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Cucuron

Regional Natural Park of Luberon, Vaucluse

43.774167,5.439444
43°46'27"N 5°26'22"E
Published: January 2010
last updated: March 2011
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The visit

The lovers of authentic Provence will be charmed by Cucuron, which has managed to preserve its simplicity despite attention of tourists, writers and film producers. On your way to Cucuron take small country roads that Cucuron will take you through the famous vineyards of Luberon. You can start your visit of the village with la place de l’Etang (Pond Square). Historically water of the pond was used to turn the wheels of water-mills. In the beginning of XIX century the pond was turned into a pool, surrounded by platens (that are now over 200 years old) and became the heart of village life.

Then walk up to the old village, still surrounded by the vestiges of medieval ramparts. In fact, three lines of ramparts were consecutively while the village was expanding between XII and XVI centuries. The belfry in the centre of the old village used to serve as the gate of the second wall. If you keep walking up, you will eventually reach donjon St. Michel – this lonely rectangular tower is all that rests of the XI century fortified castle. An esplanade in front of donjon offers a splendid view on the valley and mountain-chain of Luberon. On the opposite side of the village you can climb to Sus-Pous tower (which at its time was a part of the third line of ramparts) to admire the view on the red roofs of Cucuron.

We suggest you to walk slowly through the streets of Cucuron not to miss curious facades, ancient wash-houses, fountains and art ateliers. In the remnants of city ramparts (rue du Moulin à l’Huile) you will find one of the oldest functioning oil-mills of the region – built in XII century it still extracts excellent oil from the local olives. The fans of Peter Mayle and Russel Crow will be excited to recognize the streets that they have seen in Ridley Scott’s “A Good Year” that was partially turned in the village.

History

According to local legends, the name Cucuron was given to the village by Julius Caesar, who, watching the villagers run, pronounced “Cur currunt?” (where do they run?). In reality the root Cuc is quite common for french village names and signifies elevated place.

Cucuron was inhabited in the Iron Age and during gallo-roman period. The village that we know now appeared in 1004 with the construction of fortified castrum (of which only one tower rests until nowadays). In the Middle Ages the village hosted a large jewish community, expelled in 1501. In XVI century it also gave shelter to a small group of Waldensians (a religious protestant group), who are executed on the order of the archbishop of Aix-en-Provence together with some villagers. However, during the religious wars in Provence, Cucuron rests catholic, unlike most of neighbouring villages. The population of Cucuron grows up to three thousand inhabitants, until the plague of 1720 kills the third of the population (in the memory of the end of great plague the village celebrates la fête de Sainte Tulle on the first Saturday after May 21).

Practical information

Cucuron is located in the south of the Regional Natural Park of Luberon. Very close to Aix-en-Provence and Pertuis (about 30 minute drive), it is an ideal place to start your exploration of Luberon.

Transport:
Closest TGV railway station is Aix-en-Provence. From there take a bus in the direction Pertius, where you can make a connection to Cucuron.
Closest SNCF train station is Pertuis. From Pertuis Gare SNCF you can take a bus in the direction Puyvert that passes by Cucuron. Do plan your trip carefully, as there are only four buses per day!
Closest airport: Marseille-Provence
Local products: vine AOC Côtes-du-Luberon and Vin de Pays d’Aigues, olive oil, asparagus, cherries.
Village market – every Tuesday on place de l’Etang. In July and August the village organizes weekly night-markets that assemble local peasants, artisans and artists.

Comment on this article

1

The view from the church square Streets of Cucuron View of Cucuron In the village In the village In the village

2

In the village View of the village nd donjon St. Michel Sus-Pous tower Streets of Cucuron In the village Streets of Cucuron

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