It is said that Menerbes comes from Minerva (Minerve in French), the Roman goddess of wisdom and a supporter of the arts. Fitting to it’s name, it is also village where Peter Mayle wrote his book “A Year in Provence” and its sequels and has attracted a number of artists and noblemen in the past giving it a cultural setting.
Menerbes is also another little town with the “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France” label that has heaps of charm and sophisticated beauty. The Luberon region is filled with towns in close proximity and therefore you can easily combine visiting a few of them in one day. For example, visiting Oppede, Bonniuex, and Menerbes is a great combination. Keep in mind that market day is here on Thursday mornings, which we sadly missed.
The hilltop town is scatted with blue shutter windows that is sleepy in the mornings and comes to life closer to noon. It is less crowded than Roussillon and Gordes for instance, which makes it peaceful to stroll around and take in the feeling of the town. Stores, galleries and a few cafes start to trickle open as we walk around the main street. The pink bougainvillea, chic little boutiques and stunning stone buildings give that feeling of traditional Provence. The town is surrounded with vines and orchards with a fortification on top with a tower (La Citadelle) and castle (castle Le Castellet) on each end.
We had pre-booked lunch reservations in the town of Ansouis, but if you are looking for a place to eat in Menerbes, Maison de la Truffe et du Vin is apparently a darling spot. It is dedicated to fresh truffles when in season and it holds tastings with local wines. It is located in a beautiful garden with views of the valley all focused on truffle themed dishes.