A land of light and colour, the Vaucluse department is renowned for its extraordinary heritage (the famous Saint-Bénézet bridge and the dyers’ street in Avignon, the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque…) and for being the stage for cultural events and renowned festivities such as the Avignon festival, the Carpentras market or the Chorégies d’Orange.
But above all, we have surveyed a vast expanse of nature with varied relief to find you the best activities and outings to do during your holidays or weekend.
Getaways in the heart of nature
Let’s walk together through the natural and wild environment of the Vaucluse, and start with its highest point : Mont Ventoux. From its 1912 meters of altitude, it is a must for professional cyclists. That said, for the less sporty, you can reach it by car! The result: a sublime 360° panorama that calls for contemplation.
Since we like to vary the viewpoints, the second activity will allow you to take a closer look at this beautiful nature. This is the Naturoptère de Sérignan-du-Comtat, a cultural and educational centre dedicated to insects, plants and their environment. You will also have the opportunity to exchange with biodiversity enthusiasts during this unforgettable experience.
…for a return to the basics.
If you are in a romantic mood, we recommend the Gardens of the Abbey of Saint-André, which tenderly surround an 18th century abbey palace. It will be difficult to leave the pergola covered with wisteria and roses, as well as the sublime view of the dentelles de Montmirail from the panoramic terrace.
Finally, for a stroll that reveals the charm of Occitania in both summer and winter, go to the Claparèdes plateau. Between juniper moors and fields of lavender, the paths will quickly take you near the bories, these traditional dry-stone constructions that bear witness to the past of this enigmatic land.
A mix of fruity olive oil, lavender and resin scents carried away by the breeze route.
In the footsteps of a rich heritage
Indeed, in Vaucluse, one travels through the landscapes as one travels through the pages of a history book.
In fact, one of the chapters that has particularly marked us is Gordes. Rightly classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, it dominates the Calavon Valley and offers a breathtaking view of the Luberon mountain. There is no doubt that this Provençal jewel will plunge you into a journey where past and present blend harmoniously. Don’t miss to visit its castle, the village of the bories or the cellars of the Palais Saint-Firmin.
Our second favourite town will reveal a more mysterious and equally attractive personality: Vaison-la-Romaine. Surrounded by seven hills in the manner of Rome, it is crossed by the waters of the Ouvèze and blossoms in the heart of a generous and green nature. Remember to pass through the garden of the 9 damsels and observe its 81 granite stones. In a poetic and initiatory way, it represents all the cultural heritage of the ancient and modern traditions of humanity.
… from various legacies
Among the historical treasures to be visited: the Synagogue of Carpentras which is also the oldest active synagogue in France. Expect a very interesting visit, as much by its splendid decor and warm tones, as by the welcome and explanations of the guide.
Finally, the place that most charmed us by the harmony of its proportions and the quietness of its spaces bathed in light is the Chartreuse-Circa. Transformed today into an artist’s residence, it is one of the largest monasteries of the Carthusian order. You will have the pleasure of visiting its church, its cloisters and its chapel. Take the time to perceive the floral essences distilled in its gardens or enjoy a drink while reading the arts news in the Bibliothèque-Café Saint-Jean.
Cultural activities and outings
Did you know that the history of the Vaucluse was strongly linked to the exploitation of ochre mines? Discover the Bruoux mines and its impressive warhead-shaped galleries. You will then take the Flamboyant Ochre Trail, before going to the Ochre Conservatory where you will be able to discuss and even learn about the techniques of colour.
If you don’t have the soul of a Picasso and you are looking for another souvenir to redecorate your living room, why not take a little trip to a flea market and find that rare piece? You should know that the Brocante in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is the 3rd place in Europe for antiques and second-hand goods. And if you pass by there in April, you may be able to attend the International Fair of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. However, don’t worry, every Sunday the rest of the year you can go shopping in this antique market. We also recommend you to visit this flowery city surrounded by water which is nicknamed “the Comtadine Venice”. Also think about making a small sensory stopover around the noble fibres at the La Filaventure Boutique Museum.
…for the happiness of the whole family…
Speaking of museums, the Vaucluse department is swarming with them. Lavender Museum, Olive Oil Museum, Museum of Wine Arts and Crafts… There’s something for everyone! Our favourite: the House of Candied Fruit. In a rich and shimmering universe, you can discover different spaces where candy is king. On the programme: a colourful and gourmet shop, a tea room, and of course: a candied fruit museum.
That said, you can also create your own specialities. At the Maucoil estate in Orange, you can create your own cuvée! Let your taste buds speak (and the professional who accompanies you of course) and create your ideal wine. You prefer a manual activity related to beauty and well-being? Katja Stojetz, founder of the Centiflor laboratory offers you the opportunity to create a cosmetic product of your choice. In her workshop-shop Oils & Senses, you will get acquainted with the world of natural cosmetics.
Secrets told by the old stones lining your path.
Where to stay in Vaucluse?
First of all, before revealing the best hotels with spa in the Vaucluse, here are some ideas for gourmet restaurants or home-cooking. Do you want a romantic moonlight dinner in a world of splendour and refinement? Visit La Citadelle, the historic restaurant of La Bastide in Gordes, for stars in your eyes and on your taste buds. If you prefer simplicity, we recommend the Cuisine du Dimanche. Here, the products are fresh and the flavours explosive, all in a cosy and warm universe.
Apart from that, the idea of a refreshment between two walks will probably titillate you. So take a well-deserved break in Le Glacier de Velleron. Between the pergola and the swimming pool, you can enjoy a hearty homemade ice cream with limoncello liqueur. During the winter season, a different speciality is served: piglet on a wood fire, a journey to the gates of delight.
…through the best hotels and spas?
Ultimately, we cannot complete this selection without sharing our confidential addresses with you to prolong your beautiful Vaucluse escape. Also, you will inevitably approach a quality of stay close to perfection in the most beautiful hotels with spa. For a stay in a sumptuous bastide with typical Provencal charm, go to the Auberge de Cassagne. If you are tempted by a unique concept of luxury village of contemporary inspiration, you will love Coquillade Village. Not only does it offer family lofts but it is also dog friendly. Finally, for an escape in total harmony with the environment and the principles of Feng shui, the Château de Massillan is made for you.
In conclusion, we wish you a great adventure under the Provencal sun!