The Vaucluse is located in the heart of Provence. It is made up of plains, hills and mountains, the best known of which is Mont Ventoux (1909m), nicknamed Mont Chauve or the giant of Provence. The main resources of the Vaucluse are market gardening (fruits and vegetables), viticulture which counts many appellations such as Châteauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux and Luberon, as well as tourism. It is also the Mecca of the black truffle. The tourist attractions of our region are not lacking. Whether it's Avignon and its festival, Isle sur la Sorgue and its antique shops, the perched villages of the Luberon, the unique site of Fontaine de Vaucluse, Mont Ventoux and the villages of Comtat Venaissin, the Dentelles de Montmirail and its wines, without forgetting Saint Remy and Les Baux de Provence as well as the Pont du Gard which are only a stone's throw away.
Located in the Pays des Sorgues, Le Thor is a town of about 9000 inhabitants. The origin of its name is part of several legendary stories. The best known of these stories tells the story of a herd of bulls coming to drink near the premises and whose behavior caught the attention of the herdsman. Under the hooves of one of the animals, lay in the mud the statue of a Virgin. The Emperor Charlemagne got wind of the news and decided to build the Church of Thor, Notre Dame du Lac
To see in Le Thor: The Church of Notre Dame du Lac, a Romanesque church from the 12th century, the Grottes de Thouzon, the hill and the Château de Thouzon, a former monastery
To see in L'Isle sur la Sorgue, 8kms from Le Thor : The collegiate church of Notre Dame des Anges and its baroque interior, the Brun de Vian Tiran factory, the antique dealers' villages
Isle sur la Sorgue offers immediate charm. With its canals fed by the Sorgue, its waterwheels, its narrow streets and its small bridges, everything contributes to making it a place where it is good to walk. It is also an essential city for all lovers of antiques and flea markets. The some 300 antique shops are a delight for bargain hunters or the simply curious. These shops are open all year round, even on public holidays, from Friday to Monday. Every Sunday, a flea market takes place outside Quai des 4 Otages. Twice a year, at Easter and August 15, there is a large antiques and flea market that attracts enthusiasts from all over the world
To see in Avignon, 20kms from Le Thor: The Palace of the Popes, the Rocher des Doms, the Pont Saint Bénézet (the bridge of Avignon), the Musée Calvet and the Musée Angladon (painting), Villeneuve les Avignon, on the other bank of the Rhône
The ancient city of the Popes can be visited on foot. You have to get lost in the maze of streets and alleys to discover all its charm. The architecture is remarkable and there is no lack of activity.
City of history, city of spectacle, Avignon does not leave one indifferent. The passage of the Popes in Avignon has left an impressive mark on its architecture.
Go up the rue de la République to the Place de l'Horloge, stroll along the elegant rue Joseph Vernet, walk along the ramparts and the chemin des Rondes, take a breath in the rue des Teinturiers, feel the pulse of the Place Pie and its Halles, walk along the rue Carreterie and slow down in the Place des Carmes, stop in the Place du Palais des Papes, and finally sit on a terrace in the Place Crillon for a few moments of rest. This is how Avignon will come to you.
But Avignon wouldn't be Avignon at all without its theatre festival, which takes place every year for three weeks in July. Created in 1947 by Jean Vilar, it is a breeding ground for artistic creation. In addition to the official festival, the off-festival and the street shows complete the inimitable atmosphere which is in full swing late at night on the restaurant terraces.
Fontaine de Vaucluse
To see in Fontaine, 17kms from Le Thor: the Santon Museum, the Paper Mill (handmade paper as in the 15th century), the 11th century Romanesque church of Notre Dame de Saint Véran, the Petrarch Museum dedicated to the Italian poet who lived in Fontaine de Vaucluse (14th century)
Fontaine de Vaucluse is without doubt the most visited natural site in the Vaucluse, so if you want to enjoy it quietly try to be early.
This success is mainly due to the very impressive spring which gushes out at the foot of a 230 metre high cliff. This gigantic fountain is the most powerful in France (and the fifth in the world) with an annual water flow of 630 million cubic metres. Its waters are generally calm in summer and become spectacular in periods of flooding (winter and spring).
To avoid walking the same route to the fountain twice, follow the main path on the way out and take the path just above the main path on the way back, or vice versa!
The Luberon Regional Nature Park
To see: the villages of Oppède le Vieux, Ménerbes, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Apt, Roussillon, Goult, Gordes and the Abbaye de Sénanque, Lourmarin, as well as the Côtes du Luberon vineyards.
The Luberon Regional Natural Park is a preserved area. There is an abundance of flora and fauna. It is possible to go hiking, horse riding, mountain biking and even ballooning!
But what made the fame of the Luberon are its perched villages which are real postcards.
Mont Ventoux and the Comtat Venaissin
To see around the Mont Ventoux: the numerous villages of the Comtat Venaissin such as Venasque (one of the most beautiful villages of the Vaucluse at about 20kms from Le Thor), le Beaucet, Mormoiron, Bédoin, le Barroux, Malaucène and even Vaison la Romaine.
Mont Ventoux can be seen for miles around. Its rocky slopes and the harshness of its climate in both summer and winter demand the respect of those who tackle it on foot or by bike. However, it is possible to drive to the summit (in summer) and enjoy a breathtaking view.
The Laces of Montmirail
To see around the Dentelles at a little less than 30kms from Le Thor: the vineyards of the Haut Vaucluse and the villages attached to these vineyards. Special mention should be made of Sablet and Séguret (as well as the tiny village of Suzette, above Beaumes de Venise, which allows you to see the Dentelles up close and overhead and where, once you have passed it, the view is breathtaking.
This prestigious site is a "must" for fans of climbing and rock-climbing. It is also famous for the hikes that can be done there. Its saw-toothed limestone ridges dominate hectares of vineyards and prestigious appellations such as Gigondas, Vacqueyras, as well as numerous Côtes du Rhône-Villages such as Cairanne, Rasteau, Sablet, Séguret... Further west, the flagship appellation of the Vaucluse, Châteauneuf du Pape, is located.
On the road to Les Baux de Provence, 30kms from Le Thor, you can visit the site of Glanum (Gallo-Roman city) and the Antiques (Arch and Mausoleum from the Roman period), the Yves Brayer Museum, a contemporary painter, in Les Baux de Provence, the Cathedral of Images in Les Baux, an audiovisual fairy tale projected onto the rock face, the villages of Maussane les Alpilles, Fontvieille and Alphonse Daudet's mill, Mouriès, Eygalières. To return to Cavaillon and Le Thor, you can take the road from Maussane to Eygalières through a series of magnificent landscapes, the vineyards of the Coteaux des Baux, and the olive-growing cooperatives (the one in Maussane for example).
We are leaving the Vaucluse department to enter the Bouches du Rhône department, but Saint Rémy is only 30 kilometres from Le Thor and Les Baux de Provence is 40 kilometres away, so it would be a shame not to go and discover these places full of life and history.
Saint Rémy is one of the most beautiful villages in Provence. Its green valleys, its beautiful residences restored with taste and its old lanes with irresistible charm made its success. As you stroll along its narrow, winding streets, you will come across beautiful old fountains, small shady squares with pleasant restaurant terraces and elegant boutiques.
The beauty of the landscape and the quality of the light have inspired many artists, writers and painters. The most famous is undoubtedly Vincent Van Gogh who painted more than 150 canvases in the countryside surrounding Saint Rémy de Provence.
The village of Les Baux de Provence is situated in the heart of the Alpilles on a rocky outcrop at an altitude of 245 metres. It overlooks exceptional landscapes over Arles, the Camargue and the Alpilles and offers rare panoramas. The beauty of the village will seduce you, as will the Citadel located at the end of the village. The site extends over 7 hectares and allows you to discover the main vestiges of the tumultuous past of Les Baux de Provence.
The olive trees as far as the eye can see will remind you that the olive oil of the Vallée des Baux (AOC) is among the tastiest there is. As for the wines of the Coteaux des Baux, their reputation is well established.
To do around the site, about 45kms from Le Thor: numerous walks on the site of the Pont du Gard, the town of Uzès, its old stones and its shaded terraces
Here again, you have to travel a little, but the work is so exceptional that you should not hesitate to travel the 45 kilometres that separate you from this bridge.
The Pont du Gard is a piece of the Roman aqueduct that carried water from Uzès to Nîmes. Built at the beginning of our era with the stones extracted on the spot in the surrounding quarries, it spans the Gardon over a length of 360 meters and culminates at 48 meters high. The view speaks for itself but beware of vertigo!