The Luberon is the inland, northern part of Provence, and it’s traditionally high on the tourist agenda because of its typical Provençal farmhouses, medieval villages perched atop hillsides, and a plethora of vineyards fed by abundant sunshine. The southern part of the Luberon is typically a little less travelled by tourists so some of its villages can be calmer than the rest of the region during peak season, but they’re just as beautiful. Lourmarin is one of these and is located 40km from the ‘city of fountains’, Aix-en-Provence, and 60km from Avignon. An ideal time to visit is at the end of summer, when tourist traffic is lighter. For many residents, Lourmarin is their second home, so it’s at this time too that many will pack up and leave.
Lourmarin deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Stroll through the cobblestone streets that lead to ancient squares, many of which have lively bars and restaurants where you can while away the hours. Watch the water trickle through the many fountains dotted around town while taking photos of the Luberon architecture, which quintessentially features blue shutters on stone walls. Wander around the artisanal shops that offer a tasteful range of Provençal furniture, textiles, perfume and regional produce.
Lourmarin has always been a magnet for French artists; aside from Albert Camus, writer Henri Bosco (1888–1976) is buried here. The English writer, Peter Mayle, famous for attracting hundreds of British expatriates to the region through the publication of his book, ‘A Year in Provence’, also bought a house here at the end of his life (he died in 2018). Lourmarin has a few small art galleries well worth a visit.