SATURDAY : LOURMARIN - BONNIEUX - APT - ROUSSILLON - GORDES
On the way to Apt, it is necessary to cross the Luberon.
It is the name of this magic mountain range, famous world wide, enriched
by its stones, its castles, its luminosity and colours....
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.
It is the place of choice for many artists (painters, sculptors, writers,
Mostly on the northern part, on the side of the hills,
several picturesque villages are perched, overlooking the valley. In
order to protect themselves from pillagers, the inhabitants, during
centuries, have patiently built, stone by stone, their houses, closed
to the seigniorial castle.
Nowadays these charming villages, with their tiny narrow
streets and amazing shaded squares are classified among the most beautiful
ones in France.
Nevertheless, each one has its own personality and its own attractive
Quick stop at Lourmarin : It nestles
in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees. A very animated
village in the summer due to its numerous cafe terraces, restaurants
You can admire its medieval / renaissance castle, its temple, its interesting
pigeon house, its provencal bastides, its "boîte à
Albert Camus, winner of the Nobel Literature Prize, lived and wrote
here and was even buried here.
Quick stop at Bonnieux : this large,
attractively-terraced village situated on a promontory offers a lovely
view of Calavon valley, from the hilltop village of Lacoste, which castle
was formerly occupied by the Marquis de Sade, to the edges of the Vaucluse
Apt is the major town in the area
and this is where take place one of the most important market of Provence.
The marketplace takes over the entire center of Apt and all the interior
streets are closed to traffic. The eight open squares are filled with
stands and little truck-stores, and other stands line the narrow pedestrian
streets. The big parking lot is filled with more sellers. Many of the
permanent shopkeepers also set up tables or stands outside their businesses.
There are usually about 300 sellers with sometimes street performers.
Lunch with the advice of your guide
Roussillon : It owes its name to the
reddish (roux) colour of its houses. The village is lovely from the outside,
set in a deep green pine forest on bright red-ochre hills but even more
spectacular inside, with the colourful old buildings and narrow medieval
streets. From the terrace the view on the ochre cliffs, composed of
16 or 17 different shades is spectacular.
You can also go for a walk following the "Giants' Causeway, among
jagged rust-red cliffs, relieved by a scattering of pines and evergreen
Gordes - Panorama : This very beautiful
old village is perched on the southern edge of the high Plateau de Vaucluse.
It seems to be an unbelievable "stone cascade" : the stone
houses are built in tight against the base of the cliffs and others
are perched on the rocks above, and all together are topped by a 12th-century
Between the sites, your driver-guide will explain you
many things about the history, the tradition, the natural environment...
You will be able to stop as much as you want to take pictures, to taste
local products or just to breathe the fabulous scents of the provencal
8:00am Pick up at your hotel or ship in Marseille
9:15 Quick view on the charming village of Lourmarin, considered to be among the most beautiful ones of France, with its Renaissance castle
9:30 Drive through the Luberon mountain range to reach the lavender fields (Blooming end of June till mid-July only) and then the hilltop village of Bonnieux, from where there is an astonishing view on the Calavon valley
10:30 Time at the huge market of Apt
Lunch to be advised by your guide in Apt or Roussillon
02:00 Visit the picturesque hilltop village of Gordes
03:00 Drive back
04:00 Drop off
The schedule can be changed depending on the arrival/departure times of your ship or according to your wish if you stay in a hotel.