Whether you simply like pottering around pretty gardens or enjoy exploring lovely old buildings in beautiful settings this area of Provence has some lovely sights to offer. The three Chateaux of the South Luberon are distinctively different and each tells a different chapter in the history of this region. On the eastern side of the Dentelles mountains further north at Le Barroux, the chateau there resembles an eagles nest perched high above the village with superb views across the countryside.
Nestling in the Luberon hills pretty gardens offer gorgeous displays of colour and interesting examples
of provencal garden design and in the Alpilles the intriguing Jardin de L'Alchimiste is a fascinating example of a themed garden using provencal flora to its best effect.
The peaceful Benedictine and Cistercian Abbeys are another testament to the history of the area and their beautifully simple architecture is totally in keeping with the provencal countryside which encircles them.
Visit any of these lovely old chateaux, abbeys and pretty gardens as part of a Tailor Made a la carte holiday. Click >>Tailor Made holiday.
The imposing ruins of the Chateau at La Tour d'Aigues are a testimony to the destruction that took place all over France during the French revolution. The remains of the elegant Renaissance 16th century facade give the impression of a stage set and are a reminder of the splendid structure that once stood here.
Ansouis Chateau Fort has been in existence for over 10 centuries and has been occupied by the same family for over 400 years. Its beautiful interior and delightful terrace garden have been lovingly cared for and part of the original castle structure can still be seen in the keep and the foundations of two of the four towers that originally surrounded it
The Chateau de Lourmarin was built in three stages and reveals its history in the various structures of the building from the Vieux Chateau of 1475 to the Renaissance wing of 1526. Its lovely double spiral stone staircase and monumental fireplaces are distinctively different. The entrance courtyard gives a lovely view across the village with its warm buildings of honey coloured stone.
Further north in the Dentelles, the 12th century fortified Chateau of Le Barroux dominates the quiet little perched village of the same name. Having suffered a turbulent history the Chateau is gradually being restored to its former glory after a long period of abandonment following damage during the French Revolution.
Founded by Benedictine monks in 948 on a rocky outcrop near Fontvielle in the Alpilles, the brooding Abbaye de Montmajour is an imposing stone structure with superb views right across the Rhone delta.
In its peaceful valley setting flanked by lavender fields, the Cistercian Abbaye de Senanque is rightfully one of the 'must see' sights of this part of Provence. Still occupied by Cistercian monks the Abbaye provides a quiet retreat and its beautifully simple architecture befits its location in a deep valley near the village of Gordes in the Parc Naturel du Luberon.
Founded in 1144 the Abbaye de Silvacane is another beautiful Cistercian monastery in the south Luberon in perfect harmony with the quiet countryside in which it sits. Still in the process of restoration, the Abbaye provides a beautiful setting as it plays host each year to various music concerts including the International Piano Festival of La Roque d'Antheron nearby.
The rose gardens of the Abbaye de Valsaintes in the hills of Haute Provence are a spectacular display of hundreds of different rose varieties and are an absolute picture in early summer. The small church has also now been restored and is a quiet place of contemplation and there are some lovely spots in the gardens to simply sit and enjoy the peace and quiet of the lovely countryside far from the bustle of everyday life.
The Jardin des Plantes Tinctorials at Lauris in the South Luberon is a fascinating collection of plants which in different ways produce colour for the use in dyeing, natural food processes, cosmetics and for art. Grouped by geographic region the gardens with their unique collection of plants tumble down the terrasses of the Chateau at Lauris.
At the Musée de Salagon near Mane in Haute Provence three different types of garden have been created to explain the history and use plants which are typical of the Mediterranean climate of the area and also to demonstrate how these different plants have been used at various periods of history with an example of a medieval garden contrasting with a modern garden.
Belonging to the wine Domaine of the same name the delightful gardens of Val Joanis in the south Luberon have been created to represent a typical 19th century provencal garden including the vegetable garden and three terraces and arbours.
La Ferme de Gerbaud is a herb farm on the slopes of the Luberon mountains which offers visitors the opportunity to explore the world of aromatic and medicinal plants with guided visits to the farm and an explanation of the use of the plants.