Our first tour to Provence, in May 2017, was, like so many tours
before, born of a family camping holiday, when the six of us spent
two glorious weeks in summer 2015 in Provence, ending up outside
Cucuron for a week's exploration of the Luberon. By mid-week Sofia
and I were glued to the local estate agents' windows! We fell in
love with the Luberon, and now we want to show you what we found:
beguiling landscapes and an early-evening light that's hard to
describe; narrow-laned hill-top villages, asleep in the mid-day
sun; warm and welcoming people, serving wonderful food and
fantastic local wines; history, heritage, art and culture by the
bucketful; and who can forget the sights and the smells, the noise
and the hustle and bustle, and the sheer abundance of a Provençal
Some of Europe's earliest known peoples made this coastal
strip their home; as did the Celts by around 900BC; followed by
Greek colonists by about 600 BC. The Romans conquered at the
end of the 2nd century BC and it became their first 'overseas'
province - hence Provence. It became a largely
semi-independent state throughout much of the early medieval
period, not fully integrating with the rest of France until
I shall stop there, but for those of you, who, like me,
enjoy their history, the Wikipedia entry is here.
Today, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA), is one of 18
administrative regions of France, roughly coterminous with the
historic province of Provence, it comprises six departments:
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône,
Hautes-Alpes, Var and Vaucluse.
Provence is too large to see - or even attempt to see -
in one visit, so we have chosen to concentrate on The
Luberon, an east-west range of limestone hills in the
heart of Provence, from where we may venture out, into
the rest of Provence, and retreat back to our splendid hotel in the
delightful village of Lourmarin.
It is in the Luberon that much of the two award-winning 1980s
films, Jean de Florette and its sequel Manon des Source, were set and it is here, too,
that Peter Mayle wrote his widely-acclaimed
1989 book, A Year in Provence.
This tour is unashamedly self-indulgent in its exploration of all
that Provence has to offer, and especially that which excites the
senses. We especially want to see and taste - and, possibly,
take part in - the abundance of Provence's late-summer and
early-autumn harvest, its food and wine and its attendant
culture. We will explore gardens and villages in the
Luberon, visit wineries, caves and co-operatives; visit olive
growers and their mills; and, on the back roads, visit some of the
lesser known and more quirky attractions.
We will explore with our guide the architectural delights of
Avignon, its Papal palace and ancient bridge and, on our own, the
town itself, likewise the historic capital of
Provence, Aix-en-Provence and its markets. We will
visit the Roman aqueduct at Pont du Gard, see something
of the life and work of Vincent van Gogh at the infirmary
in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, and photograph the ancient Alpille
village of Les Baux-de-Provence.
We will do a great deal, though unhurriedly and at not too fast a
Average September temperatures
Please click here for Provence's average
September temperatures etc, which are: average
daytime temperature of 20°C/68°F, with highs of 24°C/75°F
and lows of 15°C/59°F.
Getting to Provence
We wrote a short guide to Getting to Provence, for our
May 2017 tour, here, and we will update this information in
Sleeping & Eating
We spend the entire week at the charming, well-appointed and
superbly located Le Moulin de Lourmarin, a
former olive oil mill in the centre of Lourmarin, itself one of the
most beautiful villages in the Luberon.
We dine in, at our
hotel, on four evenings and dine out on the remaining three, once
at the excellent Chez Laurent, in Eygalières,
once returning to Lourmarin or in Lourmarin itself, and once
nearby, at either Le P'tit Resto, in Vaugines,
or Le Grain de Sel, in
Please let us know if any of the website links become
dysfunctional. Thank you.