We’ve been back home for a week and our tans are fading, so it’s time to return to my own A-Z of the Vaucluse as a way of helping to keep me going over the next few weeks until we travel down for another visit.
This week I move onto L and to be honest this is a very difficult choice – with lavender and long lunches in serious contention, but I have finally settled on Lacoste, another of the beautiful hill villages, which sits on a spur of land at the east end of the Petit Luberon, across the valley floor from Bonnieux.
Lacoste is particularly beautiful little village with narrow streets that rise steeply in places towards the partially ruined Chateau that dominates above it.
Unlike some of the other villages such as Gordes it isn’t home to many shops and there are only a couple of cafes, making it a peaceful place to stop and pass an hour or so wandering & taking in the spectacular views. It has a great website that offers good information about the area and activities, there are even regular guided walks around the village, enabling you to find out more about its history. http://www.lacoste-84.com/en/
The ‘Round-Luberon’ cycle route passes through the village and it’s quite a climb (whichever direction you take), but the views are certainly worth the effort. My favourite route up is to follow the road from Pont St Julien, which meanders through lavender fields, then cherry & almond orchards & past vineyards as it wingles its way slowly up the hill.
This route is quiet, not steep and there are plenty of places to pull over and take in the incredible views across the valley floor & beyond the plateau above Gordes across to the ever-dominant Mont Ventoux in the distance.
As you arrive in the village you pull off to the right into a small square, where there is a café & artist’s studio and from here the narrow cobbled streets lead off allowing you to explore the picturesque lanes and alleys, climbing towards the Chateau.
The Chateau of Lacoste (historically owned by the Marquis de Sade) is currently owned by Pierre Cardin, who has been slowly renovating the ruins since he bought it and to be honest I can understand why he was drawn to it in the first-place. The Chateau isn’t open to the public, but sitting just behind it is a large open space with some wonderful sculptures that are certainly worth a closer look.
The main attraction here though are the views – I know I talk about views a lot but it’s hard to describe how delightful they are. Perhaps it is the fact that we have cycled up to the village and feel we need the rest – but I can sit for ages just watching the birds swoop over the edge and watching life happening in the valley below – the last thing I want to do is just rush on to the next place.
Lacoste is delightful at all times of year – it is quiet and relaxed apart from two weeks in July when it hosts the renowned ‘Pierre Cardin’ Festival, showcasing opera & other arts, becoming a hive of activity for 2 weeks, before it calms again. As yet we haven’t had the opportunity to attend one of the performances (sadly it doesn’t capture our sons’ imagination) – but I look forward to the time when we will be able to book tickets and experience the event first-hand. If you want information about what is taking place then the dedicated website is the best place to look http://www.festivaldelacoste.com/
There is one other aspect of Lacoste that always brings a smile to my face and that is the Café de France terrace that is one of the locations used in ‘A Good Year’ – the film that we watch on wet, wild and cold Dartmoor evenings to give us a small injection of sunshine & the Luberon.
I know there are other cafes in the village, where we can sit and linger over a drink after a cycle up the hill – but as long as there is space on the terrace I will always sit there, take in the view and contemplate how we can make our Vaucluse Dream a reality
Linking this post to with others on the subject of France via Lou Messugo Blog #AllAboutFrance – a great place to catch up with others who are passionate about France