking for suggestions for things to do other than sitting in a cafe sipping wine (which we will probably spend most of our time doing).We will later be going to Cassis so we will see the more southern sights then. I was thinking of sorting out all the market days for the various towns and visiting them early in the morning on those days.

Thanks for your input!

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Cassis
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Monte-Carlo, Monaco
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1. Re: recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

For markets, Vaison on a Tuesday and Carpentras on a Friday are both very big and very good. The markets are very similar, as the traders move from one market to another through the week, so more than one in your seven days might feel like overkill. See provencelive.com/practical/…market.html for the full list. Enjoy!

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Carpentras
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Vaucluse, France
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2. Re: recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

MaryEllen....here you go...

Here is some info on the Luberon...

L'isle-sur-la Sorgue is a great (but larger) town...lots of terrific stuff all around. We almost always base ourselves just outside of there, so some of this post is predicated on coming from there or close to there.

www.theluberon.com/places/isle-sur-sorgue.htm

There is an Intermarche (French Walmart) and a Super U (small French Walmart) literally across the road from one another on the outskirts of town. The outdoor markets are on Thursday and Sunday (bigger on Sunday). It goes from about 8 to 1... We have usually gone early so we can get into a restaurant for lunch before noon... restaurants are super busy after that. It's a huge market and you can spend hours there. After the market, I’d recommend Café la Longchamps for lunch…. The village and the market are divided by the river. 95% of the market is on one side of the river and a bit spills over the bridge. Leave the main part of the market crossing the bridge with the big yellow bank building on your left and turn right when you get over the bridge....the sidewalk brasserie is about a block down. Typical Provencal menu....check out the blackboard for the daily specials. Café la Longchamps is more of a local's spot. The tourists eat at the riverside restaurants where the market starts. Good value and typically good food.

The best boulangerie in LSLS is on the RN 100 as you leave town towards Apt. Look for the busy parking lot on your left. We have actually spent so much time there that we have a different boulangerie for bread and another for pastries, quiches etc. But they are all great!

You can get everything at the Intermarche’ including wine but you can also buy wine at the co-op in the village. The wine selection at the Intermarche’ is excellent and you can also buy liquor there. The cheese selection at the Intermarche’ is amazing. View Intermarche’ as Walmart or Target groceries, dry goods, clothes, kitchen stuff etc. As for the wine co-op, get your empty 5 litre container there and fill ‘er up!!! Less than 2 euros a litre for your basic vin de pays.

A good local wine (a bit more expensive) than the vin de pays from the co-op is Domaine de la Citadelle...you can also visit the winery. domaine-citadelle.com/anglais/situation.html. It is in Menerbes, Peter Mayle's village from “A Year in Provence.” There is a large corkscrew museum there.

Chateau La Canorgue is the winery from the movie "A Good Year" and is very close as well....towards Bonnieux...open to visitors. Check out the amazing Provencal scenery in the movie…

www.chateauneuf.dk/luberon/en/luben7.htm

“A Good Year trailer”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4GeA50K8xQ

This is a good little "snapshot" website that we have used a lot. Make sure you check out the photos for each village!

http://www.beyond.fr/villages/islesorgue.html

This is a great website as well.

http://www.provence-hideaway.com

Maps and Guidebooks:

Buy Michelin map #245 before you leave home. It is all you will need. I prefer the map to GPS in Provence. Correction… I don’t really need a map anymore… so do what is best for you!

The Michelin Green Guide for Provence is THE best one to get.

Here are some driving times using L’isle sur la Sorgue as a base:

These are from my friend, toutou….

Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is within approximately 30 minutes (one way) drive to the following (very popular) towns/villages:

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse 10 minutes

Pernes-les-Fontaines 16 minutes

Bonnieux 27 minutes

Avignon 32 minutes

Carpentras 25 minutes

Vacqueyras 34 minutes

Beaumes-de-Venise 38 minutes

Venasque 30 minutes

Roussillon 30 minutes

Gordes 25 minutes

Orange 36 minutes

It is within approx. one hour drive to:

Vaison-la-Romaine 1 hour

Bédoin/Mt. Ventoux 40 minutes

Suzette 50 minutes

Séguret 47 minutes

Sault 1 hour 10

Les Baux 55 minutes

St. Rémy 40 minutes

Arles 1 hour

Marseille 1 hour

Nyons 1 hour 10

Aix-en-Provence 1 hour

Other Villages in the Luberon:

We have been to almost every Luberon / Provencal village and these are the highlight ones in the Luberon...bear in mind that almost all of these villages are “perched” and parking WILL be a challenge at best. Be prepared to be patient or be prepared to park and walk.

Gordes:

Is a very pretty, albeit touristy village that is good to visit. A few shops and restaurants. Some of the greatest Provencal photo opportunities are as you approach and leave Gordes. Absolutely worth a visit. Parking is insanity in the summer. You pass bories (stone huts) on the way and you pass it to get to Abbaye de Sananque, the famous Abbaye with the lavender fields. The Abbaye is not worth a visit unless the fields are in bloom....you can see from the road above. The fields are in bloom from mid-June to mid-July. There is a tour of the Abbaye…in French.

http://www.theluberon.com/places/gordes.htm

Goult:

Is a very small village, but absolutely one of our favorites. It is very much worth a visit. Everyone who has visited Provence many times has a favorite village…this is one of ours! An Ancient fortress in the heart of town. Lovely shady streets. This is a classic Luberon village….but few tourists come here. Eat at Cafe de la Poste for lunch or at La Bartavelle for dinner (a must!) More on restaurants later...

http://www.theluberon.com/places/goult.htm

Lourmarin:

... is a very, very pretty village and worth a visit. Eat and stay at Le Moulin de Lourmarin. Peter Mayle lived there for many years until he moved to the tiny hamlet of Vaugines in 2011. A small, but very worthwhile market on Fridays. Go and check out the Chateau!

Cucuron:

Drive a little further past Lourmarin and visit Cucuron....a very cool, but very tiny little village. The movie/ caught in the rain scene from "A Good Year" was filmed there.

www.theluberon.com/places/lourmarin.htm

http://www.theluberon.com/places/cucuron.htm

Bonnieux:

... is absolutely worth a visit. The place to eat there is Le Fournil...it's in a cave but has a great terrace as well! A few interesting shops as well. It is quite hilly…make sure you see it all….Yeah, you heard me, …climb all the way to the top! Great views across the valley to Lacoste and the Marquis de Sade's castle. Bonnieux is one of the prettiest villages villages in the Luberon…don’t miss it!

http://www.theluberon.com/places/bonnieux.htm

Lacoste:

Unless you want to check out the ruined castle of the Marquis de Sade, Lacoste is very small and it doesn’t take long to see the “main” part of the village. Almost no commerce. Still, it is quaint and it’s a lot of fun to wander the windy streets and lanes for a bit. Pierre Cardin owns the castle ruins and a number of buildings & businesses in the village and seems intent on buying up the rest of the village!

http://www.theluberon.com/places/lacoste.htm

Menerbes:

Was Peter Mayle’s village when he wrote a “A Year in Provence”. Not much there…a few restaurants and shops, but interesting to see if you are interested in the Mayle books. It’s a pretty “sleepy” place. BUT, it still is a “perched village” in the Luberon, so check it out! They are all great in their own way…

http://www.theluberon.com/places/menerbes.htm

Roussillon:

Is pretty cool because of the red rock (ochre) formations. Definitely worth a visit. You can hike through the ochre...but try and see the village as well…it is a terrific village. Be prepared…parking is hell in the summertime.

www.theluberon.com/places/roussillon.htm

Apt:

Is much larger than other towns I have listed, but I have included it for two reasons. It has a terrific Saturday market that goes on for blocks and blocks and when you get past the industrial part of the city, there is a lovely old town, that is worth a visit if you’re there for the market

Fontaine de Vaucluse:

Very crass and touristy. It is a very un-Luberon destination. Take a pass.

theluberon.com/places/fontaine-de-vaucluse.h…

Oppede la Vieux:

Is a wonderful poke around. You need to park below and climb up. For relic and ruin lovers…this is a great stop!

www.theluberon.com/places/oppede-le-vieux.htm

Markets and Shopping:

Some of the best markets (IMO) in the Luberon are Thursday and Sunday in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

There are also excellent markets in Vaison la Romaine on Tuesday (close to Mt. Ventoux and Vaison la Romaine is a great historic town) and St. Remy de Provence on Wednesday. Carpentras is huge as well and is on Friday. We are kind of market addicts and have been to all of them in the Luberon, and in the rest of Provence.. Apt has a great market on Saturday. These ones are the ones that we think are the best. Shop for Provencal linens, olive wood, food products, Laguiole corkscrews and knives and lavender and wonderful soap to take home and go crazy shopping for amazing fresh, seasonal food for dinner or lunch. Provencal markets are amazing! BTW…Provencal rotisserie chicken versus the North American stuff is not the same product! Buy a rotisserie chicken in a big market and go and have a feast! Don’t forget the roasted potatoes…

Wineries are everywhere. For the really good stuff, go up to the Southern Rhone and visit Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas or Vayqueras. Gigondas is the "poor man's Chateauneuf du Pape". Same quality for less money, IMO.

Drink the way the locals do...rose is the way to go. Look for Tavel and Bandol rose. Try pastis....you will see it being drunk everywhere. Ricard & Pernod are popular brands of pastis, but there are countless artisanal producers that you should check out if you get addicted to pastis (like me).

Restaurants:

With an unlimited budget and a commitment to aggressively dieting after returning home, you can eat like a god here… I am only going to touch on a handful of my favourite places.

Provencal fare is awesome...from basic lunches after the market to amazing meals at night. One of our standbys is Maison Gouin in Coustellet. Drop by early in the day to check out the dinner menu (prix fixe - 5 courses). The first course is a house made aperitif. The fourth course is a visit to help yourself to a huge sideboard that has a couple of dozen choices of cheeses that are absolutely amazing. Reservations are required as this a favorite for locals! This place is awesome and great value. Try it out for sure. Here is more info....this is one of our favorites! You go down a spiral staircase into the dirt-floored wine cellar to choose your own wine from the shelves….so cool!

http://www.slowtrav.com/france/restaurants/review.asp?a=y&n=maison+gouin&s=coustellet

La Bartavelle is in Goult and is amazing. Typically a wonderful but simple, albiet inventive menu. Reservations are needed for sure. It is wonderful small, beautiful room with maybe 40 seats. Make sure you get here if you want a blowout meal at acceptable prices. It is only open for dinner. The husband is in the kitchen and Madame serves. This place is Pure Provence. A perfect setting in a great old building in a tiny village. http://www.bartavelle.free.fr/. We usually go by during the day...knock on the downstairs kitchen door and speak to Madame about a reservation later in our trip.

Café de la Poste in Goult is a classic spot for a Provencal lunch. Very traditional Provencal cuisine served on a terrace in a lovely little village…perfect!

La Petite Maison in Cucuron is a Michelin 1 star and is great, but is a real blow out place. Big $$$$. We ate there just before it got it's first Michelin star and it is really hard to get into now. It is a bit of a drive from where you will be staying. Usually foie gras and truffles galore! www.lapetitemaisondecucuron.com/index.php…

Ferme de la Huppe is a wonderful Auberge just below Gordes. Beautiful setting on a farm and terrific food. Great for lunch and dinner. This place is wonderful….the rooms there are terrific as well if you are looking for a lovely, quiet place to stay.

www.lafermedelahuppe.com/specialites-provencales…

L'oustau de l'isle is a super restaurant in L'isle sur la Sorgue. Lovely terrace and great cuisine. http://www.restaurant-oustau.com/

La Prevote in LSLS is outstanding as well. avignon-et-provence.com/accommodation-isle-s…

Le Fournil is in Bonnieux and has been a good table for years. The space is beautiful and food is superb…my only knock is that it typically has a very limited menu. There is an indoor part of the restaurant that is in a cave and there is a terrific outdoor terrace as well. lefournil-bonnieux.com/lefournil_cuisinGB.htm

In our opinion go to Maison Gouin and La Bartavelle for sure. When planning where you want to go for the week, check out the days they close. Maison Gouin, for instance closes Sunday and Wednesday. For what it's worth,. we usually at Maison Gouin twice a week when we are there. It is close to L’isle sur la Sorgue, the food is awesome and it is a great value.

Here are some good restaurant info sites:

http://www.theluberon.com/restaurants.htm

slowtrav.com/france/…luberon.htm

http://www.provence-hideaway.com/604.html

There you go!

David

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3. Re: recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

We very much agree with most everything said, with the exception of the Fontaine de Vaucluse which we enjoy. Restaurant de l'Etang in Cucuron was very nice...but there are 100's (1000s?) of wonderful places. Check the green guide. It's been very spot on for us for many years. One note: a glass of pastis in hotel Bastide (Gordes) at sunset... priceless. Enjoy and be sure to read "A Year in Provence" before you go. It may be dated but it's still wonderfully accurate (and funny...thank you Peter Mayle).

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Fontaine de Vaucluse
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Cucuron
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Gordes
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4. Re: recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

If you don't mind driving a bit farther west from Provence into Languedoc, the lovely town of Uzes has a marvelous market on Sat. mornings. Uzes is about 45 min. driving west from Avignon.

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Uzes
Uzes
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Avignon
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Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

This thread is almost a year old. The OP has come and gone months ago.

Pittsburgh, PA
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6. Re: recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

Whoops; sorry--I usually check that before responding.

caribbean
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7. Re: recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

Yes but others still read it....

caribbean
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8. Re: recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

Yes but others still read it....

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9. Re: recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

I am reading now! Staying in Bedoin in a great little villa ....

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Bedoin
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10. Re: recommendations for 7 days in the Luberon

Yep, I just read it too.

David your post is awesome. Even though Mary Ellen never came back to thank you for it, I appreciate everything you wrote, and have saved your post to read over again as my trip to Provence slowly gets nearer.