Take a stroll into Gordes, only 400m away!
Gordes is one of the most beautiful villages in the Luberon valley. It can get quite busy during the day but the beauty of staying at La Sarrazine means you can avoid the crowds and pop in whenever you want to, escaping back to your own garden and pool.
Visit the Village de Bories, just outside Gordes. The Village de Bories consists of the typical stone shepherd huts shaped like cones. Wander around and see how life was like many years ago.
On Sunday, get up early and go to L’Isle sur la Sorgue where there is the most amazing market that goes on until lunchtime. Home to the most number of antique shops outside of Paris, Sundays see the streets filled with antique dealers selling their wares, as well as a fantastic Provençal market where you can buy everything from fresh fruit and olives to handmade soaps and artwork.
Follow the small back roads
out of Gordes towards Murs, then down through the Col du Murs and the Foret de Venasque, into the village of Venasque itself. Go in May and you will see hundreds of cherry trees in bloom.
A must-do on any list is a trip to Avignon (1hr drive), the capital of the Vaucluse. Head for the car park called ‘Parking Palais des Papes’. This underground car park is underneath the Palais des Papes square and so when you surface, you greeted with an awe inspiring view of the Palais itself.
in the Grand Luberon, is a very pretty village, dominated by its chateau. Visit the chateau or explore the narrow streets lined with art galleries, cafes, and craft shops. Try the local sweet snack called gibassier which is a sweet cookie made with olive oil, shaped like an oval leaf and about a foot long.
Visit Apt on a Saturday
for the weekly market or between April and October on a Tuesday morning too. Once you are stocked up on fresh fruit, bread, olives, have lunch in one of the many cafes.
Drive along the country roads that go up and over the Plateau de Vaucluse to Sault, famous for its lavender fields. Go at the beginning of July to see the area awash in the colour purple, or go on 15th August for the Fete de Lavande, held in Sault itself.
Or head to Banon,
a small village famous for its goats cheese wrapped in dried chestnut leaves and tied with a raffia ribbon. More than 600 000 banon cheeses are made each year! Make sure you try at least one during your stay.
Red, yellow and orange
Visit Roussillon (15km) – home to rock formations, and the most vivid red hued soil you will have ever seen. The colours span the spectrum of reds, oranges and yellows and are truly amazing. The village itself is a delight to wander around with its arty shops and lovely cafes.
So many books have been written about Provence.
Take some with you and let the towns and villages come to life. ‘A Year in Provence’ by Peter Mayle, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources by Marcel Pagnol are a few that spring to mind. You are not far from the restored villages of Ménerbes, Oppede le Vieux where much of ‘A Year in Provence’ was based.
The Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque
offers a tranquil and spiritual experience. Follow one of the guided tours around the monastery, which has been there since 1148. Go in June/July to see the full effect of the lavender fields in front of the Abbaye.
Cross over into the Alpes de Haute Provence
by visiting Forcalquier (45 min drive) – a lovely town with a large main square bordered with plane trees and cafes, overlooked by its citadel. It’s worth climbing to the top to experience the view across the town and the fields.
Count the fountains
Take the children to Pernes Les Fontaines (20 km) to count the fountains. There are 40 in total dotted around the village. To help you, the town’s tourist office has printed a map on which they are all marked.
Choose a clear day
and drive to the top of Mont Ventoux (you can cycle but it is so much easier driving!). Take a jumper, as even in the summer it is cold at the top. There are lots of picnic spots on the way up with large information panels about the amazing and varied flora and fauna that you can find on the mountain.
St Rémy de Provence
For a slight change in scenery, go to St Rémy de Provence (just under 1hr’s drive), at the bottom of the Alpilles hills. A chic and pretty town, for a time, it was once home to Van Gogh. Follow the self-guided walking trail around the town – 21 signposts are dotted around the town, each with a reproduction of one of his paintings and an explanation in French and English.
Visit Les Baux de Provence
- great for both children and adults. Take the audio tour and discover the history behind this amazing ruin on top of a huge rock!
Sip a glass of rosé wine
sitting on the terrace on a summer’s evening and listen to the sound of the cigales, whilst deciding what to do tomorrow!
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