The village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is located in the Vaucluse department of Provence. This is a must see town when visiting Provence. It is absolutely gorgeous. The best time to go is in late spring. The beautiful trees will all be in bloom and the famous Source of the Sorgue should be plenty full of water. This is the largest spring in all of France. The hike to this famous spring is a short one from the center of town. It is easy to find. You just follow everyone else, because that’s where they’re all going!
The path to the spring is quite lovely and follows the flow of water down from the Source of the Sorgue. You might even get lucky and be there when the kayak races are going on, or at least see some kayakers practicing.
The path dead ends right into the Source or Fountain, as they say. During a season of a great deal of rain the source point could be extremely high and full of water. In seasons of little rain you are able to go down farther to where the land meets the source. On the side of the cliff, just to the right, is a large measuring stick. You can see by this stick how high and low the water can be depending on how the rainy season went.
Walking back down the path towards the center of town, take time to stop in the Paper Mill. Admission is free and it is open all year around except on December 25th and January 1st. Paper is still made there today using the techniques from the 15th century. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of the artist working on their craftsmanship. Their work is available for purchase in the gift shop which has everything from books, to poems to cards. The art work is absolutely incredible and you can spend a great deal of time and money in there. None of it wasted, I assure you. Walking passed the artist area at the exit you will see the giant water wheel which still works on a daily basis to help make the paper.
Further down the path are some restaurants and shops to browse. There is everything to wet the appetite from cool drinks, to candy, to having a sit down lunch or dinner next to the water. The view of the water and village is breathtaking.
Once you have had your treats, and a short rest, take a walk along the opposite side of the village. There, over in a corner, you will find a seemingly uneventful set of stairs that looks like it goes to a small area of houses. In reality it will take you up a steep path to the ruins of a chateau once owned by the Bishop of Cavaillon.
*NOTE* Please be careful on this hike to the chateau. The path is not maintained and it is a bit treacherous. There are no safety railings so please make sure that children are carefully watched after. I would NOT recommend young children go to the chateau.
With that said, older children and adults will marvel at the view of the village below and the valley which surrounds it. Absolutely breathtaking is all I can say. You will not be disappointed. Unfortunately, the chateau is all in ruins and pretty much only some of the exterior walls remain. You can climb up on an old rampart and get an even better view, but it is a bit scary if you are afraid of heights. From the very top, you get a 360 degree view which includes the Source, the Paper Mill, the town and the surrounding valley. It’s incredible!
There is definitely enough to do and see in this little village of about 600 people that makes it easily a day trip.
If you have already been please let me know what your thoughts and your favorite highlights. What other things did you do when you were there?
If you want to see more photos of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, they appear on Flickr. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Recent Pictures.