The Pays d'Aigues by bike
"The latest addition to the marked trails created by the Luberon Regional Nature Park and the Luberon Leisure Bike, the" Pays d'Aigues à vélo "is perfectly adapted for a small weekend roaming. It can also serve as a test path before embarking on a longer roaming, just to check equipment and adjust equipment. The combination of small roads and the slightest difference in altitude, allow you to let go ... So off you go ! ". Eric Garnier, responsible of nature sports studies to the RNP Luberon.
The Eze, a torrential river
This river which takes its source upstream of Bastide des Jourdans at about 20km, often dry in the summer, is however torrential and can experience flash floods after severe thunderstorms. The Eze is the natural drain of all the rain fallen upstream in Aigues. This is what happened in September 1993. The fire station that you see from the bridge was blocked!
Canal of the southern Luberon
Completed in 1862, it is used to irrigate the plain of the Durance. It takes its water from the Durance upstream Pertuis, near La Loubière, and runs along the hills until Cadenet then Lauris. It supplies about 3200ha of land. You will also see the passing in a siphon under the Eze river, where it also disgorges, if needed.
The "Pomme de terre de Pertuis" brand
Legend has it that the potato was brought to the region in the late 18th century by a peasant from Tour d'Aigues named Job le rouge, back from Napoleonic expeditions. Before World War II, there were about 2000 ha, which helped feed many inhabitants of Marseille during the occupation. The yellow-fleshed potato is sold unwashed to promote conservation and the most cultivated varieties are the Mona lisa and the Samba.
Rare and discreet, I am ...
The Apron (Zingel asper)! I'm smart and I remain very discreet. In the daytime, I stay at the bottom of the Durance and change into the colour of shingles to blend into the scenery and escape predators. At night when everyone is asleep, I go hunting for food. Even with such discretion, there are very few of my kind still alive. Only present in the tributaries of the Rhone (and nowhere else in the world), the Durance is one of my favourite playgrounds.
The Durance, a Provençal queen
Taking its source at Mount Genèvre in the Hautes-Alpes, the Durance continues its course in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence to then establish the border between Bouches-du-Rhône and Vaucluse. The various hydroelectric constructions (like the huge dam of Serre-Ponçon) have significantly reduced its flow and its natural environment. The challenge today is to reconcile the production of electricity from renewable energy and the protection of the ecosystems of the stream.
The agricultural plain of Villelaure
The plain constitutes more than half the area of the town (1,275ha) which has long been neglected by fear of floods. In the 18th century, it was conquered on the river by building dams in order to control the Durance. A fruit and vegetable agriculture has developed there. 600km of canals allow each plot of land to be irrigated and drained. A mill, a factory (beetroot refinery), a power plant bear witness to the past use of the driving force of the water.
... and Lourmarin, a waldensian village
Following the many crises faced by the region (wars, plague, starvation)at the end of the Middle Ages, the village is practically deserted. To ensure its repopulation, the Lord brought Waldensian settlers (followers of the spiritual movement) from the Alps. The territory experiences a true renaissance which was soon restrained by the persecutions of the religious wars of the 16th century and the end of the 17th century.
Lourmarin, a hilltop village...
Like many villages in the northern and southern Luberon, Lourmarin developed in a concentric way from the 11th century to the 16th century around a castle built on a small hill and its church. Now disappeared, the original castle was replaced by a belfry in the 17th century while the current Lord built from the late 15th century a much more adequate Renaissance house outside the village.
Wines of the Luberon
The vine occupies an important place in the Luberon with 3 AOP (European quality logo attesting regional origin): Luberon, Ventoux and Pierrevert. The Luberon AOP is entirely within the Park and covers nearly 3000ha. In red, white and rosé, there is something for every taste! With cooler nights in summer, the Luberon wines are balanced and elegant. The varieties of the vineyard: Syrah (Shiraz), Grenache for the reds and rosés, Vermentino and Grenache Blanc for the whites. See you at the many wine cellars!
Cucuron, a hilltop village
Like most villages of the Luberon, Cucuron developed in the 11th century around its castle, here on the hillock to the west, where only the vestiges of the dungeon remain today. As of the 13th century, a new church was built to the east and the village then expanded towards it. Proof of these expansions, three city walls coming one after the other over the centuries. From the last one of the 16th century, you can still see a tower and two doors through which one can enter the old village.
Nesting boxes for Athena
The number of cavities decreasing, nesting boxes installation increase nesting areas. The shape and dimensions of the box and entrance hole help in selecting the desired species! In Luberon, over 200 nesting boxes were built for the Little Owl species. Through these boxes the main parameters of its breeding behavior can be studied and monitored. Since their installation in 2005, the number of pairs of owls reproducing there has been increasing.
The belfry of Cucuron
Down the street, dating back to the 16th century and built on an old door having lost all defensive feature with regard to the expansion of the city walls, the construction of the belfry proves the strength of community life at that time in Cucuron. The old gate was raised and crowned with a stone bell tower. The belfry became the symbol of the growing civil power against the symbols of feudal and religious powers like the castle and the church.
The basin pond of Cucuron
This artificial pond located outside the medieval village was built as of the 15th century to supply flour mills. It was reduced to the current dimensions in the 19th century. following the disappearance of the mills. Changed into an ornamental pond, planted by these plane tree paths and now receiving the terraces of cafes and restaurants, this site offers a unique atmosphere and shade much sought after in Provence in the summer.
The Étang PortalMoulin de l'Etang
This is one of the two remaining doors of the fortification of the 16th century. You can still see the locations of the chains of the drawbridge. Also called "Portal of Cabrières" and formerly "Gate of Burlière" in reference to the name of the neighboring district. "Burlière", in Provençal, is the place where people play ball games. To the left, the wash house of the fountain of the pond is one of the 6 wash houses and 8 fountains of Cucuron. These places were where women found themselves and exchanged news of the village.
Cave Cooperative Louérion
In 1925, winemakers decided to gather in cooperatives to work together. After several mergers, the cellars of Lourmarin, Cadenet, Lauris and Cucuron created Louérion (name given to the Luberon by the Romans) in 2009. Today the cooperative extends over 950ha of vineyards in 15 towns of Luberon. The cooperative has 150 co-operators who produce about 47,000hl for different names. Some wines are produced in accordance with the specifications of Agriconfiance quality system.
Olive oil, a Mediterranean symbol
Imported in Provence by the Phoenicians, who founded Marseille 600 BC, the olive tree spread during the Roman era in the south of France. The olive harvest takes place from October to February. Depending on the variety, it usually takes 5 to 7kg of olives for a litre of oil. Olive oil is emblematic of the Mediterranean diet and is found in many typical dishes such as Tapenade (a traditional Provençal olive spread). In the Luberon, several mills will offer their olive oils, each with its own personality.
Ansouis, a hilltop village
The village developed from the 10th century around the castle and the church (11th century) located at the top of a hillock. Positioned at a strategic intersection of old roads, Ansouis was the administrative and trading centre of a barony consisting of Cucuron, Sannes and Motte d'Aigues. Less influential (crisis of the 18th century), less populated (rural exodus of the19th century), the village has kept its dense urban form of the 16th century making it its charm and a rare and precious proof.
The washhouse of Ansouis
Typical with two basins - one for washing and a second one for rinsing with the arrival of water, that had to be very clean. The clothes were soaked in the water by the women, then scrubbed with "soap of Marseille" known to be one of the best detergents, then it was roughly struck several times to the “battoir” to evacuate the dirt and the soap. Rinsing required twisting and bending the laundry before draining. Some women made it their profession: The washerwomen.
The cycle of the vine
In winter, the vine enters a sleep-like state. In spring, vegetative buds begin to develop – this is the period of growth for branches and leaves. In July, the leaves continue to grow and the flowers give grapes. In August, green grapes grow and mature, they turn either red or yellow. In the fall, grapes are harvested during the grape harvesting. Late in the season, the leaves will turn red, dry and fall.
AOC Luberon, recognised know-how
The AOC Luberon, created in 1988, is the result of recognized and proven know-how which is between very ancient traditions, carefully passed down from generation to generation, and the latest advances in technology and oenology. The appellation produces the three colors of wine: red, pink and white. All the AOC is nestled in the heart of the Luberon Regional Park and represents 3,220ha, and produces about 20 million bottles per year.
Etang de la Bonde
The pond was created in the 15th century by Lord Fouquet d'Agoult, Baron of Sault, who decided to create a water reserve for the castle of La Tour d'Aigues, and then has an aqueduct made. The lake thus formed was for a long time the supply point for an irrigation network that supplied the valley of Aigues, contributing to the expansion of agriculture and the growth of the territory. Today, the pond is still used for irrigation and is a popular place for swimming.
The source of Mirail
Use of the source of Mirail, upstream of the Motte-d'Aigues, dates back to the Middle Ages. Its unexpected presence in the middle of arid land has been the subject of rivalry and lust amongst the riparians of the Aigues. Source of drinking water, it quenches many small streams, direct tributaries on the right bank of the Durance, like Eze. Today it mostly feeds into the pond Bonde and therefore is used for irrigation by the network of the Canal of Provence Company.
Life is sweet in the shade of plane trees ...
Aigues rests on the Luberon to the north and opens up onto the Durance valley to the south. This landscape with a gently rolling basin is energized by the alternating forests and vineyards. The villages of Aigues are located away from flood-prone areas, mostly on cliffs or hills and facing south. The valley, rich in building heritage (farmhouses, domains), highlighted by remarkable trees, is under increasing pressure from the living area of Aix en Provence.
2,000 years of history of grapevines
Contrary to popular belief, grape growing began here in the ancient times! Greek settlers brought the first vine stocks, but the Romans, great wine lovers, really developed viticulture in the Luberon and the Pays d’Aigues. In the Middle Ages, the members of the church among which great monasteries and Avignon popes were involved in promoting the work of the vine. The Luberon gained recognition in the 20th century as a quality local area for wine production.
The Farmer Markets
For lovers of Provençal flavors: on this great place, the brand "Marché Paysan" has been deposited by the Luberon Regional Nature Park. The goat cheeses are local productions, the fruits and vegetables are from the field "next door" and the honey has just been harvested. In these exhilarating markets, merchants are exclusively producers of the Park selling their own products (St-Martin-de-la-Brasque market on Sundays from May to October).
The village was built in 1506, and like Peypin-d'Aigues, it originated from an agreement between the lords and about fifteen Vaudoise families who agreed to come and repopulate fallow lands. The two villages complement each other: Peypin having a surplus of forests, and Saint-Martin of cultivable lands. During the persecutions of 1545, the village was looted and burned. St. Martin was one of the towns mentioned in the Edict of Merindol of May 20, 1545: It was enough to be a native of it to be sent to the galleys.
Parish Church of St. Martin
This religious building was built between 1626 and 1929 to replace the old ruined church, dedicated to Saint-Martin-de-Tours. Its small size and its remoteness from the village can be explained by too few Catholic families. The majority of the population being from the Canton of Vaud. Inside, the altarpiece dates back to the 18th century. The pointed barrel vault nave, terminated by a semi dome apse, makes it a building of unique architecture.
Landscape of Grambois
This typical village perched 350 meters up a steep hill has developed thanks to several factors offering an advantageous position. At the crossroads of Pertuis-Forcalquier-axes and Lauris Manosque, on top of a hill to dominate the valley of Eze and that relates to the plateau of Saint-Léger, a very fertile territory, but extensive and varied, combining funds moist valleys to some well-exposed slopes and broad course of forest pastures.
The village of Grambois orchard is set at the foot of the village, a scenic grounds with a restored loft. It is maintained jointly by the municipality, and Gramboisiens Gramboisiennes and the Regional Park of Luberon. This orchard helps perpetuate the culture of old varieties of fruit and gather a collection of 91 traditional varieties of the Luberon and Provence. A beautiful fruit heritage conservation!
The village of Grambois
On the square ramparts coexist several monuments such as the castle (stately home of the sixteenth century.), Notre-Dame de Beauvoir eleventh century. and the Fountain of Bartavelles, a real movie set has selected Yves Robert for his films. The village also has two sources bucolic character: Fontsausse and Fontvérane. Formerly necessary for life in the village, the roads serving them have kept track of their importance by taking their names.
The hidden face of Beaumont-de-Pertuis
The construction of this village seems simple, a hillock (where the old demolished castle was located until 1970) surrounded by three rings in the shape of an ellipse. But Beaumont has an important and extraordinary underground heritage, each house is built on basements from the 13th century, or before. Some of modest size were used for the preservation of cheese, but others were buried real "gothic cathedrals" (private domain, impossible to visit).
The village of Mirabeau
Since the Middle Ages, Mirabeau has benefited from a strategic position, thanks to its clue, a privileged passage to cross the Durance, allowing inhabitants to control the flow of people and goods. In the 16th century, a ferry was installed with the instatement of a right of passage, which allowed the village to prosper around its castle built in the 17th century. In the 15th century, the Mirabeau bridge was built, destroyed four times by the Durance but always rebuilt for its lucrative advantage.
Power lines, air threats
High and medium voltage lines create a real danger for birds’ due to collisions and electrocutions. For large soaring birds (eagles, vultures, storks), these infrastructures represent one of the main causes of human-induced mortality. Solutions exist: The burying of power lines, the installation of beacons improving the visibility of the cables, the renewal of the most dangerous pylons, the creation of perches on them or their better isolation.
Despite its pretty crest that can be fan-shaped, the hoopoe is more often heard than seen, thanks to its easily recognizable song "houp-houp-houp". This insectivorous species uses its long-curved beak to extract larvae and cocoons from the soil. It frequents cultivated areas, vineyards, orchards or olive groves. Protected in France since 1981, this great migrant spends winter in Africa. A legend tells that hearing its song would be a sign of good harvests!
In the streets of Ferrages
"Ferrages" can refer to the whereabouts of the blacksmith and most likely here in "wet field" devoted to forage. At the time, the village was limited to heights and all wastewater flowed down the village, creating a wet field. This street has always been an absolute must. The horses could also relax in a barn that was in the current location of the town hall.
In 1833, a law making primary education compulsory. But how to pay the teacher, the house and rent a room for the class? In 1844, the council purchased a house that will house the school and the town hall, the premises are very old. In 1883, the Bastidonne offers her children a sewing school. It is curious that the teachers are paid 900 F to 1200 F year, while teachers receive only 700 F to 900 F ...
One way to use the wind!
Water-pumpers convert wind force into mechanical energy to make a water pump work. The rotating blades of the water-pumpers create a vertical movement of the pump in the water, thus activating the suction mechanism. Water can be pumped when the wind blows at 11km/h. In such a dry and windy region, no wonder that farmers of the Luberon wanted to take advantage of the Mistral and its average speed of 50km/h to irrigate their farmland!
Departing from Pertuis, a southern gateway to the Luberon Park territory, the route heads west, not far from the banks of La Durance, then through Villelaure. After a climb to the north and Cadenet, a short round trip to visit Lourmarin, a recognized village, then continue north to Cucuron and the flanks of the Grand Luberon. On the second day, the small roads connect Ansouis, Sannes, Saint-Martin-de-La-Brasque, Grambois, La Bastide-des-Jourdans and Beaumont-de-Pertuis located in the most east of the itinerary. Then, the route goes south-south west towards Mirabeau, to join La Tour d'Aigues, then finally Pertuis point of departure.
This route takes goes by open road to public traffic ; in all circumstances, it is therefore imperative to respect the code of the road. Wearing a helmet is highly recommended for both children and adults !
OTI Luberon Sud Tourisme
Le Château - BP 16, 84240 La Tour d'Aigues
+33 (0)4 90 07 50 29
Palce Mirabeau, 84120 Pertuis
+33 (0)4 90 79 15 56
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