Mirabeau – Village of Luberon – Visit, monuments, guide

Rue de la Mairie -
84120 Mirabeau
Historic patrimony   Town / Village Historic site and monument

Download the pdf map of Mirabeau here (only in French).

Situated at the edge of Durance, in the heart of Provence, this village is a Provençal celebrity. Historic and popular, this sunny place will obviously seduce you, thanks to the panorama that it offers (its name even means “beautiful view” or “see what is beautiful”).

The residents are called “mirabelains”.

THE ESSENTIALS:

- The bridge of Mirabeau,

- The church of Saint Pierre,

- The chapel of Sainte Madelaine,

- The Place of the Fountain,

- The GR9 from Mirabeau to Cucuron, passing by the crests of Luberon (45km).

FILMED HERE:

“Manon des Sources” and “Jean de Florette” by Claude Berry (1986). The scenes: moments in the village of Treille.

Synopsis of the movies:

You will easily recognize the place of the fountain where “Jean de Florette” and “Manon des Sources” were filmed, adaptation of Marcel Pagnol’s books.

Jean de Florette (Depardieu), town-dweller, receives in inheritance a Mas whose the only prosperity comes from a source of water. Yet, the Papé (Montand) and its nephew Ugolin (Auteil) covet this source that would allow them to cultivate pinks. Thus they decide to block the source in order to oblige Jean de Florette to go kilometers away to bring back his precious water, indispensable for his cultures. Magnificent drama which settles in the Provençal frame of the 20s, and which shows one of the most beautiful castings of French actors.

Ten years later after the death of Jean de Florette. His daughter, Manon (Béart), isolated away from the village, raises now goats. Ugolin (Auteil), on other side, became rich thanks to his culture of pinks with Papé (Montand). But Manon is now decided to take revenge from the villagers for the past, by blocking the source of water that feeds the entire village.

GUIDED TOUR:

1. The Vestige of a Rampart

Vestiges of the former rampart of XIVth century with the ruin of a tower and a musket-slit.

2. The Old “Magnanerie”

The word comes for the Occitan “magnan” meaning mulberry tree. It is a place for the sericulture: silkworm culture that feeds itself with only leaves of mulberry tree.

It is doubtless big owners, feudal lords, more informed about the progress of agronomy who planted mulberry trees for the culture of the silk. But what is remarkable is that even if the silk farms need locals, space and workforce, this agricultural practice concerned the poorest families. The poverty of some regions drove some villagers to look for complementary incomes. The breding of silkworm needs only a minimum of territory and work (40 days per years during the spring) and the value of the produce is quite high. Moreover, all the family can participate, men can pick the leaves, women and children feed the silkworms (3 times a day, only mulberry tree). The older remind that the women held the eggs in their blouse, in ambient temperature to allow the hatching. We now understand the affection for this resource! Much better, the farm still keeps attics, rooms for storage, forgotten spaces that can shelter a breeding.

3. Fountain Square

The fountain is a circular basin with tritons spitting water, a squared pillar, a cylindric column and a pinnacle with ball. Since the water is calcareous, mosses formed from tritons are slowly transformed into tuf (soft stone) and come down as a lava flow. For the needs of the shooting, tuf had been carefully taken off then put back after…

Discover also the capstan of the bridge of Mirabeau. A capstan is a machine with a drum that rotates round a vertical spindle and is turned by a motor or lever, used for hauling in heavy ropes, etc. This one especially served to help the boats to go across Durance when the current was too strong.

4. Saint Pierre Church

The church of Saint Pierre shows a mix of styles. Outside you can see a romanesque door, a portal of the XVIIth century, windows of XIXth, a genoise tiling with 4 lines, a fine campanile in wrought iron and a very heterogeneous bell tower with a base of the XIIth century, a median part of the XVIIth and a top of the XIXth…

The church was built with the village at the end of the XVIIth century as a rural annex of Beaumont. The nave was extended in 1613 as the dated stone shows (on the south-west). In 1812 an earthquake cracked the building but since the cost of repairs was too high only the nave was strengthened and the roof repaired. The bell tower was also raised. Huge works of consolidation and modification of the framework took place from 1960 to 1963.

5. “Rue du Four”

It is in this street that there was the communal oven. At the corner of the place, typical house of the XVIIth century.

6. The Old Castle

The castle was built at the end of the XVIth century by Jean Riqueti and embellished during the two next centuries matching fortifications and charm of residences of the XVIIIth century.

It sheltered Victor Riqueti de Mirabeau, marquis of Mirabeau, writer, philosophe and economist, his son, Grabiel Honoré, Count of Mirabeau, eloquent speaker, pamphleteering and plotter. His great-grand niece Sibylle Grabielle Riqueti de Mirabeau, Countess of Martel, known in literature under the name of Gyp bought the castle in 1895 and made important works that ruined her. She had to resell it in 1907 to Maurice Barrès.

It is a nowadays a property of a private person. No visits possible.

7. The Great Gardens

Fitted out by the village in 2010, it is an ideal place to picnic and let the children play.

8. “Relais du Grand Logis”

Many periods of the story of the Grand Logis still remain to specify, but we know its important role as relay of post office on the road Aix - Sisteron from the XVIth century. Travelers and stagecoaches stopped here for a restful night or to change the harnessing before continuing the road of Alpes or cross Durance thanks to the reaction ferry. The central part, with its façade in false equipment and its main entrance on the right of the tower, served as an auberge and the bedrooms were situated on the floors, while the East-side building served as an entrance for the stagecoaches coming from the former road. On the West side, the big vaulted room was in fact the stables that sheltered the horses, the hayloft was situated just on top of it. Its openings are still visible nowadays.

Located on the domain of the Marquis de Mirabeau, that was sold after the Revolution, the Grand Logis became in 1880 a farm or an outhouse for the vineyard of Château de Clapier until 1998, creating still abiding memories for the older of the surrounding villages. In 2005, the project of transformation of the building to gîte and bed and breakfast started and 3 years later the Relais du Grand Logis was dedicated again to the welcome of the travelers. Do not hesitate to come here, you will find during your visit an authentic atmosphere since the soul of the house is still intact. The copies of the plans dating to 1885 are available on demand.

9. Château de Clapier

The Château de Clapier on the road of Manosque, was a former hunting lodge of the Riqueti family. The name “Clapier” comes from the hamlet, but also from the Provençal word “clapas” meaning “stony heap” (the ground being so rocky, the farmers had for habit to make heaps of stones and to cultivate all around).

Nowadays it is an AOC (controlled designation of origin) Luberon’s vineyard. Discover their wines and their 12 monumental centennial tins that can contain until 240HL of wine each…

10. Chapel Sainte Madeleine du Pont

The chapel of Sainte Madeleine du Pont overlooks the Durance (end of the XIIth century). It was built to protect the ones who wanted to change of shore. Its architecture is very classical: nave with 2 bays, a pointed barrel vault and a semicircular apse. The numerous holes on the façade were used to put porch roof dedicated to shelter the pilgrims. The ground of the church is the surface of the rock, the foundations are shallow. This place was the headquarter of the ferrymen of Durance, thus it was called “the chapel of raft drivers”. Around 1260, it took the name of “Sainte Madeleine du Pont de Canteperdrix” in reference of the first bridge that was built over Durance. The bridge was destroyed many times and replaced each time until nowadays. During floods, or during summer, when waters were too low, the price of the transportation varied considerably. It was decided by the appreciation of the ferrymen…

11. The Bridge of Mirabeau

The bridge of Mirabeau, homonymous of the one in Paris sung by Guillaume Appolinaire, had an eventful life. The first try of construction of a bridge dated to XVth century. The different “Bridges of Mirabeau” that were built, were destroyed totally or partly 4 times by the wild Durance. It was rebuilt each time because of its lucrative toll. The piers of the ex-hanging bridge date to 1832, there is a gate of 150m of length for 5,5m of width. The hangings are attached to two enormous neo-Romanesque porticos still standing nowadays (Registered on the additional inventory of Historic Monuments in 1988).

HIKING: 

From the Bridge of Mirabeau, enjoy a hike around the Mont Sépulcre. More details here (15km – 4h). High level. Warning, dangerous slope.

Opening period


All year round, daily.

Prices


Free access.

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

Geographic perimeter :
Mirabeau,

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