The Luberon Regional Natural Park in Provence is a showcase of sustainable planning in one of France’s 10 protected bio-regions.  You will stay in the village of Cucuron where you will enjoy the rural life of the inhabitants.  Farm and forest are at your doorstep in this protected medieval village in the south of Luberon.  From there we will explore Provence’s laboratory of medieval villages, farms, and vineyards set in the mountains and plains of the Luberon.

Imagine sitting in the centuries old Place de L’etang of Cucuron overlooking a spring fed basin surrounded by two-century-old Sycamore trees as you enjoy the “plat du jour” of regional delicacies from the local restaurant.  Peruse the village market where you will meet local farmers and artisans with their fruits, vegetables, cheeses, olive oil, fresh breads, honey, lavender and spices; later we will visit their farms and workshops.

This trip will give you the experience of a centuries-old regional village set to the rhythms of residents of all ages gathering in community spaces, animated by the work of farms, cottage industries and local businesses. Experience the “joie de vivre” as one can only in a living village. 

While this trip is geared toward the planning professional, our structure is left intentionally informal and relaxed to be accessible to anyone with an interest in sustainable living and awe-inspiring landscapes. There is plenty of time to stroll through the villages and countryside, absorbing the sights and sounds, and enjoy the local food and wine. In this land of lavender, olive terraces, cool courtyards, dazzling sunsets, and starry Van Gogh skies, you are sure to connect with the rural culture of Provence.

Program Highlights

In our eight day trip, we will visit several remarkable cities and spend one week in the Luberon Regional Natural Park. This trip is limited to 7 people and designed to
be personal and customized to your interests. Topics for learning will include: global climate change solutions,  bio-regional preservation,  village design and construction and the economic revitalization of small farms, cottage industries and local businesses.

•Experience Avignon, along the banks of the Rhone River. The city of arts and culture, Avignon is a spectacular example of pedestrian urbanism. Be sure to take time to explore the old walled city and the central “Place de L’orloge” surrounded by ramparts.  And, of course, the visit would not be complete without a visit to the Ponts d’Avignon and a round of that famous French song “sur le ponts d”Avignon, ...” You may want to add an extra day to spend in Avignon on your own.

•The Luberon. We will steep ourselves in this timeless rural village culture for 7 days studying and enjoying the regional preservation and agro-village culture.

•Visit the Luberon Centers for the Environment, including bio-diversity gardens, geological museum, and other exhibits. See www.parcduluberon.fr

•Participate in guided visits of new sustainable develop-ment, local farms and cottage industries.

•Visit the medieval villages perched on hilltops throughout the Luberon, including Gordes,  Rousillon and Saignon. 

•Enjoy hikes or bike rides to surrounding villages, forests and mountains. Hike up to the peak of Mourre Negre where, from 3691 ft, you can see the Alps on a clear day.

•Visit the local farmers markets scheduled on different days in villages throughout the Luberon.

•Embark on a day visit to explore Orange, renowned for its public Roman buildings—a world heritage sight, or explore the nearby Haute Provence Alps.

Travel and Transportation

The trip will start in Avignon. You may arrive there from various ports of entry, though if departing from the US, our recommendation is to fly to Paris and then to take the TGV (bullet train) to Avignon. You probably want to leave an extra day or two to visit in Paris before or after the week in Luberon. We will meet you in Avignon and return you to Avignon. During our week together, we will do considerable walking in villages and through the countryside. Those interested may rent bicycles, as there are a number of bicycle routes designated in the Luberon.

Preliminary Itinerary

June 4 - Arrive Avignon - Afternoon walking tour. Depart for Cucuron.

June 5 – Cucuron - Cucuron: guided visits    of village and farms.

June 6 – Cucuron - Visit hill towns, Gordes and Roussillon.

June 7 – OPEN - Day trip to the Alps or explore the Luberon.

June 8 – Cucuron -  Luberon hike and visit to Chateau de L’environment .

June 9 – Cucuron - Visit to Aix en Provence and reception with regional director.

June 10 – Cucuron -  Bicycle visit of nearby Luberon farms and villages.

June 11 – Cucuron – Return Avignon.


Luberon, France

Bio-Region mission statement

      “The Luberon is a region where we can demonstrate that economic and social develop-ment can enhance  the diversity of animal and vegetable species and the preservation of the quality of life.”

Greg and Diane Ramsey will be your group leaders. Greg has resided in France for 10 years, is fluent in French, a second-generation village designer, and recipient of international and national awards, including the United Nations’ World Habitat Award. Diane is an environmental planner, physical scientist and teacher. Together, they will guide you through principles and applications for the planning of sustainable communities and a fabulous holiday.

The Luberon Regional Natural Park is a unique national treasure and an ideal setting for our tour. A landscape of medieval villa
ges, farms and vineyards surrounded by mountains, it offers an excellent study area for planning and community professionals and unparalleled recreation and diversions for all.

Sustainable planning topics include:

  1. Regional planning and policies focused on regional preservation

  2. Community transportation and planning for future hamlets and villages

  3. Village and hamlet design focused on developing clear urban growth boundaries and a convivial pedestrian environment

  4. Sustainable building technologies focused on how to develop a regional built expression

  5. Cottage Industries focused on redeveloping a human scaled and entrepreneurial village economy

  6. Small farms and value added goods focused on developing village oriented farms and cottage industries for food processing and preparation.


Your stay will be in Cucuron or similar village in the Luberon. Cucuron is a village of 2000 inhabitants and is designed to immerse you in a pedestrian-oriented working village. You will stay in the village in a traditiona
l historic home. It will be comfortable but not luxurious reflecting the character of a centuries old building. It will have an exterior terrace from which you can watch village street life below and observe the Provence sky above. The home has a full kitchen for you to prepare meals if you choose to eat from the market instead of a restaurant. and is around the corner from a bakery and other village stores.

The home provides local ambience while serving as an excellent base for day trips throughout the region. We will sit around the living area and share our projects and learning experiences with each other while anticipating the next day’s sortie.


The program includes continental breakfast and two dinners.  The kitchen is always available so you can dine in or dine out as you wish. The two dinners will be with our French hosts. Lunch can be as simple as a baguette, cheese and bottle of wine on a park bench or any number of restaurant options.

The Luberon has a rich abundance of local markets with fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses and other delights at this time of year. The local restaurants will offer regional cuisine, which will further your appreciation for the region.

Dinner menus in Cucuron can be simple to elegant. A simple dinner menu for the “plat du jour” in Cucuron offers dinner for around $20 with the following:

Hors d’Oeuvres: Pate and Olive pulp or Potiron soup

Plat du Jour: wine cooked rabbit or red fish with a tomato veloute

Desert “maison” or cheese platter

Served with Baguette and a glass of Luberon wine

Program Fees

per person, double occupancy.

Single supplement $550.



        2011            $2400.

All trips are subject to registration of the minimum number of participants.  Typically, this is six registrations.  For trips that are cancelled because they do not meet the minimum number of participants, the reservation fee will be refunded.

Fee includes:

  1. BulletSeven nights of unique accommodations in the Cucuron

  2. BulletContinental breakfasts

  3. BulletTwo group dinners with wine and aperitif with French hosts.

  4. BulletGround transportation from Avignon to Cucuron and driving tours.

  5. BulletEducational programs, presented by Village Habitat Design

  6. BulletEducational materials

  7. BulletTravel and destination information to assist you in your planning

  8. BulletCertificate of completion

Does not include:

  1. BulletAir transportation

  2. BulletMeals other than noted above

  3. BulletAll other land transportation                                


Please pack light:  carry-on luggage should be sufficient. Choose the items you bring in anticipation of spending the week strolling about in a Southern California-type climate.  Sunscreen, sunglasses, comfortable shoes, and a light jacket are recommended.

The program is designed to be an tax-deductible expense.  Please consult your tax professional to determine the tax treatment of this program for you.

Village Tours is a program inspired by two generations of experience in introducing French sustainable planning concepts to small groups of persons interested in sustainable development.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact Greg Ramsey at 404-992-4399  GRamsey@VillageHabitat.com


Sustainable Planning in


Sustainable Planning 
Provence, France

Led by Greg Ramsey & Diane Ramsey

Dates by request
Contact Greg about custom trips on other dates at 404-992-4399  GRamsey@VillageHabitat.com

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What People Say

Wow. This was the best trip ever in my more than 22 years of
independent European travel, hands down! Greg and Diane are knowledgeable, gracious Francophiles who immediately and effortlessly immersed our small group into daily life in the South of France. I highly recommend this trip, which Greg and Diane tailor to participants’ interests, to anyone with a stake in sustainable design or eco-agriculture. I promise you will not be disappointed.                                                                                   

Lucy Rowland, MS, MLS, CNU
Chair, Athens-Clarke Co. (GA) Planning Commission
Head, Science Collections & Research Facilities
University of Georgia Libraries

The trip was both delightful and educational. Being there is the only way for an aspiring urbanist to understand the next threshold of potentially redesigned American suburban town centers.
Mike Sizemore, FAIA, Principal Sizemore Group Architects                                                             Christine Sizemore, PHD, Spellman University, Atlanta Georgia

The Luberon trip was really the vacation of a lifetime! My favorites were the in-depth opportunities to talk with small producers and see their operations, especially goat cheese, and the wonderful heirloom preservation garden.                                                                            Jean Handy, Ph.D. – Chapel Hill North Carolina
Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
UNC School of Medicine

The Village Habitat exposure to Cucuron was an invaluable
experience for me. I highly recommend the experience.
                                                              Lacy Thompson, Jr. - Atlanta Georgia                                                                                                              Eco-village researcher/developer