Luberon (Provence, France)

The Luberon Experience

2014 Trips: May 3 – 10; May 10 – 17; May 17 – 24; September 6 – 13; September 13 – 20
2015 Trips: May 2 – 9; May 9 – 16; May 16 – 23

2014 is the 9th year of The Luberon Experience. Over 300 people have joined us for this special week, many returning for a second time. We were thrilled that The Luberon Experience was recognized by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of their top 50 Tours of a Lifetime in 2012. Visit www.luberonexperience.com to learn much more about this beautiful area, our village of Bonnieux, and our week in Provence.

The Luberon is the most beautiful area in Provence, stretching 34 miles on either side of a small, rocky mountain range, an hour or so north of the Mediterranean Sea. This is the area Peter Mayle described in his best-selling book, “A Year in Provence” and was featured in the 2006 movie “A Good Year.”

Our base for The Luberon Experience is the ancient perched village of Bonnieux (seen above, left) with sweeping views across the valley. Our family lived in this village during our six month stay in the Luberon a few years ago. Bonnieux is now our second home. We have an apartment in the village and are there several months a year. Our friends always give our groups a warm welcome. Because of our relationships in the area and the size of our groups, our trips include many very unique experiences that wouldn’t be possible on your own or with another tour.

With a population of 1400, Bonnieux is an ideal base to enjoy village life in Provence. It’s small enough to be intimate, but large enough to offer important services, interesting shopping, and a variety of eating places. Our eight-room guesthouse is located right in the village with a beautiful garden and swimming pool. By the end of the week Bonnieux feels like home to our travelers too.

The Luberon offers a wide diversity of experiences for a week-long stay: a rich history dating back to prehistoric and Roman times, incredible landscapes of mountains and farmland, hilltop stone villages, the ruins of old castles, delightful outdoor markets, and outstanding cuisine and wine.

Highlights of a typical Luberon Experience week include:

  • A walking tour of Bonnieux, including a visit hosted by our friend Michele to to the ancient caves beneath her home that date back over 1500 years and were quarters for the Knights Templar in the 12th century.
  • Visits to the nearby perched villages of Lacoste, Gordes, Roussillon, Saignon and Oppède-le-Vieux.
  • Outdoor markets at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Gordes and Bonnieux, each providing a very different experience.
  • A private tour and wine tasting at Château la Canorgue, the main filming location for the movie A Good Year.
  • A very special winery lunch at Domaine Faverot, a family-owned winery with delightful owners
  • The Abbaye de Sénanque, a 12th century monastery hidden in a deep gorge near Gordes
  • Several options for walks, including an easy walk in the Fôret de Cèdres (on top of the Petit Luberon mountain), a hike to the ruins of Fort de Buoux, and a morning walk to Lacoste. We always provide interesting options for those who prefer other activities.
  • A visit to La Cabriole, a goat farm near Saignon, including a tasting featuring a variety of Marianne’s delicious goat cheeses.
  • A memorable evening at our friend Janice’s home, including the opportunity to help prepare the meal and learn about Provençal cooking.
  • Wonderful meals in a variety of settings, where we’ll experience the famous specialties and cuisine of Provence. Two of our lunches are picnics… always highlights of our week.
  • Plenty of free time to enjoy the village and our beautiful guesthouse.

Our midweek day trip “beyond the Luberon” is usually to the Alpilles, another very scenic area of Provence. Some travelers prefer a day on their own in Bonnieux, relaxing and shopping, hiking, or renting bikes.

A typical week on The Luberon Experience

The Luberon in photos

We meet travelers at either the Avignon TGV station or the Marseille Airport on Saturday morning. (Beginning in 2015, we will pick up and drop off only at the Avignon TGV station. You can travel to the Marseille airport from Avignon.) Many travelers begin or end their stay in France with a few days in Paris. Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille are also interesting destinations in Provence.

To help prepare for your trip to Provence, visit our Amazon store at www.ourprovencestore.com.  You’ll find guidebooks, novels, memoirs, cookbooks, photo books, movies, music, maps and much more.

Interested in this trip? See our Luberon Experience website for much more information about this wonderful week in Provence.

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