Vaucluse (84160) Population: 1,828 Altitude: 375 m
Cucuron is a picturesque, walled Medieval village located on the southern edge of the Luberon mountains in the Vaucluse. It's a pretty place, interesting and active year-round. Market day Tue.
The village sits on a very low rocky mound on the Durance plains of the Luberon Natural Park, the center of a string of little villages along the southeastern edge of the Luberon range. The surrounding farmlands include olive, vineyards, melons, cherries and vegetables.
Just outside the village walls on the north side is the lovely rectangular pool, with a line of café-restaurant terraces along one side (as well as the post office and small fire station). This is a favorite of Beyond whenever we're in the area and even if we don't have time for a proper visit we always plan in at least a café stop alongside the lovely pool.
Cucuron is home to local farmers and a supporting cast of shop keepers and artisans, and is active all year, not just in the summer months. In addition to small shops, a great collection of cafés and restaurants and a hotel, there's great little Medieval village to explore.
There are two high points in the village. At the western end is the site of the old castle with the Saint-Michel tower, a 14th century donjon [Photo-03]. From the donjon site you can look eastwards over the village roofs and see the clock/bell tower, the church and the other high point with the tower and wall segment [Photo-05].
The clock/bell tower [Photo-04] was built in 1541 on the entrance port of the second rampart, that was the defensive wall until the third rampart was added. The bell tower is topped by a rare stone campanile.
Pool. The Bassin de l'Etang [Photo-06] began as a small lake fed by water sources on the Luberon and the water was used to power the flour mills. It was converted into the rectangular walled bassin at the beginning of the 19th century.
Movies in Cucuron
"LE HUSSARD SUR LE TOIT" ("The Horseman on the Roof") was filmed in Cucuron in 1994. Directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau; staring Olivier Martinez, Juliette Binoche, Françoise Cluzet, Isabelle Carre. Also filmed in Banon, Noye, Redortier and Sivergues.
"UN CITRONNIER POUR DEUX or "UN ORANGER POUR DEUX" was filmed in Cucuron in 2001. Director Elisabeth Rappeneau; staring Macha Meril, Jean-Pierre Cassel. The title translates to either A :Lemon Tree for Two or An Orange Tree for Two.
"UN ETE DE CANICULE" (A Summer Heatwave) was filmed in Cucuron as well as Bonnieux, Buoux and Menerbes in 2003. Directed by Sébastien Grall; staring Charlotte de Turckeim, Anthony Delon (son of Alain Delon).
"A GOOD YEAR" by Ridley Scott was filmed in Cucuron in 2005. Staring Russle Crowe, marion Cotillard, Didier Bourdon, Valéria tedeschi. Based on one of the Peter Mayle books, we sat through this one on a transatlantic flight.
History of Cucuron
First record, 1024 Castrum de Cucurone: unknown derivation, but one legend has it that cur current (why are they running) was uttered by Cesar when he saw the locals fleeing before his legions.
Prehistoric: Traces of neolithic occupation were discovered in the area of Castellas, 2 km southwest.
Celto-Ligurian: Celto-Ligurian and Gallo-Roman tombs were found at Les Conques, about 2.5 km southewest, just past Castellas.
Medieval: Cucuron was a fief of the Sabran until the 12th century. It was co-ruled by the lords of Castillon and Oraison until the 17th century, and finally ws ruled by Bruni de La tour d'Aigues.
• GPS: 43.772864, 5.43973
IGN (1/25,000) #3243 OT "Pertuis, Lourmarin"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #14 "Luberon, Sainte-Victoire"
Sitting at the southern edge of the Grand Luberon mountain, Cucuron is an excellent place for hiking. There are several loop hikes from Cucuron, most of them on the forested flanks of the Luberon, and two Grande Randonnée hiking trails pass by the village.
The GR97 trail passes along the southern edge of the village. To the west the GR97 crosses the fields past Vaugines to Lourmarin and then heads northwest into the Luberon mountain. In the other direction, the GR97 goes east 1 km, then turns north and crosses another 2 km of farmlands before heading up the slopes of the Luberon, joining the GR9. At the top (1055 m) the GR9-GR97 go east along the Luberon ridge.
The GR9's closest approach to Cucuron is 1 km northwest at the hamlet of Belle Viste. From there the GR9 goes through Vaugines and nortwest over the Luberon, nearBuoux Fort past Boux. In the other direction, the GR9 goes north from Belle Viste hamlet up the Luberon to join with the GR97, then east along the Luberon ridge.
Cucuron has several café-restaurants and other restaurants, most with outdoor terraces. And for a small village a surprising number of them are open in the "off season" as well. On our most recent visit (Nov 2009) we tried a bit of Brittany, with a crepes lunch at La Villa Rose, accompanied by sweet cidre d'automne. The owners started the business only 3 months previously and their place presents the feel of home dining, including great music.
Among the interesting looking places that we havn't tried, the La Remise has a picturesquely interesting entry [PHOTO] and promises good menu choices for market day Tuesdays.
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.
Contributed by Mick Merrick, June 2014
I can't help but noticing that you did not put in the lovely little Hotel in Cucuron. It is situated on the Lake, it punches WELL above its weight, for it's price and has a terrific restaurant next door. Upon our arrival Madam at the reception could not make me understand her instructions for parking my car and trailer. So she closed reception and jumped into the car with us and with arms waving furiously succeeded in getting us to the required spot. Cucuron is as you say a treasure in the midst of the Luberon. AS yet not discovered by [tourists]. Thank goodness.
Hotel de l'Etang
Place de l'Etang, 84160 Cucuron