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Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

Madison, Wisconsin
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Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

My family will be visiting Provence this summer staying near Maussane les Alpilles. Among the day trips we are planning is one exploring Luberon hill towns. We are attempting to choose between Gordes/Rousillon and Menerbes/Lacoste/Bonnieux as our options. We do hope to hike extensively on this day. I am interested in perspective on which option is better.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

Once you get into the Luberon, it is pretty compact. Gordes and Rousillon are the most touristy and will be very busy if you are there in the heat of the summer. I'd say pass...

I love Bonnieux, Menerbes is very quiet and Lacoste is cool.

Bonnieux is a lovely spot to vist. Some great restaurants (Le Fournil) and very cool shops. You'll love it...

Lacoste is an interesting place...only 300 or 400 people live there. Pierrre Cardin owns quite a bit of the village, including the ruins of the Marquis de Sade's castle at the top of the hill. Lacoste is pretty much devoid of commerce...good hiking though. I'd give Menerbes a miss and visit the lovely little village of Goult instead.

Provence
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2. Re: Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

If you like hiking, you shouldn't miss the ruins of the old village of Oppede "Oppede le Vieux" where you'll get a stunning view from the top of the hill as a reward... but that might take you a half day.

And you certainly shouldn't miss Roussillon, outstanding ocre cliff....

Lacoste is also one of my favourite and the Lavender field in Senanque are nice..

There is actually more than a lot to be discovered in the Luberon...

Hope this will help !

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

Phidou is right...Oppede le Vieux is a great hike!

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

You can probably do more than you think.

Bonnieux is adorable and had great restaurants and is my favorite.

Lacoste is tiny. Worth a visit but all there is to really do is stroll the town and visit the castle.

Gordes had more and while touristy it is a fun visit especially on market day.

Riussillion is pretty from far but over the top touristy with gift shops every other store. We couldn't wait to leave especially after the unspoiled authenticity of Bonnieux and Lacoste.

Los Angeles...
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for Venice, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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5. Re: Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

In many ways, six of one - half dozen of another. You are pretty much getting subjective opinions of visitors, including mine, I am afraid :)

As between your two options, if you are planning to hike and want to take photos, then I would choose door no. 1: Gordes/Rousillon. The village of Gordes and the way it spills onto the hillside is by far (maybe not so subjective here) the most striking. You can take the road down to the Abbey and see, and photograph some lavender around it, although not as widely planted as in years past. Rousillon will likewise offer incredible photo opps with the red rocks and blue skies.

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for Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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6. Re: Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

While you stated that you will be visiting Provence this Summer, and want to go hiking, you did not state whether it would be early, mid, or late Summer. Please keep in mind that if you will be visiting the region in late Summer, and it has been a very dry summer, access to many trails may be closed because of concerns about forest fires.

Paris, France
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7. Re: Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

If you want to do extensive hiking perhaps you might look at some of the numerous websites devoted to hiking in the Luberon and see what type of hike most interests you before deciding on a village. Just google "hiking luberon" and you'll find loads of websites. In French you can google "randonees luberon".

luberon-apt.fr/index.php/en/bouger/a-pied/le…

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

Anna has made some excellent points! I hope that she won't mind if I add my 2 centimes...

For foto ops in Gordes, the little pull out on the right after you have passed the Bories on your left is one of the classic fotos available in the Luberon. Period. Same when you are leaving Gordes, looking back up at the village from the D102.

Amazing foto ops in Roussillon as well, particularly hiking through the Giant's Causeway.

In terms of visiting the ACTUAL villages of Gordes and Roussillon....not so much. Gordes is tiny and Roussillon is very touristy.

With the exception of Bonnieux, the villages on the other side of the valley are generally not as picturesque, but are more interesting to visit than Gordes and Roussillon.

All that being said....the absolute best answer is to take two days and see evreything on your list!

Edited: 26 January 2013, 06:03
UK
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9. Re: Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

If I were choosing for myself, I'd pick Bonnieux and Roussillon, but tbh the whole area's lovely.

California
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for Grasse
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10. Re: Best Option for a day in Luberon hill towns

Several posters have recently noted that the lavender field by the Abbey of Sénanque has turned into weeds.