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Top 10 things to do in the Luberon

Luberon vakantie

The Luberon in France is a beautiful region to discover as it has much to offer like lovely villages, historical sites, good food, typical Provencal scenery but also stunning mountains and impressive natural sites. The Luberon region is named after the range of mountains in the Vaucluse department between Manosque and Cavaillon. The mountain range has three parts: Le Petit Luberon, le Grand Luberon and le Luberon Oriental. The Luberon Natural Park is ranked as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Le Petit Luberon and Le Grand Luberon are divided by the Combe of Lourmarin that cuts across the rocks from Bonnieux to Lourmarin. It’s a very scenic road and the nicest way to drive from the South Luberon to the North Luberon.

Lourmarin village

Start the day with a cup of coffee and a croissant in the village of Lourmarin. As I lived in Lourmarin for a year, I might be biased but I do think Lourmarin is worth a detour. There are lots of lively cafés with tables outside. The terrace of the Gaby’s is well placed for people watching in the sun. There is also the Café de la Fontaine, which is cosier if you want to sit inside. They serve good Corsican food made by the Corsican lady owner over the open fire. Across from the tourist office you will find the salon de thé Luce d’Angeuse, where you can get a nice light lunch with quiche and salad. The market day on friday is very busy. Don’t miss a visit of the village and it’s Renaissance castle after your coffee!

lourmarin in Luberon

Luberon by bike

You could opt for a bike holiday and bike all around the Luberon mountain range. It is a gorgeous trip as the Luberon is an ideal place for bikers with lots of interesting cycling trails, both for the leisurely cycling as for the more serious kind of work. You could easily bike around for a week.

But you can also do a daytrip and bike to the Mourre Nègre, the top of the Grand Luberon. Other interesting bike trips are to the Forêt de Cèdres where you have breathtaking views. On a clear day you can see the Mediterranean sea on one side and the Mont Ventoux on the other. You can also visit l’enclos des bories there, where you can see lots of those old stone huts.

While in la Forêt de Cèdres  you are very close to the perched village of Bonnieux, one of the most pretty villages around so be sure to have a rest there. If you’re up to it, you could even drive a bit towards the North to the village of Bedoin where you can start the climb up the Mont Ventoux, the Tour de France giant and highest point of the Provence (1912 m). It’s a real difficult climb and only for the die hard cyclists!

Luberon tips
The Bories (c) Passion Leica, Flickr


Have a stroll in Saignon. If you’re lucky to find the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame de Pitié open, have a peek inside, I think it’s one of the most beautiful churches in Europe. Saignon is an authentic hilltop village built behind a cliff and offers the most wonderful views of the surrounding area from the cliff. You can have lunch at Le Comptoir de Balthazar, the husband serves, the wife cooks. The menu is limited but it’s fresh and good quality home made cuisine. Between March and Octobre you can also visit le Potager d’un curieux. It’s an ecological garden where the owner has been growing all kind of rare vegetables, fruits and plants for years. You can also buy seeds there.

Window in Saignon (c) Vincent Brassinne


Go rock climbing in Buoux. It was a very well known climbing site in the eighties and it still is a very interesting climbing site with more then hundred routes (graded 6a to 6c). For the non-climbers amongst us, it still is worth a visit as the steep limestone rock walls and the gorge are absolutely gorgeous and very impressive. You can also visit the fort of Buoux and learn a bit about the history of the Vaudois in the Luberon region.

Luberon tips
Climb in Buoux (c) Deb Collins, Flickr

Le Sentier des Ocres

Follow le sentier des ocres (the ochre path) in the colored little town of Roussillon. It’s a magnificent walk of about one hour through the former ochre quarries.. Drive on to Rustrel afterwards to visit the Colorado Provencal. The former quarries of Rustrel offer four freely accessible hiking trails from 1km to 5,5 km. Absolutely worthwhile when visiting the region. The colors and shapes on these sites are so gorgeous, it’s like walking on another planet (but no aliens around, just lots of tourists).

You are very close to Apt now so you might as well visit the little town. It’s not one of the prettiest towns of the region but it’s lively and it has a nice large market on saturday mornings and the greatest fruits confits of France.

Provence tips
Colorado Provencal (c) Dimitris Kilymis

The marquis of Sade

Back to the cute little hilltop villages. Lacoste is a very picturesque medieval village with typical cobbled streets. You can see the ruins of the castle of the marquis de Sade. It’s propriety of Pierre Cardin now, as are more then 20 other properties in Lacoste, which is enormous bearing in mind the size of the village.

There are art exhibitions on a regular basis in the ruins and the Lacoste Festival in july and august every year (concerts, ballet, opera, etc..).

Other typical Provencal hilltop villages close by and worth the detour are Oppède le Vieux and Ménerbes.

Oppède le Vieux (c) Andrea Schaffer

Lunch in Cucuron

Time for lunch? Head towards the village of Cucuron. The restaurant La Petite Maison with chef Eric Sapet (he also gives cooking lessons!) has a very good reputation and a Michelin star but there are many other nice places to have lunch around the etang (16th century), where one scene of the movie A good year was filmed. The movie Le Hussard sur le toit has also been partly filmed in Cucuron.

The medieval village of Cucuron is a very pretty one. It has a peaceful and serene atmosphere eventhough it lives all year round. There is a market on thuesday and they even have a small movie theatre, le Cigalon.

cucuron in Luberon


Ansouis is another pretty village in the Luberon with a castle and a cute weekly market but you’re not here for the village, the castle or the market. You’re here for the artisanal ice cream! The best ice cream of the South of France to be precise. L’Art Glacier offers more then seventy flavors, from chocolate and vanilla to all kind of fruits to honey from the Provence, lavender and poppy. It’s a bit hard to find the place but it absolutely is worthwhile!

While in Ansouis also stop at the Musée Extraordinaire.This small museum with a weird collection has been created by Georges Mazoyer who was a painter and a deep sea diver. You will find a collection of all kind of things, from sculptures to fish fossils, furniture and paintings to geological artifacts

Left: Musée Extraordinaire in Ansouis (c) Srsck. Right: Etang de la Bonde (c) Srsck

Have a swim!

While in the Luberon you’ll have to drive about one hour to be able to swim in the sea but you have other options closer by. Amidst the vineyards in a natural greenery you’ll find one of the nicest swimming options in the Luberon: the etang de la Bonde. Or you could just rent a holiday house with a pool and enjoy your holiday….

Explore the local markets

There are markets nearly every day in the various villages, some only during summer months, others the whole year round: for ex. Monday local market in Lauris, thuesday local market in Cucuron, wednesday farmer’s market in Pertuis, thursday farmers market in la Tour d’Aigues, friday local market of Lourmarin, saturday big market in Apt, sunday local market in Maubec.

Market of Isle sur Sorgues (c) ib.aarmo, Flickr

The markets are always lively and nice to discover. Most of them are in the mornings until about 13h but do check the times at the tourist information. There are also seasonal markets like the truffle markets between novembre and march. You can also have a look at a Vides greniers if there is one when you’re around. A vide grenier is kind of garage sale, a local second hand sales.

Look out for the posters to find out where and when one will take place. You can find all kind of stuff for very cheap. I bought a children’s bike for 1 euro the last time I was at a vide grenier!

5 reacties op “Top 10 things to do in the Luberon”

  1. Thank you for your wonderful blog.

    I have a question for you since you lived in Lourmarin for some time. We will be staying in a bed and breakfast near Lauris for four nights. Our last day is a Monday with a Monday’s night stay. I have read that many of the shops and some restaurants will be closed on Monday and so I am pondering whether it will be worth it to stay or if we should cut the visit short and head down to Cassis Monday afternoon. Any advice? What could we do on Monday that wouldn’t involve going to the towns, etc… I will have my 14 year old daughter with me, so sitting around the pool all day probably won’t be an option.


  2. Hi Kim,

    Oh I’m so jealous, I’m in the cold in the Netherlands at the moment and it’s wonderful weather in the Luberon 🙂

    Indeed lots of restaurants will be closed on monday but you can do other things on monday. You’ll have some markets on monday (Cadenet, Forcalquier and Lauris on monday morning).

    Will you have a car? You could have a look at the le Musée du Tire-bouchon in Menerbes, it’s open on mondays but it does close for lunch. While in Menerbes, you could have a look at La Maison de la Truffe et du Vin as well. Also in Menerbes and also open on mondays: abbaye Saint-Hilaire.

    The castle in Lourmarin is also open on mondays. Or you could drive down to Aix-en-Provence for the day. There will be restaurants and shops open there and it’s such a pretty town, really worth the drive, it’s about 20 to 25 minutes from Lourmarin.

    And you could do the sentier des ocres on monday, it’s really stunning and it’s open on monday. I know my daughter loved it there (she was 12 when we went). More info on the sentier here:

    Well, hope I could help, have fun!!

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