Situated in the heart of Provence, the 1,000 year old village of Lourmarin is one of the most beautiful villages in France, it’s official!
Unlike many of Provence’s lovely villages, Lourmarin isn’t atop a hill. But instead the oldest part of the village sits on a mound. From here you’ll see remains of an 11th century watchtower which is easy to reach.
Lourmarin nestles at the foot of the Luberon Mountain chain. When you take a picture of the village you’ll see the Luberon clearly filling the foreground of your photo. The passage over the mountain starts in Lourmarin then winds through a geological crack forming the “Little Luberon” and “Large Luberon”. This gorge has long been a crossing place and used to be considered the most dangerous passage in Provence. Trade to and from Marseille passed this way and the natural caves along the route were a great hiding place for bandits.
What to see in Lourmarin
It’s a very pretty town with fountain-lined streets that thread their way around the village. There’s an ancient belfry (castelas) and a charming Romanesque church. A magnificent 15th Century castle houses a collection of furniture and objets d’art. Lourmarin is an artists’ village and, among others, attracted Henri Bosco and Albert Camus who are both buried in the cemetery. Camus hated driving and once said he couldn’t imagine a death more meaningless than dying in a car crash. For a writer so preoccupied with the meaninglessness of existence, it was a tragic irony that at the age of 46, he died in a car accident, on the way from Lourmarin to Paris in 1960. It was just three years after he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The writer Peter Mayle, “A Year in Provence”, also lived here for a time.
Picture perfect Provence
Surrounded by olive groves, almond trees and vineyards, Lourmarin has a typically Provençal ambience of gentility and beauty. Very popular in the summer months, it can get a little crowded, off season it is quiet and tranquil.
“What I love most about Lourmarin is the way it is laid out with so much space and light between the historical treasures. The village, Renaissance castle, and the early 19th century Protestant Temple are separated from each other by a prairie, private gardens, olive groves and a soccer field. Taking a stroll in Lourmarin reveals a perfect blend of nature, monuments, open spaces, and charming little boutiques” says Emily Durand of Your Private Provence.
Lourmarin makes for a great base in Provence being just 37km north of Aix-en-Provence and 58 km from Avignon. It’s easy to visit the surrounding towns of Apt, Gordes, Bonnieux, Roussillon by car.
It’s the perfect place for relaxing on the terrace of a café that spills out onto a cobble stone street. And enjoying the ambiance of a typical Provence village.
How to get from Paris to Lourmarin
Lourmarin is 70km from the Airport at Marseille, 58km from Avignon where there is a major train station with great high speed connections and direct trains from Paris and London. The closest TGV train station is Aix-en-Provence from where you take a train to Pertuis. From here you can take the bus to Lourmarin, but it is infrequent so you’ll need to check the time table.
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www.provence guide for loads of information, places to go, things to do and see.