Bicycle Gourmet’s Secret French Treasure

Oppede Le Vieux

Ok — Maybe “secret”is stretching it a bit. But it’s waaay off the usual “must see-don’t miss” tourist circuit.

And for reasons that will become clear as you read on, it’s likely to stay that way. That, among other qualities is what makes “Oppede le Vieux’” one of my personal Treasures of France.

For me,this is the classic hilltop village. Clinging to a side of the Luberon mountain range, in Provence’s Luberon National Park. Not as celebrated as it’s hilltop neighbours, Gordes, LaCoste and to a lesser extent ,Bonnieux, Oppede le Vieux is the “real deal.” Simultaneously in ruins, and in re-construction. Mostly by rich Parisians. Other European “deep pockets” are also represented.

As you might imagine,life in Oppede Le Vieux(before mod cons) was niether a bowl of cherries, a bed of roses, or a walk in the park.It was a llllong walk down, and an even LLLLonger walk back.(No midnight pizza!) By the turn of the century (before the “war to end all wars” that didn’t) there were less than a thousand(we hope) happy campers in O.L.V.

Today Oppede le Vieux is home to the usual small group of artisans who inhabit such locales the world over. Such as the fair Celine.Owner of the local boutique.

It was she who hipped me to the incredible frescos in the villages tiny(even further up the hill) church.Well worth the walk!

There is no restaurant in Oppede le Vieux. Only “Le Petite Cafe.” Which seems to have new owners every time I pass. Never ate there. So — “Bonne Chance!

Happily,access to the centre of Oppede le Vieux is limited to foot traffic. There’s a parking lot a few hundred metres below.

Getting There:

It’s a right turn. If you turn left ,you’ll quickly find yourself in “Oppede” — the village — one short street of not very much. And not where you want to be!

More of DA BG’s treasures HERE.

Christopher Strong is The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet — Film Maker,Photographer and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to French food, wine and travel

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