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Last Updated: 21 May 2024

Driving along the road from Pertuis to Cavaillon, following the meandering course of the Durance River, the perched village and castle of Lauris often caught my eye. 

Framed by the lush valley below, Lauris appeared both magnificent and intriguing from my vantage point in the car.

Despite its allure, I was usually in a rush to reach other destinations, so it remained a mere picturesque backdrop to my journeys.

However, one crisp October day, curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to visit the village itself.

Stepping into Lauris was like uncovering a hidden gem that had been quietly waiting for my discovery.

The charm and beauty of the place were so captivating that I found myself drawn back not once, but twice more.

Each visit unfolded new layers of its serene allure, making Lauris a personal favourite in my travel diary.

Join me as I share the delightful day I finally got to explore Lauris through photographs and a video that barely do justice to its serene beauty.

In the village of Lauris © French Moments

Rue sur la Roque, Lauris © French Moments

Watch this short video on the Luberon!

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Lauris: A Bit of History

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

A Roman notable named Laurus

Laurus, a Roman notable, had a villa, the Villa Laurias, which became the village of Villelaure, 12 km to the east. 

Laurus, which means laurel, also had a second villa downstream on the Durance. 

And it was this villa that became Lauris. 

However, the oldest written record of Lauris dates back to 1079.

Lauris © French Moments

In the village © French Moments

From a Catholic Stronghold to a Prosperous Agricultural Land

With the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, Lauris became the property of bishops and then the Counts of Provence. 

During the Wars of Religion, Lauris remained faithful to Catholicism, unlike the neighbouring villages of Puget and Mérindol.

In the 19th century, agriculture took a significant leap, particularly in producing asparagus and cherries. 

Today, Lauris is focused on craft and tourist activities. 

Lauris seems spared from the heavy tourist development that has transformed the village life of other communes like Lourmarin or Gordes.

Lauris © French Moments

In the village © French Moments

Lauris © French Moments

An old street in the village © French Moments

The Lauris Cherries

The entire community of Lauris was engaged in processing cherries for the confectionery industry in Apt

The tasks of destemming, peeling, cutting, and pitting were typically family activities.

Once prepared, the cherries were transported to one of three local factories where they underwent a blanching process. 

Despite the use of boiling water, a sulphurous odour permeated the village streets due to the cherries also being treated in acid baths, specifically with sulphur dioxide or sulfurous anhydride—commonly used in winemaking.

The acidic residue from this process even eroded the village gutters.

Cherry pits were retained by families and used as a fuel source in stoves during the winter, effectively replacing coal in those times.

Music and Theatre in Lauris

In 1857, a group of musicians formed in Lauris. 

Then, in 1899, a society called La Muse Laurisienne was established, aimed at promoting and developing a taste for theatre and organising evening events. 

This society still exists today. 

In Avenue Joseph Garnier, there was the Eden Hall, where musicians and singers gathered. 

It was here that an unknown singer at the time came to perform for the first time on the 14th and 15th of September, 1930. 

That singer was Tino Rossi. 

During the war, the actors of La Muse presented shows in Lauris and the neighbouring villages. 

The money collected served as a fund for the returning prisoners of war.

Lauris © French Moments

Place du Portail © French Moments

Lauris © French Moments

The castle's terraces © French Moments

The Discovery Guide of Lauris

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

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

Understanding the Village

The village of Lauris is perched on a rocky promontory above the Durance valley.

You discover this vision of an enchanting hilltop village and its castle along the road from Cavaillon to Pertuis.

Lauris, Provence © French Moments

Lauris, Provence © French Moments

However, coming from Lourmarin, you approach Lauris from the "flat-lands" without suspecting that at the end of the old village, you will come up against the top of the cliff.

The old village is located at the end of Avenue Joseph Garnier and is bounded by Avenue Philippe de Girard.

Remember to take a short detour via Rue sur la Roque, which offers superb panoramic views over the Durance valley.

A Guide of the Village of Lauris

Let's begin our exploration of Lauris at the Place de la Mairie, located in the northeastern part of the village. 

The Town-Hall of Lauris

The Town Hall of Lauris is an elegant building from 1890, which once housed a silkworm farm before being acquired by the municipality to become the town hall in 1952. 

Town-Hall of Lauris © French Moments

The town-hall of Lauris © French Moments

Avenue Joseph Garnier

Take the Avenue Joseph Garnier, which leads to the old village. 

The Avenue Joseph Garnier is lined with shops and small boutiques. 

Here you'll find the bakery, the butcher, vegetable stalls, banks, a pharmacy, a post office, and cafés and restaurants. 

Boulangerie in Lauris © French Moments

Boulangerie on Avenue Joseph Garnier © French Moments

This street is named after Joseph-François Garnier

His father, who shared his name, was a renowned composer and oboist born in Lauris who performed at the Paris Opera in the late 18th century. 

Joseph-François Garnier Junior became a doctor in Paris and also served as the mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine. 

Upon his death in 1865, he donated half his fortune to the commune of Lauris. 

In recognition, Lauris erected a statue of him in front of the current town hall and named the main street of the village after him.

Lauris © French Moments

In the village of Lauris © French Moments

The Avenue Philippe de Girard to the right goes down into the valley and leads to the road from Pertuis to Cavaillon. However, continue to the Place du Portail in the old village.

Place du Portail and the Duck Fountain

The Place du Portail is a charming square that gives access to the old village.

On the square is the communal fountain known as the Duck Fountain, the “Fontaine du Canard”.

Fontaine du Canard © French Moments

Fontaine du Canard © French Moments

It dates from 1853 and is topped not by a duck but by a swan.

Originally, the fountain was topped by a bronze swan, but this has since disappeared.

The villagers banded together to replace the swan, which in turn disappeared.

Perhaps the swans were stolen or flew off to join the waters of the Durance, offended at being called ducks?

In any case, until the arrival of running water in the village, people came here to fetch water for everyday household use or to give their mules a drink.

Place du Portail © French Moments

Place du Portail © French Moments

Rue sur la Roque

Before entering the old village, take the Rue sur la Roque on the left.

The street opens onto an breathtaking panorama! 

Rue sur la Roque © French Moments

Rue sur la Roque © French Moments

Here, we realise that Lauris is actually a perched village.

You wouldn't have guessed it starting our visit from where we came. 

What we see is the Durance Valley and, on the horizon, the Côtes mountain range.

In the distance, you can make out the Alpilles mountain range.

Rue sur la Roque © French Moments

The Durance Valley and the Alpilles © French Moments

The Durance: the Nile of Provence

The Durance was channelled following the construction in 1959 of the Serre-Ponçon dam in the Alps.

Known as the “Nile of Provence”, the Durance was long considered the third plague of Provence, after the Mistral wind and the Parliament of Aix. 

Indeed, its devastating floods have long marked the history of the region. 

But it was these floods that enriched the surrounding lands with silt. 

Here, people grew the famous asparagus and vegetables.

Cherries were sent to the confectioneries in Apt for the production of the renowned candied fruits.

Apt candied fruits by Confiserie Saint-Denis © French Moments

Apt candied fruits by Confiserie Saint-Denis © French Moments

The Castle's Terraces

From the Place du Portail, access to the castle gardens by descending the lane on your left.

Tthe castle gardens are a fantastic place that should not be missed during a visit to Lauris.

Lauris Terraces © French Moments

The terraces and the castle © French Moments

The first castle of Lauris dates back to the 11th century. It was a keep that overlooked the Durance valley.

Over the centuries, various lords added buildings that were frequently pillaged, restored, and then abandoned.

Jean Montaud d'Arlatan

But the current construction owes its existence to Jean Montaud d’Arlatan, the lord of Lauris in 1718, who dreamt of building a pleasure bastide there.

As the President of the Parliament of Aix, he was obliged to have a country residence.

He chose the site of Lauris, where he had spent his early childhood.

The construction stretched over three generations of his family.

Jean-Louis d’Arlatan refurbished the dilapidated castle to entertain his noble friends from Aix-en-Provence with great pomp.

Lauris © French Moments

The view from the terraces © French Moments

The terraces we are walking on were embellished with sumptuous gardens.

Originally, the garden extended over seven 40-metre-high terraces.

Many relics still attest to its former glory: monumental staircases, pools, and fountains. 

This garden was one of the largest landscaped gardens in France in the 18th century. 

But scarcely completed, the bastide was devastated during the French Revolution.

The d'Arlatan family sold the property to the André family around 1840. 

Then the Andrés donated it to the Society of Foreign Missions in 1964, which occupied the premises until 1998. 

Lauris © French Moments

The terraces © French Moments

The Castle's Courtyard and Place du Château

If open, climb the stairs at the end of the terraces to reach the courtyard of the castle.

Here is the Courtyard of the Castle, also known as the “Cour des Artisans”, the Craftsmen's Courtyard.

Lauris © French Moments

The castle's courtyard © French Moments

Pass through the main gate of the castle to arrive at the Place du Château.

To allow carriages to travel through the village streets, Jean-Louis d’Arlatan purchased a row of houses facing the entrance gate to demolish them.

Rue Rigaud and Rue Sainte Marguerite

Take a brief loop around the neighbourhood adjoining the castle.
Start by taking the Rue Rigaud, which leads to the Rue du Portail.
Then, return to the Place du Château via the Rue Sainte-Marguerite.

Rue Sainte-Marguerite © French Moments

Rue Sainte-Marguerite © French Moments

Rue Sainte-Marguerite © French Moments

Porte Cochère, Rue Sainte-Marguerite © French Moments

In these streets, look out for the guard stones or "bouto-rodo" in Provençal.

These are large stones placed at the corners of streets, which once had significant utility. They served two functions:

  • to prevent the hubs of the wheels from striking the walls of dwellings
  • to aid in manoeuvring the cart. Indeed, in narrow streets, the cart's wheels would bump against the stone. As the animals continued to pull, the rear of the vehicle would skid and realign itself with the correct path.
Rue du Barry

Next, enter into a maze of old winding streets, starting with the Rue du Barry.

Ahead stands the “Maison Claustrale”, a stone building from the early 18th century that doesn't have many windows. 

Maison Claustrale © French Moments

Maison Claustrale © French Moments

This is due to the window and door tax imposed in 1798 by the Directory, the French government at the time. 

To pay less tax, the homeowners on the Rue du Barry decided to block several windows. 

The old secretive streets

Just after the Maison Claustrale, take the Rue de la Tour on your right.

The Rue de la Tour, named after the Tour Philippe, a tower built in the 13th century and featuring two twin windows. The tower was named after Philippe de Lambesc, a valiant 14th-century lord.

Tour Philippe © French Moments

Tour Philippe © French Moments

Follow the street and, surprise, you'll find a secret corner, a haven of peace in the heart of the old village. 

Lauris © French Moments

A haven of peace! © French Moments

You'll reach a passage through this archway on your left that leads to the church square. Continue ahead.

Lauris © French Moments

Passage de l'arcade © French Moments

You'll arrive at the small Place Jean d’Autant. 

Then, you'll reach the Rue du Barry. Follow the street one more time pass the Maison Claustrale until the intersection with the Grand-Rue.


The Grand-Rue is a very special street. 

There, residents have set up garden tables and chairs in front of their homes. 

Lauris, Provence © French Moments

Grand Rue © French Moments

Grand Rue © French Moments

Table and seats on Grand Rue © French Moments

The high street leads us to the Rue du Couvent, which will take us to the church square, the “Place de l’église”. 

Rue du Couvent © French Moments

Rue du Couvent © French Moments

The House of an Irish Colonel

On the Place de l'église is the Colonel House (Maison du Colonel) with its two beautiful facades. 

Maison du Colonel © French Moments

Maison du Colonel © French Moments

The façade on the left dates from 1782. It is the more sober façade with lintels, a cornice and a princely porch with hanging garlands.

The façade on the right is much more recent, dating back to 1898. It is decorated with a harp and an Irish shamrock. The owner was a colonel in the 175th Irish Infantry Regiment. The pilasters are adorned with garlands of flowers, and a fine triangular pediment displays a triumphal coat of arms.

The Church of Lauris

The Place de l'église gives access to the Notre Dame de la Purification church. The façade of the Catholic parish church of Lauris is symmetrical and sober.

The statue of the Virgin and Child on the façade is by the sculptor Ollier and dates from 1854. Carved from limestone, it is 2.20 metres high.

Lauris church © French Moments

The façade of the church © French Moments

The first church was built on this site in 1480. 

Having become too small and run-down, a new church was constructed between 1702 and 1708 based on plans by Vallon, an architect from Aix-en-Provence.

The interior features fine paintings from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Lauris church © French Moments

Inside the church - the altar © French Moments

Take the little “Passage de l’église" which descends to the Rue sous les Campanes. It will offer you an interesting view of the back of the church and its beautiful wrought-iron campanile.

From the Rue sous la Campane, the back of the church looks like a fortress. This is explained by its position along the old medieval wall.

Rue sous la Campane © French Moments

Rue sous la Campane © French Moments

The Campanile

The church bell tower of the Lauris church supports a unique wrought iron campanile forged in 1857 from a design by an architect in Apt.

This splendid campanile features a bulb-shaped cage ("gabie" in Provençal) adorned with scrolls, topped by an openwork sphere.

It is surmounted by a weathervane, a flag, and a cross. 

The shape is thought to have been inspired by an umbellifer that curled up during a very dry summer.

Lauris campanile, Provence © French Moments

The wrought-iron campanile © French Moments

As with all the campaniles in Provence, their shape is designed to protect them from the effects of the mistral wind.

Rather than housing a bell, this campanile contains a clock's chime.

In my opinion, it is the most beautiful campanile in Provence.

Lauris campanile, Provence © French Moments

The wrought-iron campanile © French Moments

The Wash house

In the Rue sous les Campanes is the Lauris washhouse

This public washhouse dates from 1871 and was used until 1960.

Lauris wash house © French Moments

The wash house © French Moments

Twice a year, the "grande bugade" (washing of clothes) was held, which was a real social event and a great opportunity for the women of the village to get together.

Lauris wash house © French Moments

Inside the wash house © French Moments

On your way back to the Avenue Joseph Garnier, admire the typically Provençal postcard image with its three carriage doors.

Lauris © French Moments

The three carriage doors © French Moments

Retrace your steps back to the Place de la Mairie by walking on the Avenue Joseph Garnier.

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 Lauris

Lauris 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 Lauris on Pinterest

Lauris for Pinterest © French Moments
Lauris for 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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