Vaucluse (84340) Population: 2,172 Altitude: 365 m
Malaucène is a large town, with the newer part built around the walled old town.
The huge 14th century fortified church has an interesting multi-pillared clock tower, and there's an old belltower on one of the entrance portes through the old wall. Market day Wed.
Malaucène is the start of one of the three routes to the summit of Mont Ventoux, and so is very populular with cyclists, as well as motorcyclists, hikers and other visitors. There's an abundance of local shops, and the many terrace cafés are shaded by plane trees that are several hundred years old.
With the town center full of shops, cafés and people, the Medieval old town is quieter but very interesting. You'll find narrow streets, old buildings, ancient doorways, and quite a few old lavoirs and fountains. We put only a few of the Malaucène fountains in our photo gallery, but are planning to visit one day just to explore them all.
Our photo (above) is the Le Téron fountain on a tiny square inside the village, where the steep little street leads up to the site of the old castle. This was the first fountain in Malaucène, and "téron" is simply Provençal for "fountain". The original Teron fountain was rebuilt once in the 18th century, then destroyed in 1955. A replacement fountain has recently been built that resembles closely the original.
Malaucène was a fortified town in the 14th century, which can be seen today with the semi-circular wall of houses surrounding the east side of the village, along with some traces of the defensive walls. On the south side of town is the Medieval Porte Soubeyran, where the road leaves Malaucène towards Bedoin.
There are numerous grottos in the region, including the Grotte de Notre-Dame-des-Anges, with 110 m of accessible galleries and an underground source and lake.
Le Calvaire is a flat-topped site at the highest point of the village. This was evidently once the site of a castle in the 12th century, but there's little left now except some ancient walls.
The castle ruins were cleared out in the 18th century, and the walk up to the top was created, with 13 oratories along the way. The route up to the Calvaire is the cobblestones Chemin du Chateau, ending with a peaceful green area and a panoramic view across the roofs of the town.
History of Malaucène
First record, 10th century Malaucena
Prehistoric: neolithic vestiges were found in several nearby grottos.
Gallo-Roman: A Gallic oppidum was located at the Col St. Michel. In front of the Chapelle du Groseau there's an inscription to the Galic God Groselos. There are some remains of the Roman aquaduct that provided water to Vaison.
Medieval: This well-fortified town was captured and pillaged twice by the Calvinists during the 16th century, and both times they succeeded by ruse.
Market day: Wed.
Aug (1st weekend) - Fête du cheval, d'été - Horse Festival
Sep (End) - Fête St. Michel
• GPS: 44.171975, 5.132876
IGN (1/25,000) #3040 ET "Carpantras, Vaison-la-Romaine"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #27 "Ventoux"
The GR4 hiking trail passes east-west through Malaucène, and there are additional trails that branch off from the GR4 on both sides of the village.
To the west, the GR4 goes into the mountains that run from Vaison-la-Romaine in the north to Beaumes-de-Venise in the south. This group of hills contains the Crête de St. Amand, Grande Montagne and the spectacular Dentelles Montmirail. In the northern part of these mountains especially there are many trails that branch off from the GR4 into the forested hills and valleys.
To the east, the GR4 goes into the Ventoux mountains. The GR4 itself and the connecting GR91 and many other trails explore this mountainous region, with the GR4 passing across the Mont Ventoux peak at 1910 m.
Fun - Amusement - Kids
Mini Golf du Groseau
• Location: cabanon Le Groseau
• Tel: 0490 652 867
Line 11, Carpentras - Vaison-la-Romaine
Stops: Carpentras, Caromb, Le Barroux, Malaucène, Entrechaux, Le Crestet, Vaison-la-Romaine.
There are connecting bus lines between Carpentras and: Avignon; Cavaillon; Orange.
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.