In this post, following on from our introduction to the charming village of Sivergues, we continue our tour through Provence and the Luberon. Just 6 miles from Sivergues, still on the north side of the region, we find the quiet and peaceful village of Auribeau.
Part of its charm lies in the lack of shops and cafes, making Auribeau a place where people go to get away. It’s a perfect starting point for mountain-biking and trekking on the numerous tracks that lead up to the summit of the Luberon massif at 1125m.
The earliest settlements in the area date back to ancient Roman times, and the name may come from aureum, meaning gold, as it lay on the trade route for many precious metals. “The gold valley” could also be a description of the view: the village offers a beautiful panorama over the valley near Apt all the way to the Alps. Though remnants of early settlements remain, the village you can see today is from the 16th century, when the existing beautiful stone houses were built.
Once home to many hundreds of residents, there are now less than 80 people living in Auribeau—even that is higher than the sixteen that remained in the ‘60s. Most of the population rely on agriculture, with lavender, cherry trees, and honey the principle crops. Local B&Bs run a good trade as well, catering to hikers and bikers alike.
The adventurous can take the “Mourre Negre” path that leads to the top of the Luberon and walk up to the St Pierre chapel. The route is a family favourite, as the chapel has been recently restored and the view from it is even more breathtaking than that from the village. It’s a steep two-mile walk, but well worth it. Another three miles will take you to the top of the mountain, but be sure to check the weather, as the weather can change in no time.
I keep visiting Auribeau very often and it has always captures my imagination. Whenever you visit, the seasons will dictate your experience. In April, the cherry blossoms abound, while summer is the time for lavender and September brings blackberries and mushrooms along with the changing colours.
The town has won a national award for the way it’s maintained its flowers and gardens, which are kept elegant without being overly manicured. An authentic boulodrome—a pétanque pitch—is just one of many picturesque touches. On the way out of the village, towards neighbouring Castellet, there’s a stunning public garden with famously wonderful roses. There’s even a picnic table, making it a perfect spot to crack open a bottle of rosé and enjoy a snack of tapenade!