Between the Alpes de Haute Provence and the Vaucluse plain (70 km north of Marseille), the bold outline of the Luberon mountain rises up: this is the symbol of the area, a mountain which brings the area together rather than separates. The mountain of Luberon is over 60 km long with a width of 5 kilometres, and its highest point is Mourre Negre, rounded summit which stands at 1125 metres altitude, in the Grand Luberon. The Massif du Luberon includes several "mountain": the Grand Luberon and the Petit Luberon are the main ones. There is also a Luberon East whose heights are between 280 and 976 meters and which corresponds to the most to the east of the massif. However, many old maps or guides do not mention, spoke only of Grand and Petit Luberon. This is the river of Aiguebrun through the massive north-south between the Petit Luberon Grand Luberon. It dug a combe known as the combe Lourmarin. The Grand Luberon, which culminates the Mourre Negre, is the main part of the massive both in size and length and width. It is located east of the combe Lourmarin. Le Petit Luberon, meanwhile, is the triangle Cavaillon, Apt, Lourmarin, south of the valley Calavon which separates Mountains of Vaucluse. From the valleys of Calavon in the north, to the Durance in the south, the natural link for these "pays du Luberon" which sway gently around its feet. This triangle, located in the part of a massive west of the combe Lourmarin, begins at a height of 110 meters and rises to a height of 727 metres.
This is the real Provence, full of character. A sweet dolce vita of a climate and pure clean air which just breathes the incredible contrasts between a rich, and variable natural environment : the blue strides of lavender, the subtle nuances of green in the forests, the flamboyant and blinding colours of the cliffs of ochre, or the austere white of the limestone hills. This is the living Luberon, where everything goes back to "man’s" relationship with the basic element, earth. The dry stone walls and bories, the imposing "bastides", villages perched on the sides of hills between church and château of which some are extremely famous: some of the most beautiful villages in France (Gordes, Lacoste, Ménerbes, Roussillon, Lourmarin, Ansouis)..., and others less well known but nevertheless just as attractive, like Vaugines ou Mirabeau, where "Jean de Florette" and "Manon des Sources" were filmed.... and lots of other places just waiting to be discovered.
LUBERON REGIONAL NATURE PARK Created in 1977, the Regional Natural Park of the Luberon spans two departments (Vaucluse and Alpes de Haute Provence) and receives 77 municipalities. It has an area of 174 726 hectares and extends from Cavaillon in the west to limit the Regional Natural Park of Verdon to the east, Durance acting as border between the two. The communces are those of the Luberon north and south of the Luberon, but also Calavon Valley and the southern part of the Monts de Vaucluse, as Gordes or Joucas. Four cities have more than 10 000 inhabitants, Cavaillon, Apt, Manosque and Pertuis In December 1997, the Luberon was officially recognized by UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. According to Article 3 of the Charter of the Parc du Luberon its delimitation reconciles a territorial approach based and socio-economic approach taking into account existing relations between the central cities (Apt, Cavaillon, Manosque, Pertuis) and rural municipalities surrounding . A large part of the attraction of the villages and towns of the Luberon is owed to the traces of human activity, an influence which is also present in the countryside. Nowadays agriculture provides a link with former times and the landscapes you appreciate are its result
Nature protection in sites and landscapes is combined with harmonious development. Thus all projects (construction, clearance, roads, quarries, networks...) are closely controlled as are all planning proposals and progammes affecting forests and rivers. Its limestone terrain and climate to provide a wide variety of ecosystems and have always kept relatively remote from major events in history, while the source of a diverse economy. The golden triangle of Luberon The golden triangle du Luberon is a term dating from the years 1970-1980 taken over by some newspapers to designate a portion of the valley Calavon, north of the mountain in the Petit Luberon. The triangle would base the Petit Luberon with its old villages perched and its summit would be represented by the village of Gordes. However, others perched villages of great charm as Joucas, Murs and Roussillon, are traditionally included in the "triangle". The Luberon, under the initiative of certain municipalities as Gordes, quickly became a protected place, unlike the French Riviera too much concrete. That’s how Gordes adopted land use plan the strictest Vaucluse department and one of the most stringent of France. Thereafter, other villages have also sought to grow while protecting themselves and all the late 1990’s and early this century, decided a higher quality of protection of their common and began to treat their aesthetic.
As a rule, joint action by the Luberon Nature Park and the communities aim to bring the territory to "levels of excellence".
This is why the Park takes part in matters related to:
the quality of life of its inhabitants (refuse processing, village amenities, socio-cultural activities); making children sensitive to the environment. - making the Park attractive for visitors (trails, site development, museums).
As a community project, the park needs the support of all; especially you if you are living or staying in it. The economy is the most easily identifiable around the Massif du Luberon is linked to tourism. Even wine producers seem to take into account the development of tourism and more and more areas offer more than traditional tasting real introductory course in oenology. The Parc du Luberon itself becomes an object, exemple with "houses in the park" or creating labels. It may take three main kinds of tourism in the Luberon. First, the historical and cultural tourism which relies on a rich heritage of villages perched on or festivals. Then, tourism relaxation which translates into an important development houses, the hotel and rental seasonal, with a significant concentration of swimming pools and entertainment markets as Provencal. Finally, the green tourism that benefits the many walking paths and protected framework offered by the Luberon and its environs.
VILLAGES: GORDES: One of the most beautiful villages of France, in the Luberon Oriented to the south and influenced by the Mistral that blows almost one third of the year in the Vaucluse, Gordes enjoys an exceptional climate with about 300 days of sunshine per year. But only one of the reasons that make Gordes one of the most visited villages of the Regional Natural Park of the Luberon. Located halfway between Cavaillon and Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt, Gordes, beautiful village perched, is ranked among the most beautiful villages of France thanks to its rich and varied heritage: two abbeys, several mills and water and wind several hundred huts or dry stone Bories. Gordes is one of the most common areas of the region with 4 804 hectares. The north of the town is formed by the mountains of Vaucluse. That is the culmination of the town at 635 metres altitude, near the "Pouraque" and "Three terms". The south of the town is composed of the plain of Calavon (also called "North Luberon Valley") and hills of the sector said the "Garrigue" where is the lowest point of the town. The village of Gordes lies on a limestone promontory of the Vaucluse mountains, overlooking the plain of Calavon of 120 meters to 370 meters high above sea level. The Vaucluse mountains are known to be rich in water (Fontaine-de-Vaucluse lies a few kilometres west only), as several rivers roam the town, both surface and underground. The Sénancole, west of the town, is causing the siting of the Senanque Abbey. With nine hotels (including several four-star), many houses (covering all price ranges), several Real Estate Agencies making the seasonal rentals, lodges and camping, Gordes is ready to receive Tourists who arrive en masse when the weather. It must be said that Gordes is not without strengths. The first quality of Gordes is without doubt his desire to control the nearest town planning. The construction standards are very strict over the town. The stone is everywhere and any new construction must adhere to the traditional implementation in addition to bury power lines and telephone. This obligation to build a stone, like the use of tile for roofs, the strong limitation of height, the fulfilment of certain seismic building standards, give a stamp Gordes copy. The monument marking the most Gordes of the castle which remains the most visible part is Renaissance. Built in the village centre, this imposing building, rebuilt in 1525, was classified a historical monument on July 4, 1931 and currently houses a museum devoted to painting Pol Mara, Belgian artist and the tourist office. Going down to the lookout, stands the church of Saint-Firmin built on the foundations of an ancient church in the thirteenth century and dedicated to St Firmin. The square tower, which probably dates from the fourteenth century, serves as a bell tower and has the distinction of having an outside staircase to nowhere, proof that another building was once attached to him. In addition, accessible through the streets of the oven, Palais Saint-Firmin, gardens and cellars (troglodytes halls, stairs underground oil mills) are listed in the inventory of historical monuments since March 4, 1998. Several streets in calade (paved with stones) leave this place south of the castle to join the remains of ancient fortifications whose Porte de Savoie, Hotel and Pluvinal chapel, the house Andre Lhote, whose facades are included in the ’inventory of historical monuments, and chaplaincy Saint-Jacques. Further down, at the foot of the village in the district called "Fontaine low," there are old wash, a mill and several ancient chapels whose chapel at the bottom, "carved in the rock. Under the new name of "Village des Bories" exists, 3 km west of Gordes, a former group of huts drystone oriented farming and use mainly seasonal, formed last three decades in open-air museum. It is reached by a path lined with oak and stone walls and having its point of origin on the road No. 2, from Cavaillon / Imberts, just before reaching the neck of Gordes. Called simply "shacks" in the Napoleonic cadastre, buildings have taken the name of scholarly "Bories" that during the second half of the twentieth century. In a valley to the west of Gordes, bordering the Sénancole who gave his name is the famous Cistercian abbey of Senanque, founded on June 23, 1148 at the initiative of the bishop of Cavaillon by monks Cistercians from Mazan-l’Abbaye in the Ardeche. The abbey is a listed monument since April 10, 1921 and annually attracts a considerable number of visitors.
ROUSSILLON: The ochre in Luberon Roussillon, in the Vaucluse department, is ranked among the most beautiful villages of France and is part of the perimeter Regional Park Luberon. It is actually the heart of the valley north of the Luberon, between the "Petit Luberon" and Monts de Vaucluse. For years, the natural wealth offered by the soil of Roussillon has identified the main economic activity of the municipality: ochre reigned supreme in the village. In the eighteenth century, with the diversification of technical textile processing and need dyes, the exploitation of ochre in Roussillon mobilizing the bulk of the population. However, the twentieth century, modern mining and the discovery of deposits more profitable have gradually closed all mines. At the beginning of 80 years, tourism has replaced the mining industry. But ochre has not totally disappeared revenues of the town! Indeed, he, his incomparable color, which drew the first artists fascinated by landscapes ashamed. It is also ochre, and its spectacular reliefs, which attracts tourists into the Colorado Provençal. Roussillon is, after Gordes, the second most visited village in the Luberon and has the label "More beautiful villages in France". It is best to discover Roussillon a sunny morning on the East, is arriving by road from Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt, then the view is magical, the village appears atop a steep hill and its colors are red exacerbated by the sun, or by road Goult, where the red ochre appears gradually in the middle of pine forests in one fell swoop invade the entire landscape. Several parking on the periphery can limit the number of cars in the centre of the village. The winding central street, which leads to the summit of the village is lined with art galleries, shops and products Provencal pretty houses of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. At the top, the church of Saint-Michel has a beautiful facade of the seventeenth century and is adjacent to a cliff where there is a magnificent panorama of 360 °, with orientation table. A few hundred meters from the heart of the village, south-east side, do not miss the trail of ochre (paid), whose colors range from yellow to purple. To everyone’s reach, but beware of the shoes, they may change color.
BONNIEUX: Bonnieux is one of those beautiful villages that make all the beauty of the Luberon. Located on the north side of the massif, between Grand and Petit Luberon, he commanded the northern entrance of the valley of Lourmarin. In the steep streets of Bonnieux, is the beauty of Provence that awaits you, with its ochre houses nestled under the roof tiles to the Romanesque. A Bonnieux, you also enjoy a wonderful panorama encompassing the Mont Ventoux, the Monts de Vaucluse and Valley Calavon. Dominated by the Old Church (also known as Upper Church), Bonnieux sleeps between the remains of its towers and ramparts of the 12th century. Village peaceful, it has a wide variety of architecture annually attracts many tourists. First, visit the Lower Church, built in 1870, which has four primitive 19th century, with scenes from the Passion. Do not miss the Tour Philippe, built in the late 19th century by an original, which had decreed that he "wanted to see the Sea" from the Luberon. More recent but equally interesting, a Museum of the Bakery, installed in a home of the 17th century, shows the reputation of pétrisseurs justified to leaven bread. The museum presents a reconstruction of an old bakery but also traces the history of different technologies wheat, milling and bread making. Outside the village, during a walk in the heart of the cedar forest, you will discover a 5 km north of Bonnieux the Pont Julien, a splendid Roman bridge which is the oldest structure still in use in France. You also meet during your walks "Bories," shacks dry stone, so typical of Provence of yesteryear, which are now restored and preserved for our greatest pleasure.
LOURMARIN: Lourmarin lies at the outlet of a valley that bears the name are : combe Lourmarin. This valley is the passageway between the Grand Luberon and Petit Luberon, joining the village of Bonnieux 11 km north. Lourmarin, as Gordes, is one of the most beautiful villages of France. The village of Lourmarin houses a Renaissance castle. The Castle consists of two parts, the earliest date from the fifteenth century. It is the family Agoult who built and lived for three centuries, François 1st stayed here in 1537. Restored from 1920 by Robert Laurent Vibert, it became his death accidentally in 1925, the property of the Academy of Arts and Belles-Lettres d’Aix-en-Provence, a charge for it to be a " Foundation Loumarin Laurent Vibert. " The latter, according to the wishes of the Founder of wills, receives annually at the castle of young writers, artists, researchers, accommodation and all expenses paid, they can devote themselves to their work in complete serenity. The castle is open to visits, it is fully furnished. The Fontaine aux Trois Masques, near the castle, from the sculptor Louis Didron, was conducted during the Second World War. The three masks represent the Rhone, the Durance and Luberon.
See also during your visit to Lourmarin, a bell-wall that houses the clock in the village. The tower was closed in 1942 and has a bell splendid work of a founder of Carpentras. Two famous writers are buried in Lourmarin: Albert Camus, a writer who died in 1960, Nobel Prize in Literature, who owned a house, and Henri Bosco, a writer who died in 1976 and who lived some time in Lourmarin.
L’ISLE SUR LA SORGUE L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue takes its name from the Sorgue which takes its source a few kilometres upstream in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. It is divided into multiple channels that are then shown the city as a group of islands. Some have nicknamed L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue "Comtadine Venice" (referring to Contat Venaisin whose Isle was a part). And it is true that water is omnipresent in the city, to the delight of tourists who appreciate this source of freshness under the sun of Provence. L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, formerly L’Isle-en-Venaissin, was originally a city of fishermen. It was a real island in the middle of swamps gradually drained by the digging of canals. Since then a remote waters of the Sorgue, abundant and regular, provided the driving force necessary to craft and industry. The paddle wheels had allowed the installation of mills wheat from the twelfth century, and then setting up workshops to treat wool and silk. The few remaining wheels picturesque today to give its stamp particularly at Isle, reflected poorly of the 62 that were in the nineteenth century and the intense activity that prevailed then: while silk generated new fortunes, ’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue became the main centre of the wool department. The old city, which has gradually lost its ramparts in 1793 to half of the nineteenth, retains the charm of a city that each time mark its mark. The tower Silver, near the apse of the church, was built by the Counts of Toulouse in the thirteenth century. Not far away, in the alleys of what was once the main city in the Comtat, one can admire the beautiful Gothic facades or rebirth. The collegiate Notre-Dame-des-Anges, rebuilt, except the choir in the mid-seventeenth century, is an exceptional monument by the richness of its interior decoration is a major witness Baroque in the south of France. For now nearly 40 years, the flea market has forged identity of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, assuring him an international reputation. L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is, after Saint-Ouen and London, the third European platform of trade in antiquities. Over time, antique shops, decoration, art galleries have developed and settled. They now constitute a major economic activity for the city that rose from 7 000 inhabitants in 1960 to more than 22 000 today.
With its proximity to the Luberon and Avignon, tourism directly employs (Hotellerie, camping, lodgings, catering, entertainment, etc.) Or indirectly (culinary crafts, etc.). An important part of the city’s economy. But it is first and foremost a European centre of the flea market and antique shops. The Museum of the doll and toy former is an excellent example of this vocation of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorge.
FONTAINE DE VAUCLUSE: It could translate the name Fontaine-de-Vaucluse in "the fountain of the valley close." It is at the bottom of a valley in cul-de-sac at the foot of a huge cliff 230 meters, that arises mysteriously one of the most famous Provence, and who will give birth to Sorgue. Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is built Around this famous source, and this small village of 600 inhabitants, who simply called Vaucluse, gave his name to an entire department. It must be said that it has been known since antiquity, Petrarch himself referring to, and that its source is the subject of a major worship since these distant time. This water has played a leading role in the economy Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Using its strength, paper mills have emerged in the fifteenth century. A jewel of local industry, stationery assured long prosperity of the place before being overtaken by modernity and replaced locally for the benefit of tourism and handicrafts. The Fontaine de Vaucluse is the source of Sorgue, its average flow is 22 m3/seconde and may reach 110 m3 per second at snowmelt. It was not until 1985 that is partially lifted the mystery of its origin: indeed, the lowest point at -308 metres deep has been reached by that date by a robot of the Society of speleological Fountain Vaucluse. The source is the main point of exit from a subterranean basin of 1100 square kilometres recovering waters of Mount Ventoux, Vaucluse mountains and the mountains of Lure. In Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, you can also visit the church of Notre-Dame and Saint Véran, Roman-style Provencal whose crypt contains the tomb of Saint Véran. See also a viaduct, the ruins of the castle of Bishops of Cavaillon, or the remains of a Roman canal built along the left bank of the Sorgue. During your walks or hikes, you will also have the opportunity to see Bories, these dry stone huts typical of Provence. La Fontaine de Vaucluse is the largest source of France. It is also ranked the fifth largest in the world with an annual water flow of 630 million cubic meters. This resurgence is in hydrogeology reference to the characterization of a type known as "source vauclusienne."
AVIGNON: Head of the department of Vaucluse, Avignon is located at the confluence of the Rhone and the Durance. It is thus neighbouring departments of Gard and Bouches-du-Rhone. Avignon is a vibrant, dynamic town. The walks, summer in the city centre, shows a crowd of tourists who came to admire one of the most beautiful cities of Provence. In the streets, young artists perform in front of the terraces of cafes, and smiling and relaxed atmosphere bathes the city in a festive atmosphere. The houses are elegant in Avignon, treated, but the narrow streets do not facilitate the movement plans. So the best way to visit Avignon is no doubt take the "toy train", which will make you discover alleys surprising. Avignon is known worldwide as ancient papal city. In 1309 indeed, under Pope Clement V, Avignon became the residence of the popes, already owners of the Comtat Venaissin. The cited was sold June 9, 1348 to Clement VI by Jeanne of Naples, queen of Naples and Countess of Provence. In total the nine popes (including two schismatic), which will succeed in the Palais des Papes. This palace today attracts tourism important, reinforced by the wealth and architectural beauty of the city, which has yet nowadays old houses beautifully preserved and restored, as well as remarkable walls and in excellent condition. Le pont d’Avignon is another emblem of the city, well known for the rhyme is dedicated to him. Note that the bridge deck Saint Bénezet, and the Palais des Papes are classified as world heritage by UNESCO. Festival of Avignon Since 1947, Avignon hosts a festival of theatre where many actors, dancers and singers come to occur during the month of July. The city hosts then over 800 performances and 570000 spectators each year. The hearing of this festival continues to grow both its immense qualities are recognized by both professionals and the public. We must also recall that it was in Avignon, in the nineteenth century, was born the great movement of the Renaissance Provence. Buoyed by Frederic Mistral (1830-1914), this movement succeeds, in 1854, the creation of Félibrige. Avignon is today a real crossroads and cultural tourism. In 2000, it is designated "European City of Culture. The aura that identifies the city in our time would have been to the liking of King Rene, Count of Provence and the Duke of Anjou, spent a very long stays in this city.
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