Day Trip 1 - The Back Way to Gordes - Fontaine - Cabrières - Gordes - Roussillon - Goult
This loop takes in the northern villages of the so-called ‘golden triangle’ of the Luberon leaving those south of the dividing line of the main D900 road for another day. Leave the Isle to the north-east on Cours Fernande Peyre and just after the Super-U the route to the Fontaine is signposted. The Route de Fontaine de Vaucluse will take you through the village of that name and as you leave town there is a left turn to Gordes on the Route Touristique de Gordes. You are on the edge of the Plâteau de Vaucluse here and the road is winding in parts.
(An alternative, if you have already been to the Fontaine, is to leave the Isle to the south-east and turn left to Lagnes. Driving uphill through the village will have you heading north-east and joining the above route in less than a kilometre.)
The next village is Cabrières-d’Avignon which has a small amount of commerce and a reasonable restaurant but mostly we just drive on and turn right to Les Imberts and then left on the D2 to Gordes. Prior to Gordes there are two possible little side trips, to the Village des Bories (an ancient site comprising a collection of what can be best described as stone igloos) and to the Abbaye de Sénanque (very picturesque, an abbey in a rugged valley with a field of lavender in front making for one of the classic Lubéron postcards).
Gordes must have been designed in consultation with the picture postcard industry, it certainly has one of the most photographed and recognisable aspects of all the perched villages. On the way into town there is a little parking area so that you may stop and stand on 'the' rock to take 'the' photograph across the valley to the town. The centre of the town features heavily in the film "A Good Year" with Fanny's restaurant, the fountain and the little roundabout. Parking is not Gordes' strong point so we prefer it at quieter times. Most tourists only see the couple of streets around the top of the town but from the shops near the roundabout it is possible to go down Rue des Tracapelles, follow your nose right down to the valley floor and then, after going down the valley a little, climb back up the southern side of the town past the church and back to the centre. No shops, no tourists and a good workout.
Leaving Gordes to the east the next village is Roussillon, the site of ancient ochre mines. The village is multi-coloured and worth a stroll. Look out for the elevated view point. It is then south-west to Goult, one of the more hidden villages of the golden triangle.
Goult is a bit of a ‘sleeper’ in the golden triangle. It is on a hill sure enough but is much less obviously perched than its high visibility neighbours Gordes and Bonnieux. As a result, it seems much less visited and the sort of shops aimed at the tourist trade that abound in Gordes are noticeably thin on the ground in Goult.The two central car parks are obvious as you enter town and are free. The focal point of the village is the Café de la Poste and a stroll through the village starts there. The village houses are attractive, there is a bit of a castle and a landmark windmill at the highest point. Good vistas of the Lubéron hills from here. If you were in a walking mood, the slopes to the west of the village have many historical stone terrace walls still evident from former cultivation. We have walked from Les Martins to Goult and return finding all sorts of interesting things on the way but be aware, the ascent on the west side of the L’Imergue valley is steep.The Café de la Poste is a classic Provence café, so much so we had a painting commissioned for our wall at home in Australia (pictures above). Not the best coffee in France but a great place to sit outside. Most of the activity of the village has to pass by your table at the Poste. The Auberge de la Bartavelle gets consistent good reviews but we are never in Goult in the evening.
Goult sits just above the D900 and there are a couple of routes out of town to the highway and a right turn back to L’Isle sur la Sorgue on the main roads – looking out for one turn at the roundabout after Coustellet.