Ocres Luberon Vlucas 1

Luberon Regional Natural Park

The Luberon mountain is protected by a 165,000 hectare Regional Natural Park between the Vaucluse and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments.

The Territory

This Regional Natural Park is located around the Luberon mountain, separated into two massifs by the combe of Lourmarin. Its highest point, the Mourre Nègre, is located 1,125 meters above sea level. The massif stretches from east to west on 75 kilometers and connects Cavaillon and Forcalquier. The Durance River is the natural South border of this territory.

The heritage

The Natural Park of the Luberon has a rich and special fauna and flora and a great diversity of landscapes. The limestone massifs, which form canyons and combes, are privileged nesting places for birds of prey. Egyptian vulture, Bonelli’s eagle, Great Horned Owl, Golden Eagle, etc. The largest and rarest birds of prey in Europe come to brood in these rocky walls.

Typically Mediterranean vegetation grows at low altitudes and is home for typical species of the region. Herds of goats and sheep come to graze in the garrigue and enjoy the expanses of grassland that have been dry for hundreds of years. Alpine influences appear at high altitudes, especially at the top of the Lure mountain, and offer an unusual mix between the different species.

Half of the Luberon Natural Park is covered with different forest environments. Each of these forests has its own microcosm. At low altitude, where the agricultural plots have been left abandoned, evergreen oaks, garrigue and pines have thriven. In the 19th century, cedars from Algeria were planted on the Petit Luberon massif. This forest has an unusual style and ecosystem. The beeches, Scotch pines and firs located at the top of the Lure mountain are in the heart of the Biosphere Reserve. It shelters the black grouse, the hazel grouse and mountain forest birds.

Vineyards, meadows, fields of lavender and wheat, there are so many landscapes to discover. Extensive crops has allowed the maintenance of a large number of messicole plants that give the Luberon landscapes their colors. This flora is endangered in the country and is nevertheless essential to the maintenance of a rich fauna: little owls, larks, wild rabbits, small duke owl etc.

Because of the dry climate, wetlands are rather rare in the Luberon Natural Park. These areas are constantly evolving. Still, they host a rich fauna: beaver, hyla meridionalis, white-clawed crayfish, Pelobates cultripes, etc.

These different environments of the Luberon Regional Natural Park have allowed the development of rare species. The site has been classified as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in order to protect this unique heritage as much as possible.

The natural park also aims at protecting the built and cultural heritage such as perched villages, pastoralism, agriculture, etc.

Towns and villages of the park

51 town in Vaucluse and 26 towns in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence are part of the Luberon Regional Natural Park. Cavaillon is certainly one of the most emblematic with its famous Cavaillon melon. We can also mention Manosque and its Mont d’Or tower, Pertuis and its local product market, Apt and its “Massif des Ocres”, Forcalquier and its incredible citadel, Robion, a small typical Provencal village or La Tour-d’Aigues and its castle.

Practical informations

The “Maison du Parc du Luberon” is located in Apt, in the heart of the old town in a private mansion dating from the XVIIIth century. It welcomes the visitors all year round and is the perfect starting point to begin exploring this magical territory, where fauna and flora are preserved. A permanent exhibition and a geology museum allow visitors to understand what makes the Luberon massif such an exceptional place. Over time, this mountain has been shaped by the glacial periods and the evolution of the sea. Numerous fossils are visible in the rocks of the massif, testifying to its history.

Plants cultivated by local farmers can be discovered in the Thomassine estate, home to the House of Diversity. A lot of species, adapted to the local climate, are presented in the orchards and conservatory gardens. Visitors can go on an educational trail to discover them and understand this deep link between man and nature.

A lot of marked trails cross the Luberon Natural Park and can be explored on foot, mountain bike and horseback. It is the ideal place to discover an exceptional and incredibly preserved fauna and flora.

Selection of natural parks