Saumane de Vaucluse

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Perched on a rock at the entrance to the Monts de Vaucluse, Saumane-de-Vaucluse overlooks the Sorgue country. This charming village, with its small Romanesque church, cobbled streets and dry-stone houses combines a quaint charm and authenticity. Its Latin name, spelled either in the eleventh century “Somanna” or “Saumanna” may refer to the summit (som) or the back of a donkey (Sauma).

At the end of prehistoric times man already occupied rock shelters in the valley of Chinchon. A few geographically dispersed remains also show a Roman occupation. Feudal times saw the Lordship pass from the Count of Toulouse to the papacy, then to the Sade family which ruled for more than 400 years.

Saumane, located in the “Comtat Venessin”, was under the jurisdiction of the Counts of Toulouse until the thirteenth century, and then followed the fate of the papal enclave until the French Revolution. Saumane de Vaucluse is a hilltop village overlooking the valley of the Sorgue on the edge of the Vaucluse plateau.

 

From the twelfth century onwards, the slopes of the two valleys were cultivated in terraces, supported by dry stone walls and covered with olive trees. “Bories” are everywhere - small huts used as agricultural shelters, or barns for sheep. Erosion has carved what are called “baumes” into the cliffs, caves where people lived in the Neolithic era and which were later converted into comfortable cave dwellings.

Enjoy a breathtaking view over a plain planted with olive trees and Mediterranean plants, walk along miles of trails, bordered by dry stone walls through the often steep-sided valleys in a unique, arid landscape.

At the highest point of this small town you'll find the “le mourre de la belle étoile”, an ancestral agricultural area studded with truffle oaks and olive trees.

Don't miss the wash-houses, the fountain, the alleyways, Château Saumane, the dry-stone walls, and the church.

Many hiking trails and jogging routes pass through Châteauneuf-de-Gadagne.