Goult and Lacoste Hidden Gems in the Luberon
After a 45-year business career with some of the largest corporations in the world, Anthony Craig called it quits. It was a milestone moment when he resigned from nine corporate boards, and he and his wife relocated to Provence. Craig is now a published author, his book It’s All About Lunch shares their story of renovations and encounters living in the South of France. We are thrilled to have a post from Anthony Craig with two of his choices for less crowded Luberon villages, and of course – where to eat lunch.
A short distance to the east of Avignon, the quite famous Luberon villages of Gordes and Bonnieux are renowned for their character. Ancient villages perched on hillsides, their tiny winding streets are lined with little shops and numerous good small restaurants to explore and enjoy. Unfortunately, the tour bus crowds pile in all summer, carrying small hordes from the cruise ships docked in Marseilles to “do Provence” in a day, thus killing a bit of the charm of these villages, at least in the summer months.
Fortunately here is a better way.
Often missed, and directly between Gordes and Bonnieux are the even tinier towns of Lacoste and Goult.
On the south side of the D900 and commanding a spectacular view of the Luberon valley and the town of Bonnieux, the Chateau Lacoste, former home of the Marquis de Sade sits at the top of the hill, and has been restored by Pierre Cardin to a magnificent tiny museum, and a marvellous sculpture garden, along with a sizeable outdoor amphitheater where plays, operas and musical performances fill the summer months.
To get to the Chateau, you must pass through Lacoste, climb a narrow road, and enter from the rear at the top of the hill. It is well worth the effort just for the view, and the stroll around the grounds. The sculptures themselves are very imposing and the small fee to enter the museum and wander around are a special bonus.
If this little trip is done in the morning, then a short jaunt directly across the valley at noon time to the north side of the d900 will bring you to Goult. The main attractions in Goult apart from the complete lack of tour bus traffic, are several small but outstanding restaurants.
Between Goult and Lacoste, and paralleling the d900, there is a paved bicycle path on what was the old rail line running from Coustelet to Apt, this is terrific for bikers, but also great for walkers as it winds, car-free, along the river Calavon and through the vineyards and farms for almost 20km.
For lunch, the ambience and the quality and price at Le Carillon (+33 (0)4 90 72 15 09) on the main square will please any traveller with a discriminating palate. Sit outside on the terrace, and just enjoy the soft ebb and flow of the few people who know this area.
Just around the corner and off the main square is the Café de la Poste, a typical red clothed bistro/brasserie style for much simpler fare, and usually a bigger crowd.
If you happen to have the evening free, and can reserve a week or two in advance, then the Auberge de la Bartevelle (+33 4 90 72 33 72) will knock your socks off. Great service, superb food, and pleasant atmosphere will create a fabulous memory. The restaurant is a bit tricky to find, but is down the hill, and tucked in a small cluster of old buildings about 100 meters from the town square.
Tempted by the Luberon? Let It’s All About Lunch take you away to Provence.