Famous for its tasty goat’s cheese, hilltop Banon is a traditional Luberon village surrounded by lavender fields

LUBERON

Provence

The Luberon attracts more and more international home-owners, seeking both main residences and holiday homes, not least because of its crystal-clear blue skies, countless pretty villages perched on hilltops and magical landscapes of lavender fields, olive groves and converted farms and sheepfolds. Luberon is a region but also a mountain range in central Provence – stretching from Cavaillon in the west to Manosque in the east; Pertuis is at the region’s southern extremity and Saint-Christol is to the north. This part of Provence is rich in history and you are constantly reminded of the strong Roman presence with numerous ruins of triumphal arches, baths and aqueducts.

This sought-after area of Provence was also the home of the region’s aristocracy, dating back to the 10th century with the Comtes de Provence, while Avignon was once the city of the Catholic Popes, rather than Rome. This legacy can be seen in the grand Palais des Papes (Popes’ Palace) in the city centre, which is surrounded by medieval stone ramparts.

Here you will find a very good choice of properties to suit all budgets. Many have been tastefully converted from former farms and include large plots of land, as this region was agricultural before it became popular with Brits looking to buy. It will cost you significantly less than property on the coast.

This beautiful part of Provence is very accessible by road, air or train with the TGV stopping at Avignon and Aix-en-Provence, while Marseille airport is an hour away. Aix is the birthplace of Cézanne and Émile Zola, renowned French novelist and journalist, and many French painters have planted their
easel on the Luberon’s soil including Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso (who is buried in Vauvenargues just North of Aix). Peter Mayle’s bestselling book, A year in Provence, attracted many Brits to the area in the 1990s. If you are not feeling in a ‘cultural mood’, you can always take a stroll around one of the countless picturesque villages, enjoy the sun and sample the local rosé and dishes like soupe au pistou or pissaladière.

Among the authentic villages not to miss while house-hunting is Lourmarin, nestled in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees with its renaissance château. It’s remained unchanged and unspoilt over the years and has some excellent restaurants. Market day here is Friday.

Then there’s Gordes, home to the rich and famous. It’s a lovely, well-kept village with a fortified château. It stands proudly at the top of a hill facing the Luberon Mountains. Like Lourmarin, it has been listed as one of ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France’.

Travel 12 kilometres north and you will come to Bonnieux, built on a plateau above the valley with 86 steps leading to La Vieille Église. Here you can enjoy the beautiful stone houses dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, a reminder that this wealthy village once belonged to the Popes.

Its many beautiful hilltop villages, coupled with the amazing landscapes, make the Luberon a wonderful hunting ground.

 

Thanks to our partner agencies in the Luberon

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