In the cleft between the North and South Luberons, the village of Lourmarin has it all – it is lively all year, has a great number of restaurants and bars, an active cultural scene, and a real sense of its own elegance. Inevitably it is also one of The Most Beautiful Villages of France, and is ridiculously picturesque and complete weekly market on Fridays.
Lourmarin is not a perched village like most of the others in the Luberon area, it is quite flat, with just a gentle spiral to the top. But what it does have is a number of cafes spilling onto the streets, perfect for watching the world go by. Lourmarin has some interesting boutiques particularly for clothes and jewellery, and one of the great weekly markets of the Luberon on Fridays.
One of France’s greatest ever writers and thinkers lies at rest in the tiny Lourmarin graveyard. The government tried to have him moved to Paris, but in Lourmarin he remains, where he spent the last two years of his life. Apart from his grave and the street named after him, there is nothing of Camus in Lourmarin – his daughter still lives in his old house and wants privacy – but you can follow a Camus walk from the tourist office taking in the football ground where he cheered on the locals, and the restaurant he favoured.
Lourmarin Castle plays a big part in the village today, just as it did hundreds of years ago. Renaissance in style, it is a hub for concerts and other cultural events. You can visit the castle and admire its Piranesi engravings, or attend an event, from classical music to the new electro-pop Festival Yeah! (that’s actually its name).
Our Lourmarin restaurant recommendations: