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Regional Natural Park of Luberon, Vaucluse

43°55'31"N 5°29'9"E
Published: February 2010
last updated: June 2011
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++++The visit

Rustrel Once you have explored the wonders of Colorado Provençal, pay a short visit to the nearby village Rustrel. Not as spectacular as nearby Roussillon, Rustrel incarnates what the french call “village de charme”. The village is tiny, so you will have time to discover its hidden alleys and shadowed gardens. We advice you to enjoy a coffee or an apperitif on the terrace of one of the local restaurants and watch the calm life of provencal village.

The village is crowned by a rectangular castle with four round towers, constructed in XVII century. Now the castle hosts the townhall and a gîte d’étape. Village church was built on the vestiges of a roman sanctuary in XI century, then destroyed with the old village (Villevieille) and reconstructed in XVI century. Originally dedicated to Saint Romain, it was rebaprised in Nativité Notre Dame (Nativity of the Virgin). Now the church is open only on the occassions of weddings, baptisms or funerals. Chapelle Notre Dame des Anges, built in XII century is the ancient place of village pilgrimage. during the tourist season you will have a chance to visit the old oilmill of the village and get explanations about traditional methods of olive oil extraction. Little known jewel of Rustrel is its backery. Since 1850 the backery makes bread according to the old recipes. Local bread is knitted in a tough dough trough and backed in the only wood stove in the region, then it is sold hot and fresh.


The territory of Rustrel was first occupied by two celtic oppidums: Le Pointu et Castillon. The romans, who destroyed the oppidums, have founded two big villas: Lausnava and Proxana.
In the medieval period one part of the village belonged to the ancestors of Saint Majolus of Cluny, another to one of the branches of powerful family Agoult-Simian. Two fortified castrums, both built in XI century were destroyed in 1392 during the provencal war of Raymond de Turenne.

During the Reneissance period the village belongs to the dukes Lévis Ventadour, who order construction of the castle. Shortly after the castle and seignory of Rustrel pass to the hands of Charles d’Eyroux of Simiane. The town of Apt does not hesitate to deposess Charles d’Eyroux of his property and later to sell the castle to three different owners. From XIX century the village keeps buying the parts of the castle and reconstructing it.

Economy of Rustrel turns first around iron mining, then around ochre and now around tourism.

++++Practical information

Rustrel is situated just 10 kilometres from Apt, off the departmental road D22.
Transport: the closest airports are Avignon and Marseille-Provence. The closest TGV train station is Avignon, from there you can take a bus to Apt, where you’ll have to make a connection to the bus Apt-Sault that passes by Rustrel. Closest SNCF train station is Apt.

The village has an excellent touristic infrastructure (campings, hotels, hostels and gîtes), but remember that you are in province, don’t expect any supermarkets or public transport.

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