•Vaucluse (84220) • Population: 391 • Altitude: 500 m
Murs is a lovely, unspoiled village, off the beaten track, perched on the end of a butte in a beautiful area of forested hills. There's one café and one hotel-restaurant inside the village.
The only other commerce in the village is the "alimentation", beside the gas station, just outside the village on the south side. An alimentation is a small grocery store; this one was doing a brisk business on a March morning, as the owner would be closing the store in the afternoon so he could attend the village fête with everybody else.
The village castle was built in the 13th century and restored for the third time in the 16th century. This is an excellent example of a medieval fortification, with its thick walls, donjon, round corner towers and archer's slits. The castle is private, so you won't be able to visit the grounds or the interior.
Mur de la Peste
A section of the dry-stone Plague Wall (Mur de la Peste) crosses through the hills about 4 km north of Murs, just past the Col de Murs. From the pass (col), it's just a kilometer's hike in to the ruins of the wall, sitting on the northern slopes of the mountain. There's not much left of the wall, except a low line of stone through the brush and oak, but it's a lovely walk anyway, with one borie along the way.
The ruins of a medieval windmill (without sails) is located outside the village to the east. At the cemetery, take the little dirt road into the woods along the left side of the cemetery. The circular structure is rebuilt and the conical roof is in good shape, but it looks a bit bare without the big blades.
The Grottes de Bérigoules are located about 3 km to the north, just to the left of the D15 road. This extensive series of caves contain some nice stalactites and, more recently than the paleolithic habitation, sheltered families of Calvinists during the Wars of Religion. The Capitaine de Mormoiron got it a bit wrong while trying to smoke them out and died of asphyxiation.
The "Puits de Cata", about 2-1/2 km southwest, is a 100-m deep sink-hole located in an area of forested ravines.
History of Murs
First record, 11th century Mus; Muris
Prehistoric: The grottos of Bérigoules were inhabited during the paleolithic era. Vestiges of neolithic habitation were found at Charlesse, 2.5 km southwest of Murs.
Medieval: The village of Murs was ruled from the 12th to 15th centuries, successively, by the Lords of Agoult, Crillon and Astouaud.
In the mid-19th century the chateau of Murs was owned by M. Vayson, who was said to be able to travel between Murs and his Chateau of Javon without leaving his own land. The Javon family own five Vaucluse chateaux: Javon, Barroux, Lacoste, Lioux and Murs.
Three of the Vaysons have been mayors of Murs: xxx-1896, Bruno Vayson, Notable; 1896-1911, Paul Vayson, Artist-Painter; 1920-1939, André Vayson de Pradenne, Préhistorien, Conseiller général.
Aug (3rd Sun) - Fête votive (sunday after 15 Aug)
• GPS: 43.951538, 5.242185
The village of Murs is surrounded by the hills and forests of the Plateau de Vaucluse, and excellent hiking trails abound in this area. Follow the D15 road north from the village to pick up a trail that goes most of the way up to the Col de Murs, or branch off to the east from the D15 to follow the trails up through the St. Lambert Forest.
• To the south, the local loop trails go as far as Joucas, and join the GR97-6 (Grande Randonnée) to Gordes or Roussillon.
Department 84, Vaucluse Buses
- See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
• Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
• Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
• Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.