The « Luberon » is a mountain range between the Alps and the Mediterranean stretching from Cavaillon to Manosque with the Calavon plain to the North and the Durance valley to the South. It has two official spellings and pronunciations, Luberon and Lubéron. Natives of Provence use the former and tourists the latter. As in Provencal the “e” is pronounced “é” in all logic it should be the other way around and the distortion probably originated in our own Provencal language; nevertheless local purists insist on Luberon.
This Provencal mountain range is divided into two unequal parts by the Lourmarin coomb the small and the large Luberon. The smaller part is located at the west end and demarcates by the Lourmarin-Apt-Cavaillon triangle and the larger one east by the Lourmarin-Apt-Manosque triangle. The highest point is the “Mourre Nègre” culminating at an elevation of 1125 meters on crest separating north and south and offering magnificent scenery of rocky landscapes with Holm oak tree forests to the north and Mediterranean pine tree forests to the south the whole interspersed with picturesque perched villages.
From the crest of this range the breathtaking view on one side covers the Durance valley with the “Sainte Victoire” mountain, the “Berre” lagoon and the “Alpilles” in its background and on the other side the Calavon valley and the “Ventoux” mountain. Many really typical villages can be found in the “Grand Luberon” such as Saignon, Cersete and Castellet to mention a few between Apt and Lourmarin or Ansouis and Cucuron in its vicinity. On the other side of the Lourmarin coomb formed by the Aigue Brun river other ancient and charming villages are to be found mostly in the vicinity of Bonnieux, for instance Menerbes, Lacoste or Oppede-le Vieux. Most of all strewn over the region, isolated or grouped, one can discover the “bories”, those strange shacks built with rough stones that were used as sheep barns or storage sheds.
One cannot help it being moved by the beauty of the area just like many jet setters who have acquired sumptuous properties in the Luberon. But do not expect to meet them at home nobody goes past the entrance gates; even Peter Mayle, the British author who fell in love with Provence, has settled in the Luberon and made it world famous with his writings.
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