Roussillon village in Luberon @ Verneuil

Top 10 villages in Vaucluse

Having to choose between all the villages in Vaucluse to make a Top 10 list … it’s not easy!

Lourmarin

One of the 7 villages in Vaucluse classed as among France’s most beautiful villages

From the outside, Loumarin, situated at the foot of the curved and untamed hillsides of Luberon, seems rather lethargic. But don’t be fooled: in reality it is bursting with life, even on Sundays! Small boutiques where you can get your hands on designer clothes, art galleries, bistros, and restaurants with terraces are all popping up in the narrow streets and squares of the village.

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Worth going out of your way for

For something a bit more cultural, why not visit the renaissance château or participate in one of the themed walks about Albert Camus and Henri Bosco, who are both buried in the village cemetery.

Lourmarin @ AMDA

Saignon

Saignon @ Hocquel
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Worth going out of your way for

The narrow streets, the square complete with fountain and washhouse, and the buildings with beautiful finely crafted doors make this village superb, although it is curiously still rather unknown to the public. Make the most of it!

A sentinel village

This village of 1000 inhabitants, which once overlooked the entrance to the Pays d’Apt, perfectly illustrates Giono’s “la Provence près du ciel” (Provence close to the sky). It is unusually situated between two rocks, one bearing the church and the other bearing the remains of the castle.

Gordes

The picture-postcard village

Gordes has been nicknamed “the most beautiful of France’s most beautiful villages”, and it most definitely deserves this title. To get there you must first cross a landscape of olive, almond, and fig trees, dry stone walls, and pretty Provencal farmhouses…it is exactly how you would imagine Provence to be!
However, when after a few bends you stand facing the village, you are finally able to really take it all in! If you’re lucky enough to be there at sunset, the old stone houses appear to be set ablaze for a few truly magical moments.

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Worth going out of your way for

The narrow streets lined with shops, with their vaulted passages and stone steps, the Renaissance castle, the cellars of an old oil mill and nearby, the Village des Bories and the famous Sénanque abbey.

Gordes @ Hocquel

Le Crestet

A few kilometres south of Vaison-la-Romaine, here stands another superb village, unbelievably picturesque, but which is not often spoken about.
Make sure to wear flat shoes to wander up and down the sloping cobbled streets, which are inaccessible to cars, and discover the village’s steep calades (paved streets), vaulted passageways, stone archways and beautiful restored Renaissance dwellings.

Le Crestet @ Hocquel
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Things to see

The fountain dating from 1843, the wash house, and the old well, which are evidence of daily life in the past.

Le Crestet @ O'Brien

Roussillon

Situated at the heart of the ochre country

Roussillon is famous both for the colour of its facades, which are various shades of apricot, and for its eye-catching cliffs which have been sculpted by both man and nature.
Ochre is a powerful natural colourant, often used in cosmetics. In the past, it was used to stain the rubber seals for glass jars or the skin of Strasbourg sausages before synthetic dyes silenced the factories that had contributed so much to the wealth of the Pays d’Apt. The village itself is charming, filled with artisan shops, bistros, and restaurants.

Conseil d'expert

Expert advice

Make sure not to wear white trainers when walking the ochre trail surrounding the village, unless you want to have vermillion-coloured shoes after a few steps!

Roussillon @Hocquel

Brantes

Brantes @ Hocquel
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Worth going out of your way for

Around every corner you can find the workshop of a maker of earthenware, a café-art gallery, a santonnier (maker of small, hand-painted, terracotta figurines of nativity characters), an ironmonger, the “Aventurières du gout”, and even a publishing house…

It’s our favourite!

This tiny eyrie with only 50 inhabitants is situated on the north side of Mont Ventoux, and was often the favourite of artists and artisans who knew how to conserve its beauty. Wild flowers border the paved streets of this fortified village, which clings to the side of the mountain, and which has a great number of steps and many terraces where twisted almond trees, junipers and broom shrubs hang …

Ansouis

At the foot of the castle which was one of the filming locations for “Jean de Florette”

The houses of this village form a hemisphere on the slope of a small hill which shelters them from the Mistral. The village itself is extremely well preserved, and its furnished castle, which boasts a thousand-year history, is worth a visit.

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Did you know?

Both a medieval stronghold and a 17th-century fortified town, the village has retained its keep, its battlements and machicolations, as well as the French gardens which are decorated with trimmed boxwood.

Ansouis @ Coquard

Séguret

You will only be able to discover this village, classed as amongst the most beautiful in France and often compared to a life-size nativity scene, on foot!

The medieval character of Séguret emanates from its paved narrow streets, its posterns lined with old houses, the Mascarons fountain, and the ruins of the feudal castle, where you can discover the Comtat plain which is covered with vines, and the Rhone valley.

Séguret @ Coquard
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Did you know?

Séguret is not only the name of this beautiful village, it is also the name of a fine Côtes du Rhône AOC wine.

Séguret @ Coquard

Le Barroux

Between the Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux

Another pretty village, less-known, Le Barroux is located halfway between Carpentras and Vaison-la-Romaine.
The village can be seen from afar thanks to its impressive castle, which overlooks the surrounding fields of olive and apricot trees. Climb up through the mazes of terraced houses, some of them with majestic appearances, to the castle, with the musical accompaniment of the water gushing from the various fountains in the village.

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Did you know?

Part of Le Barroux castle is open to visitors

Le Barroux @ Hocquel

Ménerbes

Ménèrbes @ Hocquel
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Did you know?

It was here that Picasso bequeathed his house to his companion Dora Maar (now an artist’s residence)

This village, classified as “The most beautiful village in France” – yet another one – stands like a ship on the Luberon headland.

Ménerbes is both an agricultural and winegrowing village, but one which also has an industrial tradition linked to stone extraction and stonework. You cannot see the quarries, but the village is full of superb buildings, made of stone of course: the citadel (private), private mansions, fortified gates, and a little castle and keep which has preserved the remains of the time when it was a fortress, where the painter Nicolas de Staël lived; it still belongs to the same family but cannot be visited. The producer of the films Les Bronzés and Emmanuelle manages a beautiful wine estate and botanical garden there, where the first local truffle was cultivated.

Venasque

Which has given its name to the Comtat Venaissin

And here we are at village number 10! Although our ranking is not in order of preference, beauty, or how picturesque the villages are.

Venasque, a stone’s throw from Carpentras, has given its name to the registered trademark “Cerises des Monts de Venasque”, culinary gems which are produced here, at the foot of the village.

In the past, it was named le Pays des Loups, (The land of wolves), a nickname given to the inhabitants of the village, who had a foul reputation. But none of that remains today. The village has let itself be tamed and several treasures have been discovered there, such as a baptistery which is said to be one of the oldest in Europe. Along the narrow streets and between two fountains, have fun deciphering the dates engraved above the gates. The oldest engraving, opposite the post office, is from 1644.

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Worth going out of your way for

the village is also the favourite of lovers of exceptional panoramic views. Ventoux offers itself full frame.

Venasque @Kessler

Accomodation in Venasque