Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Road Trip in the Luberon, Provence – Itinerary & Map29/05/2023
Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
If you’re dreaming of delicious French food, romantic sunsets with a glass of rosé wine, and rolling hills peppered with medieval villages and vineyards as far as the eye can see, then this road trip in the Luberon, Provence, has you covered.
Planning the perfect Luberon road trip itinerary is not easy–but it’s well worth getting right. We’ve put this ultimate guide to planning a Luberon road trip after several trips in the region over a period of years, often on road trips.
If you are looking for a unique French road trip, Luberon and its Regional Natural Park won’t disappoint. We absolutely adore traveling in the Luberon, Provence, and this Luberon itinerary is put together based on our detailed experiences traveling in the region as well as additional research.
So here’s what we suggest for a perfect Luberon road trip itinerary, a 4-day road trip that starts and ends in Avignon, for those who want to visit this region in Provence for the first time.
This road trip Luberon is one of the most beautiful road trips in France. Click here for the best road trips in France.
Luberon Road Trip Overview
- Start: Avignon
- Finish: Avignon
- Duration: 4 days
- Suggested Route: Avignon – Gordes – Roussillon – L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue – Avignon
- Total distance: 166 km, 4 hours 15minutes drive minimum
- Regions covered: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
- Best for: sightseeing, wine tasting, and natural sites.
What is the Luberon? The Luberon is a Regional Natural Park with the Luberon Mountain running its length and separating the north and south. One of the best places to visit in Provence, the Luberon is limited with Aix-en-Provence to the south and Avignon to the west. The Luberon it’s an hour’s drive from Marseille Airport and a 30-minute drive from Avignon train station.
Road Trip Luberon – Map
4-Day Road Trip Luberon Itinerary
The starting point of this Luberon itinerary is Avignon. Avignon is easy to reach by train from Paris, Lyon, or Dijon. The journey from Paris to Avignon by train takes around 3 hours while Lyon to Avignon by train only takes 2 hrs 45 minutes.
If this is your first time in Avignon, spend at least two full days exploring the city and its surroundings before hitting the road to the Luberon. If you need to hire a car, wait until day 2 to pick up your rental car. Click here for our best tips for renting a car in France.
Day 1 | Avignon
The former city of Popes and cardinals, once the center of intrigues and passions, is one of the most fascinating destinations in France, with an interesting past and a rich heritage.
Enjoy one day in Avignon. Here everything is within walking distance, and you can easily explore the city while strolling through its small cobblestone lanes. Be sure to visit the Palace of the Popes, admire Avignon’s beautiful and homogeneous architecture, and wander along the medieval walls to Pont d’Avignon (the bridge of the famous French song for kids).
TIP: This Avignon walking tour always gets good ratings!
In July, Avignon gets totally metamorphosed into an open-air theater thanks to its reputed Festival d’Avignon. Enjoy Avignon’s joyful atmosphere until late at night with street performances and performances inside the Pape of the Popes (book accommodation and tickets well in advance!).
For your two nights in Avignon, book at the Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis Avignon. This hotel is located in a beautiful 16th-century building with original arches and vaulted ceilings surrounded by a beautiful garden and an outdoor swimming pool.
Day 2 | Avignon – Châteauneuf du Pape
On day two of this Luberon itinerary, take D225 road and then D907 /D66 to Châteauneuf du Pape for a beautiful day trip. This pretty medieval village, located on the left bank of the Rhône, was the summer residence of the Popes of Avignon, who built a magnificent château for their retreat.
Today, the ruins of the Château are still impressive, and they are a great starting point to discover the village’s rich heritage, like the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (12th century), the Saint Théodorit Chapel (10th-11th century), and various oratories.
Mostly, Châteauneuf du Pape is a must-stop for all wine lovers, happy to discover and taste one of the world’s most prestigious wines where it is produced and bottled. Learn the secrets of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC appellation through an audio-guided visit to the Wine Museum (entrance fee). Then visit one of the wine cellars open to the public for tastings (with or without a tour) and wine shopping.
Day 3 | Avignon – Roussillon
Morning in Sénanque Abbey and Gordes
Day 3 of this Luberon road trip itinerary leaves Avignon to explore the Luberon Regional Natural Park. Start the day early in the morning with a delicious breakfast at Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis, then drive to the Sénanque Abbey, the first stop today, via the N7 /D900 road.
The Abbey of Sénanque is a Cistercian abbey founded in the 12th century. It is a beautiful Romanesque building that is mostly famous for its surrounding lavender fields. During the right season, the Abbey of Sénanque is one of the most photographed places in all of Provence!
Home to a small community of Cistercian monks, it is possible to visit the Abbey on a guided tour (1 hr) by one of the monks. Inside, there’s also a lovely shop full of lavender products.
TIP: during the lavender season, try to visit the Abbaye de Sénanque early in the morning, before its opening, to avoid the tourist crowds and for the best photo opportunities. The Abbey is located below a hill, and it is best lit in the morning. There are no sunset photo opportunities for this Abbey.
On the way to the Abbey, you passed by the village of Gordes. It’s time to visit it now! Drive back to Gordes, one of the picturesque hilltop villages of Luberon, with the label Most Beautiful Villages in France. Explore the town, with its cobbled streets, pretty stone architecture, and little shops selling local products and all kinds of crafts. Gordes also has several places where you can have lunch.
Afternoon in Roussillon
After lunch, drive to Roussillon, where you will spend one night. Roussillon is another of the best Luberon villages to visit. The village sits on top of cliffs of red and yellow clay, and the clay hills have been an important source of ochre pigment since the 18th century. Following a local law, the old, characterful houses of Roussillon are all colored in different shades of red and orange. Because of the earthy colors of the buildings, a warm and welcoming atmosphere is created.
Whilst in Roussillon, you’ve got to head up to the village fortifications. You will be treated to a spectacular view of the valley that surrounds the village.
Wait until one hour before the closing time to visit the Ochre Trail (entrance fee), a developed pathway through the ochre-colored hills of the former ochre mine.
For your night in Roussillon, the B&B Bastide des Demoiselles is an excellent option. This top-rated accommodation has an on-site restaurant and a beautiful garden with a swimming pool, which will be particularly appreciated during the summer months.
TIP: The Bastide des Demoiselles is the perfect place for spending a relaxing couple of days. If your schedule allows it, book an extra night here and use the extra day to explore the Colorado Provençal in Rustrel and the hilltop villages of Saignon and Apt (not included in this Luberon itinerary).
Day 4 | Hilltop Villages – L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Morning in the Hilltop Villages of Luberon
Start the day with a delicious breakfast on the terrace of the Bastide des Demoiselles, then drive to Bonnieux via the D108 road.
Located on the northern slopes of Luberon, Bonnieux is perhaps one of the less touristy Luberon villages. The village’s architecture is a mix of Gothic and Romanesque styles, and you will love wandering around its slopping cobbled streets adorned with fountains and washhouses.
When you are in Bonnieux, don’t miss the Old Church and the Tour Philippe, with its particular story and architecture. High up in the village, the Tour Philippe tower was designed by the artist and sculptor Philippe Audibert, who wanted a view of the sea, but died before completing his project. On a clear day, you can see down to the Etang de Berre by the Mediterranean!
Bonnieux is also known for its fragrant lavender fields, which turns Bonnieux into one of the most picture-perfect small towns in Provence. If you are taking this Luberon road trip in the summer, check out our quick guide to the lavender fields in Provence for the best time to see lavender in Bonnieux.
After Bonnieux, drive to Lacoste, another beautiful hilltop village in the Luberon. Lacoste is best known for its beautiful castle perched on top of the hill, which belonged to the Marquis of Sade. Its partially ruined state only adds to its intrigue and lure.
If you like atypical places steeped in history, don’t miss the old underground stone quarries. You can also admire the belfry with its wrought iron campanile, a 12th-century church, an old 19th-century Protestant temple, and many bories, these dry stone huts typical of the fields in Provence.
Ménerbes is the last hilltop village to visit on this Luberon road trip itinerary. Last but not least, Ménerbes is listed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France.
During Roman times, Ménerbes played an important role on the Roman highway, which stretched from Rome to the south of Spain.
In the heart of the village, the alleys allow you to discover a rich historical heritage: a belfry with campanile from the 17th century, magnificent old residences, and the citadel from the 12th century.
You can also see some remains of other historical periods in Ménerbes, like the Pichouno dolmen and the remains of villas and an old cemetery from Roman times.
If you want to stop in Ménerbes for lunch, you have different options here, from a tea saloon with views for a light lunch to small bistros. You can also buy a sandwich in one of the boulangeries in the village.
Afternoon in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
On the way to Avignon, stop at l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue for an afternoon stroll and perhaps dinner. L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is one of the most charming towns in the Vaucluse department. Located along the Sorgue River, l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is known for its antique shops and art galleries and its water wheels on the river.
Stroll along the canals, browse the second-hand shops, and stop at one of the cafés facing the river for an apéritif-early dinner and people-watching.
During your explorations, don’t miss the Tour d’Argent, the symbol of the town that dates back to the 12th century, and the town’s beautiful Renaissance houses.
After l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, drive back to Avignon, where this Luberon itinerary ends.
So, what are you waiting for? Book this Luberon road trip today!