Vaucluse (84240) Population: 903
Grambois is a nicely renovated, perched medieval village. It's worth a visit if you're in the area, but there are no particular tourist attractions here, other than the picturesque village itself. Grambois was used for filming part of "La Gloire de Mon Pere" by Pagnol (1990, directed by Yves Robert). With a couple of good hotels in a peaceful setting, this could be a base for visiting the surrounding area. From the village there's a great view of the Luberon mountains to the north [behind the village in photo-02].
The streets are cobblestone and wind between some ancient houses and through vaulted passages [photo-03]. The houses form the village walls, but there's also the remains of the old ramparts, two old "portes" and the 16th-c Tourrache tower.
The central square has a lovely stone fountain [photo-04], beside the Gothic-RomanesqueNotre-Dame-de-Beauvoir church, that's topped by its original 12th-c tower and 19th-c campanile [photo-05]. On Saturday, the square hosts the village market [photo-07].
Apart from the Saturday market, the village commerce is a "Coccinelle" grocery store, charcuterie-boucherie, boulangerie, and a terrace café. All-in-all pretty good for a small village, especially the terrace café. The boulangerie sign on the medieval wall is particularly nice [photo-06].
Saint Pancrace Chapel
About 2 km north of Grambois village is the Saint Pancrace chapel and cemetery, located in a pretty forest clearing. The chapel is rather plain, but an exterior alcove has some very nice frescos [photo-09]. This photo is the left half of the space, and we didn't have a tripod to take a good low-light picture. The chapel dates from the 14th century and the alcove from the 18th, but it has all been enlarged and restored over the years.
Beside the chapel is an old cemetery with very interesting tombs and mausoleums, including the high pyramid in our picture [photo-10], all amidst tall cypresses.
Directions: north from Grambois, cross the D956 road and take the small D33. At 1.4 km up the road, park at a small forest-road on the right, beside a little transformer building. Follow the forest road northeast, about a 10-minute walk through a lovely woods.
History of Grambois
First record, 1050 Quaranmodam; 1126 de Garambode; Sarasin etomology
The Sarasins built the original fortress here, and Grambois was one of the 12 "fortresses of Provence"/
Prehistoric: There were signs of neolithic habitation nearby at St-Léger, Pradines, in the vallée d'Aigues and at Fontjoyeuse.
Gallo-Roman: This hilltop was occupied by the Celts, and in Roman times there was an oppidum that dominated the Route des Alpes.
• GPS: 43.762221, 5.589391
IGN (1/25,000) #3243 OT "Pertuis, Lourmarin"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #14 "Luberon, Sainte-Victoire"
The local Office de Tourisme (Syndicat d'Initiative) has local hiking brochures (3 F each) for Grambois and seven other nearby villages. The GR9 (Grande Randonnée) passes through the village.
North of Grambois the GR9 goes up the busy D956 highway before taking a small forest road. But, it goes out again on the main road, so our advise (if you're hiking north) would be to stick to the small road to Vitrolles before rejoining the GR9.
To the south, the GR9 crosses low wooded hills for about 5 km, and then farmlands southeast to Mirabeau and on to the Durance.
The best dining here would be at one of the hotels.
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.