Provence Village: Cucuron
Nestled in the lovely Luberon valley of Provence sits Cucuron, a small Provençal village. About 1800 people live in this village and many more come to stay during the summer months. Cucuron is mentioned for the first time in 1004, in a charter of donation to the Monastery of St Pierre de Psalmody in Provence.
On one end of the village is the Donjon St Michel and on the other is the magnificent church: Notre Dame de Beaulieu (aptly named). The fields around the village are cultivated with lavender, olive and fruit groves and vines.
Cucuron is famous for its basin in the center of the village - full of goldfish - surrounded by towering plane trees (planted in 1813). The weekly market is held here on Tuesday mornings and is a festive occasion.
It is a lovely village for a stroll through the winding passages and small streets. The town is encompassed by a fortified enclosure from the 13th century. Where two of the rampart walls converge sits this lovely fountain, and next to it, the original wash house for the village.
Perhaps the most remarkable element of the village is the interior of its church: Notre Dame de Beaulieu. We see the Provençal Romanesque style of architecture in the nave and barrel vaults of the 13th century. The 18th century altarpiece features a bas-relief of the Assumption of the Virigin (Pierre Puget).
On the other end of the village sits St Michel Dungeon's rectangular tower, flanked by a 16th century spiral staircase is a remnant of the keep of the 14th century seigniorial castle.
If in Cucuron, one stop is a must: Fournil Partage - a bakery that specializes in gluten-free bread. Even if gluten is not a concern, this bread is for true gourmands.
Cucuron is a gem in any season of the year. As one drives away from the village fields of lavender flank the sides of the road - beautiful in January, and of course when in full bloom in July and August.