Cavaillon photo cavaillon0045s.jpg (16 k) The center of Cavaillon is west of the main road, towards the high cliffs that look down on the town. The Cours Bournissac that takes you to the center is wide, and bordered by nice looking buildings and shops. You're bound to find a large merry-go-round or other attraction in the middle of the "Cours", and the town people wandering here with the typical Provencal relaxation.

location map for Cavaillon area map
Dept: Vaucluse (84)

Also:  | Domitienne Way |

Nearby: | Aix-en-Provence 51 km | Arles 42 km | Avignon 23 km | Carpentras 27 km | Eygalières 14 km | Fontaine-de-Vaucluse 14 km | Gordes 17 km | L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue 10 km | Marseille 73 km | Menerbes 13 km | Orange 46 km | Pernes-les-Fontaines 19 km | Robion 6 km | Saint Remy-de-Provence 19 km | Salon-de-Provence 24 km | Le Thor 13 km |

Hotels near Cavaillon: | Cavaillon | 10 km Isle-sur-la-Sorgue | 13 km Menerbes | 13 km Thor | 14 km Fontaine-de-Vaucluse | 17 km Gordes | 19 km Pernes-les-Fontaines |

This is a town of over 23,000 people, not very picturesque at first view. If you're just passing through, you'll have a poor impression unless you stop and give the town a chance.

At the end of the Cours Bournissac, below the cliffs, are the Roman Arches (photo above) and the Office de Tourisme. There are some pedestrian streets in the old part of town (Vieux Cavaillon), along side the Cours Bournissac. If you walk up some of the streets going off the Cours Gambetta, such as the Rue Pomme d'Or, you can see the 12th-century Canal St Julien still carrying water through the center of the town.

There is a walking tour through Vieux Cavaillon; no map or guide available, just follow the signs "Circuit du Vieux Cavaillon". In part of Vieux Cavaillon we found an ancient sundial (cadran solaire) high on the wall of the cathedral. The cathedral and cloisters visiting hours were marked as: 10-12h, 14-16h Oct-Mar; 10-12h, 15-18h Apr-Sept.

At the Place J. Guis are some buildings in soft Provençal colors, and several of the windows aren't windows [photo-5]. Up the nearby Rue Raspail is a magnificent cheese shop [photo-6 and -7] with some great varieties of goat cheese (fromage de chèvre). Along the same street we found another amusing trompe l'oeil: one of the persons is actually real [photo-8].

Brocant markets are often held on the Place Philippe de Cabassole in Vieux Cavaillon. This view of the place [photo-9] shows Mont St. Jacques and the chapel St-Roch at the top. You can climb up to Mont St. Jacques, at the top of the cliffs, using the 16th-century steps carved out of the solid rock (starting just beside the Office de Tourisme). Further back at the top is the 11th-century Chapelle St. Jacques and hermitage, the ruins of the ancient village, and a splendid view of the town below.

Reader's Comments

These comments were contributed by Candace Andrews, 12 Mar 1999:
... my mother and I "discovered" Cavaillon last June. We enjoyed three nights at the delightful Hotel du Parc and a delicious meal at Le Cours (the pizzeria you recommend). We found other charming eateries...and recommend Cote Jardin. We travel on limited budgets so this was a bit of a splurge for us. The Cavaillon melons are THE best anywhere! Other Provencal favorites: the Roman ruins at Glanum and Atelier des Cendres at Oppede Le Vieux (probably the next Les Baux!).

History

Prehistoric: Cave dwellings in the Baume des Enfers and the large grotto of Vidauque.

Celto-Ligurian: Artifacts of several Ligurian and Gaulois settlements, including the Celtic-Ligurian

Gallo-Roman: An established pre-Roman town, continued and expanded by the Romans. Some of the artifacts include statues and a small 1st-century Arc de Triomphe. The Roman road Domitienne Way (Voie Domitienne) passed through two arches that still stand [photo-1 and -2].

Medieval: Cavaillon belonged to the Kingdom of Arles and the Marquis de Provence. The town was ruled by bishops, including St. Veranus in the 6th century and Philippe de Cabassole in the 14th century. In the 12th century, Cavaillon was involved in the Albigeois crusades.

Office de Tourisme

Tel : 04 90 71 32 01; Fax: 04 90 71 42 99

Web: www.cavaillon.com

Email: o.t.cavaillon@wanadoo.fr

At the base of the cliffs, by the Roman arches. Not the most helpful OT we've visited. You need to think of every thing you want (like a map of the town) and ask for it specifically; no helpful advice offered.

Museums

Judeo-Comtadin Museum

Archaeological Museum

Fun

Transportation Cavaillon

Bus

Rail


Sports

Cycling
The Luberon en Vélo cycling path runs 100 km between Cavaillon, Apt and Forcalquier. See also Cycling-Shops.

Swimming Pools (Piscines)
Piscine Alphonse Roudier, covered (couvert); Open: all year
Piscine de Plein Air (open air); Open: end May to mid Sept

Cycling

Swim

Hiking

Maps

IGN (1/25,000) #3142 OT "Cavaillon, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse"

IGN (1/25,000) #3042 est "Noves"

The GR6 Hiking Trail passes through Robion, about 6 km east of Cavaillon, for some great hiking into the Luberon mountains.

West, just across the Durance river at the village of Orgon, there's a nice half-day loop hike in the wooded hills from the Notre Dame de Beauregard.

Dining

Coté Jardin
Our favorite; highly recommended. Discovered for us by Beyond reader Candace Andrews, we had a marvelous lunch here in Sept 01. Verey nicely decorated outside [photo-10] and in, and with a courtyard garden nicely protected from the Mistral. Excellent cuisine, service and ambience. Moderate prices.
29 rue Lamartine, by the Place J. Guis in Vieux Cavaillon.
Menus: 86 F, 130 F, 155 F, 70 F (Mon-Fri lunch); good à la carte selections 60-100F.
Tel 0490 713 358
Le Cours
50 Cours Gambetta; Tel-Fax: 0490 719 393
Still looks nice, but a bit up-market for us now; menus 150 F, 200 F
They change their excellent dishes every season. In 1999, this is what we thought:
We tried a restaurant called a "Pizzeria", and were pleasantly surprised. In fact, this is one restaurant that's worth a visit to the town just to eat here. We just walked in (in March), but were lucky to get a table; it's best to reserve. They do have pizzas, and all their food is cooked on a wood fire, and is outstanding. The service is friendly and very fast (but they're not up to Anglo-Saxon standards of getting you the bill or taking your money). We took the 115 F menus, with seafood selections. (A Beyond reader also had a good experience here; see Reader's Comments above.)
For a starter, the Timbale de Rouget sauce Crustacés was fabulous. A delicious rouget mousse was surrounded by samples of seafood. Too bad the place was too crowded and busy for us to comfortably take pictures.
The Darne de Saumon Grillée Sauce à l'Huile d'Olive Vierge (grilled salmon with virgin-olive-oil sauce) was simply an excellent salmon with rice.
The Panaché de Poisson en Papillote aux Epinards was a selection of fish, steam-cooked in foil on the wood fire, with spinach (epinards) and other vegetables.
The white wines were a bit expensive, so we took the local Beaumes-de-Venise, a red wine that's excellent with fish.
The Tiramisou is a regional Niçoise-Italian dessert, with the added touch of powdered chocolate sprinkled liberally across the top.
Le Rimini
92 ave de Verdon
On the main drag and possibly a bit noisy, but the terrace is set back from the street. Some excellent selections
Menus 110 F, 70 F (weekday lunch); closed Wed.
Le Prévôt
Ave de Verdon; eastern edge of town, towards the autoroute.
We haven't tried it yet, but from an email (Aug 2001): "Jean-Jacques Prévôt is kown as the 'ambassador of melon' in France and in foreign parts. But his cooking isn't not only about melon, he has created seasonal culinary festivals about scallop, eggplant, artichoke, truffle, game. You will discover the museum of melon too with an amazing but private collection of about 600 pieces and paintings. A new web at www.restaurant-prevot.com

L'Atelier de Pierre

Location: 30 place de l'Horloge

Closed: Sun night; Mon

Tel: 0490 607 500

Le Cours Restaurant-Pizzeria

Location: 50, Cours Gambetta

Tel: 0490 719 93 ; Fax: 04 90 71 93 93

Still looks nice, but a bit up-market for us now; menus 150 F, 200 F

They change their excellent dishes every season. In 1999, this is what we thought:
We tried a restaurant called a "Pizzeria", and were pleasantly surprised. In fact, this is one restaurant that's worth a visit to the town just to eat here. We just walked in (in March), but were lucky to get a table; it's best to reserve. They do have pizzas, and all their food is cooked on a wood fire, and is outstanding. The service is friendly and very fast (but they're not up to Anglo-Saxon standards of getting you the bill or taking your money). We took the 115 F menus, with seafood selections.

Le Grillon

Location: Cours Victor Hugo

Closed: Sun night; Mon

Tel: 0490 713 387

Cuisine Provençal

Le Prevot

Location: 353 ave de Verdun; eastern edge of town, towards the autoroute

Closed: Sun night; Mon

Tel: 0490 713 243; Fax: 04 90 71 97 05

Web: www.restaurant-prevot.com

We haven't tried it yet, but from an email (Aug 2001): "Jean-Jacques Prévôt is kown as the 'ambassador of melon' in France and in foreign parts. But his cooking isn't not only about melon, he has created seasonal culinary festivals about scallop, eggplant, artichoke, truffle, game. You will discover the museum of melon too with an amazing but private collection of about 600 pieces and paintings. A new web at www.restaurant-prevot.com

Le Rimini

Location: 92 ave de Verdon

Closed: Sun night; Mon

On the main drag and possibly a bit noisy, but the terrace is set back from the street. Some excellent selections

Lodging - Hotels