Villages of the Luberon Mountains
Continued from Provence most beautiful villages at https://emmapalova.com/2016/09/02/provence-most-beautiful-villages-2/
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Provence, FR- After a morning writing session on Sunday in the large Provençal social room with a view into the garden, we relaxed by the pool surrounded by the Aleppo pine forest with rosemary shrubs at the base.
The “girls” Emma & Selene had just completed a 10 kilometer hike to the Gorges de Regalon. The network of gorges and canyons plunges 30 meters deep and a magnificent forest of oaks, maples, Aleppo pines, cherry and fig trees shelters it.
“We met a guy who had flip-flops on and asked us how far of a walk it is,” laughed Emma. “Then he asked if his t-shirt was alright for the hike.”
In the afternoon, we explored another village of the Luberon, the artsy Lourmarin with population of 1,300. Lourmarin lies in the triangle formed by Avignon, Marseille and Aix-en-Provence.
The new château in renaissance style was restored by industrialist & philanthropist Robert Laurent Vibert in 1920. He was killed in an accident in 1925 leaving behind a foundation for young artists. The château overlooks the delightful Lourmarin with three belfries reflecting on the diversity of religion.
The right wing of the castle is fully furnished according to the renaissance period. We walked up the wide stone stairs leading into the main chambers of the castle. I especially loved the music room with music instruments from four continents, the library and the ladies room.
The castle serves as a major venue for the annual summer music festival from July 11 through Oct. 8th.
The kids delighted in the castle garden with sculptures and a pond with koi fish. A short walk down the hill led us into the bustling village with tourists, a festival and a market.
Fashionable shops and galleries lined the streets in the center of Lourmarin along with wine caves, endless restaurants and cafes.
Sitting at a sidewalk café on Place de l’Ormeau, I did as the Lourmarions do every day; I watched the pedestrians and an occasional car navigate the cobblestone narrow streets Mediterranean style.
A chic proprietor of a bed& breakfast sporting high heels was awaiting her guests at the cobblestone l’Oarmeau square adorned by sculptures with a water fountain. The water fountain with fish kept our youngest team member Sam, 2, calm. Ivy completely overgrows many of the bastides at the Place de l’Ormeau.
In one of the galleries, I found an amazing 3-D bluish yellow collage picture of the Last Supper. Emma loved the slick modern lamps, as well as the retro art in a gallery across the street. I didn’t want to leave Lourmarin.
But, we had one more village on our schedule: beautiful Ansouis, pop. 1,057, with French terrace gardens and the dominating castle at the top.
A jazz band used an opening in the castle walls as a stage with the setting sun behind for their light effects. Behind the spectator crowd, a couple danced Charleston on a sloping street.
And there was a syrup stand; not a wine stand but a booth selling the old elixir, which Emma and I know so well from the Czech Republic. Long before coke, sprite and other pop arrived massively in Eastern Europe, there was an equivalent: the good old home-made syrup from local fruits.
“Syrup is big now in France,” Emma said.
No, kidding. I encountered the syrup-diluted-in-water concoction at our other tour locations such as St. Remi-de-Provence and Poligny in the Jura region of France.
For more info on Provençal villages go to www.provenceweb.fr
For info on the Lourmarin château go to http://www.chateau-de-lourmarin.com
To be continued. Stay tuned for more stories from Provence in “Farewell to Provence” and from the Jura region, home to yellow wine, Comte cheese and Louis Pasteur.
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