Vaudois / Waldensian in Luberon - History and Route

Temple Vaudois - 84240 Cabrières-d'Aigues
Leisure Tourist routes


Who are they?

In the XIIth century, Pierre Valdo, a bourgeois from Lyon outraged by the enrichment of the clergy, created the movement of Vaudois. He vowed to live a life of poverty then dedicated himself to the preach of the Gospel, hoping so to return to a purer church.

Why did they settle here?

During the XVth century, most of the villages of the Luberon are ruined by the wars, the pillaging, the famines and the plague. Aware of the loss of income, the Lords of the South Luberon looked for strong and honest people to repopulate the region. The Vaudois will thus settle in our villages and provide the workforce needed for their reconstruction.

Why did they run away?

Their way of life will eventually draw the attention, the Catholic Church tolerating in the time no other form of religion. Condemned for heresy and victims of persecutions, many will be massacred while others will run away to settle down abroad.

The touristic route:

Discover the Protestant Temples of the villages of Cabrières d’Aigues, La Motte d’Aigues and Peypin d’Aigues. Commemorative and explicative plaques are attatched on the stone and invite you to share the touching story of this people. In Cabrières d’Aigues, in honor of this people, the wine cellar of the vineyard “Domaine des Vaudois” reserves you an amazing surprise: a troglodytic vault.

A little further: Mérindol

Visit the memorial and the center of evocation and the documentation: La Muse. You will find there: panels that represent the origin of the Vaudois movement, its development in Europe and its establishment in the Luberon. A permanent exhibition about the Valdéisme (movement of Vaudois), the religious persecutions and the massacre in 1545.

More information: 04 90 72 91 64 or

Idea of a hike in Mérindol:

Access to the Castrum-Vieux village by the “Draille du Vieux Mérindol” or the “Chemin de Bénézet” (15 minutes by walk from the Tourist Office). The Castrum-Vieux village is registered on the additional inventory of Historic Monuments, as commemorative site. At its top are settled a Vaudois memorial, mentioning the persecutions of the XVIth century, and an orientation table that offers an exceptional panorama over the Alpilles, Sainte-Baume, Sainte-Victoire. Until 1992, we ignored everything about the constructions that occupied the rocky spur overhanging the current village. Two walls remained in rise, one at the North and the other at the South were the only known vestiges. After archeological digs led in 1992 and 1993, two new samplings were led. You can see now: the castral Chapel, a dungeon, surrounding walls and utility access. The digs revealed an important furniture: fragment of ceramic, coins, metallic objects, that you can partially observe in the Visitor Information Centre of Mérindol.

Opening period


surroundings :
Village centre, Close to GR footpath, Mountain view,

Geographic perimeter :
La Motte-d'Aigues, Peypin-d'Aigues, Cabrières-d'Aigues,


The southern Luberon guide

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