You get to Montbrun-les-Bains by taking a very pretty road winding its way through a superb gentle landscape, full of pines, broom, vines and cherry trees, with some striated cliffs as a backdrop; a marvellous uninhabited area, and very calming.
This fortress protected by its ramparts and overlooked by the romantic ruins of its castle resembles a perfect image from Epinal of the ideal medieval village, wonderfully harmonious with its yellow ochre stone houses.
After parking in the more recent part of the village in the car park at the foot of the ramparts, you’ll climb up for an unforgettable walk into the past. Start with the belfrey’s square, a sort of terrace providing a viewing point over the plain.
Here stands the Porte de l’Horloge (clock gate) topped by a campanile, marking the entrance to the old medieval settlement.
This gate was part of a defensive system, but only one tower and a stretch of ochre-coloured wall remain. At the foot of the gate is a magnificent round fountain and its old basin.
Having passed through the gate, you go back further in time as you wend your way up stairways paved with uneven cobblestones, a gentle slope taking you to the top of the village, where there is a castle, or rather what remains of a castle...
Very fine listed ruins: two or three crenellated round towers, cracked and wrecked, but parts of which are today privately owned and lived in, and so cannot be visited.
All you need to do now is imagine the the time (16th century) when the castle was built by Charles Dupuy-Montbrun, a famous Protestant leader in the Dauphiné region.
With a bit of luck, the locals will tell you the story of how he changed from Catholic to Protestant during this period of religious wars, and was beheaded.
As you walk back down the sloping alleyways, you’ll be able to admire the old russet coloured houses, supported by high buttresses built onto the living rock or by massive arcades, built one on top of the other … as well as the unforgettable view of the lavender coloured plain in summer.
As its name indicates, Monbrun-les-Bains also comprises a thermal resort, built by the Count of Aulan in the late 19th century, at the foot of the fortified village.
Erected in the foothills of Mont Ventoux, with 240 days of sunshine per year, pure air, sheltered from both the Mistral and heatwaves, it boasts yet another treasure: its sulphurated waters, used to treat rheumatism, diseases of the respiratory tract and skin.
Porte de l'Horloge (clock gate): belfrey with crenels and machicolations dating back to the 14th century.
12th century church built into the old ramparts (inside is a 17th century Bernus altar piece).
Remains of the 16th century Dupuy-Montbrun castle.
The thermal baths (at the foot of the fortified village), built by the Count of Aulan in the late 19th century.
Randonnées pédestres, équestres et VTT.
Walking, horse riding and mountain biking.
Paragliding. Canyoning. Climbing
Swimming pool. Tennis.
Lavender festival and Mountain Bike Trek (July).
Festival of the most beautiful villages in France (1st Sunday in September).
Votive festival on the 2nd Sunday in September.
National competition of Ferrasières lavender flowers & essential oils (October).