Fontaine de Vaucluse: A unique walking holiday through Provence
The mysterious spring
Located 8km from Isle sur la Sorgue and 34km east of Avignon the small village of Fontaine de Vaucluse is home to one of the largest natural springs in the world. To be precise, the source is ranked fifth in the world with a total average flow of 630 million cubic metres of water each year. It is a siphon, with a depth of around 308 metres, 223 metres of which are below sea level.
The first recorded explorations of the spring began in 1878 and the deepest point – 308m, was recorded in 1985 by a robot used by the Fontaine de Vaucluse speleology society. The mystery surrounding the spring dates as far back as the tenth century.
Provence walking holiday
The village of Fontaine de Vaucluse is a picturesque, hidden gem, surrounded by 230m high cliffs and caves. Its success and popularity are largely due to the mysterious spring and its emerald green water– peaceful and tranquil in summer and winter, spectacular in spring and autumn with 90 cubic metres per second spilling into the Sorgue river. But there is plenty more on offer…
The best time to walk around Fontaine de Vaucluse is early morning where you’ll have the place (almost) to yourself. A victim of its own success, this small village in Provence is swarming with tourists during the season. There is plenty for everyone though with a wide choice of restaurants, most of them along the river with beautifully decorated terraces, souvenir & ice cream shops lining the main street as well as clothes shops, art & sculpture galleries and various other bits and bobs to admire.
The intense beauty of this natural site has intrigued and inspired many French writers and poets including Petrarch, Boccaccio, Chateaubriand, Frederic Mistral and René Char.
The « Must see’s » on your Provence walking holiday
As you walk through the village there are many interesting and historical attractions :
The ruins of the Château des Evêques de Cavaillon, XIV°.
The XI century roman style Notre Dame de St Véran church
The ruins of the first canal used by the Romans with the river from the Sorgue.
Glassblowing « Le Cristallerie des Papes »
The old paper mill (hand made paper as done during the XV century
The museum of ornamental figurines of Provence : « Musée du Santon ».