The villages of Provence
The identity of Provence shaped in stone
When you think of lavender, singing cicadas, and lovely typical products that define Provence, don’t forget the charming villages that are interspersed throughout the area. Here are our recommendations for some of our favourite Provence villages!
A listed heritage
Proud of their heritage and history, the Provençal people love their villages and take great care of them.
Seven of the villages have been ranked among the “Plus Beaux Villages de France” (Most Beautiful Villages of France).
Whether you’re attracted to Roussillon and its orangey tones, the cobbled streets of Gordes, the waterwheels of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the authenticity of Brantes, the distinctive scenery of Ansouis, or the cherries of Venasque – one thing is for sure: you will not be disappointed by the beauty of these Provence villages.
Did you know?
Ansouis, Gordes, Roussillon, Lourmarin, Ménerbes, Séguret and Vénasque are the seven ‘Most Beautiful Villages of France’ found in Vaucluse.
Village of the Luberon
Bonnieux is a hilltop village, located on the northern slopes of the Luberon, facing the village of Lacoste.
Village of the Ventoux
Located at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, Sablet is an authentic Provençal village, with its houses closely huddled around its Church.
Village of the Ventoux
Located at the entrance to the Nesque Gorge, it is the ideal trip destination for any history enthusiast, nestled amongst plains planted with spelt and fields of lavender.
Village of the Luberon
In the heart of the Luberon Regional Nature Park, this characterful village offers many different features of interest: its ramparts, tower gates, belfry and keep.
Paradise for sports lovers
Hop on your bike to discover the villages of Bédoin and Malaucène – their names may mean something to you if you’re passionate about cycling!
To get to Mont Ventoux via the legendary routes, these two villages are the essential starting points.
From Bédoin, a demanding climb awaits you. But believe us, the lunar landscapes are worth the effort!
From Malaucène, a different atmosphere awaits, with conifer forests and views over the Baronnies. In both cases, a stop-off in these charming villages remains necessary for mixing a love of sport with beautiful stone architecture!
Did you know?
The village of Bédoin is renowned throughout the world and every summer attracts a number of running fans. It’s best to come in low season if you want to have the route to yourself.
Villages with art at the heart
The laid-back Provençal lifestyle has always been known to attract artists looking for inspiration. Lacoste and Lourmarin are no exception!
Stroll down the narrow streets and see the art galleries particularly present in Lacoste. Visit the unmissable part of the village: the Marquis de Sade‘s castle. With any luck you’ll come across Pierre Cardin – a fan of the unique atmosphere in the village, he likes to have a drink on the terrace on sunny days.
Lourmarin also has something to attract an artist’s soul, beginning with Albert Camus himself. Home to this great writer, Lourmarin has been known to preserve its charm and today, it still attracts artists from all over the world.
Following in the footsteps of Camus or art lovers of all kinds, Lourmarin is the ideal destination to seek inspiration!
Go on a guided tour that follows in the footsteps of Albert Camus, and discover the secrets of the famous writer in this town that was so close to his heart!
Standing the test of time
All Provence villages are sure to have a storied past – but some of them are particularly worth visiting!
Start by discovering the incredible Vaison la Romaine and its 2,000 years of history… It’s impossible to miss Puymin and the Villasse which surround the Tourist Office: these are the biggest archaeological sites in France.
Next on your epic Provençal adventure – head to Richerenches. It’s in this village that the first of Provence’s many Commanderies of the Knights Templar was founded.
Interested in Renaissance history? Lourmarin and its beautiful castle, nicknamed the little Villa Medici of Provence, will surely remind you of Châteaux in the Loire Valley. Another beautiful visit awaits you at Château de Lauris (private residence) – we recommend you take a walk in the gardens and on the two upper flowered terraces that boast a lovely view of the Durance!
Take a walk in the “Jardin Conservatoire des Plantes Tinctoriales” (Conservatory Garden of Dye Plants) – this unique site in Europe is home to more than 250 plant species whose pigments are used for dyes.
Provençal villages along the waterside
In some villages in Provence, water is ever-present. This is the case in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, an unmissable destination for any stay in Vaucluse.
This island-village centres around its lovely river! After a little tour of the many antique dealers in the town, go and find the 17 waterwheels which bring a certain charm to the narrow streets of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
To cool off on hot summer days, head to Fontaine de Vaucluse (the village which gave its name to the department!) to see the river source – the most mysterious in France. You can also meander along the roads of Pernes-les-Fontaines, have a drink outside and see the 40 village fountains.
The hilltop villages of the Luberon
When you think of the Luberon, you’re bound to think of the famous hilltop villages which are the pride and joy of locals.
Go to Bonnieux for a stroll scented by the cedar forest before discovering Roussillon and its colourful scenery.
Wander along the cobbled streets of Gordes – a lovely representation of the Luberon’s hilltop villages where you can admire panoramic views of pretty Provence.
Do a tour of the Luberon’s most beautiful hilltop villages for a unique experience! Gordes, Lacoste, or Ménerbes… So many villages and authentic atmospheres to discover!
On the Rhône Valley wine route
Whether you’re a wine expert or simply curious, the villages of Provence are the perfect destination for lovers of Côtes du Rhône wines.
Begin with Châteauneuf-du-Pape for an immersion in the world of fine wine. Here, you can learn all about the wine-making profession at the Vin Brotte Museum – as it’s free it would be a shame not to go!
Wine estates in Gigondas offer a number of tours for visiting the vineyards in an unusual way, and enjoying a tasting while admiring the Dentelles de Montmirail.
Complete your knowledge as a budding wine-maker by finishing with a visit to the Winegrower’s Museum in Rasteau – an essential stop for any self-respecting wine geek!
To know everything there is to know about wines and vines, follow the signposted trail in Cairanne and the different grape varieties will no longer seem such a mystery to you!