Beaumes de Venise offers a nice walk through a typical Provence village, but also gives some unexpected sights: troglodyte houses, multi-centennial olive trees, conservatory orchards, a chapel, its hermitage and its unfailing water source (for more than 500 years now!)
Beaumes de Venise is a typical Provence village: you’ll find a church, few fountains, a castle (ruins), a viewpoint, and remaining parts of remparts and gates.
Beaumes de Venise also offers a number of interesting (and unique) sites located in its surrounding countryside restored by local associations: 2 conservatory orchards, troglodyte houses, a chapel with its hermitage and botanic garden, and a water source.
I’ve followed a tour designed by a local association “Les Courens” and invite you download their leaflet as it provides all necessary maps and directions. I freely inspired myself from it and will go over most sites in this post.
- 1st fountain
- Old hospice
- House of character
- Portail Neuf gate & its fountain
- 1st troglodyte house
- Liberty Square & its fountain
- Touve gate
- 2nd troglodyte house
- Multi-centennial olive trees
- 1st conservatory orchard
- 2nd conservatory orchard
- Our Lady of Aubune
- Carpentras canal
Note: a map in pdf format is available here.
You have two options:
- Village tour only: it takes around 30 minutes (steps 1 to 9)
- Entire tour (village centre and surroundings): it requires 2 hours. Make sure you have comfortable walking shoes, some water and a hat. The walk outside the village is not difficult, but within each orchard you’ll have to climb up and down a bit.
The best place to park your car is the main car park of Beaumes de Venise. It’s located right in front of the Tourism Office. There are usually many available places.
The water comes from the unfailing source of Our Lady of Aubune built 500 years ago.
As Provence villages usually do, Beaumes de Venise has many fountains to look at. During this tour, you’ll pass by 3 fountains, and you’ll also have the opportunity to see the actual water source that feeds them, located below Our Lady of Aubune hermitage (you’ll need to contact “Académie de Beaumes de Venise” association to access the source though)
The church is quite impressive by its size and is nested by one of the village gates. You should be able to distinguish drawings of vines above its entrance.
You can indeed sense that this large building had hosted a number of people. I took the time to go round it (not completely though as part of it isn’t accessible) by going right at its corner and then up the stairs.
House of character
You won’t miss this house: the picture I’ve included here isn’t the most interesting one. Its front looks even better.
Portail Neuf gate & its fountain
This gate leads to another fountain (and drinking trough) where you’ll find a flight of stairs leading to the Castle Street (=”rue du Château”)
On the Castle Street, you’re at the highest point of the village. There’s one specific spot (you can’t miss it) where you’ll have a large viewpoint on the village but also the surrounding countryside.
The remains of Beaumes de Venise castle are behind you, on top of the hill (behind the nice house) You can have a better view at them from the car park.
1st troglodyte house
The Castle Street ends with another small flight of stairs. If you keep going down, you’ll end up at an intersection: take right towards the troglodyte house (and then come back to this intersection to resume your tour of the village)
Liberty square & its fountain
This place was formerly the centre of Beaumes-de-Venise economic activity (silkworm breeding) This square is quite pleasant and you might want to sit on the stairs leading to its fountain. The houses surrounding it are also beautiful.
The Touve gate is a good reminder of what the village looked like centuries ago.
If you want to find the passageway you’ll have to walk slowly passed the last house on the road leading to it and look for “the conservatory orchard” blue sign on your right hand side (pinned on a tree stump)
2nd troglodyte house
Once you’ve passed through the passageway, you can see from afar a troglodyte house, next to a small house (with blue shutters)
It’s interesting to see how it’s been possible to sculpt in the rock a house from scratch.
The small house next to it is also interesting to look at (blue shutters)
Multi-centennial olive trees
Even for those accustomed to see olive trees all year round (like me), this sight is quite unusual: multi-centennial olive trees have large trunks and each is uniquely shaped.
1st conservatory orchard
The first conservatory orchard you’ll encounter is named “La Coste”.
“The Courens” association has done a gigantic work at restoring this orchard (and the next one) for several years now.
If you’ve never heard of “restanque” (dry stone wall) before, it’s the perfect opportunity to discover how Provence farmers create these flat beds of lands along hill slopes. In order to have horizontal pieces of lands to work on, they build what looks like giant stairs. They reinforce these large horizontal pieces of land with dry stone walls (= “restanques”), where you can find all types of local plants and trees.
2nd conservatory orchard
This second orchard is called “La Grange Laget”.
Again, this is “The Courens” association who’s made sure this site is fully restored and fit to welcome visitors.
Here as well, you’ll have a nice sample of what Provence gardens built along hill slops look like.
Our Lady of Aubune
The “Académie de Beaumes de Venise” is the other local association that worked hard at preserving Our Lady of Aubune which is composed of:
- an hermitage,
- a chapel,
- a botanic garden,
- and an (unfailing) water source (built 500 years ago!)
It also looks after the archaeological museum (that has been moved from the village center to the hermitage)
Two visits of Our Lady of Aubune site are organised every week by volunteers of this association (contact the association prior to your visit to double-check their schedule).
Walking along a canal is a nice way to complete this otherwise hot tour (specially if it’s summer when you do the visit) Carpentras canal has been built in order to bring water to a large area in which farms couldn’t have grown cultures otherwise. The road will slowly lead you back into the village and to the car park.
Few French words
- olive tree
- caper bush