Lourmarin is not one of those Provençale villages that comes up a lot when planning a holiday in France. And that’s a pity. Its nearby neighbors like Gordes and Isle-sur-la-Sorgue get a lot more press coverage.
But the small village of Lourmarin is famous for being labeled “une des plus beaux village en France” (one of the most beautiful villages in France). If you are looking for a typical provençal village to visit, Lourmarin is well worth a visit.
The village owes its existence to its strategic location near a route to Aix-en-Provence, around the Massif of Luberon. Aix-en-Provence has always been a bustling town due to its natural thermal springs, so the route to Aix needed to be defended.
A fortress was built in the area in the 12th-century to protect that route, and gradually the village around it expanded to what it is today. It is near the Luberon villages of Ménerbes, Lacoste, Roussillon, Gordes, Bonnieux, Venasque, and Isle-sur-la-Sorgue making it popular destination for visitors.
With a population of approximately 1000 people, it is the quintessential French village in Provence. So let’s have a look at the top things to see and do in Lourmarin, shall we? Allons-y!
Things to do in Lourmarin
1. Château de Lourmarin
No visit to Lourmarin will be complete without a visit to the Château. The original 12th-century fortress that I mentioned earlier, was eventually reconstructed into the château you see today, over the centuries. It survived the French revolution, as at the time it was owned by local Marseillais merchants who had been ennobled.
These days the château is owned by a foundation for the arts and welcomes artists, painters, sculptors, musicians, and writers from France and beyond. The château is made up of 2 parts, the old fortress where they hold exhibitions, and the newer “residential” portion of the château.
There are often concerts and other events like weddings at the château, so check before heading over. The château also has lovely gardens that you can walk through and picnic in. There is also an exhibition to French philosopher and writer Albert Camus who lived in Lourmarin for several years.
The Château is part of the “Routes des châteaux en Provence” so if you are inspired, so if you are inspired you can drive to the other 5 châteaux that are on the route.
☞ READ MORE: 16 Tips for an faultless Château Wedding in France
2. Wander the streets of the village
Walking through the village, you get the impression that you are in a picture-perfect set, ready for Instagram. With colorful buildings, art galleries, small cafés, and potted flowers around every corner, you’re almost not sure what to photograph.
The center is pedestrianized, and cars are restricted to a parking lot at the edge of the village, about 5 minutes way on foot. (You can easily walk from the château to the village, without moving your car.)
Wander around to your heart’s content, enjoy the provençale sun. Bring a hat and good walking shoes.
3. Try the local delicacies
Since you are deep in Provence, try a couple of the local delicacies such as aioli or a salad niçoise for lunch. Pair it with a pastis as an apéritif, before switching to local wines from the Côte du Rhone area.
And if it is all too much eating for you, finish it off with a typical french dessert like the faidone and a café allongé. You can read more about local foods and drinks to try in Provence here.
There is a weekly market in Lourmarin every Friday on Boulevard du Rayol and Place Henri Barthelemy.
The farmers’ and producers’ marché is held between 8am and 1pm, selling everything from provencal souvenirs to wine and lavender. It does get crowded in the summer time, so head there early.
From April to October, Lourmarin also has a small farmers’ market, which is held at the Fruitière Numérique every Tuesday from 5 pm to 8pm.
How to get to Lourmarin?
Lourmarin is only accessible by car. The closest high-speed TGV train station is in Aix-en-Provence and airport is in Marseille. From Aix or Marseille, it is around a 1.5 hour drive to the village.
How many days should you spend here?
The village is an easy day trip from nearby Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, or Avignon, but if you prefer to enjoy village life, rather than staying in a big city, I would recommend at least 1 night.
Where should you stay?
There are a couple of great hotels, right in the heart of the Lourmarin village:
- €€€ – Le Moulin
- €€€€ – Hotel Bastide
So will you be putting Lourmarin on your list on your next holiday? If you enjoyed that article, you may like to read more about traveling around Provence. A bientôt!