Vaucluse

Travel Guide Europe France Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Vaucluse

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Introduction

The Vaucluse is a department in the southeast of France, named after the famous spring, the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. The name Vaucluse derives from the Latin Vallis Clausa (closed valley) as the valley here ends in a cliff face from which emanates a spring whose origin is so far in and so deep that it remains to be defined. Vaucluse was created on 12 August 1793 out of parts of the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône, Drôme, and Basses-Alpes (later renamed Alpes-de-Haute-Provence). The then rural department was, like the nearby city of Lyon, a hotbed of the French Resistance in World War II.

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Geography

Vaucluse is bordered by the Rhône to the west and the River Durance to the south. Mountains occupy a significant proportion of the eastern half of the department, with Mont Ventoux (1,912 metres), also known as "the Giant of Provence", dominating the landscape. Other important mountain ranges include the Dentelles de Montmirail, the Monts de Vaucluse, and the Luberon. Fruit and vegetables are cultivated in great quantities in the lower-lying parts of the department, on one of the most fertile plains in southern France. The Vaucluse département has a rather large exclave within the Drôme department, the canton of Valréas (Enclave des Papes). Vaucluse is also known for its karst, including the karst spring Fontaine de Vaucluse after which "Vauclusian Risings" are named.

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Cities

Important urban centres include Avignon, Orange, Carpentras, Cavaillon, and Apt.

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Getting There

By Plane

Avignon-Provence Airport (Access by bus: TCRA Line 3 from Avignon-Centre.). Only receives seasonal (i.e. summer) flights from Birmingham and Bournemouth, operated by Flybe.

By Train

Avignon TGV station : on the Paris-Lyon-Marseille corridor, connects the Vaucluse to the outside world.
Avignon-Centre and Orange stations both welcome regional and national TGVs and TERs, in addition to departmental traffic. A rail shuttle operates between Avignon Centre and Avignon TGV.

By Car

The main access is undoubtedly the A7 motorway, seconded by the famous national road N7.

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Language

The official language remains French, but a language commonly spoken by locals until the 19th century was Occitan in its Provençal dialect. There are still some speakers of the dialect, and it is locally the daily language in some parts of the department, though like all regional languages in France, it is under threat.

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Eat

Daube avignonnaise - shoulder of lamb or mutton marinated in local white wine.
Papeton d'aubergines - an eggplant flan.
Crespéou - a savoury layered cake, made with eggs, Mediterranean vegetables and herbes de Provence.
Melons of the Cavaillon variety.
Truffles.
Several goat cheeses, including tome de Provence.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 12:09 on Oct 2, 19 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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