Village troglodytique de Barry

Barry troglodyte village

Useful Information

Location: Provence. 5 km from Bollene, northwestern-most corner of the Vaucluse. From Bollene follow D26 north, after 2 km turn off to the right (signposted). A small winding road leads up to the village.
Open: no restrictions [2006]
Fee: free [2006]
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church SubterraneaCave House
Light: n/a
Guided tours: Blue trail: L=2,000 m. Yellow trail: L=3,000 m. Red trail: L=7,000 m.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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11th century castle built.


The Village troglodytique de Barry is a settlement with underground houses, which was inhabited continuously from the Neolithic to the early 20th century. The hill where it is located is 312 m asl and overlooks the Rhône valley and the Donzère-Mondragon canal, the view from the top is breathtaking. The name is derived from the celtic word Barros, meaning a rocky ridge (see also: Burren in Ireland). It evolved to the word Barry, and is not related to the Duke of Barry in central France.

The area is of strategic value, a situation which did not change during the last millennia. The oldest remains found here include Paleolithic arrow heads and knives. Neolithic polished-stone axes were found too. Later in Celtic times, the nearby oppidum of Tricastini is regarded the capital of the local people. Guy Barruol, the local historian, believes that Barry was the celtic town of Aéria. This oppidum was described by the Greek geographer Strabon in the year 18. During Roman times it evolved into a Gallo-Roman village.

After centuries of inhabitation, the decline started in the 18th century. From 500 in the 18th century, the number of inhabitants decreased to 50 in the 19th century, until only one widow and her servant remained at the beginning of the 20th century. The last inhabitants of the cave village were convinced to leave by a number of collapses, where the inhabitants were killed. They moved to Saint Pierre de Sénos at the foot of the hill.

The cave village is open freely and may be visited by foot on three different trails. The blue trail is two kilometers long and shows the most interesting parts of the village. The yellow trail is a little longer and includes the view from the top. The longest trail is the red one, which includes prehistoric caves and the cathedrals of the Chateau de Cabrières, located a few kilometers to the east.