Vaucluse (84400) Population: 2,843 Altitude: 420 m
Gargas sits on the plains 4 km from the southern edge of the forested slopes of the Plateau de Vaucluse, on 5 km northwest of Apt. A set of low hills surround the "village", with La Gardette (318 m) to the west, Perréal (470 m) to the north, and "Le Fort" (352 m) to the southeast. Gargas is actually a collection of houses spread out in several hamlets, including Beyssan, les Billards, la Grande-Fontaine and le Marnier. Even smaller hamlets in the collection are les Chaffrets, la Chauque, la Coquillade, le Chêne, les Lombards, Perrotet and Tamisiers. Market day Wed.
Gargas village isn't very picturesque. It's more oriented as a pleasant and useful center for the inhabitants. There's a large square and a few shops, including a pharmacy, tabac-magazine shop and a café-restaurant with a large, shady terrace.
The old stone fountain, set back in the shade opposite the terrace café, is quite nice, and a nearby iron windmill adds a little touch of interest.
Gargas had a thriving ocre industry in the 19th century, with some of the ancient ocre mines in the hills to the west and north still being exploited. The nearby sedentary rock, called "marne" is heavy in calcium and colored in different shades of ocre.
Some of the old ocre quarries are located just northwest of the village, and you can hike around there to have a look.
History of Gargas
First record, 10th century Gargatium
Prehistoric: There are traces of paleolithic and neolithic habitation in the region, at Trecassats and at La Bladayre (2 km west).
Medieval: Gargas was a fief of the Agoult and then the Simiane famlies. During the Revolution is was ruled by the Prince of Condé.
Because of Gargas' fortified hilltop position, it was attacked several times during the Wars of Religion. The village and the castle were destroyed in 1597, and the people gathered together later in several hamlets on the plains beneath the hills.
Market day: Wed.
June - Fete de la Cerise
Sep (1st weekend) - Féte - Village Festival
• GPS: 43.903626, 5.35773
IGN (1/25,000) #3142 E "Apt (ouest), Bonnieux (3242 OT)"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #27 "Ventoux"
The GR6 Hiking Trail passes through the center of Gargas, crossing the ocre hills of La Gardette and Perréal.
• To the west, the GR6 goes to Roussillon and Gordes.
• In the opposite direction, the GR6 heads northeast to St.Saturnin-lès-Apt. There the GR6 goes east along the base of hills to Rustrel, with many other trails branching off to climb up the Plateau de Vaucluse.
• From St. Saturnin, the GR9 trail crosses, going north through the hills or south over the Montagne de la Clavelière to St.Auban-sur-l'Ouvèze on into the Luberon mountains.
There are a few yellow-marked petite randonée hikes between Gargas and nearby villages. As indicated by this hiking signpost, it's an easy 2-hour hike (6.8 km) to Roussillon, and a bit less to St Saturnin-les-Apt
A cycling trail passes just a km south of Gargas. Running mainly to the southwest, it crosses the Calavon river over the Roman bridge "Pont Julien", and continues on, past Robion and eventually to Cavaillon.
A bridal trail passes just south of Gargas, following the GR6 hiking trail east and west (see below), and another trail branching off south from near Roussillon to Bonnieux. There's a riding stable on the branch trail, south of Roussillon, and another just southwest of Roussillon.
Cavaillon - Bonnieux - Apt Bus 15.2
- Vaucluse bus line 15.2 serves the towns and villages: Cavaillon, Les Taillades, Robion, Coustellet, Maubec, Oppède, Ménerbes, Les Beaumettes, Goult, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Gargas, Apt.
The trip between Cavaillon and Apt is about 1h45.
Cavaillon has links to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.
See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 02: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map and schedules (link for PDF files).
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.