Some people have all the luck: Heather Long got to spend a slice of life in the Lubéron and comes on the show to share her experiences and some delightful cultural misunderstandings that she experienced along the way.
In this episode we chat about restaurants and places she particularly enjoyed and why she recommends them. She also explains why you should not let yourself be intimidated by difference and that French people are a real and eager to get to know you and share their culture with you. Life in the Lubéron is simple and satisfying in ways that will surprise you.
Places mentioned in this episode
Lubéron, Ansouis, Lourmarin, Mérindol, Pertuis, Gorges de Régalons, Gordes, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Cassis, les Calenques de Cassis, Marseille soccer, Cucuron, Bonnieux, Roussillon, Abbey de Sénanque
Recommended in this episode
Pizzeria Nonni in Lourmarin, L’Art Glacier in Ansouis Château la Dorgonne in La Tour d’Aigues, Château Constantin now owned by William Chase in Lourmarin, La Perle de Jade Vietnamese restaurant in La Tour d’Aigues, La Cave à Aimé in Mérindol, Fontaine de Vaucluse. Book: Footsteps – The Luberon and Surrounds
Join Us in France Book Group on Goodreads
Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
A Slice of Life in the Lubéron with Heather Long
What You Will Learn in this Episode with Timestamps
[3’18] The Inaugural Paris Tour is happening this week, if you’d like to follow our adventures, ask to join our Facebook Group. To learn about our most current tour offerings go to Addicted to France.
[4’47] This whole episode is going to be about making other people drool about what you did in the Lubéron.
[5’17] The village of Ansouis, do you say the “s” or not?
[6’17] Heather introduces herself and why she and her husband spent two months in the Lubéron. This village was a good place to experience full immersion.
[7’51] How did you pick this lovely place in particular?
[8’25] One criteria was a walk-able town.
[9’55] The difference between a “maison de village” and a “lottissement” .
[10’20] A long-long time ago in many “maison de village”, the ground floor is where the animals used to live and people setup their house above the barn.
[11’26] On a different trip they stayed in Mérindol where they farmed silkworms.
[12’26] Let’s locate Ansouis and the Lubéron on a map.
[14’25] Scenic drive between Lourmarain and Gordes
[15’46] Books by Peter MaillePeter Maille made the Lubéron famous in the English-speaking world. What makes this area so charming.
[17’58] Why is France so scenic? There is a reason for this!
[19’22] Great books and movies about the Lubéro: Manon des Sources, Jean de Florette, and other books by Marcel Pagnol. Another good one is Les lettres de mon moulin (a collection of short stories, including “le curé de cucugnan” that Annie mentions). Uncorked is the book we’ll be reviewing soon on the podcast. You join the Join Us in France Book Group on Goodreads if you’re a reader.
[21’57] Playing “pétanque”, the bacci-like game.
[24’54] The unspoken yet very rules rules pertaining to drinking wine in France (and alcohol in general).
[25’15] Cooking with local foods: duck, rabbit, oysters. Eating outside by candle-light. Buying Paella and Rotisserie chicken at the market.
[29’31] Getting to know local markets when you stay for a while, and finding the ones that are more to your liking.
[30’34] Pizzeria Nonni in Lourmarin.
[31′] Some of the funny things that happened to them in France. Grocery shopping in Pertuis and how French grocery carts are different in France. How you should weigh fruits and vegetables before you get to the checkout. Feeling like a dumb American tourist.
[36′] Don’t be intimidated by difference, try things even if it’s new and strange!
[36’38] Attending a celebration in the village and misunderstanding how village celebrations work. French guys trying to get the American visitors drunk.
[41’45] Spectacular fireworks display and getting to know people in the village because they weren’t afraid to attend this village celebration.
[42′] French people can come across as unfriendly because they don’t smile at you on the streets and they don’t talk to you on the streets.
[43’16] Bring your own bags at the grocery store! Using bio-degradable bags for loose produce.
[45’22] How did you find the house you were staying in?
[46’47] What are places you visited that you recommend?
- L’Art Glacier near Ansouis
- Château la Dorgonne in La Tour d’Aigues and the way they do the visit is original and delightful, they send their two dogs along and you can see the vines and the olive trees
- Château Constantin now owned by William Chase in Lourmarin
- Hiking in the Lubéron following path markers
- Gorges de Regalons near Mérindol (walk through a crevasse, many caves too, you can come up on the top of the mountain if you keep going long enough)
- The scenic town of Gordes with art galeries
- Vacqueyras and Gigondas, great places for wine, not as well-known as Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Vacqueyras has a great wine cooperative where you can buy the wine on tap
[50′] Americans may think that French people are fancy when it comes to wine, but we’re actually not for the most part. French people don’t drink wine at the wrong time of day, but it doesn’t matter if you drink it out of a plastic jug.
[60′] In Vacqueyras you will see the street lined with big “platane”(plane) trees and the Café du cours (not “coeur” as I said on the show) where they have a great duck barbecue dish.
[61′] Pizza trucks are dangerous in France!
[62′] Vietnamese food in La Tour d’Aigues, La Perle de Jade, they make great Vietnamese hot pot or fondue
[64′] Les Calenques de Cassis which are more difficult that it seems they should be.
[65′] Soccer match in Marseille where the fans are extremely intense: the sing, they chant, they dance, you can’t hear the person next to you talking.
[66′] Camargue to see the flamingo, the horses, the salt bays.
[67′] Cucuron is a delightful little town with a great market—funny name, it sounds like “rounded behind” in little French kid parlance.
[68′] Little wine bar called in Mérindol La Cave à Aimé.
[72′] Fontaine de Vaucluse, natural pool that floods the area around in the Spring, but it’s a dreamy beautiful blue the rest of the year. There is also a nice market there and the town is lovely too.
[75′] Bonnieux, it’s along the Gordes drive and it’s worth a stop. You can drive almost all the way to the top and then walk, there are beautiful trees, it’s a lovely place to stop for a picnic or stop at a restaurant. It’s steep and it overlooks the valley, so it is picturesque.
[77′] Roussillon and the red rocks. It’s a pleasant town to walk through, it’s a lovely place for a hike because it’s so different from other places in France or even in the Lubéron. Don’t just go through the town, but do hike around. There is a place in the city where you can pay an entry fee, but you can see the same things on other hiking paths.
[79′] Abbey de Sénanque, the most photographed lavender fields in Provence, the products the monks make there are wonderful, truly potent lavender products. The right time of year to see the lavender fields in bloom is late June to mid-July.
[81′] The light and scents of the Lubéron are what make it special. The environment there is unlike the rest of France. You get the sequedas, the dry air, lavender, thyme, rosemary, that grow wild, and when you step on them as you hike you get wonderful sensations. That’s why Van Gogh and Cézanne painted there, the light is gorgeous there.
The Lubéron has so much to offer, it’s hard to put your finger on only a few reasons to go spend some time there. Heather tells wonderful tales of discovery and of making genuine connections with locals. She went through the obligatory confusion about how things work in France, which is always entertaining to Annie as a French person who expects all of those things. Most of us never get to live there, but we should at least visit, don’t you think?
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