Lacoste is probably most commonly affiliated with that little green alligator adorned on ever-colorful polo shirts. The village Lacoste however, located not too far from our home, has no relationship to the alligator polo except for also being unconditionally French and nonetheless completely cute in its own right. Cute would be an understatement for this old mountain village. Lacoste sits perched high on a hill with a view of the neighboring village, Bonnieux, in the near distance and overlooks the Luberon valley below filled with its cherry orchards, vineyards and vast green meadows.
Walking around Lacoste, you can sense the history throughout the village. Narrow stone streets lined with medieval buildings and homes, everything is awash in a soft cream color casting a lovely white wash hue over the entire village and further enhancing the softness of this place. Devoid of cars and offering minimal shops, you feel the simplicity of life here, frozen in time and beautifully laid out in historic Provence style.
Sitting atop the hill is the castle, Chateau de Lacoste, perched over the village and now partially in ruins. One of Lacoste’s most notorious residents was the Marquis de Sade, whose name is the origin of “sadism”, better known as “S&M”. An author known for writing about his infamous erotic practices, the Marquis lived in the castle in the 18th century after fleeing Paris due to his scandalous books and behavior, before eventually being incarcerated. Chateau de Lacoste, which was later moderately destroyed by local uprisings, was ultimately purchased in 2001 by fashion designer Pierre Cardin, who is renovating it as his second home.
An artistic haven for the last 40 years, Lacoste truly is a village of the arts as the location of an annual art cultural festival hosted by Pierre Cardin at his chateau and with the founding of the Lacoste School of Arts in 1970, which emerged to become a respected art program in France. Now run by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), the school offers classes and residences for students and teachers alike, providing a dreamy portrait for those who wish to study abroad.
Whether you are a student, teacher, local or visitor, Lacoste is a treasure worth visiting. We spent the day meandering the small village, appreciating the history and the scenery. Our day ended with a late lunch on a terrace overlooking the Luberon. With rosé wine flowing and the Provence sun shining, we embraced the day and the inspirations of the past ingrained all around us...