Vaucluse (84410) Population: 370
Crillon-le-Brave is a cute little village perched in the forested hills southwest of Mont Ventoux. It's a very picturesque village, nicely restored, but quite lifeless.
The village is named after the "brave" Crillon, a 16th-century killer-outlaw, then very brave soldier, who never actually lived here.
Although the village of Crillon-le-Brave is very, very calm, as if very few people actually live here, it is picturesque and charming. The calmness, the beauty of the village and the surrounding area does attract some visitors.
Visitors here include hikers (the village is on the GR911 trail) and cyclists. There's also the very up-market Hotel Crillon-le-Brave that seems to booming.
The Petit Crillon is a café-restaurant (bistro) that has excellent lunch choices, but can fill up quickly in the summer (closed Mondays). A new hotel-restaurant-bar-grocery store (épicerie), Le Saint Romain, should be open as of the beginning of July, 2013 (we were there mid-June).
The center of the village is open and sunny, and there are lookout places with great panoramic views out to the west. There are just a few little streets to wander, mostly cobblestone and with some nice vaulted passages. Through one arch you can see the Mont Ventoux in the distance. Some of the old walls and passages are vestiges of the 16th century fortifications.
The Brave Crillon
The centerpiece of Crillon-le-Brave is a very fine statue of "The Brave Crillon". Louis de Balbe-Berton was born in March, 1541, in the village of Murs. He passed his youth in Avignon while that town was controlled by the Popes of Avignon. Louis apparently had a rather aggressive attitude; he killed one of his companions and had to flee Avignon for "France".
Louis joined the army and was quickly distinguished for his bravery. At the age of 15 he became an Aide de Camp of the Duc de Guise. In 1557, at the age of 16, he was the first to enter into Calais that was being held by the English. His exploits and his bravery continued, and Henri IV named him "the greatest captain in the world".
Our Brave Crillon died in Avignon in 1602. He was buried at the Eglise des Cordeliers, then moved to Avignon's Notre-Dame des Doms. A bronze statue of Crillon le Brave, created by Louis Veray, was installed at Avignon's Place de l'Horloge in 1858, and transferred to the Place du Palais des Papes in 1891.
Near the end of the 19th century, the village of Crillon amended its name to Crillon-le-Brave in honor of the heroic soldier. In May 1980, the bronze statue was moved from Avignon to its current place in the heart of the village.
The route to the top of Mont Ventoux (1911 m) from Crillon-le-Brave is 37 km via Caromb and Malaucène (west side) or 25 km via Bédoin (Sault, east side).
History of Crillon-le-Brave
First record, 1157 Crilo: evolved to Crillon, and at the end of the 19th century to Crillon-le-Brave.
Gallo-Roman: There was Gallo-Roman occupation here. Some vestiges were found at a place called L'Aubert and there's a dolium in the village.
Medieval: Domain of the Astouads, then of the Berton-Crillons until the end of the 16th century. Gilled de Balbe-Berton was lord of Crillon at Saint-Jean-de-Vassols. His 6th son, Louis de Balbe-Berton, never lived here, but went on to become a great warrior and companion of Henry IV, and gave his nickname, Crillon-le-Brave to the village.
• GPS: 44.118649, 5.143819
The GR911 (Grande Randonnée) hiking trail passes through Crillon-le-Brave village.
To the north, the GR911 trail crosses the GR91 in the hills between the western end of Mont Ventoux and the eastern end of the Dentelles de Montmirail, just 2 km south of Malaucène. In this area several major hiking trails radiate out west, north and east, including the GR4 and the GRP Tour des Dentelles de Montmirail, and all the trails across the Mont Ventoux forest.
South, the GR911 trail passes through the villages of Mormoiron and Malemort-du-Comtat before arriving at the Vaucluse Mountains, with their great collection of hiking trails.
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.