Vaucluse (84160) Population: 1,108 Altitude: 20 m
Lourmarin is a pleasant town, and very popular with both French and foreign tourists. The surrounding countryside is fields, vineyards, olive groves, with the extensive forests of the Luberon just north of the town. The town is very quite off-season (through May), but then you can visit the next-door town of Cadenet which is active year-round.
Lourmarin is one of the Most Beautiful Villages (Plus Beaux Villages) of France.
Sites to see in Lourmarin include the 15th-16th century castle, the Romanesque St. Andre church, a lovely campanile and some nice old fountains. [photo]. There are several shops, including souvenir shops, antiques, art galeries and clothes boutiques. There are also a few terrace cafés, some grouped around the cobblestone junction in the heart of the town.
The town isn't as compact or cute as our typical perched medieval villages, but the architecture is Mediterranean and some of the streets are narrow and interesting. On the practical side, there are several restaurants and hotels (many nearby in the surrounding villages and countryside).
Lourmarin is nicely situated as a base for visiting Provence. It's in the heart of the Luberon, with Aix-en-Provence about 30 minutes to the south and Avignon 45 minutes to the west. Some lovely nearby villages along the southern edge of the Luberon are Vaugines (our favorite), cucuron, Cabrières d'aigues and La Motte-d'Aigues. Also very close, on the northern edge of the Luberon, are Bonnieux, Lacoste, Ménerbes and Oppède; and the market town of Apt is only 20 minutes away.
The drive north towards Bonnieux goes through the beautiful, narrow river valley called Combe de Lourmarin. Just past the "combe", only 7 km from Lourmarin, take the D36 turning to the left; about a km later, off to the right of the left-hand hairpin, is a large borie. If you wander out in the fields a bit further you'll find a few more bories here.
Nearby (somewhere) is the "pont des Vaudois", a beautiful little arched stone bridge over the Aigue Bruin stream, from 1606.
La Ferme de Gerbaud. This "farm" specialises in aromatic and tinctorial plants, and is open for guided visits and, of course, sales. The shop is open daily, 9h-20h. Visits (30 F) daily 17h (summer), 15h (off-season). Their aromatic plants include lavandin, thym, romarin, sauge, laurier, hysope, menthe, marjolaine, origan, sarriette, serpolet. The tinctorial plants are pastel, gaude, garance.
- Tel 0490 681 183; Fax 0490 683 712
Chateau de Lourmarin
The 15th-16th century chateau was built by the Agoult family between 1479 and 1545. The part of the chateau open to the public includes the furnished apartments and the library (with some 28000 books). The highlight is probably the magnificent stairway (escalier).
- June-Oct: 11h-16h30; July-Aug: 10h-17h30; Sept:10h-16h30
- Open every day, except: Sept-Mar closed Tuesdays
- Entry: 30 F (about 5 euro)
- Open every day, except: Sept-Mar closed Tuesdays
Jean Giono (1895-1970) and Albert Camus (1913-1960) both lived here and are buried in the local cemetery.Raoul Dautry (1880-1951) lived and worked here. The 17th-c house where Philippe de Girard can be seen. Apparently some high-level politicians live here.
History of Lourmarin
First record, 1075 Luzmari; 1165 Lucemarino
In the beginning, people began inhabiting the area around two Benedictine monastaries. In the 15th century, a Vaudois colony was installed to populate and cultivate the area. In spite of the persecutions of the Wars of Religion, a large Protestant community was maintained here.
Prehistoric: Important paleolithic vestiges were discovered in the Aigue-Brun valley that runs down the slopes of the Luberon, north of town. Neolithic sites were located at Castelsarrazin (1500 m northwest) and Chaux.
Gallo-Roman: Various Roman artifacts have been discovered here, including funeral stones.
Place H. Barthelemy
Tel : 04 90 68 10 77; Fax: 04 90 68 11 01
Open Mon-Sat, 10h-12h30, 15h-18h. The Office de Tourisme has posters of Lourmarin and the Luberon.
Market day: Fri.
Apr - Fête Renaissance - Medieval Festival, Renaissance Fair
May (3rd weekend) - Vineyard and Wine Feast (even year Lourmarin; odd year Cadenet)
• GPS: 43.763422, 5.362971
IGN (1/25,000) #3243 OT "Pertuis, Lourmarin"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #14 "Luberon, Sainte-Victoire"
Lourmarin is located in an area of fields and vineyards running east-west between the Durance river and the Luberon mountains. There are good country walks directly from the town, but for hiking, you head into the Luberon (only a few minutes drive to the north).
The GR97 (Grande Randonnée) actually passes through Lourmarin (at the northern edge of town). This part of the GR97 goes along the country roads between Lourmarin, Vaugines and Cucuron to the east, then north into the Luberon. West, the GR97 angles up into the Luberon, and one branch goes north to Bonnieux.
One hiking trail goes due north from Lourmarin, following little roads and then into the Luberon. It goes through the Combe des Cavaliers (3-4 km north) and then on to the beautiful Fort de Buoux and Sivergues (about 10 km).
The GR9 trail crosses the Luberon from Cucuron and Vaugines, past Buoux to Apt.
We pass through Lourmarin now and again, but it's been awhile since we've stopped for a meal (as you can tell buy our prices listed in FF).
L'Oustalet - has the best local reputation and they have a terrace. You'll probably have to reserve. Provencal cuisine and speciality is fish. Beside the post office, out at the end of the football field that extends down from the chateau
Menu: 108, 135 F
Tel: 04 90 68 07 33
Michel Ange - in the center of town; the covered terrace in back is very nice, and the food was good. Provencal cuisine; carré d'agneau de Sisteron (lamb), etc.
Menu: 108, 158, 280 F
Auberge de La Fenière - Rte de Lourmarin-Cadenet. Authentic Provencal cuisine; vegetables from their own 1 hectare garden (on the 6 ha grounds)
Menu: 190, 290, 490 F; Carte: 400 F
Tel: 04 90 68 11 79; Fax: 04 90 68 18 60
Closed: Mondays; in-season closed only Monday mid-day; 1 Jan - 5 Feb
Moulin de Lourmarin (and hotel)
Menu: 180, 300, 420 F; Carte: 400 F
Tel: 04 90 68 06 69; Fax: 04 90 68 31 76
Closed: Tue and Wed mid-day, except during summer; beginning Jan - beginning Feb
Le Bistro - On corner of street to chateau (near La Recreation); Covered terrace
Menu: 85, 118 F
La Recreation - (near Le Bistro) Terrace
Menu: 110, 140 F
Fun - Amusement - Kids
Mini Golf du Laurier
- Location: Les Ferrailles
- Tel: 0490 681 407
There are endless activities here in the summer, including archery, fishing (in the nearby Durance), mini-golf, mountain biking and swimming pool. For the little Kiddies, there's a playground near the chateau grounds.
Horseback riding is popular in the Luberon, and there are some great riding trails. You'll find rental stables (centres équestres) in Lourmarin, Cadenet, Cucuron, Lauris and La Motte d'Aigues. The office de tourisme will have a list with current information.
Public transportation to/from Lourmarin is by bus.
Avignon-Cavaillon-Pertuis. Five buses a day from Avigion; three buses from Lourmarin; trip about 1h30.
Marseille-Pertuis-Apt. (via Pertuis, Ansouis, Cucuron, Vaugines, Villelaure, Cadenet, Lauris, Lourmarin, Bonnieux, Apt.)
Driving from Moustiers-Saint-Marie (94 km, 1h50), the route goes southwest via Riez, Allemagne-en-Provence, Saint Martin-de-Brômes, Gréoux-les-Bains (40 km), Vinon-sur-Verdon, and joins the A51 autoroute (52 km). Then it's west to exit 15, north to Pertuis and west to Lourmarin.
Avignon, Pertuis Bus
- Two Vaucluse bus lines are required to travel between Avignon and Bonnieux, Lourmarin, Cadenet or Pertuis.
(A) Line 15.1: Avignon, Coustellet, Les Baumettes, Goult/Loumieres, Gare de Bonnieux, Bonnieux/Pont Julien, Apt Le Chene, Apt; Line 9.1: Apt, Bonnieux, Lourmarin, Puyvert, Lauris, Cadenet, Villelaure, Pertuis.
(B) Line 7: Avignon, Caumont, Cavaillon; Line 15.2: Cavaillon, Cheval-Blanc, Mérindol, Puget, Lauris, Puyvert, Lourmarin, Cadenet, Villelaure, Pertuis.
Cavaillon - Pertuis; Aix - Apt
- Two Vaucluse bus lines serve the villages of Pertuis, Cadenet, Lauris and Lourmarin.
(A) Line 8 (Cavaillon-Pertuis) serves: Cavaillon, Cheval-Blanc, Mérindol, Puget, Lauris, Puyvert, Lourmarin, Cadenet, Villelaure and Pertuis. There are 4-6 buses a day; about 1h10 between Cavaillon and Pertuis.
(B) Line 9.1 (Aix-Apt) serves: Aix-en-Provence, Pertuis, Villelaure, Cadenet, Lauris, Puyvert, Lourmarin, Bonnieux and Apt. There are 4 buses a day. Distance: 2 hrs Apt-Aix; Pertuis is mid-distance for time.
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.