Lots of people come to Provence to bask on a lounger in the sunshine, drinking chilled Rose and soak up the sights, sounds and smells of the Luberon. Peter Mayle summed it up very well when he wrote ˇ§there is nowhere else in the world where one can keep busy doing so little, yet enjoying it so muchˇ¨.
However, if this is not for you here is a list of our favourite tried and tested excursions:
ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN
The Velo route-let your children discover the Luberon by bike.It starts between the village of Saint Martin de Castillon and now goes past the Pont St Julien, near to Bonnieux,a Roman stone arch bridge over the Calavon river dating to 3BC. In total around 18km of well marked and safe paths. The stretch from Bonnieux is very flat and suitable for small children.
Zoo la Barben- Route du Chateau, 13330 La Barben- www.zoolabarben.com. This Zoo located on a plateau is a unique place to encounter 100 species of animal from all over the planet: giraffes, tigers, bears, rhinos. There are also picnic areas and a childrens playground.
Picnic at the Forest of Cedars-The forest of Cedars was planted in 1861 and makes up part of the Petit Luberon National park . There are many paths and nature trails to discover the abundant flora and fauna. You can drive to the top, park the car and picnic or if you are feeling energetic you can climb up to it . Turn right out of the driveway, head down the hill until you come to the T junction and the footpath is in front of you.
Kayaking on the Sorgue- www.canoe-france.com. Discover the peace and beauty of the River Sorgue by Kayak. Hire a Kayak for two and take the children. The minimum age is five.
Isle sur la Sorgue-The Venice of Provence. The River is spectacular, there is a large water wheel,a vintage merry- go- round, thirty antique shops for Mummy to browse, duck feeding and the best home madeice cream at: Isabellas, 3 Esplanade Robert Valse.
The Ochre trail, Roussillon-Discover the geological phenomenon of the ochre quarries and cliffs streaked with red and ochre sand. Follow the trail and learn about how sands were formed and mined in the old ochre quarries.
Riding-contact our local riding school in Lacoste for a lesson. See our house book for contact numbers.
Haribo Museum-If the sunshine ever clouds over the children love this Museum close to Uzes. Get ready for the sugar rush though, they are generous with the freebies.
ACTIVITIES FOR ADULTS
Lacoste Arts Festival-Lacoste is home to a Summer music and arts festival in July and August. Organised by local resident, fashion designer Pierre Cardin. The venue of the castle makes a stunning backdrop for performance from opera to ballet. www.festivaldelacoste.com
Mountain biking-Hire a bike and test yourself on the mountain trails .Organise in advance to secure a bike, they go quickly at peak times.Rent a serious racing bike from here, www.velocyclixluberon.com
Avignon Wine Tourwith Francois ˇV Enjoy a relaxing informative and delicious day at the most famous wineries in the region. Francois does the driving so you can benefit from all the wine tastings. Pleaseto reserve in advance. Francois can also take you on a guided tour of the region. www.avignon-wine-tour.com
Maison de la Truffe et du Vin - Taste all the local wines in this beautifully restored Bastide on the top of the village of Menerbes.
Local vineyards-Our local vineyards also have showrooms, often with beautiful views who offer tastings prior to buying. You donˇ¦t need to buy cases, you can just buy a bottle to sample with lunch/ dinner!
Chateau la Canorgue ( featured in the Ridley Scott film, A Good Year)
Route du Pont Julien,84480Bonnieux-open every day except Sundays 9-12 and 2-6pm
Domaine de la Garelle-Les Vallats, 84580 Menerbes-on the road from Menerbes towards Oppede.www.lagarelle.fr, open 10-12 and 2-6pm
Domaine de Marie-Quartier la Verrerie,84560, Menerbes- www.domainedemarie.com Open Tuesday-Friday 9am-12, 2-7pm
Domaine de la Citadelle, 84560 Menerbes- www.domaine-ctadelle.com Open daily 10am-12 and 2-7pm
Cave de Bonnieux-Quartier de la Gare 84480 Bonnieux- www.cave-bonnieux.com The oldest co-operative in the Vaucluse-open Monday afternoon 14.30-18.00 and Tuesday-Saturday 9am-12 & 2.30-6pm
Hot air ballooning-www.france-balloons.com. Forcalquier is an hour from the house but this is a unique experience.
Markets-Take time to wonder around and bask in the dappled shade of the village Plane trees at the local daily market. A feast for the senses and not to be missed during your stay: Gordes market on Tuesdays, Bonnieux and Lourmarin markets on Friday morning, Isle sur la Sorgue-antiques market on Sunday mornings.Coustellet farmers market on Sunday mornings.