26 June, 2011

Joucas, France

The perched village of Joucas is located in the department Vaucluse within the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. 

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From 25 to 30 May 2004 we stayed at the Hostellerie des Commandeurs. This hotel is at the base of a narrow street which leads up to the tiny village of Joucas (population 366). The hotel is part of the Logis chain of hotels which we found to be economical, and, with the exception of one hotel, we were more than pleased with the gastronomical offerings of their restaurants.

The slideshow at the hotel's web site illustrates the calm and beauty of Joucas


A View from our Room

In the near vicinity of the hotel was a small orchard, plane trees and a vineyard. From time to time we took pleasure in viewing a panorama of the Luberon region from our hotel room. 

Sunny days, misty mornings, and the changing mellow tones of twilight deepened our appreciation of the scenery. At night we observed the lights of farmhouses and the distant villages of Roussillon and Minerbes, which are perched on the slopes of the Luberon range.

One sunny day we observed puffs of white cloud had blended in with a blue sky above the distant Luberon mountain range and valley.In the mid-distance dense clusters of trees spread across the slopes of the hills. To the left could be seen the faint outline of the village of Roussillon perched on an ochre-colored cliff. On the slope of a hill to the right of Roussillon was a large square of cultivated bright red poppies, which were also growing wild in the vicinity of Joucas. Adjacent to the clusters of trees were several isolated houses, vineyards, and a pattern of brown and green toned squares of agricultural land.

In the foreground, the broad valley was embellished with a patchwork quilt of bone-coloured rock farmhouses, vineyards, grassy plains, and dark and light green trees, of which tall cypress trees were prominent. Occasionally, a car could be seen slowly moving along a narrow road of the valley.

The tranquillity of this scene was somewhat disturbed by the pick-pock sound of a game of tennis. 


From Joucas we travelled moderate distances to visit Gordes, Roussillon, Fontaine-de Vaucluse, Bonnieux, Abbey de Sénanque, and Les Baux-de-Provence. A visit to the ruins of a Roman triumphal arch and mausoleum at Glanum, St Remy-de-Provence, motivated us to drive 1½ hours to Orange where we viewed a triumphal arch and amphitheatre (still used for concerts), and visited a museum for more information about the historical features of this town. 

On the Sunday morning of our last day at Joucas we walked up the narrow street lined with sand-stone coloured houses, and entered the Catholic church of St Jean de Baptiste : the small church was almost filled to capacity.

After mass we wandered down the hill to a small shop where we purchased food and wine for our lunch and dinner. Patsy also purchased a short history of Joucas which she read to me as we headed towards St Martin d’Ardèche, which is in the vicinity of the medieval town of Aiguèze and at one end of the Ardèche Gorges.

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