Lourmarin is nestled in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees in a combe, or valley, which separates the Grand Luberon mountains from the Petit Luberon. On sunny days, its golden stone glows against a swathe of green, marshy land watered by the Aigues Brun brook.
In contrast to many other villages in Vaucluse, Lourmarin isn't a rugged perched village. It's just slightly hilly, with narrow cobblestone streets spiraling lazily up to the belfry at the top of the village.
Lourmarin, like much of Europe, was devastated by the Black Death plague epidemic in 1348 and left semi-deserted. The village's fortunes turned around a century later with the arrival of the powerful D'Agoult family who started building the Château de Lourmarin.
The Lourmarin Chateau was built by the Agoult family between 1479 and 1545 on the ruins of a 12th century fortress. The part of the chateau open to the public includes the furnished apartments and the library (with some 28000 books). The highlight is probably the magnificent stairway.
|War Memorial at Eugene Bounot Square|
The Three Mask Fountain by sculptor Louis Didron seen below. The three masks represent the Rhone River, the Durance River and Luberon Mountains.
|The Three Mask Fountain|
Lourmarin has an unusually large number of bars and restaurants, many of which - even more unusually - are open outside tourist season.
|Empty Café in the Early Morning|
Cafés cluster around the place de l'Ormeau, pictured at the end of the street below. The small square is named after an elm which was planted there as a sort of "tree of liberty" in 1792 during the French Revolution. It had to be cut down in 1944 and was replaced by a fig tree (though the square was not renamed).
|Cobblestone Street Leading Down to Ormeau Square|
|Faded door in Lourmarin|
|Lourmarin Town Hall|
The Church of Lourmarin, which is part of the Avignon Catholic Diocese, used to be dependent on the Priory of St Andrew in Villeneuve-les-Avignon in the XIth century. In those times, it was a Chapel with only two arches and no choir. This church, in which Romanesque and Gothic styles are both present, has gone through several restorations and additions.
|The Church of Lourmarin|
|Fountain in front of the Church of Lourmarin|
|Annick and Shirley Receiving Aroma Therapy from the Huge Jasmine Bush|
|Pretty Stone House in Lourmarin|
|Stone Arch Entry into Lourmarin House|
|Narrow Lourmarin Street|
|Stone Pigeon House|
The D'Agoults also repopulated Lourmarin by inviting a colony of Vaudois (Waldensians) from Piedmont in Northern Italy to settle in the village. This was a sect that had split from the Catholic Church, leading to its members' persecution.
Many were burned as heretics; many more fled to Provence, where the massacres nonetheless continued, notably in nearby Mérindol. Those who remained joined the Reformed Protestant movement in the 16th century and finally built their own Protestant church - sometimes referred to as a "temple" - in Lourmarin in the early 19th century (see below).
|Saint-André and Saint-Trophime Church with the Lourmarin Castle in the Rear|
|Entry into Lourmarin House|
|Inside the Pottery Shop|
Our day trips with Annick are always fun and informative. We will be back in Sablet in a few days and I look forward to new adventures.