Simiane-la-Rotonde, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence: tourism & sightseeing
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The village is in an enviable location, clustered around a small hill on a high plain (more than 600m altitude), with the Luberon to the south-west and close to Mont Ventoux. Simiane is also on a major lavender growing plateau and there are numerous lavender fields in the vicinity.
Simiane-la-Rotunde is a picturesque village, with an attractive medieval heart to explore. The main car park is at the top of the village, so a visit will usually start at the rotunda and then continue in the cobbled streets below.
France This Way comment: the pedestrian heart of Simiane-la-Rotonde also has numerous flowers and bushes, adding greatly to its charm, and we thought it was a very lovely village.
Exploring the village you will pass along narrow paved streets passed tall stone houses that typically date from the 17th and 18th centuries while enjoying the colours and scents from the numerous flowers such as irises and roses.
The village developed and became prosperous around the 17th century because of the local glass industry, and as a result of this wealth there are various grander houses and small architectural details such as ornate doorways and a campanile that you will see as you explore the streets of Simiane-la-Rotonde.
Notable highlights within Simiane-la-Rotonde also include the 16th century belltower from the Church of Saint Jean (the church itself is no longer in existence); the small Church of Saint-Pierre (as with the rotunda, the simple exterior hides a more impressive interior); and the 16th century covered market halls.
You will also find a small number of shops such as a brocante and an art gallery, and a cafe - visitors can enjoy their coffee in the market hall with a stunning view across the plains below Simiane-la-Rotonde - but generally facilities are quite limited in the village.
Chateau des Agoult
The highlight, that also gives the village its name, is the medieval castle with its 'rotunda' at the top of the village. The castle called the Chateau des Agoult stands at the highest point on the hill and dates from the 12th century.
The entrance to the castle is also the tourist information centre for Simiane-la-Rotonde.
The main part remaining is the tower - from the outside the castles rotunda has an unusual multi-faceted design, while inside the rotunda is a splendid large hall with a domed roof in stonework, with a series of arches below and ornately carves capital stones. Truly an impressive achievement for the 12th century.
Other parts of the castle can also still be seen, including the main lodge building and the defensive walls, and exhibitions including one about the history of the village.
On a hill just outside the village you can see the Chapel of Notre Dame de Pitié while a few kilometres away you can see the 17th century Valsaintes Abbey and its attractive rose and flower gardens set across terraces on the hillside.
To the south of Simiane-la-Rotonde you can visit the ochre landscapes of the 'Colorado Provencale', a scenic attraction with brightly coloured rock formations caused by the rosion of sandstone over millions of years. Also to the south you can visit the pretty village of Oppedette, and follow one of the hiking trails through the Gorges d'Oppedette.
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Map of Simiane-la-Rotonde and places nearby
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Address: Simiane-la-Rotonde, Banon, Forcalquier, Provence, 4150, France || GPS: latitude 43.981111, longitude 5.563333
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Colorado Provencal: site of natural beauty (9 km)
- Jardins du prieuré de Salagon: remarkable garden (17 km)
- Jardins du château de Sauvan: remarkable garden (17 km)
- Apt: recommended detour (18 km)
- Luberon: regional natural parc (18 km)
- Gorges de la Nesque: site of natural beauty (20 km)
- Roussillon: most beautiful village (23 km)
- Jardin à la française du Pavillon de Galon: remarkable garden (25 km)
- Jardin de la Louve: remarkable garden (27 km)
- Prieuré Notre Dame (Ganagobie): religious monument (28 km)
- Ansouis: most beautiful village (28 km)
- Lourmarin: most beautiful village (29 km)
The French version of this page is at Simiane-la-Rotonde (Francais)