1. This summer I had the opportunity to visit Lourmarin, voted one of France’s most beautiful villages. A friend of mine got married at a nearby villa in June, and The Country Boy and I made a weekend of it, taking some time to wander around this Provençal town and soak up that southern sunlight before the festivities began.
2. The picturesque village fulfills pretty much every stereotype of the region – in fact, while it’s not the village in his famous book, British expat Peter Mayle (author of A Year in Provence) has now settled here (though I don’t think we saw him during our stay.
3. The town gets quite busy in the summertime, and the little streets are fairly crowded, but not so much as to be unpleasant. On a Saturday afternoon, it was fairly easy for us to find a sidewalk café where we could sit in the sun and people-watch. (That said, we steered clear of the popular morning market!)
4. The most prominent tourist attraction in Lourmarin is the Renaissance château, which after falling into disrepair following the French Revolution, was restored between 1921 and 1923. Today, it is home to a cultural foundation and is open to the public for visits. Even if you don’t visit it, you get a beautiful view of it, funnily enough from the public parking lot.
5. But my favorite thing about Lourmarin had nothing to do with the château; Lourmarin is also the perfect town for book lovers. Not only did I stumble upon this cute little bookshop (that sign reads “A book is like a garden that you carry in your pocket,” but Lourmarin is also the former home – and final resting place – of writers Henri Bosco and Albert Camus. The latter has been one of my favorites ever since I was assigned L’Etranger to read in high school. Just existing in the same place where he once lived was pretty exciting!