Gargas

Gargas

Gargas is located at the foot of the Luberon Chain of ochres, 5 km from the town of Apt and Roussillon, 10 km from Rustrel, it is surrounded by three hills Perréal, Fort and Gardette. It is the etymology of his name in the Provençal word “gargantuan”, which means “mountain”. It was the stronghold of Agout then Simiane, then the Prince of Conde to the Revolution. The town is composed of more than thirty villages, people fleeing the village center during the religious wars in the 16th century, during the destruction of the ramparts and the fort. It is the home of General Anselm (1740-1812), known for his conquest of the County of Nice.

The church of Saint Denis, which dates from the 17th century, features a Romanesque façade, nave architecturally remarkable in bottom of furnace, a baroque altar, and antique tapestries depicting the story of the martyrdom of Saint Denis. The old castle was transformed into Conde city hall from 1863. The tradition of Gargas is primarily agricultural, viticultural and ocher. The village was famous for its jams and candied fruits, from the 18th century court of Louis XIV.

Made up of several hamlets in the area, Gargas is part of the Parc Naturel Regional du Luberon. The countryside surrounding Gargas is magnificent, with vineyards in the foreground (A.O.C Cotes du Ventoux) and the ochre quarries dug into the pine-covered hills in the distance. Gargas is the last village in the Vaucluse which has ochre quarries still operating today. Before arriving in the village you can see huge indentations where the blocks of ochre were placed before drying out in the sun and being ground to powder.

Gargas is a geological site, rich in history. It was here that one of the biggest battles were fought during the Gaullist conquest and traces of human habitation have been found dating back to 6.000-2.000 BC. The cave art of Grotte de Gargas constitutes one of the most moving revelations today of the life and thoughts of prehistoric ancestors. It is made up of two very important elements, painted hands, many mutilated, as well as important animal engravings and paintings.

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