from educational to quirky
The Luberon may not have the concentrated culture of a large city but in between the vineyards and villages you will find some unexpected treats, if you know where to look. (These recommended museums do not include art, for that see Provence art & artists.)
Lavender Museum, Coustellet
Telling the story of lavender production in Provence, the Lavender Museum is home to distilling equipment and other machinery from the last 200 years. The museum shop sells all sorts of lavender products, and there is a lavender field outside for pics (flowering from late June to early August).
Musée de Lavande, 276 Route de Gordes, 84220 Coustellet
Wine Museum, Ansouis
Set on a winery, the Chateau Turcan, the wine museum tells the story of wine production through the ages, with an impresssive display of all sorts of machinery and equipment from different periods. At the end the visit is completed with tasting of the chateau’s produce.
Musée des Arts et des Metiers du Vin, Chemin Turcan Route de Pertuis, 84240 Ansouis
Hotel d’Agar, Cavaillon
The Hotel d’Agar is a cabinet of curiosities assembled by a family of history fanatics over two floors of a grand town house. It has intriguing objects from all sorts of eras, from Greek and Roman times to modern art. The house is built on the site of Roman ruins and its garden continues to yield finds. The garden is thought to be the oldest in France, having been in constant use since before the time of Jesus. You can visit by appointment for a guided tour in French lasting about 90 minutes.
Hotel d’Agar, 58 rue Liffran, 84300 Cavaillon
Corkscrew Museum, Menerbes
The Corskscrew Museum is in the Domaine de Citadelle winery, and is exactly what you would expect – a collection of corkscrews from around the world, from simple to ornate, numbering over 1200 items. You can also have a wine tasting after your visit.
Musée du Tiree-bouchon, Domaine de la Citadelle, 601 route de Cavaillon, 84560 Menerbes
Lustrerie Mathieu, Gargas
A workshop in the little Luberon village of Gargas may not be your first guess for the world’s leading creator and restorer of luxury lighting, but when a palace or opera house needs a new set of ornate chandeliers, they come to the Lustrerie Mathieu, where lighting reaches the realm of art. You can visit the collection of more than 200 chandeliers in the Mathieu Museum, housed in a beautiful converted ochre factory. Sometimes at Christmas the spectacular lighting is married to the owner’s other passion, and the space is filled with classic cars as well as spectacular lights.
Mathieu Lustrerie, Hameau des Sauvans, 84400 Gargas
Bories Village, Gordes
Just outside Gordes, the Bories Village is a renovated site of some 30 buildings in the distinctive local borie style: dry stone construction without mortar. Here each building has a particular purpose and the whole would have been a self-sustained village. Its origins are mysterious, as it is impossible to date precisely – estimates for the Village des Bories range from the 7th to 19th centuries.
Village des Bories, Les Savournins, 84220 Gordes
The Extraordinary Museum, Ansouis
The Extraordinary Museum in an Ansouis village house is the story of one man’s love affair with the sea. This is a quirky and intriguing collection of sea-related objects recovered over a lifetime of diving, as well as the art that the sea inspired. An unexpected little curiosity in a beautiful little village.
Musée Extraordinaire de Georges Mazoyer, rue du Vieux Moulin, 84240 Ansouis
Museum of the Resistance, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
The uncatchy proper name is: Musée d’Histoire Jean Garcin : 1939-45 L’Appel de la Liberté. The Museum of the Resistance, as it is also known, is a sober exploration of the war years in France, what it was to live through occupation, and resistance to it, as well as collaboration. It’s an unexpected presence in the centre of Fontaine-depVaucluse but worth dropping into.
Musée d’Histoire Jean Garcin : 1939-45 L’Appel de la Liberté, 271 chemin de la Fontaine, 84800 Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
Bruoux Mines, Gargas
Bruoux is where ochre was mined, and today you can visit the network of tunnels left behind after the industry ended. The tunnels are level and have high ceilings, so they are easily accessible. You take a guided tour in French with a tablet for other languages, for about 50 minutes, and learn about the history of the mines, the geology and what it was like to work them. It’s cool year-round inside the mines – 10C or 50F – so dress accordingly.
Mines de Bruoux, 1434 route de Croagnes, 84400 Gargas
La Maison du Fruit Confit, Apt
The market town of Apt is the world capital of candied fruit, so naturally it has a House of Candied Fruite. Here you can find out how this sugary treat is made, and more importantly taste from the large range on offer. The shop sells everything you might want in the world of candied fruit.
La Maison du Fruit Confit, 538 Quartier Salignan D900, 84400 Apt
Okhra: the Ochre Conservatory, Roussillon
Roussillon is synonymous with ochre, and at Okhra, in a disused ochre fatory just outside the village, you can get your hands into ochre in an art workshop. There are displays on the journey from ochre quarry to finished products, and the shop sells pigments and artists’ supplies. In the garden you can also learn about plant dyes.
Okhra Ecomusée de l’Ocre, 570 route d’Apt, 84220 Roussillon