The LUBERON HILLTOP VILLAGES and
Luberon is the name of this magic mountain range,
famous world wide, enriched by its stones, its castles, its luminosity
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, close
to the seigniorial castle.
Nowadays this 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
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 and boutiques.
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.
Bonnieux - Panorama : 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 Plateau.
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
Visit of Avignon, a UNESCO World Heritage
The city, as a strategic site in the Rhone valley,
owes its origins to the Doms rock. With the arrival of the popes in
the 14th Century, the city became a second Rome. It was enriched by
art in the 17th and 18th Centuries, and it remained papal property up
to the French revolution. Its medieval walls cover nearly 3 miles and
are punctuated by 39 towers and seven gates ! Within the walls thrives
a culturally rich city.
The major site of the city is the huge pope's palace,
the biggest gothic palace in the world. Just being at the foot of the
impressive building will let you an unforgettable souvenir. It gives
an idea of the grand life under the seven French popes who built a miniature
Vatican during their rule here. You can visit 25 rooms of it, including
the ceremonial rooms, chapels, cloister, private papal apartments with
priceless frescoes, and others. (entrance not included)
The second point of interest is the St Bénezet
bridge. This legendary bridge is a significant symbol of the history
of Avignon, famous throughout the world due to the beloved children's
song. The bridge was built in the late 1100's. Though it was often rebuilt
after damage inflicted by the raging flood waters of the Rhone. (entrance
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, or just
to breath the fabulous scents of the provencal plants...
8:00am Pick up at your hotel or the port of Marseille
9:00 Discover the charming village of Lourmarin, considered to be among the most beautiful ones of France, with its Renaissance castle
9:45 Scenic drive through the Luberon mountain range to reach Bonnieux from where there is magnificent panorama on the Calavon valley
10:30 Visit of Gordes, one of the most incredible hilltop villages of Luberon: a real stone cascade
11:15 Drive to Avignon
12:00pm Lunch and guided tour of Avignon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This strategic site of the Rhone Valley is worldwide renowned for its huge pope’s palace, the major site of the city (possible inside visit of the Popes palace: 11 euros per person)
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.