In the Vaucluse 35 kilometres from Avignon, the picturesque village of Crillon-le-Brave perches at 363 metres altitude in the southwestern foothills of the Mont Ventoux.
Once a fortified village, Crillon-le-Brave has preserved the vestiges of its 16th century ramparts and gates. If you enter by the grandiose Porte Gérin gate, you will be greeted by the Brave Crillon himself, standing 2.5 metres high. Or rather an immense bronze statue representing Louis de Balbe-Berton. In the 16th century, this son of the Lord of Crillon, a one-time young rebel and killer rehabilitated into a valorous soldier, was proclaimed “the greatest captain in the world” by the king Henri IV and nicknamed “Le Brave”. In his honour, at the end of the 19th century the village of Crillon added the sobriquet to its name.
All in stone, the village has its cobbled streets and stairways, it passageways and vaulted porches and its old Provençal buildings.
Unlike many other places from the same period, the old castle is situated a bit below the village. Originally built in the Middle Ages, it was altered, with the addition of the crenellations, in the 1800s and again restored at the end of the 1990s.
In the village, you will see a belfry with a delightful campanile set upon a 17th century town gate. The Notre-Dame des Accès Chapel with its arched bell tower surmounted by a wrought-iron cross was built in 1721 and dedicated to Saint Roch, a saint often invoked during times of plague. Its elongated covered porch was added in 1846. On a small square higher up, you will find the medieval church of Saint-Romain in Romanesque style. It has a wooden altarpiece made by Bernus, a great 17th century sculptor and also displays the epitaph of Brave Crillon, “Henri IV l'aima, les pauvres le pleurèrent” (Henri IV loved him, the poor wept for him).
If the village houses, most of them built in the 17th and 18th centuries on even older foundations, are so well preserved it's thanks to the luxury hotel that dominates the village. The hotel purchased and carefully restored these historic buildings. If you're tempted by the idea of spending the night in the authenticity and charm of the past, you can treat yourself to that here....
Crillon-le-Brave have some cafés and restaurants and, hey, it's okay to to take it easy sometimes. Open and sunny, the village offers you breathtaking panoramas. Comfortably seated with a coffee or a glass of wine, you could spend hours just gazing at the landscapes of vineyards and wooded hills with the Dentelles de Montmirail and the snow-capped Giant of Provence as a backdrop.
The town of Crillon-le-Brave consists mainly of farmland, mostly vineyards that produce AOC Côtes-du-Ventoux wine. Before or after climbing the Mont Ventoux or visiting the neighbouring village of Bedoin, you can make a stop at one of Crillon's wine estates to sample the red, white or rosé wines.
View over the Mont-Ventoux from Crillon-le-Brave
The village of Crillon le Brave
The Notre-Dame des Accès Chapel
The Guérin gate
The statue of Louis de Balbe-Berton nicknamed "Le Brave"
The chateau of Crillon le Brave
Old street of the village
The church of Saint-Romain
The Chapel of the chateau