Menerbes photo menerbes0048s.jpg (7 k) Ménerbes is a beautiful stone village perched along the top of a long ridge overlooking vineyards to the north and the location, if not the actual village, has been occupied since neolithic times.

Also:  | Bories | Campaniles de fer forgé | Most Beautiful Villages |

Nearby: | Apt 21 km | Bonnieux 9 km | Cavaillon 13 km | Gordes 12 km | Goult 6 km | Hilaire Abbey 4 km | Lacoste 6 km | Lourmarin 21 km | Oppede 4 km | Robion 7 km | Roussillon 18 km |

Hotels near Menerbes: | Menerbes | 6 km Goult | 9 km Bonnieux | 12 km Gordes | 13 km Cavaillon | 18 km Roussillon | 21 km Apt |

The ridge-top village was reputed to be impregnable, but there are alway "ways" (see History, below) The church is perched on the east end of the ridge, the ancient chateau is perched on the end towards the west, and the Mairie with its 18th-century wroght-iron belfry (campanile) is in between.

Approaching the village from across the farmlands, you'll see ancient walls, towers, churches and chapels perched on the stoney cliffs, in the center of an area of bories. Inside the village, narrow streets wind up and down between lovely old buildings, and the square at the top of the village, with the Mairie, seems apart from the shops and activity of the lower village.

Through an arch at the top square beside the ancient Mairie (photo, 14k), you have a magnificent view out across the plains, with several distant villages visible, including Gordes to the north, and sights such as a small Notre-Dame-des-Grâces chapel and farmhouse just below where you stand (photo, 22k).

The ancient abbey of St. Hilaire is located about 3.5 km east-southeast of Ménerbes.
There are many of the fascinating dry-stone bories along the small roads and in the fields surrounding the village, some of them marked on the hiking maps.

Mushrooms

There's a mushroom "farm" just out of the village (about a km to the east on the D3), using caves deep in the side of the solid-rock hillside.

Dolmens

The two dolmens near Ménerbes are the only two in the Vaucluse. The one dolmen accessible is at the side of the D103 road, 2 km east of the village (1 km east of the D109-D103 junction, and 100 m past the farmhouse along the north side of the road). If you're driving by, it looks like a culvert beside the road. Looking down, you'll see the ring of upright stones with the large stone-capped cover. The site was apparently at the base of the hill which has, over the centuries, half-covered the site. The built-up roadway also helped diminish the impact of the location, but the mystique remains.

History

Name

First record, 1081 Menerba

Prehistoric: This region was inhabited continuously from the neolithic, through the bronze age to the middle ages. The only two dolmens in the Vaucluse are near the village (see above).

Gallo-Roman: The Roman occupation ended here with the Saxon invasions in the 6th century.

Medieval: One of the better-known rulers here was La Reine Jeanne (Queen Joan) in the 14th century.

The village was so well fortified it was considered impregnable. However, the Protestants of Scipion de Valavoire entered by ruse and occupied the village until 10 December 1578. The Catholics then applied similar methods to retake the village, while the previous invaders departed with flags flying and drums beating, declaring themselves undefeated.

Office de Tourisme

Tel : 04 90 72 22 05 ; Fax: 04 90 72 48 13

Web: www.tourisme-en-luberon.com/menerbes.htm

Dates

2nd half Aug - Fête votive


Wine

Apt is in the region of the Rhône Valley Côtes de Luberon wines.

Domaine de La Citadelle

Location: SCEA Domaine de La Citadelle

Tel: 0490 724 158; Fax: 0490 72 41 59

Tasting by rendez-vous

Domaine de La Citadelle

Location: SCEA Domaine de La Citadelle

Tel: 4907 241 158; Fax: 490 72 41 59

Tasting by rendez-vous

Transportation Menerbes

Bus


Sports

Cycling

The Luberon en Vélo cycling path runs 100 km between Cavaillon, Apt and Forcalquier.

Hiking

Maps

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

Didier Richard (1/50,000) #14 "Luberon, Sainte-Victoire"

• Ménerbes is perched high up over fields and farms, and walks along the roads will take you past small woods and hills. There are many bories and interesting old buildings and sights in this region to make your walks interesting.
• Two hiking trails, one from the southern end of the village and one from a road west of the village, go south to the base of the Luberon mountains. An trail runs along the base of the mountains, between Robion and Oppéde in the west and Bonnieux in the east, and several other trails climb up through the forests onto the Luberon.

Lodging - Hotels