Nestled away in a field in the heart of the Luberon, Lourmarin is a picturesque Provençal village, reminiscent of those found in a tourist pamphlet of France. Not a customary village in way of being perched high on a cliff, rather Lourmarin sits amid vineyards, olive groves and rolling green pastures, giving the sense that it is situated in the middle of nowhere, it established its history in Provence, dating back about 1000 years ago, from the countryside. Recognized as one of the “plus beaux villages de France”, meaning “most beautiful villages of France”, an honor awarded by a French association to different towns throughout France, Lourmarin has entrenched its place in Provence.
Driving into Lourmarin you can glimpse a full view of the village from the outskirts, buildings tightly intertwined together perfectly fit to the backdrop of the rolling hills, already bewitching you with its beauty. Anchored with its’ own castle, estimated from the 15-16th century, guarding over the village on the periphery of town, you are reminded again of the extensive history of France. Abound with cobbled streets, climbing ivy and fountains you quickly realize the allure of this place that is brimming with countless vignettes befitting for a postcard. You understand why this village is a gem of the Luberon.
I remember my first visit to Lourmarin a few years ago and being completely captivated by its charm. The narrow winding streets, the colorful Provençal shutters, small alleys and passageways leading you to hidden back paths only known by locals. Roads, which thread their way through the heart of the village like a labyrinth, barely wide enough for driving, leave you to wonder how anyone can navigate them. Homes weave their way through the village occupying any open space or hidden corner, knitted into the city’s landscape, complimenting the many outdoor cafes and tucked away shops randomly scattered throughout. The village is perfectly nestled together, a seamless mixture of timeless history with present day, beautiful softened colors adorning weathered buildings, time moving forward but standing still, creating an ambiance of authentic simplicity and tranquility.
Filled with a myriad of galleries, Lourmarin is an artist’s village, awash with numerous art genres, local artists and art fairs, reminding me of my former village and home, Laguna Beach, markedly similar but clearly different. I have come to realize that in moving to Provence we exchanged one village for another, Laguna Beach to Lourmarin. Both filled with beauty and quirkiness, both treasures in their native lands and both magnets for tourists and locals alike. One village located on the Pacific, the other located in the countryside, two worlds apart yet somehow not. Each are filled with small town pride and small community vibes. Everyday spent here makes me appreciate it more, filling me with gratitude for having such an amazing place to call home, prompting me once again to pinch myself and to think wow, I live here…