Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 5 - A most beautfiul village

Lourmarin has been officially designated "one of the most beautiful villages in France." Many writers and artists have lived here, among them Albert Camus, who is buried in the village cemetery.

Lourmarin is also well-known for its many restaurants, including Edouard Loubet's "Le Moulin" and Reine Sammut's "La Fenière." Reine was recently awarded the title of "Best Woman Chef in France". We are experiencing an occasional meal out but the idea of the apartment is to prepare our own meals in order to save on the cost of the extended vacation. For Christine this is not quite the same as a fully catered cruise, so I have to help where I can.

Lourmarin is much visited for its lively atmosphere and chic shops. This is my kind of shopping, quaint and interesting shops on interesting winding streets that are easily walked. It is also an excellent base from which to explore Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles, the Luberon villages and the Camargue. We have our own wheels and it makes these excursions very easy to do.

Lourmarin was built around a monastery and a primitive castle: Le castellas. It is surrounded by vineyards, fruit orchards and fortified farms (les mas). The village streets wind round Le Castellas and the St Trophime-St André church. 2 steps away, the castle of La Colette (15th/16th) overlooks meadows and terraced gardens. It was saved from ruin in the 19th century by a benefactor, Laurent Vibert, it now accommodates a rich collection of furniture and objets d’art. Each year, It welcomes artists of all kind, this how Henri Bosco and Albert Camus were acquainted with Lourmarin, and decided to make it their final abode.

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