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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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Secret French Treasure


Ok –  Maybe “secret”is stretching it a bit.  But it’s waaay off the usual “must see-don’t miss” tourist circuit.

And for reasons that will become clear as you read on, it’s likely to stay that way. That, among other qualities is what makes “Oppede le Vieux'” one of my personal Treasures of France.

For me,this is the classic hilltop village. Clinging to a side of the Luberon mountain range, in Provence’s Luberon National Park. Not as celebrated as it’s hilltop neighbours, Gordes, LaCoste and to a lesser extent ,Bonnieux, Oppede le Vieux is the “real deal.” Simultaneously in ruins, and in re-construction. Mostly by rich Parisians. Other European “deep pockets” are also represented.

As you might imagine,life in Oppede Le Vieux(before mod cons) was niether a bowl of cherries, a bed of roses, or a walk in the park.It was a llllong walk down, and an even LLLLonger walk back.(No midnight pizza!) By the turn of the century (before the “war to end all wars” that did’nt) there were less than a thousand(we hope) happy campers in O.L.V.

Today Oppede le Vieux is home to the usual small group of artisans who inhabit such locales the world over. Such as the fair Celine.Owner of the local boutique.

It was she who hipped me to the incredible frescos in the villages tiny(even further up the hill) church.Well worth the walk!

There is no restaurant in Oppede le Vieux. Only “Le Petite Cafe.” Which seems to have new owners every time I pass. Never ate there. So – “Bonne Chance!

Happily,access to the centre of Oppede le Vieux is limited to foot traffic. There’s a parking lot a few hundred metres below.

Getting There:

The turn-off for Oppede Le Vieux,is a roundabout, three minutes or so by car after the village of MAUBEC, headed toward the village of MENERBES.

It’s a right turn. If you turn left ,you’ll quickly find yourself in “Oppede” – the village – one short street of  not very much. And not where you want to be!

Who else shares their personal Treasures like DA BG?


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8 Responses to “Secret French Treasure”

  1. helen watson says:

    many thanks for this “treasure!” Looking forward to more.

  2. brian dodson says:

    One of your best posts. To the point and packed with solid info.
    keep it up bg!

  3. heather makepeace says:

    i love your “off the beaten track” articles…..this one in particular. It’s on my “don’t miss” list! thanks again.

  4. gavin redmorish says:

    Always enjoy the variety of topics in your posts. This one is one of the best i think. Thanks for sharing.

  5. harvey siegal says:

    after enjoying this article, i have to tell you how much i appreciate the way you entertain and inform at the same time. Long may you scribble!

  6. steve markham says:

    came here after seeing your “treasures of france” video. very impressed by the quality and info.(the video and here) you got a regular reader!

  7. boris cavendish says:

    | have the answer to your question “Who else shares their personal treasures like DA BG” – NO ONE! Long live DA BG!!!

  8. mabel endersly says:

    Such a variety of “treasures” in one village. Now beginning to understand why you’ve chosen your fascinating lifestyle.

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