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6 South Luberon - from Lourmarin to Ansouis It’s funny how natural barriers tend to create distinct regions. Such is the case for the Luberon Mountain Chain. The official Luberon region includes both the north and south side, but there are two personalities to explore: the north: Luberon Coeur de Provence, and the south: Côté Sud Luberon. Lourmarin and Ansouis are on the list of "Most Beautiful Village". I recommend both villages with stops in Vaugines and Cucuron in-between. If you happen to be here during the first part of May, you’ll have your very own red carpet laid out for you as the poppies are in full bloom. You can also contemplate the Provence of “Jean de La Florette” the beautiful book by Marcel Pagnol, on a walk near Vaugines. In more recent times, some of the loveliest scenes in “A Good Year” starring Russell Crowe were filmed in Cucuron. The ambiance of the south doesn’t stop here though. You can also go truffle hunting, taste olive oil, buy wine and visit castles.
Nostradamus described Menerbes as being like a big ship drifting on a sea of vineyards and orchards... 7 Menerbes – the “floating” village Allow yourself time to be swept away by the quiet beauty of Menerbes. Like Gordes, on the other side of the Luberon valley, Menerbes is labelled “Most Beautiful Village”, but you’ll discover a very different kind of soul. The legacy of the famous artists who settled in the village - Picasso, Dora Maar, Nicolas de Stël, Jane Eakin and Joe Downing to name a few – have left their mark. Not to mention the late, great Peter Mayle who lived there and featured the town in many of his novels. As you walk the cobblestone and narrow lanes passing houses from the 15th, 17th and 18th centuries, you won’t be distracted by postcards and lavender sachets for sale. The mass of tourists tend to stay in Gordes and Roussillon so Menerbes is an ideal spot for lunch and a peaceful stroll through a typical Provencal village. There are two bakeries in the village and a general store. Just enough to pick up some snacks for a light lunch you can enjoy perched on a bench in the shade at the top of the village in front of the 16th century church Saint Luc.
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