1 hour from Marseille
Beloved by natives of Provence and celebrities alike, the Luberon is only an hour away from Marseille. It is a very busy place in high season, yet don’t fear – this doesn’t stop it from being charming. The regional natural park stretches between the departments of Alpes de Haute-Provence and Vaucluse. From Marseille, you’ll arrive in the latter, perhaps by its southern gateway, the small town of Pertuis.
Located on a crossroads so often prone to invasions, the inhabitants of the region soon realised the need to protect themselves and to join forces. You can witness the results – a succession of magnificent hilltop villages that are the jewel of the region. Some of them are amongst the most beautiful villages in France. The land is generously dotted with ochre rocks and castles, and Gordes is no exception. The Château de Gordes has existed since just after the year 1000, but has a Renaissance character today owing to the era of its last rebuilding.
Other remarkable sites are Sénanque Abbey, whose Romanesque Cistercian silhouette stands watchful over the lavender fields. The Village des Bories is another illustration of human genius in adapting to circumstances. These dry stone buildings assembled without cement truly deserved their listing as historical monuments. There are also such places as Ménerbes, Oppède-le-Vieux, Bonnieux and Lacoste (home to a château once belonging to the scandalous Marquis de Sade). In Lourmarin, pay homage to writers Albert Camus and Henri Bosco, who are both buried there. Then head to Roussillon, Rustrel and the Colorado Provençal, a wonderful ochre world.