It should come as no surprise that Provence is one of my favorite French regions, and the Luberon is the part of Provence that I’ve visited the most. From Paris, a 2.5-hour TGV train to Avignon will put you on the doorstep of the Luberon. To get the most out of the region, a car is necessary. Hire a driver or rent a car from the Avignon TGV station, but you’ll need a set of wheels to visit the best spots in and around the Luberon. Normally, I stay with friends who have a beautiful home in Gordes, but for this last trip, I spent four nights at the Coquillade Provence Resort and Spa
A Guide to the Luberon
Stay in Provence’s Luberon Valley
A stay at Coquillade Provence Resort and Spa has been on my Provence to-do list for several years. Although a luxury resort and spa, Coquillade actually feels like a village in and of itself. The surroundings are every bit of what you’d expect from the Luberon. Coquillade sits among untouched forest and the iconic vineyards of Provence. What began as an area founded by Cisterian monks has since been transformed into a lavish resort offering 63 rooms, three gourmet restaurants, two bars, a winery, a cycling center, and a famed 2,000 square-meter spa.
The Spa Coquillade is a temple of tranquility, with its 11 cabins, indoor pool, two outdoor pools, steam bath, icefall, sensory shower, and numerous other features. With an extensive spa menu of massages, facials, and other body treatments, one could easily spend an entire getaway receiving spa treatments and bouncing from Jacuzzi to sauna to pool and back again.
A gourmet experience at Restaurant Avelan is also a must when staying at Coquillade. Chef Thierry Enderlin uses local ingredients and takes diners on a culinary trip, with inspiration from around the globe. My Friday night dinner there, complete with Billecart-Salmon Champagne, was truly a memorable experience. The other restaurants Cipresses and Les Vignes et son Jardin overlook the pool and offer fresh produce from the resort’s vegetable garden.
France’s Provence Region is an adult’s playground, complete with numerous cycling routes, beautiful historic villages, wine tours, and plenty of other natural and cultural tourist attractions. This trip was only four days, but I could easily have spent a week or two exploring the Luberon more deeply.
The Provence region is known as a cycling destination, and the Cycling Center at Coquillade made it easy for me to explore the region without bringing any of my own cycling gear. The guided e-bike tour on the Route de Ocres was a perfect way for to explore the region slowly, taking in all of its charms.
Villages of the Luberon
The Luberon is praised for its natural and man-made beauty. Historic hilltop villages overlook tree-covered mountains, providing opportunities for outdoor adventure as well as cultural experiences. The Gordes and Roussillon villages, commonly named the most beautiful villages in the country, are just minutes from Coquillade. Rent an e-bike from the Cycling Center to help with the hills instead of taking a car.
Mines de Bruoux
My cycling tour included a visit to Mines de Bruoux of Gargas, one of the most unique tourist attractions in Luberon. This site offers unique insight into the history of the region, paying tribute to the ocher miners and the dangers they braved. The last operating ocher quarry on the continent remains in Gargas. It was a surprising and very interesting discovery for me. As a special treat, I also enjoyed a blind wine tasting inside the mines, which can be booked through the hotel.
Provençal Wine Tastings
The region’s Aureto vineyards span 88 acres, producing a variety of wines that have won some of the most prestigious awards in the country and around the world. A stay at Coquillade will put you within minutes of Aureto.. The Wine Break at Aureto was one of my favorite stops throughout the trip. I tasted taste multiple wines with a local expert and sampled the impressive selection of cheese and charcuterie platters. Read more about rosé wine in Provence.
Other Sites to Explore in the Luberon
There were far more places to visit in Luberon than I could cram into four days. The Foret des Cedres is a picturesque hiking area within walking distance of Coquillade. I’d love to return and take a walk through the towering cedars of Luberon’s nature reserve. Colorado Provençal is another chance to experience ocher mining history, but this quarry remains in the open. The landscape, which resembles that of the U.S. state of Colorado, has been shaped by ocher miners. Rock formations are deep reddish-orange and basins, engines, and pipes from the industrial past remain. This unique setting is ripe with opportunities for outdoor adventure.
Next year, I’m determined to visit the famous lavender fields during the summer, an experience that has escaped me during all of my previous trips. Indeed, there are endless things to discover in the Luberon, no matter the season. And if you’re not fortunate enough to have a friend with a home in the Luberon, the Coquillade Provence Resort and Spa is the perfect place for exploring the area or simply a luxurious retreat.
I was a guest of Coquillade Provence Resort and Spa, but in no way was my opinion swayed by the magical massage, the tasty wine, or the spectacular suite. As always, opinions are mine.