• Martine Bertin-Peterson

Exploring the Luberon Hill Towns - Lacoste

Unlike the larger, more populated villages of Bonnieux and Menerbes, just a short drive away, you won't find any shops or boutiques or fine dining restaurants in the tiny, sleepy town of Lacoste. What the town lacks in tourist amenities however, is made up by spectacular views, cobblestone streets, ancient stone houses and medieval walls.

Crowning the hilltop are the ruins of the 11th century chateau, originally owned by the Simiane family and acquired in the 18th century by the infamous Marquis de Sade. In 2001, designer Pierre Cardin bought the castle and partially restored it to make the chateau his home.

Cardin went on to purchase and restore 30 residential and commercial buildings in Lacoste, breathing new - and sometimes controversial - life into the town. The designer also created the Lacoste Summer Festival in 2000 which features music, theater, dance and opera performances in and around the chateau. The annual festival takes place in July. 2019 dates and programs can be found here.

A stroll through the village will take you past old stone houses made of ochre and limestone, a 12th century church, old bathhouses, the bake ovens of a long gone boulangerie and art studios belonging to SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design).

Le Cafe de France, currently the only place to grab a cool drink or a bite to eat in Lacoste, also happens to be one of the best spots to take in the expansive views over the valley and towards Bonnieux.

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