At home in the Luberon

Itinerary

Day OneSaturday – Arrival

We will meet you at either Marseille airport or Avignon TGV train station in the afternoon and drive you to your accommodation at Hautes Courennes, in the centre of Luberon National Park. The journey takes between one and two hours and upon arrival you’ll have plenty of time to unpack, relax and look round the area before we meet for an aperitif and to discuss the programme, followed by a welcome dinner prepared by Manon, Linda’s daughter.

Day Two – Sunday – towns and villages among
the lavender fields

We begin our holiday exploring some of the smaller less-visited ‘perched villages’ among the lavender fields, which have managed to retain their old way of life. We take a short journey through stunning countryside to visit Vacheres a very pretty 16th century walled town. You can visit the local museum to see Roman remains or visit a painting exhibition, or you might prefer just to enjoy the fabulous views of the surrounding countryside or have a coffee in the local bistrot. From here we move on to Banon, world-famous for its goat cheese, wrapped in chestnut leaves and tied up with rafia. On our way home we stop at Simiane la Rotonde to visit the medieval castle and tower. We finish the day with an aperitif and dinner at La Ferme, Simon and Daphne’s house, just outside St Martin de Castillon.
 

Day Three – Monday – Forcalquier market & Salagon Abbey

Today we visit the historic town of Forcalquier, where there is a bustling Monday market. Here you can explore the town or buy fabric or other Provencal products to decorate your house back home, and we will be on hand to help you with your purchases. We buy food and wine for our picnic lunch, which we take in the grounds of the Salagon Abbey, a restored Benedictine Abbey. In the afternoon we visit the Abbey and tour its extensive gardens, which feature medieval-to-present day plants. In the evening we enjoy a meal prepared by our friends Hélène and Catherine, at Hélène’s house, built on the cliffs near Hautes Courennes, where you can experience real Provencal hospitality.

Day Four – Tuesday – Apt, faience maker, mosaics
and a cooking class

Today we look at Apt, the largest local town, founded in Roman times, originally known as Apta Julia (after Julius Caesar). We start with a visit the local farmers market to pick out things for or cooking class. Linda will briefly show you the outlines of Roman Apt and then we’ll have a look round the local shops with their provencal quilts and linen. We have included a visit to a local Apt faience maker for a demonstration of how this unique pottery is made. This is followed by lunch at Bistrot L’Atelier, run by our friend Shannon in Saignon, a perched village.In the afternoon we visit Marie-Helene’s mosaics atelier in the countryside near Sivergues. In the evening we go to Kim’s house, a converted mill, for a cooking class, an aperitif and then enjoy the meal in their garden.

Day Five – Wednesday – Lunch at St Martin de Castillon,
a visit to a lunar landscape or to local vineyards

Today is the chance to take a break! The morning is free up till 12.30, when we have lunch at Lou Caleu, a local restaurant near St Martin de Castillon .In the afternoon there are two choices – some of us will go for a short walk around the Colorado Provencal, an area of magical scenary and a lunar landscape, created by over 10 different coloured ochres,. The other group will go on a wine-tasting trip to two very different local vineyards. Before returning home for the evening, we will call at a local supermarket, so you can decide what to try at the meal during your free evening.
 

Day Six – Thursday – Avignon

Today we visit the medieval walled city of Avignon, about 1½ hours away. We spend the morning visiting the Palais des Papes, one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. It’s scale and majesty are incredible! As its name implies it was the palace and the home of the breakaway Popes during the 14th century. We go shopping for lunch in Les Halles, the large covered food market, and we’ll also have our lunch there amid the locals, enjoying our purchases with a bottle of wine. After lunch you have free time to do some shopping (with some guidance from us about the best shops),or you can climb to a vantage point to see the famous ‘Pont d’Avignon’. We return home in the mid-afternoon with time to rest or take an aperitif, before a buffet supper at Hautes Courennes, prepared by Manon and a chance to talk about the day’s visit.

Day Seven – Friday – Viens and local producers of honey, cheese and agriculture

This is the day in which we look round one of the oldest villages in the Luberon and its local producers. After breakfast we can either explore the beautiful perched, walled village of Viens, with its 13th century buildings and modern art galleries, with a visit to a local honey maker. Some people may prefer an hour’s walk to explore the area. We have lunch at our friend Caroline’s house in Viens. In the afternoon we visit a local cheese maker, Marianne, and her goats; she will explain how she makes her cheese. We return to Hautes Courennes to relax and change for our farewell evening meal at a local restaurant, Le Sanglier Parasseux in Caseneuve, mentioned in the Michelin guide.



Day Eight – Saturday – Departure

We prepare to leave, and those who wish can visit the Apt market on their way to the Avignon train station or Marseille airport. 

Itinerary map