Ménerbes is a jewel, as Peter Mayle’s readers discovered in his best-seller A Year in Provence. Since the sensational tourist invasion created by the book 30 years ago, the village has become peaceful again and is a lovely place to visit. Perched on a rocky crest, it dominates a beautiful landscape of vineyards and orchards, and the Calavon valley.

The site has been inhabited since the neolithic age. It became a proper village in the 12th century with the erection of the Portes Saint-Sauveur and the imposing Notre-Dame citadel. A convent was built by Carmelites from Palestine in the 13th century. The village suffered through the religious wars in the 16th century. 

In the 20th century, many artists led a more peaceful invasion of Ménerbes: the painter Nicolas de Staël; Clovis Hugues, poet and politician; film-maker Yves Rousset-Rouart, (of the famous Emmanuelle movie, amongst others) et founder of the Musée du Tire-bouchon at the Domaine de la Citadelle. Last but not least, the painter and photographer Dora Maar, Picasso’s muse, bought a house which is now an artist residence.

Don’t miss:

The arrival from the route d’Apt

The beautiful view from the west side of the town, the old bulwarks and castle, the town hall and its 13th century belfry

La Maison de la Truffe et du Vin, which offers a great collection of wines from the Rhone Valley, as well as the best local products.