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Lourmarin, the secret land of Albert Camus

In 2021, the Région Sud celebrates Albert Camus. He deeply marked the thinking of the 20th century as an independent, committed writer and philosopher who was a fervent opposer of ideologies and all forms of radicalism. Albert Camus found his haven of peace and much of his inspiration in the sunny village of Lourmarin in the Luberon where he lived and was buried.

Published on 12 March 2021

Lourmarin

An Algerian atmosphere

Albert Camus was born in 1913 in Algeria where he developed his thinking and made a name for himself in journalistic and literary circles. In the 1940s, he settled in Paris, where his political commitment was to grow in strength. He denounced the use of the atomic bomb, the colonial system and also the caricature of the “ pied noir exploiter“. On the subject of Algeria, he said: “I have loved with a passion this land where I was born, I have drawn from it all that I am and have separated in my friendship no man living there…”. Two of his writer  friends, Henri Bosco and René Char, introduced him to the village of Lourmarin before the war. Albert Camus fell immediately under the spell of this Luberon village whose light and colours reminded him of the Algeria of his birth.

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Albert Camus or “Monsieur Terrasse”

A writer in Lourmarin

In 1957, Albert Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for all his work. At the time, he was looking into buying a house in the South of France. Thanks to the money from the prize, he was able to buy a former magnanerie (place where silkworms are bred) in the middle of Lourmarin. Albert Camus had his little routine in the village. He often had an aperitif at the Restaurant Ollier, and always at the same table. The waiter even nicknamed him “Mister Terrace” so that he could remain anonymous. He was to be seen regularly at the Café de l’Ormeau or, as a football lover on the village football ground. When he wasn’t walking, Albert Camus devoted himself to literature and it was in Lourmarin that he wrote “Le premier homme”, an autobiographic novel he never finished.

Lourmarin cemetery

Last abode of Albert Camus

On 4th January 1960, on the road from Lourmarin to Paris, Albert Camus’s car ran into a plane tree in Pont-sur-Yonne, in the Yonne. The writer died instantly, aged only 46. His funeral took place several days later in Lourmarin and his coffin was carried by the village footballers. His discreetly modest grave is now the start of a guided tour: “Sur les traces de Camus” (in Camus’ footsteps). You can discover the writer through anecdotes and eye-witness accounts from his friends and the villagers. This walk which is interspersed with readings, can be done all year round on request to the Office de Tourisme Luberon Coeur de Provence (allow between 1 and 1½ hours).

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