Cucuron in Luberon – Lake, pond, visit, monument, museum.

Rue Léonce Brieugne

84160 Cucuron
Historic site and monument

So many places to discover while strolling in the old village that was chose as set for movies:

- Le Hussard sur le Toit (1994), also filmed in Sivergues, Banon, Redortier and Noyer,

- Un Oranger pour Deux (2001),

- Un Eté de Canicule (2003), also filmed in Bonnieux, Ménerbes and Buoux,

- A Good Year (2005).

Cucuron is a Provençal village with 2000 residents. They are called “cucuronnais”.

With 300 sunny days per year, it is a great start to hike in the Luberon South Side.

The essentials:

- The pond,

- The ramparts,

- The Dungeon,

- The bell tower/belfry,

- The Museum of Marc Deydier,

- The church,

- The curiosity around: the chapel of Notre-Dame de Beauvoir (also called l’Ermitage).

Some history:

An important prehistoric occupation is known in Cucuron. The origin of its name is from its geographic situation, built on two hills, “cuc= hill” (in Celtic).

During the Roman period, huge agricultural plantations occupied all the territory of Cucuron.

The occupation during the Middle Age was situated outside the actual village (999), in the Castellas and Guet districts.

The actual village dates to 1004. It was located on the Saint Michel’s hill, called “le castrum”.

In XIIIth century the village got bigger, extended outside ramparts and the Church of Notre-Dame de Beaulieu became parochial church.

During the next centuries, the population of Cucuron increased and achieved in 1719, 3000 inhabitants.

The plague in 1720 killed almost 1000 villagers. The rural exodus and the Great War accentuated the depopulation of the village.

Since 1960’s, the village attracts new inhabitants and more and more visitors thanks to quality of life.

Guided tour:

The City hall
This private hotel was, until the end of the XIXth century, the property of the Bérard de Roure family who played an important role in Cucuron for several centuries. It dates to XVIth century and was redesigned in the middle of the XVIIIth century.

You can see inside the spiral staircase tower as well as gypseries that decorate various rooms. The façade is organized and framed by two pilasters. The railings of balcony and the fanlight of the door are wrought iron.

In the axis of the door of the belfry, take the “Rue du Marché”.

The Bell Tower or Belfry
The belfry, built on a gate of the second ramparts that lost its defensive role after the construction of the third ramparts, dates to 1541. It surmounted by a campanile whose the pinnacle is used as a support for the cross. Under this cross, you can distinguish a former ornament that represented a shape of an insect. The Older enjoyed saying that it was a “barbarota”, that is a weevil which settled down in attics. Its symbolic presence at the top of the bell tower was supposed to protect grain crops. “Quand la barbarota est au clocher, es pas dins lo grenier !” (When the barbarota is in the clock tower, it is not is the attic !).

After passing under the Clock tower, you arrive on the “Place Maurice Taron”

The Reine Jeanne’s house
At the end of the street, the house that steps over the road is one of the older in the old village. It was a noble house, surmounted by a carved floor destroyed in the end of the XIXth century because of its outdated. In the XVIth century, it belonged to Honoré de Bouliers then to his son Pierre.

The houses of this district were occupied by aristocrats. Then, they abandoned the old city for larger mansions in the new fortified part.

You can still see the mullioned windows, turret partly incorporated into the wall which contains a spiral staircase, the railing of the window and a fenestron very attractive in embrace on the second floor on the side of the small place.

Jeanne the First, Queen of Naples and Countess of Provence (XIVth century) reigned almost 40 years on the county of Provence. But, since she came only once or twice, she appeared with all the brightness of her beauty. The Provençals kept an indelible memory, that is why in numerous places in Provence, we find her name.

From the place where you are, you can see 3 different streets and one staircase on the right. From this staircase, you can access to the top of the butte where was situated the seigneurial castle in the IXth or Xth century.

The Dungeon of Saint Michel
Abandoned around the middle of the XVIIth century by the Oraison family, the monument slowly fell down. Its ruins were sold in 1791 to a private family, then acquired by the municipality later. Nowadays, only remains a truncated tower, called “Dungeon Saint Michel”, classified as Historic Monument since 1921. This small rectangular building, flanked by a tower of staircase added to the end of the XVIth century, carries the tracks of numerous changes. You can go inside by a door decorated with an accolade and you reach the room in the floor by a spiral staircase. This arched room is still on the rock. It welcomes nowadays temporary exhibitions.

On the second floor, you access at a terrace (closed to the public for safety reasons), but it was originally a room identical to the one of the first floor.

On top of the dungeon, there is beautiful view over the Cucuron’s territory and its environs: the massif of Luberon at the North, Vaugines at the West, the hills of Cadenet and Ansouis and its château at the South, the panorama over the roofs of Cucuron whit the Tower of the citadel and the Church of Notre-Dame de Beaulieu at the East.

Leave the butte by the dirt road that lines the cliff to the west direction. After turning on the left by following the rock, you discover on your right a very old building.

The City hall of Trencat
It is the former city hall of Trencat (meaning “tranché, retranché, perché”, “isolated, perched” in Provençal) built around 1400.

Thanks to the franchises and privileges obtained from its Lords and from the Counts of Provence, Cucuron became in the middle au XIIth century a municipality. Enjoying an independent government, the village could had a city hall, a municipal seal, a belfry and a bell tower to convene the bourgeois inhabitants to the Council.

Come down the “Rue du Moulin à huile”. Pass the “Portail de Ginoux”, one of the two gates that remain from the ramparts of XVIth century. It dates to 1540 and was classified as Historic Monuments in 1921.

The House “d’En-Bas des Seigneurs”
Going up the street, take on the left to “Rue du Valat” (meaning “gap” or “stream” in Provençal). On the left, you discover an opened washhouse. Once going up to the top of the staircase, you arrive on the “Place de l’Annonciade”. Its name comes from the church of reverends Pères Servites that was situated in the nearby street.

On the left, a house catches the eyes: its Renaissance façade half-ruined and strongly changed reminds a noble house. It was indeed the house of the de Castillon family, one of the lords of Cucuron, then Vicomte of Cadenet. The inside keeps considerable vestiges: gypserie, fireplaces, spiral staircase, romanesque vaults.

Take the direction of the end of the place then turn on the right, to the “Rue de l’Eglise”.

The house of the consuls
On the right, you can admire an old house with a statue of the Virgin which decorates the monument. This statue of “Madonna and Child” (in limestone, 142cm of height) in the corner is attributed to the sculptor Bernus de Mazan. This house was probably built at the beginning of the XVIIth century. The names of its successive owners are known. It has doubtless never belonged to the city hall, its name of “house of the consuls” is thus unfit.

Continuing to the Street of the Church, discover on your right the museum.

The Museum of Marc Deydier
The museum of Cucuron is settled in a hotel of the XVIIth century, the Hotel of de Bouliers. It was created in 1970 thanks to an associative and communal initiative. It is dedicated to Marc Deydier, autodidact, notary, photographer and prehistorian (1845-1920). His archeological collections present vestiges of the Neolithic civilizations and the Bronze Age and especially a stele of the Iberian type on which are engraved a helmet, a sword and a shield.

The Roman period is represented by the furniture of a Roman villa (graffito of a Roman boat) and a mausoleum of a Gallo-Roman aristocratic family.

Several local ethnography rooms are dedicated to the life in Cucuron during the 1900’s.

After the visit of the museum, continue going up to the end of the Street of the church to arrive on the place. The big building on the right is the former presbytery.

The Church of Notre-Dame de Beaulieu
The church of Saint Michel being too small, it was necessary to build another larger sanctuary, in a district at the same time close and still few built: the district of “Pous” was thus chose, situated on a little hill (200m height) at the East of the fortified city. It was probably created, ordered and financed by the municipality of Cucuron, ruled by consuls. The presence of this church dates back to 1292, under the name of Notre-Dame de Pous, then in 1348 under Notre-Dame de Beaulieu, only name used afterward.

The monument is constituted by many parts of different styles, added one to the others during ages. Its original part is constituted by the first 3 spans of the nave and the pointed arches from the Provençal Romanesque style.

The fourth span, of a slightly different module, is covered with an intersection of cross vaults resting on sculptured base.

The 2 chapels which frame it and the pentagonal choir were added to the Romanesque nave in the half of the XIVth century.

The parish was definitively transferred in 1541.

In 1587, the communal council decided to build a bell tower on the façade, finished in 1624.

Exiting the church, go up the staircase on the right. At the top of it, turn on the right then on the left and arrive to the oriental hill of the village, overhung by a circle tower.

The Tour de “Sus-Pous” or Tour de la Citadelle
This tower belonged to the third rampart. Built at the top of a hill, it was a part of the Citadel during the wars of the Ligue in the XVIth century. The ramparts or “barris” in Provençal were built during different periods.

The first rampart circled the hill of Saint Michel where was situated the seigneurial castle. It dates to the XIth century and any track of it remains nowadays.

The second rampart dates to the XIIth and XIIth centuries and still defines the districts of Mourre Frès on the north and Cousto Caudo on the south.

The third rampart, built during the period before the religious wars is the best conserved. It is constituted by the Gate of the Pond, the Gate of Ginous and the Tower of “Sus-Pous”.

Generations of young cucuronnais tumbled on the hill, called “resquiau” (meaning: sliping).

Going back to the east, come down the street that follows some parts of the XVIth century rampart.

The icebox
On the left, in front of the rampart, you can notice the ruins of a circular monument. These are the vestiges of an icebox that conserved and stocked ice blocks for the villagers.

The “Portail de l’Etang”
At the bottom of the street, you arrive before the gate of the Pond (1541), called originally “Porte de la Burlière”, the name of the nearby district. In Provençal, “burlière” designates a place where people played ball games. This is one of the two gates that remain from the XVIth fortification. You can see still the openings where the chains of the drawbridge passed. This gate played an important role during the religious wars.

You are now arrived to the “Place de l’Etang”, one of the most pleasant place of the village.

The Pond
It was originally a reserve of water coming from various streams of Luberon. It was used to feed the flour mills. It already existed in 1403 and was acquired by the municipality in 1515. This small pond was then arranged and surrounded by a pavement.

After the suppression of the mills in the XIXth century, the pond served as an enjoyment place.

The plane trees were planted in 1813.

The site of the pond was classed in 1954.

Hiking:

Enjoy several from Cucuron : circuit de l’Ermitage (6 km), Circuit La Guarrigue (6 km), Le Mourre Nègre (21 km), Le Sentier Vigneron (4 km).

Opening period


Prices


Free access.

surroundings :
Village centre, Close to GR footpath, Lake 5 km away, Lakeside or by stretch of water, Mountain view, View over the vineyards,

Geographic perimeter :
Cucuron,

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