While in Provence, Doug and I spent a packed day exploring the Luberon. It is a beautiful, sun-drenched countryside with villages perched dramatically on hilltops, as with Roussillon, the pink town shown above. We read that the villages were founded on the hills to preserve the flat valleys for agriculture.
We started our day in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue because it was market day, and the markets only run through lunchtime. Most (all?) towns across Provence have a market day, but L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is especially known for its antique market, in addition to the usual local produce and other regional goods. L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is known as the biggest antiques center in France outside of Paris.
The village is aptly named, as it sits atop the Sorgue River, and both the town and the market wine around the water.
We had just as much fun wandering through the permanent antiques shops around town as we did checking out the market stalls. I picked up some vintage rose print napkins and we found an antique silver wine bucket at Dickinson Antiques, which specializes in silverplate.
As the market wound down, we made our way over to Le Jardin du Quai for lunch. It has an enchanting back garden and a bathtub full of wine chilling (seriously). The setting was so lovely and we were content to enjoy a glass of rosé (what else) in the shade, which was a good thing because the service was glacial. The food, however, was fantastic - we had the grilled sardines (they were enormous), fish with aioli (I doubled down on seafood) and a chicken caesar salad. Despite the long wait, I would do it again.
Leaving L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, we made our way to stunning Gordes, one of the aforementioned hilltop towns.
Gordes is a stunner.
We wound our way up tiny, winding streets and were rewarded with the best views I've ever seen from a parking lot. The pictures above and below were literally taken right where we parked the rental car.
After wandering gleefully up and down the streets of Gordes, we stopped for an aperitif and some charcuterie on the terrace of La Bastide de Gordes. The setting was the perfect place to savor a spritz under the hot Provençal sun. From our afternoon in Gordes, it was onto our last stop of the day - Roussillon!
Like Gordes, Roussillon sits on top of a hill (see top photo). Unlike Gordes, Roussillon also sits on top of ochre deposits. You can see the ochre above, with the valley in the background, and below, in its brilliant variations.
As a result of the natural riches of ochre, Roussillon is pink and we arrived at golden hour, just in time to see it in all its glory.
The light was fading and it was time to go. We fit so much into our whirlwind day in the luberon. What sticks with me is the clear sky, the strong sun, and the gorgeous colors, from faded sandstone and soft soft pastels to the ochre pinks and brilliant blues and purples on shutters and doors. What a day.
You can find the first part of our trip to Provence, including where we stayed, here.