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All information gathered first-hand, since 1995



Oppède-le-Vieux is a truly ancient village, sitting with the ruins of the old fortified castle perched on top and surrounded by the rocky cliffs of the Luberon. The small photo shows part of the village, topped by the Romanesque 16th-century Notre-Dame-d'Alydon church.

A wild gorge is cut into the Luberon to the south, behind the village. From the upper part of the village there's a magnificent view of Mont Ventoux, the Cévennes and the lower Alpes.

Parking, just below the old village, is 10F, which includes a very professional brochure (in French) with map. For handicapped parking, ignore the first parking-lot signs and continue on up; appropriate parking is available alongside the road at the entrance to the village. The walk from the parking lot to the village is across lovely terraces, and all uphill; a good stiff 5-minutes.

The old village has a terrace café and a snack bar. It's a quiet, pretty place, with some old buildings and the ancient ruins high above.

The hike from the village to the church, and on to the ruins, is about 10-15 minutes of steep uphill, with cobblestones through the trees, and past cave-rooms as you go through ruins of the ancient dwellings. You're rewarded with a fantastic view at the level of the church and the chateau ruins. There are some drop-offs at the top, so don't let children run ahead.

The ancient church, Collegiale Notre-Dame d'Alidon, is really lovely [photo-03] on its rocky location high above the old village. The inside is full of colorful frescos, many old, faded or ruined. The church is being restored by the commune; voluntary donations are accepted by the caretaker at the entrance (and you do get postcards for your donations).

Pottery
The village pottery shop, which specializes in animal sculpture, is afilliated with the Terre de Provence pottery group.

Sundial
We found a nice sundial in Oppède-le-Vieux [photo-07].

Olive Oil Mill
Just below the old village is an olive oil mill, with customer shop.

Tours

Visiting here in May 1999, we met Rick, owner of Experience Plus!, guiding a Provence cycle tour through the area. Rick is a personable guy, of course, and his catalog of international cycle and walking tours is impressive. Check him out on the Internet (www.xplus.com).


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History of Oppede

Name

First record, First record, 1008: Oppeda. The name Oppeda comes from "oppidum" which is a Roman fortified hilltop village.

Gallo-Roman: The name Oppède indicates that this was an important Roman fortified town. Artifacts found here include coins, tiles and an altar for worshiping Mercury (now in a museum at Cavaillon).
The Roman road Chemin Romieu passed along the Calavon river, just to the north of Oppède-le-Vieux.

Medieval: Raymond de Turenne sacked the village and put it to the torch at the end of the 14th century. In 1545, the Lord of Oppéde, Jean de Maynier, massacred the Vaudois who had taken refuge in the village. By the beginning of the 17th century, the old village was completely abandoned for the plain below.

Dates

Market day: Sat.

Aug - Fete patronale: 5-days, weekend of St-Laurent
Oct (3rd weekend) - Fete des Vendanges (grape harvest)


Olive Oil Mills

We have 1 olive oil mill listed for Oppede (click).

Sports

Cycling
The Luberon en Vélo cycling path (between Cavaillon, Apt and Forcalquier) passes through Oppede-le-Vieux, after a steep climb up from the west.


Hiking

• GPS: 43.84159, 5.166283

Maps

IGN (1/25,000) #3142 OT "Cavaillon, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse"

Didier Richard (1/50,000) #14 "Luberon, Sainte-Victoire"

• The GR6-GR97 (Grande Randonnée) trails pass through Oppède-le-Vieux, with several excellent trails going into the Luberon.


Transportation Oppede

Cavaillon - Bonnieux - Apt Bus 15.2

  • Vaucluse bus line 15.2 serves the towns and villages: Cavaillon, Les Taillades, Robion, Coustellet, Maubec, Oppède, Ménerbes, Les Beaumettes, Goult, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Gargas, Apt.
    The trip between Cavaillon and Apt is about 1h45.
    Cavaillon has links to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.
     
    See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 02: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map and schedules (link for PDF files).

Cavaillon - Bonnieux Bus

  • Vaucluse bus line 15.2 serves the towns and villages: Cavaillon, Les Taillades, Robion, Maubec, Oppède, Ménerbes, Lacoste, Bonnieux. There are 3 buses a day: early morning, mid-day, evening.
    Cavaillon has links to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.

Department 84, Vaucluse Buses

  • See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
    • Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
    • Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
    • Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.

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