Many of you followed me on social networks during my holidays in Provence. I tried to make the most of this break and made an appointment with you in the evening for a recap of what I had done during the day. This story is always available on my Instagram but you can imagine that I was going to write you a cytiguide with all the information you need to organize your stay in the Luberon !
Organize your holidays in Provence
Provence is a very touristic region so I will advise you to organize yourself in advance for your holidays in Provence.
Depending on your budget and whether you have a motorized vehicle or not, you will adapt your choice of transport.
Personally, I organized myself as follows : I took an OUIGO Paris/Avignon ticket (if you take it well in advance, you can have it for less than 20€ – mega good deal !). In just over 3 hours, you will arrive in Avignon. Be careful, in Avignon, you have two stations : the central station and the TGV station outside the city. I preferred to arrive at Avignon TGV to collect my rental car more easily.
In this region, it is essential to have a care. There are relatively few public transport links – except in large cities. So to go and enjoy all the small villages in the area, think of the car. At the TGV station, you have several car rental companies but you can also use rental applications between individuals. For this trip, I went through Getaround (former Drivy). I found a small Toyota, ultra compact and therefore perfectly suited to the narrow roads of the Luberon massif, equipped with air conditioning – perfect for a solo road trip !
Depending on the villages you are going to visit, parking is generally chargeable. The villages apply a fixed price whether you stay 1 hour or 4 hours or sometimes the entire day. This varies between €3 (Roussillon, for example) and up to €6 at Fontaine du Vaucluse (which I consider theft).
Provence is full of magnificent hotels, guest houses, lodges, etc. As with my stay in the Basque Country, the choice was quickly limited. I still went through Airbnb and I managed to find a small independent room at a habitation in Plan d’Orgon. What made me choose this accommodation ? The presence of a swimming pool ! It was really the little extra I wanted to have and it is true that most places with swimming pools were crowded or completely out of budget.
So I managed to find a compromise with this room – which was pretty good and wasn’t too far from all the places I wanted to go. Nevertheless, I think that in the future, I will do it earlier to find the rare pearl !
During the stay, I alternated picnics and a few restaurants. You can find a bit of any type of cuisine and especially in the very touristy places of brasseries and other snacks (but which are sometimes a bit expensive in terms of price – tourist season obliges !).
Here are the places I tested : the relais des Fumades near my Airbnb, one day when I came home late from my mop. Truck stop kitchen – very affordable in terms of price. The daily special was fresh. As for the starters buffet – we are more on ready-made dishes. It helps out, but it is not a cuisine that is out of the ordinary.
In Cavaillon, one day when I also came home late from my trip, I tried the Asian restaurant Chez Ann. The decoration does not look very attractive, but the dishes are fresh and nicely prepared. The service is pleasant. Good discovery.
One evening, I had reserved a place in a Latin evening at the Domaine du Rocher d’Orgon with a live concert and a meal organized by La Caravane d’Olive.
Otherwise, I tried two bakeries : one in Bonnieux where I ate good corn bread and one in Roussillon where I was able to eat fresh pastries (just one haha !).
If you fancy an ice cream, I suggest you discover the Fabrique Givrée which has a shop in Saint Rémy de Provence.
Holidays in Provence : what to do in the Lubéron ?
For holidays in Provence, you have many possibilities available to you : exploring the villages, hiking in the Lubéron massif (or the nearby Alpilles), visiting mills of all kinds (olive oil, lavender, etc.). I suggest you discover my itinerary of the days I spent in this region.
If you are not afraid to get up early, I will invite you to leave in the fresh air around 7/7:30 am in order to avoid the waltz of tourists on your first stop. This will also sometimes allow you to park for free since it is from 9am that you have to feed the parking meters !
Remember to equip yourself with a pair of sneakers that you will keep in the car, fresh water, SPF, etc.
Arrived in Avignon, I picked up my rental car and drove to Plan d’Orgon (my Airbnb). Once asked, I went to the Orgon tourist office to see what there was to do in this area. You have a small museum on the history of the city which is linked to the stone quarries : Urgonia. The village is very cute to visit and you have several hikes around the city to do – personally I found the documents provided to be unreliable and it spoiled my visit a bit.
Then, I went up (on foot, without suitable shoes, the person at the tourist office absolutely did not inform me that there was a road to access the place – no comment) to the Church of Notre Dame de Beauregard. Very impressive building that deserves the detour.
I finished my day at the pool !
Originally, I wanted to take pictures of the lavender fields. However, at the end of August, it was already too late. Everything had been picked up. So I wandered differently. I went to Saignon which is a very cute village, especially the Place de la Fontaine with its fountain.
Then, I pushed on to Buoux which houses a fortified city. I wanted to visit but I did not have the outfit to show it at all. So I preferred to play it safe and not get scared again like in Orgon !
I then returned to see villages where I used to go as a teenager, Bonnieux and Lacoste.
Always in the cool, I went to visit Roussillon and its ochres. At sunrise, it is really very pretty all these orange and red colors. I did the Sentier des Ocres to visit our French Colorado.
A place that I recommend to you : the Abbey of Notre Dame de Sénanque. A magnificent monastery dating from the Middle Ages in which monks still live. Obviously you will not see them, they remain in the private areas during the visit times (unless you are attending the services). The place is really relaxing and steeped in history. In the abbey shop you can buy products from the monastery such as vegetables, olive oil or honey. Generally, the shop is very quickly robbed by visitors.
Gordes who saw its visits exploded after being on a television program electing the most beautiful villages in France.
Next to Gordes, you can visit the Village des Bories – another place steeped in history. The visit is interesting and exotic – to see how old generations could live in such rudimentary dwellings.
My last stop was Fontaine de Vaucluse to go see the chasm of Fontaine du Vaucluse. A place that made you dream, seen the photos…However, this famous turquoise water point in the hollow of the limestone cliffs is completely inaccessible by the path from the city. You walk 10 minutes along the Sorgue, magnificent clear water, really beautiful landscape…However, at the end of the path, a barrier. So, some climbing on the rocks to get closer, I find that dangerous. Another point that I liked less : the tourist factory side, funfair atmosphere. Along the way you have ice cream, churros, etc. Personally, it spoils the mood a bit.
Having never been there, I decided to leave Lubéron and go to the Pont du Gard. Majestic site to see at least once in your life. You can take long walks in the heart of the site but also swim (unguarded site).
On the way back, I wanted to stop in a mill to bring some good olive oil to Paris. I went to the Moulin du Calanquet, which I recommend : warm welcome, very interesting visit on all the production of olive oils and tasting. I brought back a small selection of oils and jams with original flavors.
I ended my day in Saint Rémy de Provence where I toured the old town – which I had not seen since my teenage years. 1h is enough for you to go around. There is the path linked to Nostradamus (you can also see the house where he was born – a plaque indicates it but you will not be able to enter). The other path is the one about Vincent Van Gogh which I decided not to do because no one of his paintings are kept here but the majority in his museum in Amsterdam. Going to see reproductions in his room didn’t interest me.
On the only rainy day of the holidays, I went to Cavaillon to visit an old synagogue with a rather unique decoration. The guide who gave me the visit was very interesting and allowed me to understand the history of these families in Provence and their way of life.
Since the weather was not good, it was the day I decided to visit the Nougaterie des Fumades in Allègre-les-Fumades. If you remember, I was talking about this company that I had met at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.
Last day in Provence and before leaving, I wanted to go to Isle sur la Sorgue to take advantage of the last moments, of this very clear water. Sunday, market day, it was very nice to walk around – despite the crowds. I also visited the Villa Datris Foundation, which is a place that highlights contemporary sculpture. Free entrance.
At the beginning of the afternoon, I took the train to finish my stay in Marseille.
Other cityguide posts :
- Weekend in the Basque Country : between Biarritz & Saint Jean de Luz
- Amalfi Coast : what to do in 3 days ?