How to spend two perfect days in the Luberon

On either side of the verdant Luberon massif in Provence (which peaks at 1,125m) castles, hilltop villages and vineyards afford a unique way of life. Normally it’s hard to drag yourself away from the pool when the sun shines, but not here, where both expert craftsmen and nature flourish.

Day 1 – 10am: Shop at the market in Lourmarin

Monday in Cavaillon, Tuesday in Gordes, Wednesday in Gargas, Thursday in Roussillon, Saturday in Apt: once your basket is full, enjoy the sun on a terrace at any one of these markets. On Friday in Lourmarin, the stalls are set up at the base of the Renaissance castle, in front of a grassy football pitch. An array of olives, artichokes and goats cheese make for temptingly tasty and creative aperitifs.

Noon: Enjoy summer truffles in Ménerbes

The Luberon is a truffle hotspot, both the famous winter tuber melanosporum and the more elusive tuber aestivum are found here. Summer truffles are harvested in Provence from May to July and are more affordable than winter truffles. You can buy them at the market or taste them at restaurant Maison de la Truffe de Ménerbes. The restaurant also offers you the chance to sample the AOC wine of Luberon, a Rhone Valley appellation. Once the home of Artists Nicolas de Staël Dora Maar, Ménerbes is just perfect for wandering.

Maison de la Truffe et du Vin - French only (External link)

2pm: Doze at the water's edge

After a sensational meal or a scrumptious picnic, a bit of relaxing me-time is a good idea, lulled by the sound of the wind brushing through the cherry trees, the song of cicadas, the tinkling of a fountain... Laze along the banks of the rivers Aiguebrun, Calavon or Sorgue, or the Bonde lake on the road to Ansouis.

4pm: Cycle between cedar trees and vineyards

The slopes of the Luberon massif are lined with orchards full of cherry trees, vineyards and lavender fields. One of the best ways to experience the areas is by bike. The Vaucluse has plenty of bike paths, bike rental is easy and there’s specialist accommodation with the “Accueil vélo” label – bike riders welcome. The Luberon has plenty of charging stations for electric bikes. A lovely two hour route would see you depart from the Domaine de la Coquillade, cross the Pont Julien, an ancient arched Roman bridge over the river Calavon, past a 100 year old cedar tree, the pride of the Regional Natural Park of Luberon, before climbing to the château de Sade which dominates the village of Lacoste. From above, the view over Mont Ventoux is sensational. You’ll feel like a Tour de France champion from here.

Discover cycle routes on the website Vélo Loisir Provence - French only (External link)

Day 2 - 10am: Visit some legendary film locations

The stone bench in front of the church of Vaugines, beneath the century-old plane trees, was featured in the final scene of Manon des Sources by Claude Berri. The perched village of Cucuron served as a backdrop to Jean-Paul Rappeneau's The Horseman on the Roof, and for Ridley Scott's A Good Year. Domaine La Cavale runs a two-hour tour for film fans to explore legendary film locations in the area.

Domaine La Cavale (External link)

1pm: Visit a quintessential wine domain in Bonnieux

With its sparkling fountain, avenue of plane trees, gravel paths, boxwood hedges and oak trees, Château La Canorgue is one of 64 AOC classified wine estates. The domain has been in the same family for 200 years, and the current manager, Jean-Pierre Margan has been growing organic vines for 40 years.

Château La Canorgue (External link)

4pm: Discover craftsmanship skills

When it comes to exploring the craftsmanship of the Luberon, it’s difficult to choose between visiting Okhra, an ochre plant in Roussillon, or a chandelier restoration studio - Lustrerie of Mathieu de Gargas. How do you choose between a candied fruit factory or a lavender distillery? Or will it be olive oil? At La Bastide du Laval, a winding path leads you through 4,000 olive trees. Take a tour of the mill to discover how the olives are processed, filtered, ground and put through a centrifuge to learn about the cold extraction of the precious liquid. No wonder this green fruit is revered by top chefs.

Bastide du Laval (External link)

Luberon, Provence