Charming vacation rentals in the heart of Provence
The secret gem of the Luberon
Less well-known than Gordes, Bonnieux, Roussillon or Ménerbes, for many years the quiet hill-top village of Goult really was off the tourist track. Inevitably, it’s not as ‘hidden’ as it once was, but it is still less visited than its Luberon neighbours, probably because it is not as obviously a ‘perched’ hill-top village. And yet Goult is one of the most lovely villages of the Luberon, and for us a must-see.
Goult remains a living village with a grocery store, a butcher, a cheese shop, a bakery, a hairdresser and a post office. It also boasts four restaurants, a pizzeria and the unmissable Café de la Poste – one of the most popular cafés in the region. At Lumières, a short steep walk down the hill, there are two more restaurants, a bar, a chemist, the doctor’s surgery, another grocery store and the local co-operative winery.
Many visitors don’t go much further than the terrace of the Café de la Poste but you’ll be rewarded if you take a walk round the old village. The original village was clustered round the chateau (parts of which date from 12th century but which was extensively restored in the 17th and 19th centuries) and protected by walls with gates in them.
A tour of Goult
There are 19 information panels situated around the village, indicating the points of interest. They’re in French but you can download the English version here.
At the very least, walk up the Rue de la République and then the Rue Jeu de Paume to the windmill. Having admired the view, go through the gate in the old village walls opposite and back down past the chateau rising seamlessly out of the rock, eventually meandering back to the village square.
The 12th century Romanesque church of Saint Sebastian with its Baroque altarpiece, situated on the main square, is also worth a visit.
One other thing you shouldn’t miss is a surprising, hidden gem: the cemetery. The clipped yew trees are crazily reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. They are particularly splendid around All Saints’ Day (November 1st) when the topiary is immaculate and the tombs will be glowing with pots of chrysanthemums. Access is via a small passage near the bakery (beside La Terrasse restaurant).
There is a nice and very interesting walk round the restored agricultural terraces below the village. The information panels are in French but you can download the English version here.
The walk will give you an excellent insight into how Provençal farmers created flat areas for growing crops, fruit trees and vines by building terraces on the hillsides. The techniques of terracing are prehistoric and terraces have always been abandoned and then cultivated again so it’s hard to date them but you will see a water tank, bee hives in the rock, ‘flying’ steps and different wall-building techniques.
And if none of that interests you, it’s also just a lovely walk, maybe the perfect way to build up an appetite for lunch in Goult, or walk one off.
The legend of Saint Véran
The 11th century chapel of Saint Véran is situated in the woods to the south of Goult, near the hamlet of Les Maquignons, off the D106 leading to Lacoste.
Legend has it that in the 6th century a dragon was laying waste to the countryside around Fontaine de Vaucluse. The inhabitants asked the archbishop in Cavaillon for help. He duly ordered the dragon from its den. He then put it in chains, took it to the foot of the Luberon where he freed it and ordered it to leave the region. The wounded dragon flew over the Luberon mountain and up to the highest village in Europe, Saint Véran in the Queyras, where it died. Other villages called Saint Véran in the Vaucluse, Isère and the Rhône mark the spots where drops of the dragon’s blood fell en route. (If you visit Cavaillon cathedral, you can see a picture of Saint Véran subduing the dragon. There are also some marvellous light fittings featuring little glass dragons.)
At the top of the village stands the 17th century windmill, the Moulin de Jerusalem (occasionally open for visits during the summer months).
The windmill in Goult was built to make flour and it was doing this until 1919. The name is intriguing – the Jerusalem windmill – and it’s thought that this was in tribute to the lords of Goult who went off on crusades to the Holy Land.
Lumières is a tiny village at the foot of Goult that witnessed holy lights and miraculous healing, and has long been a place of pilgrimage. In 1699 the Bishop of Cavaillon dedicated the sanctuary Notre-Dame de Lumières (Our Lady of the Lights), and every 15th August the revered statue of the black madonna is carried in procession up to a small chapel on a hill of caves and streams, said to be on the path of the dragons. It’s not very scientific but all very mysterious…
What we like
The ratio of locals to tourists makes you feel you are discovering Goult for yourself.
A lot of eating options, from simple to fancy.
Things to note
In Goult you can park right in the middle of the village, the car park is next to the Cafe de la Poste.
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Mas des Cedres: 43.848440, 5.190890
Maison Saint Antoine: 43.941989, 5.068946
Avalon: 43.903628, 5.210137
Villa Roussillon: 43.890362, 5.299208
Les Vignes: 43.840439, 5.213013
Gergouven: 43.833722, 5.194216
La Rourette: 43.943627, 5.247753
The Lourmarin Cottage: 43.763342, 5.364171
Maison de Gordes: 43.915482, 5.208474
Les Coudelieres: 43.933545, 4.974167
The Ansouis House: 43.737360, 5.464647
Maison de Bonnieux: 43.822572, 5.309476
St Hilaire: 43.829442, 5.256647
Patio de Menerbes: 43.833614, 5.203475
Villa Lioux: 43.944654, 5.286570
Les Petitons: 43.832236, 5.165591
Les Madeleines: 43.898511, 5.076885
Moustier de Menerbes 1: 43.829105, 5.209177
Moustier de Menerbes 2: 43.828788, 5.209821
Les Ocres: 43.900737, 5.286419
Bastide des Oliviers: 43.858513, 5.103021
Mas des Oliviers: 43.859364, 5.102184
Lourmarin Rooftops: 43.764076, 5.362734
Lourmarin Central: 43.764077, 5.362751
Lourmarin Studio: 43.764075, 5.362775
Domaine de Gordes: 43.915022, 5.209435
La Roubine: 43.915022, 5.209435
Mas de Joucas: 43.910775, 5.255365
Les Heyrauds: 43.845751, 5.220469
Villa Lavande: 43.861221, 5.315881
Villa Ansouis: 43.752575, 5.448521
Provence Pines: 43.869575, 5.414806
La Beaume: 44.115329, 5.054162
Mas de Menerbes: 43.851458, 5.190225
Grambois Manor: 43.762230, 5.588865
Les Ferriers: 43.894120, 5.325494
Mas de Mazan: 44.029837, 5.092592
Villa Lourmarin: 43.754028, 5.358193
Mas des Imberts: 43.887184, 5.167394
Les Patins: 43.757732, 5.429381
Menerbes Vista: 43.833362, 5.205084
Grand Fontvert: 43.864195, 5.516108
Fontvert: 43.864149, 5.515775
Domaine de l\'Oratoire: 43.857430, 5.291762
Capucine: 43.857276, 5.291290
Marquis: 43.857430, 5.291977
Libertine: 43.856997, 5.290947
Calavon: 43.856626, 5.290689
Senanque: 43.856842, 5.290132
Goult: 43.863673, 5.242289
The Menerbes Nest: 43.833405, 5.204768
Villa Lacoste: 43.827933, 5.247452
Mas d\'Oppede: 43.828569, 5.173143
La Bernade: 43.820935, 5.285904
Les Vignes: 43.826748, 5.251497
Le Paradesque: 43.845384, 5.167018
Mas du Thor: 43.956835, 4.974704
Maison de Villars: 43.914002, 5.403171
Mas Agarus: 43.851953, 5.164744
La Fontaine Basse: 43.892450, 5.569725
Villa Cabrieres: 43.874764, 5.160623
Mas Les Tours Ouest: 43.858849, 5.250644
Maison Oppede: 43.839449, 5.166171
Mas de Murs: 43.958362, 5.217971
La Grand Bastide Menerbes: 43.839559, 5.204869
Villa Menerbes: 43.830619, 5.210597
Mas d\'Apt: 43.868679, 5.388484
Maison Oppede: 43.828977, 5.161384
Villa Dumaines, Cabrieres: 43.892444, 5.152480
Villa les Oliviers, Oppede : 43.834379, 5.176289
Villa Castelas, Bonnieux: 43.823622, 5.311986
Maison Vaucluse: 43.845215, 5.171356
Villa Détente : 43.846982, 5.167645
Mas de Ruby, Maubec: 43.851597, 5.135625
Maison Lacoste: 43.833044, 5.273545
Mas du Chateau, Lagnes: 43.894793, 5.115951
Villa St Esteve, Menerbes: 43.830339, 5.210236
Maison Briand: 43.823430, 5.306400
Maison Saint Andre: 43.762078, 5.369018
Villa de la Petit Etang: 43.928318, 5.381581
La Villa Sereine, Gordes: 43.914033, 5.206469
Mas Les Sauvestres, Gordes: 43.907180, 5.226460
Maison Maubec: 43.852576, 5.134407
Maison Lagnes: 43.894091, 5.113870
Maison Les Emiyeux: 43.913120, 5.413900
Mazet du Hameau, Gordes: 43.873568, 5.183056
Maison Saint Saturnin: 43.928468, 5.382581
Maison du Vallon: 43.842899, 5.192467