When ever I am feeling far away, yearning to be back in the Luberon in Provence, one of my solutions is to re watch, yes for the hundredth time, ‘A Good Year.’ Filmed at Château La Canorgue, minutes from Lourmarin, it perfectly encapsulates this stunning region; the alluring natural light, the breathtaking ‘campagne’, the picturesque perched villages and most of all its entrancing way of life. Comedy, romance, beauty, maybe not oscar winning, but heart warming and delightful, transporting you to this special corner of Provence. Come with me on a tour of its locations and I think you’ll see what I mean
Château La Canorgue
‘A Good Year,’ was written by Peter Mayle (who lives in Lourmarin) and the movie was directed by Ridley Scott. Château La Canorgue, (Château Siroque in the film), an organic winery, tucked within the shadows of the lovely hill top village of Bonnieux.
Château La Canorgue, is a magnificent property, sadly you can’t go inside but just as in the film, it looks warm and inviting, gently ‘aged to a soft patina’. Staring up at it next to the vines you can almost hear Monsieur Duflot humming to himself behind you and Uncle Henry, muttering to the young Max about his next chess move.
It is possible to sample the wine, a major feature of the film, not surprisingly its Coin Perdu (very significant in the film) being one of its best! The winery is open Monday to Friday 9.00am ~7.00pm Saturday 9.00 am~12.00 & 2.00~7.00pm.
Of course, I love to drink good wine, so was excited to read this article extolling the health benefits of doing so, an article I just had to share, thanks Jen Reviews!
Dining near Bonnieux
There are great dining choices in Bonnieux, near Château La Canorgue, My favourite is ‘La Bergerie’ part of chef, Edouard Loubet’s, sensational Relais and Château hotel, Domaine de Capelongue, enjoy the gardens & spectacular views of the Luberon. For a truly gastronomic experience dine at the main restaurant. Chemin des Cabanes, Les Claparèdes, 84480 Bonnieux + 33 (0)4 90 75 89 78 Booking essential for either.
A few miles further at the impressive perched village of Gordes you can circle the war memorial as did the star of the film, Max, (Russell Crowe), in his ‘little yellow car’.
You can eat at Hôtel le Renaissance, Fanny’s Café in the story (Fanny, played by Marion Cotillard)
1 Place du Château, 84420 Gordes +33 4 90 72 02 02
Driving back across the valley, on the meandering roads by Bonnieux and Lacoste is where Max topples Fanny from her bike.
Near Ménerbes you can stop by the road sign for the ‘D3′ which so confused the irate Max and you will pass the tree lined avenues where he yells at the unsuspecting bikers!
On the other side of Lourmarin, Cucuron is where Max and Fanny have their first date, watching a black and white movie in the square by the basin under the plane trees.
You could also dine here, a bit of a splurge but worth it: La Petite Maison de Cucuron, Place de l’Étang, 84160 Cucuron +33 (0) 4 90 68 21 99
I love this film not just because it is set against the stunning backdrop of the Luberon but also for the profound part its story. It’s a story about someone ‘finding’ themselves, coming to understand what is really important, realizing that ‘This place’ which ‘‘doesn’t fit into their life’ is not the issue rather that it is ‘their life that does not fit into this place’.
It’s about embracing the soul of somewhere different, a captivating place, where often the only important appointment of the day is lunch, where people stop to smell the lavender, where values are deeply rooted, a place which is intoxicating.
I am of course hopelessly sentimental, few of us can just abandon our lives to move to Provence; and Max was hardly giving it all up; inheriting a stunning château, a thriving boutique vineyard and in love with a ‘French Goddess’; this, after all is a Hollywood movie!
Yet those words are imprinted in my heart ‘….it is your life that does not fit into this place’
Ask yourself are you really living the life you want, in the place you want to be?
And if not what could you do to make your life more authentic more special. It’s something to think about…………..
Download The Lourmarin Travel Guide to learn more about this beautiful region
Driving ‘The Good Year route’ from Lourmarin you could start at Curcuron, take the route back through Lourmarin, on to Bonnieux, then Gordes returning via Ménerbes and Lacoste.
Can’t wait to see the film! 🙂 … again !
Lying in bed in Athens, Greece, occupying my mind with hopes for future travel (and praying that it will be so). Your site is magical, so much like your descriptions of a part of the world I’ve longed to see. Fervently hope I will rent your lovely home sometime soon. Meanwhile until the virus is defeated, stay home, stay safe and stay sane in this awful time.
Hi Sheila Thank you so very much, you my made my day!! Sometimes I tap away never knowing who is seeing what I share and it’s aways so lovely to hear from readers who’ve found me and know I’ve brightened someones’ day. I hope you’re safe in Athens and there because that’s where you want to be and not because you can’t get home. Stay well and love to have you rent my house in my magical little village of Lourmarin. Do subscribe to my blog to keep updated! I’m about to publish my first novel set in Provence & my new new author’s site has just gone live. Take a peek if you’d like to https://carolinelongstaffe.com/
Just watched this lovely film again, makes me long to visit France again. We spent many holidays either in France or staying on the way to Spain with our young family, all grown up now with their own families but they too have this beautiful country instilled in them. Julie x
So glad you enjoyed the film again. I discovered France in a very similar way with my parents, driving though France en route to Spain. Happy memories!
Hi, thanks for the wonderful writing which depicted the region’s beauty so well. It is so similar to what we have seen in the movie, even refreshing after watching it for the 100th time. Loved your writing. Though you have mentioned where to eat and what all restaurants to go to. But I could not find information on places to stay. Many Thanks
So glad you enjoyed my musings, I don’t think I will ever tire of watching this film. I have a village house in nearby Lourmarin available to rent http://bit.ly/2EGaXC4 and several other suggestions in my Lourmarin Travel guide (scroll down to see accommodation http://bit.ly/2T8yeo6). If you’re thinking of planning a trip let me know I’d be happy to help you find somewhere to stay of none of these suit!
have watched this even more since quarantine. praying for 2021 to come through!
Thank you for reaching out, my apologies for not getting back to you sooner but I’m so happy you’ve been escaping to Provence via Peter Mayle’s intoxicating story! Take care and stay safe
I adore the movie “A Good Year” and like others have watched it nearly 100 times, hypothetically of course. But I do enjoy it! I think I may drive my family mad with my repetitive viewing of this lovely gem. I am afraid that I shall never afford the expense of seeing the region in person. But the movie overwhelms my senses with platitudes of a bygone era. I am reminded of my grandfather Felix, a professional tailor trained by Italians and the home my grandparents provided for me complete with sensible character building advice, homemade wine, beautiful linens, tapestry’s, a love of gardens and charming music on a record player.
Oh Melissa thank you so much for reaching out to me and telling me about your grandfather. I so hope you can visit the Luberon, it might not be as unaffordable as you think. Let me know if you ever decide to plan a trip Id be delighted to help you! Take care Caroline
I loved this article! You write simply, beautifully and with such love. My ardent wish is we should all be so lucky as to live the simple Provençale life.
Ohhh Sabeen, thank you so much, I totally agree with you, if only!!