Cabrières d’Aigues - Church, temple - village of Luberon

Mairie de Cabrières d'Aigues - Place de l'Ormeau
84240 Cabrières-d'Aigues
Historic patrimony   Town / Village Historic site and monument

Download the tourist map of the village here (only in french)

From its two hills, this “butterfly village” offers itself to you. Perched on the foothills of the highest zone of Luberon, it will welcome you in the sweetness of its shading.

Live a quality environmental approach, share the pleasure of life and enjoy a pure moment of happiness.

The residents are called “cabriérains”.

The name of the village refers to the words “cabri” (goat) and “aigues” (water).

The essentials:

- The bas-relief and the small “fossil” museum in the city hall,

- The church of Saint-Laurent,

- The protestant temple and its statue,

- The oil mill (ask the keys to the city hall),

- The chapel of Saint Elzéar (of Thousand Flowers),

- The geologic path (GR92) – 9km – 3h30 – Family hiking

- The pond of La Bonde.

The origins of the village:

The village and its Vaudois history.

In the XVIth century, the village depended on the Lord of La Tour d’Aigues. During the big plague (1495), the human losses are such as most of the villages are decimated. The Lord Raymond d’Agoult tries to repopulate them. The difficulty is to find people who agree a peasant life, thus he naturally appeal the Vaudois*.

*The Vaudois are people who follow the ideology of Pierre Valdo (bourgeois who abandoned his fortune to spread the gospel). The basis of the Vaudois ideology are the humility, the sharing, the pacifism, the poverty…

They agreed to settle in the villages of the south Luberon but they will be finally slaughtered in 1545 by the “popish” Catholics who considered them heretics.

Guided tour:

The bas-relief of Cabrières d’Aigues
Found in the beginning of XIXth century by a farmer and emphasized by a notary passionate by archeology.

The original is now in the Calvet Museum in Avignon. Theses blocks may have belonged to a very important monument, judging by the isolated motives that around the bas-relief’s location. The sculpture represents a boat without sail, charged with 2 big barrels. At the back, a standing man, slightly tilted, handles a ream with his 2 hands. This boat is dragged by two men, one character is missing, they are dressed with the Roman tunic. In the background, several vases are stored.

Most probably this piece comes from the grave of a cooper or winemaker. This bas-relief offers a additional information: the Durance was used in the ascent. We know that the goods came down on assemblies of trunks and bladders (bags in skin of animal). A copy is visible in the city hall.

Attached to the city hall, there is the church.

The church of Saint-Laurent
The church dates to XVIIth century. At this period, it was built more on the place because the number of followers was more important and requested more room. During its restauration in 1974* the church had been reduced to offer more room for the place.

*During the works one found a plate dated to 1191. One then thought that it was the date of construction and one hung on this plate on the wall inside the church. It is only later that one noticed that the plate had been read upside down and that the church was truly built in the XVIIth century (the date correctly read was 1611).

Look to the opposite side of the church and city hall.

The fountain of the city hall
Built in 1874, it leans on the parapet of the supporting wall of the Place of the Elm.

Take the “Passage Rupestre” on the left of the city hall and go up the staircase.

 

The protestant Temple and its statue
This is the protestant temple (the Vaudois joined the Protestants). On the right side of the Temple you can find an interesting sculpture very symbolistic: the pedestal is made by Luberon’s stones and the stone on the top comes from the Alpes. The Vaudois came from Briançon (in the Alpes) so it represents the Luberon’s inhabitants welcoming the Vaudois. The tribute of Vaudois is also shown by the tree dates on the wall of the Temple:

10th March 1495: arrival of the Vaudois in the village,

16th April 1545: slaughter of the Vaudois,

29 April 1995: tribute to the Vaudois made by this sculpture.

Follow the “Rue du Temple” and take to the right on the “Rue des Vaudois” to arrive on the “Rue de l’Invent”.

The “Rue de l’Invent”
This street is called like that because we can find houses with “invents” (typical constructions of Briançon brought by the Vaudois). They are the small advances above the terraces that aim to protect from the rain but not from the wind, which allowed to dry the harvests.

If you want to go up the “Rue de l’Invent”, you can access to the fossil’s staircase.

The fossil’s staircase
On the north of the village, the hillside coming down on “Le Clos” made the happiness of numerous children who scratched on the hillside to discover teeth of sharks or bones (rarer) and, of course, plenty of shells (pectin, ostrea…). The natural geologic reserve forbids nowadays to touch the cliff.

Once the staircase gone down, take on the right the “Rue de la Petite Fontaine”. Then again on the right where you can see a small fountain that fed the oil mill on its lefts (blue door, ask the keys to the city hall).

The oil mill
It was built in a house bought by the municipality in order to replace the former oil mill that was in the church of Saint Laurent. The mill is completely dug in the rock. Inside, we can see the mill where one disposed olives then hitched a mule that rotated around to crush fruits. The paste was then placed between scourtins (kind of circular doormat, about 40cm of diameter). The scourtin and the paste were piled successively (1 scourtin/1 paste… and so on) and were passed under a press to pick up the oil. The fountain on the right of the mill is connected with another small fountain. The water that arrived so far served either to feed the fountain or the mill. Above we can see a hole: it is in fact a drip edge (gutter) that forwarded the water up to the mill. This water was then boiled and poured on scourtins to recover even more of oil*.

*This oil was for the poorest or the soap factories of Marseille, because of the least good quality.

Get back to the main place. Cross the bridge than continue to the “Rue des jardins” (on the right). You will meet on your left the castle’s staircase, begin the ascent. Pass in front of a washhouse and continue the ascent to the chapel.

The chapel of Saint Elzéar
Also called the chapel of “thousand flowers”, it is private nowadays. Only remain the cross, the pinnacle and an opening with a stained-glass. It was formerly the church of the parish (in the end of XIIIth century). After an animated history, it was transformed into home, saved by the Duke of Sabran (in the end of XIXth century) who dedicated it to his ancestor, Saint Elzéar.

Enjoy the beautiful view before coming down the staircase.

The natural geologic reserve
On the north of the village, going up to the “Rue Serriere”, discover the geologic path of Cabrières d’Aigues.

Opening period


All year round, daily.

Prices


Free access.

surroundings :
Village centre, Lake 5 km away, Mountain view, View over the vineyards,

Geographic perimeter :
Cabrières-d'Aigues,

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