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Pierre

Last Updated: 6 July 2024

During our last stay in Provence, my daughter Aimée and I stumbled upon a charming little village that we had never heard of before: Auribeau.

Tucked away in the heart of Vaucluse, this tiny village, with a population of just around 70 residents, turned out to be a delightful surprise.

Auribeau © French Moments

Auribeau © French Moments

Despite its small size, Auribeau captivated us with its rich history, picturesque streets, and stunning views.

One of the highlights of our visit was the trek up to the old village site perched atop a hill. 

Castle of Auribeau © French Moments

On our visit to the Castle of Auribeau © French Moments

Auribeau may be small, but it left a big impression on us.

It served as a perfect gateway to the Grand Luberon's highest peak, Mourre Nègre, and provided a wonderful blend of Provence’s natural beauty and historical charm.

Aimée and I thoroughly enjoyed uncovering this hidden gem and sharing a special piece of Provence that felt like our own little secret.

Follow the guides!

Rue du Four © French Moments

The picturesque Rue du Four © French Moments

Watch this short video on the Luberon!

Plan your trip

Auribeau: A Bit of History

Let’s step back in time as we recall the storied past of Auribeau.

From a Windy Place to the Valley of Gold

The first mention of Auribeau dates back to 1274, under the name Auribello.

It is believed that this toponym derives from the Latin Auribellum, which would mean a place exposed to the "fierce wind."

Others have a more positive interpretation, believing that Auribeau means the Valley of Gold.

Surprisingly, the village’s coat of arms displays a third, rather fanciful interpretation: a beautiful ear.

Legend has it that Auribeau was a place of worship to the goddess Cybele.

Indeed, an altar to Cybele from the Roman site of Glanum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is adorned with an ear.

Borie © French Moments

A borie near the old perched village © French Moments

Auribeau in the Middle Ages

In the 12th century, the fief of Auribeau belonged to the County of Forcalquier, then it passed to the Counts of Provence in 1220.

While the castrum dates back to the 12th century, the current village was not founded until 1530.

Previously, the medieval village was perched atop a hill, which we will see in the second part of the visit.

Auribeau © French Moments

Place de la Fontaine © French Moments

The Discovery Guide of Auribeau

Here's some tourist information to help you explore the Provencal village.

🎦 Check out my guided walk on YouTube to explore Auribeau with me:

Understanding the Village

We are at an altitude of 600 metres, on the northern flank of the Grand Luberon, at the edge of the Claparèdes plateau.

Along with the neighbouring village of Castellet-en-Luberon, Auribeau is the starting point for the ascent of Mourre Nègre, the highest point of the Grand Luberon at 1125 metres.

From the village, you have a choice between two paths.

Auribeau © French Moments

A late October rose © French Moments

The Village Walk of Auribeau

Let's begin our exploration of Auribeau from the car park located on the D48, coming from Apt and Saignon.

We are at the entrance of the village, and our short exploration will lead us into a typically Provençal setting.

Auribeau © French Moments

The entrance to the village © French Moments

We are entering one of the smallest villages in Vaucluse, with barely 70 inhabitants.

Urban hustle and bustle seem far away, yet Apt is less than 10 km away by road.

Place de la Fontaine

We arrive at the village's main square: Place de la Fontaine

Auribeau © French Moments

Place de la Fontaine © French Moments

On this square, a beautiful façade of an 18th-century house stands out.

The fountain has the peculiarity of having two water outlets.

Auribeau © French Moments

The double-tap fountain of Auribeau © French Moments

One outlet is reserved for drinking water, and another for non-potable water.

In French, this type of fountain is called a "fontaine à deux canons."

A small washhouse adjoins the fountain.

Auribeau © French Moments

The fountain and the wash house © French Moments

Rue du Four and the Church

Let's now head towards the church via the Rue du Four.

Rue du Four © French Moments

The old village: Rue du Four © French Moments

Rue du Four © French Moments

Rue du Four © French Moments

Here is the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

Church of Auribeau © French Moments

The Church of Auribeau © French Moments

It is the village's main monument.

I don’t know about you, but to me, it resembles a Spanish-style church.

Perhaps it’s due to the bell wall with volutes.

Auribeau © French Moments

The church © French Moments

Church of Auribeau © French Moments

Church of Auribeau © French Moments

This church is not the village's first; it was built in 1730.

Rue de la Vieille Fontaine

Let’s continue our way through the Rue de la Vieille Fontaine.

As you can see, we have already exited the village. To say, it is truly not large.

We will return via the Route Jean Moulin.

Let's take a right onto the Rue Saint-Pierre to head back into the village.

Rue Saint-Pierre and the Town Hall

On the left, there is the very small town hall, la Mairie.

Town Hall of Auribeau © French Moments

The tiny Town Hall of Auribeau © French Moments

We are now back on the Place de la Fontaine.

Let’s return to our starting point by following the same path as before.

The old perched village of Saint-Pierre

Before ending the visit to Auribeau, there is one site I absolutely want to show you.

It is the site of the ancient village of Saint-Pierre, perched at the top of a hill and overlooking the entire surrounding countryside.

Castle of Auribeau © French Moments

Castle of Auribeau and the old chapel of Saint-Pierre © French Moments

To get there, I drove to a small car park at the foot of the hill, then Aimée and I climbed the hill on foot.

Castle of Auribeau © French Moments

Castle of Auribeau © French Moments

The Chapel of Saint-Pierre

To begin our visit to the site of the old village, let us first discover the chapel of Saint Pierre.

Chapel of Saint-Pierre © French Moments

The front of the Chapel of Saint-Pierre © French Moments

It dates back to the second half of the 12th century.

The sanctuary was likely consecrated by Pierre de Saint-Paul, who was the Bishop of Apt between 1161 and 1182.

In the Middle Ages, the chapel was the village church, which was perched next to it, on the hillside.

After years of famine, misery, and pillaging, the village was deserted in the 14th century.

The chapel fell into ruins, its vault collapsed, and it was overrun by brambles.

Fortunately, it was restored in the 1990s.

Chapel of Saint-Pierre © French Moments

Inside the Chapel of Saint-Pierre © French Moments

The Castle

The summit of the hill is also occupied by a fortification comprising a wall and a keep.

The castle overlooks the chapel and has also been restored.

Chapel of Saint-Pierre © French Moments

A view of the Chapel of Saint-Pierre from the castle © French Moments

It consists of a polygonal enclosure three to four metres high, a platform, and a square tower about six metres high.

Castle of Auribeau © French Moments

The keep © French Moments

From this unique defensive site at an altitude of 720 metres, one can enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramas over the Calavon Valley.

In the distance, on a clear day, you can see Mont Ventoux, the Montagne de Lure, Avignon and the Popes’ Palace, and the snow-capped Alps.

Much closer are the villages of Saint-Martin-de-Castillon, Caseneuve, Viens and Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt.

Auribeau © French Moments

The view of Auribeau from the castle © French Moments

Saint-Martin de Castillon © French Moments

Saint-Martin de Castillon © French Moments

Caseneuve © French Moments

Caseneuve © French Moments

Viens © French Moments

Viens and the Prealps © French Moments

Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt © French Moments

Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt © French Moments

Montagne de Lure © French Moments

Montagne de Lure © French Moments

Mont Ventoux © French Moments

Mont Ventoux © French Moments

Auribeau © French Moments

From Auribeau to the Alps © French Moments

The Queyras mountains in the Alps © French Moments

The Queyras mountains in the Alps © French Moments

Avignon © French Moments

In the distance: the Pope's Palace in Avignon © French Moments

Auribeau © French Moments

A lavender field near Auribeau © French Moments

Find out more

Here are some pages from our blog and other websites to find out more about this Provencal destination.

Where to stay near Auribeau

Auribeau and surroundings have a high capacity for holiday accommodation. The commune and its surroundings has hotels, bed and breakfasts (covering all price ranges), estate agencies offering seasonal rentals and gîtes.

Click here to book your accommodation in the Luberon or browse the map below:

 

What to do in the Luberon

Be inspired by a list of things to do in the Luberon:

Pin Auribeau on Pinterest

Auribeau Pinterest © French Moments
Gems of Paris by French Moments
About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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