•Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04280) • Population: 950 • Altitude: 370 m
Céreste is a Roman-era village in the Northern Luberon between Apt and Manosque. There are terrace cafés, a Medieval old village and lovely surroundings.
Céreste is in the southwest corner of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, on the northern edge of the Luberon forest and inside the Parc Naturel du Luberon. The village sits at the head of a long, wide valley that stretches out towards the east. Immediately to the west, the Encrème river flows through a deep, rocky gorge. The western end of the village is perched on the edge of this gorge, and the ruins of the fortified walls of the medieval citadel attests to the defensive nature of the village in days gone by.
Viewed from the fields southwest of the village, near the cemetery, the ancient stone houses with their tile roofs are nestled into the low hill, following the contour of the land.
The village is large enough to have many shops and cafés, but too small for much local social facilities. There is a "Petit Musée" with a good collection of regional fossils.
The shops and cafés straddle the main road through Céreste. The picturesque church and some of the village houses are on the south side of the road, with more modern housing further out to the southwest and southeast. The very interesting Medieval Céreste is in a tight circle of narrow streets on the north side of the road.
The grounds around the 18th-century Eglise St-Michel were cleared out (winter 95-96), exposing ancient Roman pillars. The large square bell tower has a 19th-century wrought-iron belfry (campanile).
Lavender fieldss on the road to Manosque blossom during the summer, and fill the air with fragrance during harvesting time from July to Sept.
About 4 km northeast of the village, the 11th-century Prieuré de Carluc (or Prieuré de Montmajour) is located at Carluc, on the site of an ancient Benedictine abbey.
Carluc was one of a dozen Priories attached to the Montmajour Abbey [located north of Arles]. At the Carluc site are the old chapel and a necropole, as well as ancient walls and water courses.
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History of Cereste
First record, Roman Catuiaca, 13th-c Ceresta
Gallo-Roman: Roman town of Catuiaca. There are many artifacts around Céreste that illustrate the Gallo-Roman occupation. Part of the roman road Voie Domitienne, a Roman pottery oven and pillars still remain. The Gallo-Roman remains at St-Sauveur include hypogeum and sarcophagus. Immediately out of the village to the east, and north of the road, the lovely "Roman bridge" (photo, 23k) is from the post-middle ages, probably 17th century [info thanks to Uwe Welz, Feb 2001].
There are some remains of the Roman Road Domitienne Way that passed through Céreste.
Medieval: Céreste was a barony in the middle of the 18th century, and later part of the Seigneurie des Forcalquier and then des Brancas.
Tel : 04 92 79 00 15; Fax: 04 92 79 00 03
Market day: every-other Tue.
July (Next to last Sun) - Fête du Village - Foire d'Ete
- Swimming Pools (Piscines)
- Piscine Municipale
- Open: July-Aug
The Luberon en Vélo cycling path runs 100 km between Cavaillon, Apt and Forcalquier.
- Centres Equestres
- Route de Vitrolles (D31):
- Ferme Equestre "La Florentine" - tel: (33) 492 79 05 64
- Other riding stables are located in nearby villages:
- la Bastide-des-Jourdans (17 km south, past Vitrolles)
- les Courbons (6 km east)
- St. Martin-de-la-Brasque (18 km, south of the Luberon)
- Viens (12 km north)
- les Courbons (6 km east)
• GPS: 43.85631, 5.590084
IGN (1/25,000) #3242 OT "Apt, Luberon"
The GR4 Hiking Trail passes through the village of Céreste. To the east, the GR4 goes along a forested ridge and then loops down through the village of Pierrevert and on into the town of Manosque. To the north, the GR4 goes up to the village of Oppedette and then on to Simiane-la-Rotonde. From Oppedette, a trail goes east about 10-12 km to St-Michel-l'Observatoire, although this part follows small roads for most of the distance.
From the GR4 east of Céreste, a couple of trails branch south onto the mountain ridge of the Luberon. From there, GR trails traverse the mountains east-west, with others going on south.
Avignon - Apt - La Brillane Bus
- Bus line 22A (Avignon - La Brillane - Digne) has two parts:
(1) Avignon, Cavaillon, Apt, Forcalquier, La Brillanne;
(2) La Brillanne, Chateau-Arnoux, Digne-les-Bains.
On the LER-PACA webpage, click on the Lignes & horaires for a list of the bus-line schedules.
Click on Ligne 22 : Avignon - La Brillanne - Digne-les-Bains for the PDF schedule.
The complete route for part-1 is: Avignon, Caumont, Cavaillon, Robion, Coustellet, Lumières, Apt, St Martin-de-Castillon, Cereste, Reillanne, Les Granons, St Michel l'Observatoire, Mane, Forcalquier, Niozelles La Brillanne, Oraison.
Department 04, Alpes-de-Haute Provence Buses
- See Beyond's Alpes-de-Haute Provence (04) Bus Schedules for downloading Alpes-de-Haute Provence bus-lines map and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).