Place : Oppède (Vaucluse)
Participants: Teenagers under 18
Deep in the heart of the Luberon lies the historic village of Oppède le Vieux, where you will help restore a lane using traditional cobblestone sets with expert technical guidance from a seasoned professional specialising in ancient buildings. The focus on this year’s workcamp is to reinstate the cobblestones along the lane that led to the school (la rue de l’école), most of which have disappeared.
Building technique: Laying cobblestone sets in lime mortar
Accommodation: Tents, at the municipal sportsground, with access to toilets/showers and changing rooms. The sportsground is 10 minutes’ drive from the workcamp. Bring your own tent if you like.
Workcamp life: Restoration work in the mornings from Monday to Friday and help with daily tasks, such as preparing meals and cleaning (taking turns). Free time in the afternoons and at weekends, with a choice of group excursions and activities.
Some ideas for excursions: Avignon Theatre Festival, hikes in the Luberon, and the Monts de Vaucluse hills, swimming and kayaking along the Sorgue River, visit to the ochre quarries.
A bit of history:
The historic hilltop village of Oppède sits proud atop a rocky outcrop on the north side of the Luberon hills surrounded by creeping vegetation that is gradually concealing its relics. The tip of the rocky spur marks the highest point in the village, with a tower and wall of a medieval castle where you’ll find a mysterious magical carved stone, called the Sator Square, set in the fortified walls.
In the 19th century, the local residents left to live in the plain where life was easier, so the old village of Oppède was virtually abandoned and gradually fell into ruin.
Notre Dame d'Alidon Church, at the top of old Oppède, is one of the rare buildings left intact. Its Romanesque-style architecture has been altered several times but it is a lovely collegiate church which is currently being restored (with a fundraising campaign sponsored by French entertainer, Michel Leeb). You can also visit the Pénitents Blancs Chapel in the old village, on the way up to the collegiate church, or Saint Antonin Chapel down on the plain near the old railway line, as well as the remnants of the village fortifications and its many cobblestone lanes.