The Weekly Getaway: Lubéron in Provence, a dream of the past
I have spent my childhood between the windy French West Coast and the sunny South. I do not know which region I love the most… Is it the West, with its moors, its ocean, and its pines trees? Or is it the southeastern France, its cicadas, its lavender, and its olive oil?
This summer I came back to my grandparents’ country house, a traditional Provencal stone–built villa facing the massif of the Lubéron. I had not been there in two years, and coming straight from New York made me realize how preserved and beautiful this region is. There is a wildness that times hasn’t tamed…
While driving from Avignon’s train station I came across several medieval hilltop villages, the haunting ruins of the Marquis de Sade’s château, ancient "bories" huts (centuries-old herdsmen's buildings), Russell Crowe’s mansion, etc.
Provence is so rich of culture, of History; this is also where Cézanne and Van Gogh used to paint, where Camus wrote, and where Agnès Varda and JR recently shot their new documentary ‘Visages Villages’.
But what I haven’t told you yet is that Provence is a food heaven too. The foodie inside you will enjoy every bit of it; from the melons of Cavaillon, prized truffle dishes, and goat cheese to tapenade, olive oil, and famous ‘rosé’.
- Château La Coste: built in the 11th century the castle was the residence of The Marquis de Sade who hosted orgies in it. Pierre Cardin purchased the hilltop ruin in 2001. Today the château hosts artistic exhibitions from renowed artists like ai weiwei, Louise Bourgeois, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Richard Serra, etc.
- Abbaye de Sénanque: medieval Cistercian abbey that is one of the best places to see Provence's famed lavender fields.
- Le Sentier des Ocres in Roussillon: or Ochre Trail, a short and easy hiking trail through a former ochre quarry.
- Château de Lourmarin: the very first Renaissance castle built in Provence.
- Lavender fields.
- L’Isle sur la Sorgue: antique markets, waterside cafés and restaurants
- Saturday market in Apt: delicious olives, peaches, herbs, cheeses, breads…
- La Bastide de Gordes: built on 12th-century ramparts, the chateau is integrated into fortifications of the village of Gordes. La Bastide, Leading Hotels of the World, combines charm, elegance, comfort and luxury. Amazing Sisley Spa and Michelin-starred restaurant by chef Pierre Gagnaire
- Villa La Coste: 28 villa suites located in the heart of the biodynamic vineyard Château La Coste, an international destination for art, architecture and natural beauty.
- Le Couvent des Minimes: this former couvent was founded in 1613 and reopened as an hotel and a L’Occitane spa in 2008.
- Villa Gallici: Aix-en-Provence’s best hotel. Zola, Hemingway and Cézanne found inspiration in this historic town.
- Les Bories (Gordes): The gourmet restaurant has one Michelin star to it's name, courtesy of head chef Pascal Ginoux.
- Restaurant César (Bonnieux): Cesars’ view is to die for. Eating dinner watching the sun go down over Bonnieux is an amazing experience.
- Restaurant l’antiquaire (Lourmarin): beautifully decorated with a relaxed Provencial atmosphere. Amazing foie gras, lamb, and fish.