With its pretty hilltop towns to please walkers, and superb food and wine for gourmands, ‘Peter Mayle country’ is still as enticing as ever, says Mary Dowey. Read her Luberon travel guide here.
Luberon: Where to stay, shop, eat and relax
Hotels and B&Bs
Bastide de Capelongue
Just outside Bonnieux, this country house hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant is run by ambitious chef Edouard Loubet. Dishes are often divine – and never less than intriguing.
Château Grand Callamand
Recent recruits to wine production near Pertuis, Nathalie and Albert Souzan have created three charming rooms for B&B guests in their handsomely restored 16th-century bastide.
Le Moulin des Sources
A stylish yet well-priced B&B in a former olive oil mill conveniently close to Gordes. L’Occitane toiletries, pool towels, robes and delicious breakfasts add to the appeal.
Bars & Restaurants
Auberge de Lagnes
The perfect village restaurant – friendly, cosy and inexpensive – presenting simple, tasty food with a flourish. Not completely French, however: chef Stewart Luxton is a native of Ipswich.
Auberge la Fenière
The Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms run by the Luberon’s culinary first lady, Reine Sammut, and her sommelier husband Guy. Brilliantly vibrant, unfussy food with an inspiring wine list.
Le Thé dans l’Encrier
This nifty little bookshop café is a great spot to stop off for coffee, tea or a light lunch in the centre of Lourmarin. Quiches, crumbles and cakes are all home-cooked by owner Mapie Lamy.
+33 (0)4 90 68 88 41
Restaurant du Lac
Philippe Sublet gives Provençal food a gentle modern twist in his lakeside restaurant. Fish fresh off the boats in Marseille are a special draw. Three calm bedrooms and a super breakfast also beckon.
Maison de la Truffe et du Vin
Wine and truffles, the Luberon’s two key products, are celebrated in a grand 17th-century mansion atop Ménerbes. Restaurant, shop and cellar, with a superb selection of local wines at cellar-door prices.
This sheltered workshop for the mentally handicapped in Robion is worth supporting. Using luscious Luberon fruits, it produces more than 60 splendid jams, prettily topped with Provençal fabrics.
Strange but true: a sensational artisan ice cream producer operates in the wilds of the country near Ansouis. Sample at least a few of Olivier Perrière’s 50-plus flavours on a terrace with a view.
Abbaye de Sénanque
Deep in a valley beyond Gordes, this 12th-century Cistercian abbey surrounded by lavender fields rewards visitors with a calm, mystical beauty in a way that endless postcard photos simply can’t.
There’s no better place to absorb a swathe of French history in an hour. Behind its classical façade, this magnificently preserved château is medieval on one side (don’t miss the kitchen) and 18th-century on the other. Mesmerising.
The Mines de Bruoux and Roussillon cliffs at sunset
Explore the cathedral-like chambers of the Bruoux quarries to learn the secrets of the ochre trade; then snap your most vivid photos as the evening sun burnishes the scarlet cliffs of Roussillon.