Petrarch and Laure, a true love story in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

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Vaucluse fountain - ©Yann / CC-BY-SA Vaucluse fountain - ©Yann / CC-BY-SA
River Sorgue in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse River Love story Pétrarque

Laure and the Italian poet Petrarch were madly in love! On April 6th 1327, Petrarch saw Laure for the first time after the Mass, in Avignon. Love at first sight. She was born Laure de Noves, a noble lady who married Hugues de Sade. She will die of plague in 1348, at the age of 40.

But Petrarch never forget her. He dedicated her his famous poem, Il Canzoniere. Petrarch turned up in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse in 1339. And he immediately fell in love with the little Provençal city! The poet arrived in Provence in 1326, in Avignon. He was 20.

The famous pope’s city was for him «the living’s hell, the earth’s sewer, the most stinking city». He could not bare it. So, Fontaine was for him like a little heaven on earth. Here, he was far from obligations, far from the world. He worked a lot, wrote, and enjoyed the fresh air.

«Exiled from Italy by civil wars, I came here, half free, half constrained. Others may like wealth, I only want a quiet life and to be a poet. May the good fortune keeps my little field, my humble roof and my beloved books.» Here, he dreamt about his inaccessible Laure...

He loved the river Sorgue and its lovely fountain: «The Sorgue, transparent as a mirror, slowly runs in its emerald bed, and by its banks, I cultivate a little stony and barren plot of land I have consecrated to the Muses.» He nicknamed this fountain «the queen of the fountain».

What about the legend? It says that bishop of Cavaillon, saint Véran, came in Fontaine to expel a horrible monster: the coulobre. But the tradition says it was in fact Petrarch himself who drove it out!

Because one day, he was strolling along the Sorgue, Laure at his side. When suddenly the creature turned up from the fountain’s dark hole. The bloody beast rushed on Laure... But Petrarch stepped in and killed the coulobre with his knife.

And also!