‘Provence’s peaceful gem, Lourmarin’
We pass through dozens of vineyards and countless blue shutter provincial houses as we drive through the winding country roads of the Lubéron region, that is a picture-esq corner in the southern foothills of the Alps. Most of the beautiful towns are in close proximity, making it easy to visit breathtaking places ( Menerbes, Senanque Abbey, Saint-Remy de Provence) in a short amount of time. Continuing our holiday from southern Italy to the south of France, our first two-day stop was in the idyllic town of Lourmarin, that turned out to be one of my favourites of our holiday.
Tucked away between hills of orchards and limestone cliffs, Lourmarin is the southernmost village of the Lubéron. We arrived to the little town from Nice feeling parched and hungry eager to go exploring the nooks of the town. After checking into our charming little B&B kept by a lovely english women Rose Robson, her partner and dog, we headed to town hoping to find a bistro open. Typically, all the restaurants were in siesta at this hour so our only choice was to buy treats from a gourmet deli and sit on a park bench where we watched locals compete over a game of pétanque. Our accidental romantic picnic was lovely and charming; we bought a little bottle of rosé, a great slice of rustic paté and some quiche that we nibbled on as we watched the French through their boules. We even spoke to a man born and raised in the region, so friendly, who explained the rules of the game to us.
Strolling around the cadales (cobbled) pathways, you are tucked between pale limestone houses dating back to the Renaissance era that elevate to a 11th century Saint André church. The streets spill with boutiques, ateliers and restaurants, where the main square gathers everyone for a chilled afternoon rosé. Its beautiful, relaxing and everything you want it to be. This little town is what I envision Provence to be all about; people are dressed well wearing loafers and straw hats, many carry baguette in their paper bags (which almost sounds too cliché, but we spotted many people with them), buildings drapped with vines and fig trees blooming with the most ripe fruit waiting to be eaten. According to our B&B host, Lourmarin has always acted as a hideaway home to a number of artisans and writers due to its peaceful inspirational nature. Lourmarin is a lived-in destination and it attracts enough tourists, many that are local making the place the ‘right mount of full’, if you know what I mean. A charming contrast, in comparison to the overcrowded “most visited towns of Lubéron“, such as Gordes or Roussillon that get much more visitors and therefore have less of that authentic charm, we all seek for.
Exploring the most photogenic corners…
Dressed in a blue and white cotton dress with a comfortable slingback nude flat, we glided through the inviting streets, peeked into resident gardens, stopped for traditional tartar on the square and tasted the most perfect figs for dessert, that didn’t have a change to touch the ground. The most gorgeous pale rosé lingered in our mouths and we joined in on the relaxing lifestyle, provincials always talk about. Lourmarin is filled with cute restaurants, simple pure ingredients that speak for themselves. For a great itinerary, visit a new town during the morning, preferably one that has a morning market, such as cucuron, have lunch in the town of Ansouis at ‘le closerie’, make sure to book a table outside as it is very full. Explore Lourmarin for the remaining evening. Stop for a glass or two of rosé & tartar at Cafe Gaby and later in the evening indulge in Le recreations lamb shank and a full-bodied red wine on their cozy terrace.
Make sure to find out what markets are going on what day, our B&B host Rose Robson was very helpful and suggested wonderful tips on exploring the region.
Location Lourmarin is ideally located in the heart of Provence, the coastal drive from Nice airport is about 2 hours and 30 minutes by car. Make sure to carry change with you, for the toll highways.
Nestled right on the edge of the main square, you are in perfect distance to everything of Lourmarin. We stayed in the room with a balcony and were greeted in the mornings with the smell of coffee and flakey croissants on our window sill. The country bedroom is above the ancient stone stairway looking into the blooming courtyard. This little room has an old-fashion Provencal charm and a private balcony where breakfast is served.
Wander The village has a buzzing market every Friday morning, which spreads across the centre of the village attracting visitors from neighbouring towns. The small farmers market happens on Tuesday evenings. The Chateau is open all year around that consists of a number of art exhibits and concerts.
Love Explore the town by walking around the narrow lanes, visiting all the tiny shops and stopping for a glass of vino on the main square.