The Luberon castles’ route
Three castles that have been very well preserved deserve a stopover in the Luberon, the destination known worldwide: that of the Marquis de Sade in Lacoste and those of Lourmarin and Gordes. And for those who love old stone buildings like me, others are also worth seeing, as their ruins take us into imaginary and ancestral lands. This way for the tour!
The Marquis de Sade’s château at Lacoste
The bonus: you get to it by walking up through the small streets in the village of Lacoste, which is typical of Luberon, with original sculptures on the fortress esplanade.
The château has few rooms to visit inside, but in them you can see the furniture in the private collection of Pierre Cardin (who has been restoring the premises since 2001). The panoramic view of the Calavon valley is really worth the trip.
Did you know?
- You can also visit part of the apartments of the Marquis de Sade, who was also the lucky owner! The place provided the inspiration for the château de Silling in “The 120 Days of Sodom”.
Then you head towards Lourmarin, 20 km further down, the castle of which is also known as the Villa Medicis of Provence
The pale-stoned edifice has a square tower. Part is mediaeval from the 12th century, and another part is from the Renaissance style. This makes it so unique!
The whole stands proud and houses a few treasures like this never-ending stone double spiral staircase (one of the most stunning in France), furniture of the time… The terrace opens onto a lovely garden full of flowers and a pool filled with water lilies, reeds and rosebushes.
- The castle can be visited on your own or with a guide. It takes a good 2 hours. A wander around the pretty village is also a must.
- Tour included in the Vaucluse Provence Pass.
The castle has been watching over this village classed as one of the most beautiful in France for 1,000 years, and is famous around the world.
Like that of Lourmarin, its history stems from a mix of mediaeval and Renaissance styles. The building creates an impact, especially its exterior architecture. New for 2022, it has a space that is now devoted to all sorts of art and exhibitions throughout the year.
Fall in love…
- A wow moment at twilight is seeing the sunset over the valley
The castles in the Vaucluse Mountains
Three places must be seen in the Vaucluse Mountains if you like old stone buildings and beautiful views.
– Thouzon castle (Fr) in Thor which can be visited on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month
– the ruins of the bishops’ castle in Cavaillon (Fr) in their green setting in Fontaine de Vaucluse
– the landscapes around the fort at Oppède-le-Vieux (Fr)
Not to be missed
- The wonderful hike south of Oppède: the Bastidon du Pradon
Pays d’Apt castles in the Luberon
At St-Saturnin-les-Apt, Rustrel and Buoux
St Saturnin les Apt castle may be ruins, but imaginative minds and children will think they are walking along the backbone of a dragon and overlooking all of the plain and the village. The walk as far as the dam and then on to the mill is very pretty.
As it happens, in Rustrel a wonderful 17th-century castle houses the town hall and a halt.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Rustrel, the Provencal Colorado (choose spring or summer for this visit).
Even further to the south
Tour d’Aigues castle (Fr) is reputed to be the most beautiful example of Renaissance architecture in Provence.
And indeed, even if only a few façades remain (which are impressive) and a few cellars (children love them), it has such style! It accommodates the Tourist Office and exhibitions in the restored rooms.
And 10 minutes away via the D56, it is easy to get to Ansouis, classed as the most beautiful village in France. Its castle (Fr), which was established from the depths of a military fort, has wonderful suspended gardens and offers guided tours which must be booked.
Good to know
- The tour of the Tour d’Aigues is included in the Vaucluse Provence Pass.