Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Section
Menerbes - Regional Park Luberon - Provence
Menerbes, ranked among the Plus Beaux Villages de France
Menerbes is a perched walled village.
It boasts glorious view of the vineyards and garrigues (scrub-lands) that grow at the foot of the Vaucluse Mountains in the Regional Natural Park of the Lubéron.
Menerbes was named after Minerva, the Roman goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, and magic.
The antic village was indeed a stopover on the Via Domitia, the Roman road that linked Iberia (Spain) to Rome via the Roman Province (Provence).
It is not surprising that, with such a name, Menerbes should be ranked among the Most Beautiful Villages in France.
It's difficult to realize, when strolling in the 12th century citadel, that Menerbes was occupied by the Protestants during the Wars of Religion.
The fortified city greatly suffered from the fighting that took place from 1573 to 1578.
It was indeed left in a pitiful state, when the two camps eventually came to an agreement!
Menerbes has since been restored.
Much of its medieval and Renaissance architectural heritage has been saved.
The village today boasts a wealth of picturesque winding lanes, restored houses, courtyards and fountains.
The landmarks are undoubtedly the Chateau du Castellet and the citadel, but also the town-hall and its 17th century belfry-tower.
The notoriety Menerbes enjoys today is, however, relatively recent.
The village was indeed sparsely populated, until Picasso bought a house for his mistress and model, Dora Maar.
The two artists lived there in 1945.
Dora Maar’s 18th century house is now home to the Brown Foundation Fellows Program, a residence for artists.
Other prominent people settled down in Menerbes in the years that followed.
Peter Mayle in Menerbes
However, the person who made Menerbes famous was the English writer Peter Mayle.
Not only did he settle down in the village, but this is where he wrote A Good Year.
His best seller was adapted to the cinema by Ridley Scott.
However, the film, where Russell Crowe has the lead role, was shot in the Vaucluse and mostly in the nearby town of Bonnieux (11 km).
Menerbes has therefore become a major tourist destination and has a lot to offer!
Visitors always enjoy the village's restaurants and shops.
However, those who like unusual museums are seduced by the Musée du Tire-Bouchon*.
The Corkscrew Museum indeed exhibits over 1,200 corkscrews!
You won't be surprised to learn that the corkscrew was invented by a Frenchman in the 12th century!
Department of Vaucluse
Coordinates: Lat 43.832978 - Long 5.206745
Coordinates Corkscrew Museum: Lat 43.844244 - Long 5.197735
Photos Wikimedia Commons: header - Chateau du Castellet - Village - Village houses