Vaucluse (84410) Population: 2,215 Altitude: 300 m
Bedoin village has a lovely Medieval core with narrow streets, old fountains and ancient doorways. The main road has terrace cafés, shops and lots of activity.
The many visitors are cyclists, hikers and tourists there for the route up to the famous Mont Ventoux. Market day Mon.
The first thing you'll notice while approaching Bédoin is the huge, imposing church of Saint-Antonin, with its Spanish-looking style so different from any other in the Provence region. In fact, the style is Jesuit, built in 1702 and restored in the 19th century In spite of the strangely different style, the church does have a wrought-iron belfry (campanile) so typical of the region.
From a distance the houses of this compact, old village look small compared to the church, and are clustered up against the hill. Inside the old village it's a typical Medieval scene, with long, narrow streets between tall old buildings, many with ancient stone doorways and some colorful Provencal facades.
There are a lot of ancient stone fountains and lavoirs in the village of Bedoin. On our first visit here in 1996, the fountains were used as meeting places for the local inhabitants. The old lavoirs, we were told, were still used for washing the laundry as recently as the 1990s.
On our most recent visit (June 2013) the fountains were all dry. We were told they had been turned off by the town hall, and it wasn't know why or for how long.
A walk up to the top of the hill behind the church will give you a great view across the roofs of the village and across the surrounding countryside. The hilltop village of Crillon-le-Brave is visible across the fields to the southwest, while the 1900m-high Mont Ventoux towers high above Bédoin to the northeast. A group of lads were relaxing and chatting on the hilltop, and a couple were eager to point out proudly the village of Crillon-le-Brave where they were from.
Locate bove houses and church alike, the tombstones from an abandoned and vandalized graveyard are scattered about in the tall grass. The ruined graves evoke a bit of sadness that tempers the incredible view from this high spot.
The twisty little D19 road from Bédoin to Malaucène goes through the forest on the southwestern slopes of Mont Ventoux. Along part of this beautiful drive there's a belvedere said to have the most fantastic view of the whole Mediterranean (it's been a bit too hazy the few times we've stopped there). One of the fine sights from here is of the ocre quarries down below, with the different shades of the red earth exposed.
That's right, llamas. And you've got to be careful, because doing a double-take on this narrow, twisty road could cause harm. Along the D19 in the forest of the Mont Ventoux, llamas are being raised. Part of the forested grazing land comes out along the side of the road, and often causes a moment's confusion to passing motorists.
History of Bedoin
First record, 998 Beduinum
Prehistoric: Bédoin has been occupied throughout history, and there are remains of neolithic habitation.
Gallo-Roman: There was a major Roman presence here, at the hamlet of St-Estève, of which some remains can still be seen in the region.
Medieval: Bédoin was ruled in turn by the Baux family (see also Baux-de-Provence), the Budos, the Peyre, the Orléans-Lamotte and the Vervins (into the 17th century).
Market day: Mon.
Aug (15th) - Fête patronale
• GPS: 44.123482, 5.179347
To the north, a myriad of trails branch from the GR91 to climb the forested slopes of Mont Ventoux, some eventually getting to the peak at 1910 m.
To the east, the GR91 circles down to the south, along the edge of the mountainous forests, to Villes-sur-Auzon and the Gorges de la Nesque.
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.