Perched in the Monts de Vaucluse, La Roque sur Pernes is an adorable old village in the Comtat Venaissin. Seven kilometres from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and 10 from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, when you've had enough of the crowds of tourists there, you can come escape to this authentic Provençal village.
Clinging to its rock and with natural springs, La Roque sur Pernes was an important market town in the Middle Ages. Surrounded by ramparts, dominated and protected by its fortified castle, it has a Romanesque church already mentioned in 1065 and beautiful, superimposed stone houses.
Strolling along its steep cobblestone streets is like traveling into the past.
Situated in the middle of the village, the Maison de l’Histoire Locale with the vestiges of the olive oil mill is a small local history museum that presents a collection of objets which attest to the presence of human life in the prehistoric period and recount everyday life in La Roque sur Pernes up to the 20th century.
A narrow stairway leads to the Church of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul, built in the 11th century and altered in the 15th and 19th centuries.
Crowning it all is the fortified castle, which is more than a thousand years old. Built right up against the cliff and with a deep, dry moat on one side, it was under the suzerainty of the Counts of Toulouse until 1229. The castle then became the personal property of the Popes for five hundred years and their respective histories are tightly linked. The site, just like the village, offers you striking views over the Rhone Valley and the Mont Ventoux. The castle has been carefully restored and transformed into a luxury guest house.
Today a small town with a population of only 460 inhabitants, the rural exodus emptied La Roque sur Pernes in the 19th century. But, after the Second World War, the village was repopulated with the arrival of the Banatais, people of French origins expelled from the Banat du Timisoara, a region shared between Rumania, Serbia and Hungary. In the village church, a triptych recalls their story and the museum also recounts their saga.
In the area around La Roque sur Pernes
Several roads and paths cross magnificent, preserved natural surroundings with an abundant flora and fauna.
Le Beaucet, a village built on a rocky outcrop with the ruins of its medieval castle, is just 1 kilometre away.
Not far, you will find the Hermitage of Saint Gens, a popular pilgrimage site with its small chapels and a spring reputed to have miraculous powers.
About six kilometres of walking trails and small lanes lead towards the south to the village and château of Saumane. Along the way, you pass a superb ensemble of bories, ancient dry-stone cabins making up a veritable open-air museum.
The village of La Roque sur Pernes
Panoramic view from La Roque sur Pernes
Place de lafontaine square with the remains of the oil mill
The remains of the oil mill
Colorful village lane
Stairway to the chateau
Saint-Pierre and Paul Church