Vaucluse (84330) Population: 499
An imposing 12-century castle-looking castle dominates the pleasant little perched village. Le Barroux is well restored and well tended, and the amazing big castle (rebuilt in the 16th century and restored in 1960) gives the village an ever-present mood of medievality. Here it's easy to imagine knights and ladies and, why not, even dragons.
Off-season at least the village seems a bit sleepy, as if it's more of a place to vacation than to live. It's lovely though, and not spoiled by tourist attractions. The narrow streets wind between lovely old buildings, with many little squares with their fountains hidden away for discovery. Among various places to stay in the region, there's a pleasant looking Gîte Rural right in the village.
A stream runs down through a deep valley along the eastern edge of the village, far below the high castle, and the D938 Malaucène-Carpentras road runs along the river through a rocky gorge, cutting through the rock in a short tunnel.
There are several nice fountains in Le Barroux, beginning with the la Grande Foontaine on Place Piquet, pictured here probably in the 19th century. We also found a few smaller, but just a pretty, fountains with double spigots in different parts of the village.
Chateau du Barroux
A fortress was built here in the 12th century, to protect the surrounding countryside for Saracen and Italian invaders. That original hilltop fortress was converted into a Renaissance castle in 1583 by Henri de Revillasc. Towards the end of the 17th century it was fortified following plans of the famous Vauban.
The castle was damaged during the French Revolution. In 1944 it was set on fire by German occupation troops because they found signs of occupation they assumed were from the French resistance. But, woops, it had been another company of their own troops who had camped there. The Chateau du Barroux was restored to its current form in the 1960's.
- April-May: weekends 10h19h
- June: 14h30-19h
- July-Sept: 10h-19h
- Oct: 14h-18h
- Entry: 5€, kids free
The local year-round café is Les Comptoirs du Barroux on Chemin Neuf at the south end of the village. This serves as the café and meeting place for the locals, mid-day restaurant, grocery store (épicerie) and bakery: the owner begins at 4 AM every day to bake the bread.
A bit more up-market (and pricier) summertime-only café-restaurant is located at Rue La Garenne, just beside the town hall (Mairie).
Lac du Paty is a small lake and picnic area a couple of km east of Le Barroux village. In the off season it's peaceful as well as pretty, with fishermen and local picnicker at lunch time. During the summer, this is a very popular spot, for the cool surrounding trees and the water, and there are many hiking trails in the surrounding woods in all directions.
History of Le Barroux
First record, 1113: Albaruffum, from the Latin
Gallo-Roman: The St. Jean-Baptiste church in the village was built by the Romans, and later restored.
Medieval: the commune was ruled in turn by the Baux family (see also Baux-de-Provence), the Peyre and the Rouvillac. The village changed hands several times during the Wars of Religion. Le Barroux was pillaged during the Revolution.
• GPS: 44.138335, 5.098185
IGN (1/25,000) #3040 ET "Carpantras, Vaison-la-Romaine"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #27 "Ventoux"
One hiking trail leaves the village to the west, crossing low hills and fields. The trail branches about 4 km out, with one branch continuing west to Beaumes-de-Venise and the other going north to the hamlets of La-Roque-Alric and Lafare. Either branch will take you up to the top of the Dentelles and eventually on to Gigondas.
A trail goes north from Le Barroux, about 4 km through fields and woods and past a monastery, to join with the east-west GR4 hiking trail .
To the east, the GR4 goes past Malaucène and into the mountains of Ventoux.