The Citadel Village
On either side of the Calavon valley, between Cavaillon and Apt, the extraordinary landscape of the Luberon nature park, is the setting for the unbelievably charming villages that perch on the hillsides likes invitations to come and see how sweet life is in Provence. This genuine place full of character has triumphantly stood the test of time and preserved the authentic Provencal spirit. To listen to the heart of this region is to discover its, dearest and most tender secrets…
In the heart of the region
To the north, overlooked by the mountains of the Vaucluse, Gordes, Goult and Roussillon enchant visitors. to the south of the valley, perched on the sides of Luberon mountain, other magical names echo: Ménerbes, Oppède, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Buoux and Saignon, evoking memories of ancient times. Considered one of the France's most beautiful villages, Menerbes floats above the Luberon on a rocky spur-shaped like a sailing ship, whose stern and prow were described by a certain Nostradamus. Around this promontory, emblematic natural surroundings can be admired from the end of each street, from the old cemetery that dates back to Ancient Rome, or from the citadel and the castle. On this sun-drenched territory where coombs, Atlas cedar forest and garrigues form the natural landscape, man has grown vines, lavender fields, olive trees and fruit trees.
The village owes its name to Minerva, the Ancient goddess with the golden helmet, who represented art and the fight for just causes. Ménerbes reflects these values. Its tumultuous past reveals its proud, combative character. The Citadel, built between the 12th and 16th centuries, is the most evident reminder of the wars of religion when it was besieged. The two gold keys, which have the place of honour in its armoury, bear witness to the time when access to the city, riddled with underground passages, was through two large doors. The first traces of life on this exceptional site go back a lot further. The Pichouno dolmen, situated below the village on the road to Bonnieux, confirms the presence of Neolithic man. Ménerbes owes the particular charm of its winding streets to the richness of this history. Locals and visitors can still admire the beautiful Middle Age and Renaissance buildings, the town hall with its belfry and its wrought iron bell tower, the citadel and the castle. Artists such as Nicolas de Staël, Picasso and Dora Maar fell under its charm and settled there. more recently, the British writer, Peter Mayle, lived there. The commune and surrounding area are the setting for his international best-seller: "A Year in Provence". He now lives in Lourmarin, not far away.
A warm welcome
All around Ménerbes, three vast domains form a beautiful sunny vineyard. The Domaine de la Citadelle houses the corkscrew museum. The Domaine de Marie, owned by Sibuet Hotel & Spa, is the setting for the Bastide de Marie. In the village, the Maison de la Truffe et du Vin (House of Wine and truffles), installed in a restored 18th building, is another invitation to try some epicurean pleasure. Located, as it is, at the heart of the French region that produces the most truffles, ménerbes celebrates the precious mushroom. The market held on the last Sunday of the year is a particularly special moment to admire it. Ménerbes, the citadel village, is at the heart of a region blessed by the gods. In the calm of its streets, you can take the time to appreciate the real charm of this authentic, discreet and elegant corner of Provence.