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Vaucluse Villages

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Provence

As the well-preserved and extensive ruins of Glanum bear witness, St Remy has a long history

dating back to Roman settlements. It has been known for a long time as a market town of gardeners

and greengrocers. With its town square shaded by ancient plane trees, its fountains, narrow streets,

colorful facades and sidewalk cafes St Remy typifies Provencal charm. Make sure to spend some

time at the lively open air market which is held every Wednesday. It is an incredible experience

guaranteed to appeal to all of your senses. St Remy boasts a diverse history. Not only is it the

birthplace of the enigmatic visionary Nostradamus but also the resting place of Vincent Van Gogh

who spend his final years painting in the immediate surrounding areas. The Van Gogh trail which

will lead you to locations and scenes that inspired many of his paintings remains one of the more

fascinating sites to visit in St Remy.

For further information and a complete description of the Van Gogh trail please visit the

following web site: www.saintremy-de-provence.com/st-remy/anglais/peint.htm

A short distance from St Remy the village of Eygalieres is a rare gem undiscovered by tourists.

Nestled amidst lush orchards, olive groves and lavender fields at the foothill of the striking Alpilles,

Eygalieres exudes a flagrant and timeless mystique. The old village with its winding cobblestoned

streets, stone houses, colorful window boxes and containers is undeniably enchanting. Perched on a

rocky plateau the nearby chapel of St. Sixte is surrounded by a beautiful countryside and well worth

a detour.

Les Baux

Les Baux is a major tourist site that has been described at length in many brochures and guide

books. Despite the obvious presence of tourism Les Baux remains one of the quaintest French

villages. High up on a limestone plateau Les Baux enjoys an unusually dramatic position. The old

fortress, the surrounding limestone cliffs and the village itself built in the same limestone all

contribute to a harmonious panorama. Should you be so inclined to splurge on a unique dining

experience there is the legendary stone-vaulted restaurant, “Oustau de Beaumaniere”, just outside

Les Baux. (Reservations are essential).

Goult

In the bucolic and remote village of Goult the only sounds you might hear are singing cicadas,

church bells and the wind under the Mediterranean sun and clear sky. Here you can truly let go of all

your stress and soak in the air perfumed by sweet wild thyme and other aromatic “herbes de

Provence” which grow everywhere you step. You might see some sheep and goats. Surrender and

savor each moment! This is where the simple pleasure of eating local “chevre”(goat cheese) with a

dash of “tapenade” (olive spread) on “pain de campagne” (wholesome peasant bread) will taste

unimaginably good.

Gordes

Situated above a valley high up on cliffs the once unspoiled and striking village of Gordes is

now a trendy tourist attraction surrounded by vacation villas and hotels. Its narrow cobblestoned

winding streets, its vaulted alleys, arcades, rustic old stone houses and its castle will delight visitors

despite the omnipresence of boutiques, souvenirs shops and galleries catering to tourists. Following

in the footsteps of Cubist artist Andre Lhote who settled in the village in 1938 many renowned artist

such as Chagall and Victor Vasalery began visiting and summering in Gordes.

Near Gordes in the midst of vast lavender fields is the famous still functioning Cistercian abbey.

of Senanque

Bonnieux

Despite the recent influx of tourists Bonnieux has retained its distinctiveness. Perched on a

hill with the Luberon Mountain in its background, Bonnieux is both extremely picturesque and

enticingly serene. From its terraces the views are simply superb. A few rustic eateries make

Bonnieux ideal for a lunch break should one tire of the painter’s picnic. Also nearby is the Chateau

de Lacoste once home to the infamous Marquis de Sade whose unleashed and savage libido coined

the term sadism. On a less disturbing note it is also interesting to know that Peter Mayle’s house is

near Bonnieux. (Peter Mayle: A Year in Provence, 1991)

Roussillon

No modern developments have spoiled the hilltop town of Roussillon as it has been protected

by strict zoning laws for decades. A major vein of iron hydroxide sediment mixed with pure clay is

at the origin of the famous Roussillon ochre deposits which have been mined for centuries. Today

the ochre industry is mainly a tourist attraction. The warm hues ranging from light amber, tangerine

and rose to rusty yellow and russet earth give the cliff formations, eroded buffs and the village itself

a seductive glow that changes with the light of the day. Set against the Mediterranean vivid sky and

surrounding dense greenery the surreal colors of Roussillon will no doubt imbue you with an intense

experience. The American Lawrence Wylie wrote his classic sociological study of French culture

and village life based on his living experience in Roussillon. (Lawrence Wylie: A Village in the

Vaucluse, 1957)

ALTERNATIVE AND ADDITIONAL SITES

Le Pont du Gard

Dating over 2000 years this very tall Roman aqueduct is one of the best preserved ruins in the

world. Standing on its top one can feel its massive presence. One has to marvel at this ancient

masterpiece combining art and technology.

Arles

Arles is a busy and chic small town on the Rhone river with many sidewalk cafes, quaint

boutiques and diverse edifices that bear witness to its past prosperity. The large Roman amphitheater

is still used for festivities and bullfights. Many painters have lived in Arles including Gauguin and

Van Gogh who was taken by the crystalline quality of the light. Georges Bizet immortalized it in his

incidental music written in 1872 to the play L’Arlesienne.

 

Eygalieres

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