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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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French Country Travel Life Village Encore – Part One



French Country Travel Life Village Encore is what you’re getting here. Due to my big mouth. Yes, I did shoot myself in the literary (travel-ary?) foot after my previous hilltopy posts, when I threatened “more about hilltop villages another time.”

The time, dear reader, has come. And although there are no shortage of possibilities, I’ve managed to narrow the “successful candiates” down to a manageable number. Let’s dive in, shall we?


As you will recall from my previous hilltop village scribblings, on the road to Coustellet, you had the choice of not continuing straight on, but turning right when you saw the appropriate sign. That sign reading “Menerbes.”This hilltop jewel rises out of the Vaucluse plain, with a 360° view of vineyards below.



Which lead Nostradamus to proclaim: “Menerbes floats on a sea of vines.” Sorry ta burst yer bubble Nosty, but these days Menerbes floats on a sea of tourism. (as you no doubt expected?) But that’s not a problem. Due to the fact that the village has only one “main drag” that progressively inches up from the road below. And virtually no parking.

Having only two resturants, the obligatory bar, and an Art gallery means you can “do” Menerbes in a few hours. And still have a “rich cultural experience.” Like? Well, you could gaze in awe at the former mansion of (one of) Picasso’s (more long term) mistresses – Dora Maar.


Herself an artist, encouraged by the P man hisself.  Who did for a period of time reside there also. Today various arty types on the “summer workshop in France” circuit descend upon it.

bicyclegourmetIf you continue up the hill past the Maar Mansion, you’ll pour out onto a village square with an imposing central tower. Here you’ll find one of the many amazing views of the Luberon mountains which ring the place. And a museum of wine. With a few bottles for sale (suprise, suprise.)

Menerbes landed on the “must see before you die” list of French attractions, largely due to the legendary English scribbler Peter Mayles. Who used to live there. Until he made the regrettable decision to ridicule some of the locals in his tomes, and (even more unwisely) use their real names. The result being that he was invited to “get outa dodge.” Which he did.

bicyclegourmet.comLast seen sequestered in Lourmarin on the other side of the Mountain. (BTW, one of the nicer places to be “sequestered.”)

Today, as a result of it’s location, History and International Attention, Menerbes, akin to many of it’s neighbours, is populated almost exclusively by the “deep pockets” of all Nationalities, and those of serve them. (hint : the shop-owners, etc.)

This fact,it’s location, history (not mention the lack of parking!) make Menerbes a stop well worth making.

And so it glows.

Part Two – Next time.


What are ya thinkin’?


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26 Responses to “French Country Travel Life Village Encore – Part One”

  1. audy reston says:

    happy to see you making good on your “threat!”

  2. zelda lunt says:

    sounds like another village not to be missed!

  3. edna clarke says:

    glad to see you back on the personal experiences trail! Had no idea Picasso once lived in that village. or dora maar for that matter!
    always learning something with DA BG!

  4. olive winston says:

    absolutley edna….and in such a FUN way!

  5. randy everson says:

    just the first picture is enough to get me on the plane!

  6. cindy mathers says:

    i hear ya randy!…super image..(and the post wasn’t bad either! – lol !)

  7. paul colson says:

    cindy and randy…agreed..in spades…..but my fav is the one of picasso and his grilfriend…..never visualized picasso WITH HAIR!

  8. cali benson says:

    always find something new in your posts…this time the lowdown on peter mayles. great stuff – all the way around!

  9. barry carl says:

    peter mayles looks pretty happy…guess his explusion didn’t turn him sour?

  10. andrea darnell says:

    a shorter post than the others in this series, but still full of info. Can’t wait for part two!

  11. david reimer says:

    nostradamus looks more organized than in any of the other “photos” of him.

  12. rita parsons says:

    agree david…..incredible what embalming can do these days!

  13. tina langman says:

    dora maar’s house looks like my idea of a palace in the south of france.

  14. bob tresly says:

    well tina…..if you’re an artist of some type ..no problem!….

  15. jos penderrs says:

    absolutely bob!…and tina, if you’re not an artist…..consider dora maar’s house sufficient inspiration to become one!

  16. walt rutherford says:

    having been fortunate enough to visit menerbes, and several other nearby villages last summer, i can wholeheartedly echo the information in this excellent post. just go!

  17. megan summers says:

    i’ve read all of your posts on these villages and i’m making a list; want to visit them all. thanks so much for this great info! DA BG Rocks!

  18. sigmund allston says:

    judging just by the pictures….which i know can sometimes be deceiving…this looks like the “cream of the crop” of these great locations. it’s cliche to say this but it’s true…”thanks for sharing!”

  19. austin gallaher says:

    never expected to read about picasso and peter mayles in the same article! now thats variety!

  20. bob wilson says:

    compliments on your usual fine style. always so much to enjoy and learn with your posts.

  21. mandy carstairs says:

    i know it’s not a “hilltop village”….but what about a post on lourmarin? certaintly it’s got more going for it than peter mayles?

  22. claire samuels-clarke says:

    never knew dora maar was an artist. live and learn!

  23. sue bresher says:

    claire….i’ve seen some of her “work.” you’re not missing much.

  24. andy paulson says:

    with ya there sue……looks like her greatest accomlishment was picasso!

  25. marlon sumner says:

    picasso, peter mayles; dora maar, the art the culture, the mountains…and, of course..the wine……and limited parking……sounds like my idea of “getting away TO it all.

  26. olsen wandsworth says:

    well put marlon. and equally well observed.

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