The 7 Most Beautiful Villages in Provence There is a reason why so many artists flock to Provence for inspiration – whether it is to capture its beauty through a paint brush or poetic prose, I now know why. The tall cypress trees, shimmering valleys, countless vineyards, daily markets, pretty villages and of course, the endless fields of lavender and sunflowers. Yes, the secret is out…Provence is beautiful.
France

7 of the Most Beautiful Villages in Provence

There is a reason why so many artists flock to Provence for inspiration – whether it is to capture its beauty through a paint brush or poetic prose, I now know why. The tall cypress trees, shimmering valleys, countless vineyards, daily markets, pretty villages and of course, the endless fields of lavender and sunflowers. Yes, the secret is out…Provence is beautiful.

Part of its popularity, aside from its reputation of having 300 days of sunshine throughout the year, is due to the prestigious title of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France or the Most Beautiful Villages of France. Currently, there are 157 villages spread across France that get to claim this title. To be deemed Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, it considers the size (maximum population of 2,000 inhabitants), the number of protected monuments of historical significance (at least 2), and yes of course, its attractiveness.

It began as a way to protect and promote the heritage of communities and villages across France in the early 1980s. A way to rejuvenate these small villages – making them attractive places for locals to live and stay rather than moving to bigger cities. It worked! It also captured the interest of the tourism industry. Another decade later, along came Peter Mayle’s famous book, A Year in Provence, and this once quiet region became flooded with tourists.

Many people, me included, plan their itineraries around visiting Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. So, when we decided to visit the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, I immediately knew I wanted to go to the heart of Provence, the department of Vaucluse, as it has the greatest number of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, which has 7 of these villages all in close proximity to each other.

Ansouis

This is very tiny, yet pretty village, has a fair number of ancient picturesque streets perfect for wandering. Built on a small rock formation, all the buildings are made of the same pale beige colour stone and feature ancient doorways. There are an abundance of flowers and gardens spotted throughout this village. This sleepy village offers wonderful Luberon valley views and is perfect for photography lovers and garden enthusiasts.

This is very tiny, yet pretty village, has a fair number of ancient picturesque streets perfect for wandering. Built on a small rock formation, all the buildings are made of the same pale beige colour stone and feature ancient doorways. There are an abundance of flowers and gardens spotted throughout this village. This sleepy village offers wonderful Luberon valley views and is perfect for photography lovers and garden enthusiasts.

This is very tiny, yet pretty village, has a fair number of ancient picturesque streets perfect for wandering. Built on a small rock formation, all the buildings are made of the same pale beige colour stone and feature ancient doorways. There are an abundance of flowers and gardens spotted throughout this village. This sleepy village offers wonderful Luberon valley views and is perfect for photography lovers and garden enthusiasts.

Additional information:

  • Main sites: 12th century Ansois Chateau, 13th Saint Martin church, ancient fortified wall
  • Market day: Thursday
  • Neighbouring must-see village:  Cucuron (4km)
This is very tiny, yet pretty village, has a fair number of ancient picturesque streets perfect for wandering. Built on a small rock formation, all the buildings are made of the same pale beige colour stone and feature ancient doorways. There are an abundance of flowers and gardens spotted throughout this village. This sleepy village offers wonderful Luberon valley views and is perfect for photography lovers and garden enthusiasts.

Gordes

This hilltop photogenic village offers one of the most stunning panoramic views of the Luberon valley. The buildings of pale beige or gray stone spiral around the rock on which the village stands. Walk along the ancient cobblestone streets next to the soaring high stone houses with their pale blue and mint green shutters. It is popular for a reason.

This hilltop photogenic village offers one of the most stunning panoramic views of the Luberon valley. The buildings of pale beige or gray stone spiral around the rock on which the village stands. Walk along the ancient cobblestone streets next to the soaring high stone houses with their pale blue and mint green shutters. It is popular for a reason.

This hilltop photogenic village offers one of the most stunning panoramic views of the Luberon valley. The buildings of pale beige or gray stone spiral around the rock on which the village stands. Walk along the ancient cobblestone streets next to the soaring high stone houses with their pale blue and mint green shutters. It is popular for a reason.

Additional Information:

  • Main sites: 11th century Gordes Castle, 18th century St Firmin Church
  • Market day: Tuesday
  • Food & Drink: Casa Rosario – if you want to satisfy your craving for wood burning pizza on a pretty and private terrace or La Trinquette – the perfect spot to watch the sun set on a very, very small terrace or if you want to dine at Michelin star restaurants try La Citadelle or La Cuisine d’Aglaé
  • Neighbouring must-see village:  Senanque Abbey (4km) founded in 1148 lies just outside the village in the Gordes valley. You don’t want to miss this infamous Abbey which is still inhabited by monks who produce honey, lavender and liquor. 
This hilltop photogenic village offers one of the most stunning panoramic views of the Luberon valley. The buildings of pale beige or gray stone spiral around the rock on which the village stands. Walk along the ancient cobblestone streets next to the soaring high stone houses with their pale blue and mint green shutters. It is popular for a reason.

Lourmarin

This village sits on a level plane and is nestled in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees. It features a charming town centre with some lovely old fountains throughout. It has so many delightful little shops and boutiques, as well as, restaurants and café, all of which I loved. It’s hard to describe, but this village, just made me happy. It has an enchanting feel to it.

This village sits on a level plane and is nestled in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees. It features a charming town centre with some lovely old fountains throughout. It has so many delightful little shops and boutiques, as well as, restaurants and café, all of which I loved. It’s hard to describe, but this village, just made me happy. It has an enchanting feel to it.

This village sits on a level plane and is nestled in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees. It features a charming town centre with some lovely old fountains throughout. It has so many delightful little shops and boutiques, as well as, restaurants and café, all of which I loved. It’s hard to describe, but this village, just made me happy. It has an enchanting feel to it.

Additional information:

  • Main sites:  15th century castle, 15th century Romanesque St Andre church
  • Market day: Friday
  • Food & Drink: Auberge La Fenière – offers 2 choices Le Restaurant or Le Bistro if you want splurge on (laid back) fine dining on a country estate
  • Neighbouring must-see village: Bonnieux (13km)
This village sits on a level plane and is nestled in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees. It features a charming town centre with some lovely old fountains throughout. It has so many delightful little shops and boutiques, as well as, restaurants and café, all of which I loved. It’s hard to describe, but this village, just made me happy. It has an enchanting feel to it.

Ménerbes

This hilltop village is surrounded by glorious uninterrupted countryside views. Wander the wonderfully narrow cobblestone streets winding up and down between the lovely old buildings. You can just sense the history here, from the ancient fortified wall and towers, a beautiful sundial etched in stone or the faded wall signs that are barely legible. I found this village incredibly romantic, and best visited later in the day.

This hilltop village is surrounded by glorious uninterrupted countryside views. Wander the wonderfully narrow cobblestone streets winding up and down between the lovely old buildings. You can just sense the history here, from the ancient fortified wall and towers, a beautiful sundial etched in stone or the faded wall signs that are barely legible. I found this village incredibly romantic, and best visited later in the day.  

This hilltop village is surrounded by glorious uninterrupted countryside views. Wander the wonderfully narrow cobblestone streets winding up and down between the lovely old buildings. You can just sense the history here, from the ancient fortified wall and towers, a beautiful sundial etched in stone or the faded wall signs that are barely legible. I found this village incredibly romantic, and best visited later in the day.

Additional information:

  • Main sites:  14th century Saint-Luc church, 18th century chapel Ste Blaise, 18th century wrought-iron belfry, corkscrew museum
  • Market day: Thursday
  • Food & Drink: Maison de la Truffe et du vin du Luberon – has a lovely garden terrace that offers beautiful view of the sun setting in behind the mountains, oh, and also features the star ingredient, the truffle, in every dish (delicious!) or Michelin star restaurant Les Saveurs Gourmandes
  • Neighbouring must-see village: Lacoste (6km)
This hilltop village is surrounded by glorious uninterrupted countryside views. Wander the wonderfully narrow cobblestone streets winding up and down between the lovely old buildings. You can just sense the history here, from the ancient fortified wall and towers, a beautiful sundial etched in stone or the faded wall signs that are barely legible. I found this village incredibly romantic, and best visited later in the day.

Roussillon

This village is situated in one of the largest ochre deposits in the world and is surrounded by magnificent red cliffs, ochre quarries and lush green pine trees. In contrast to the other villages in Provence, this one is so vibrant and colourful with its red stone buildings and brightly coloured painted shutters and doors. It is wonderful to stroll around in this picturesque village through its small maze of streets.

This village is situated in one of the largest ochre deposits in the world and is surrounded by magnificent red cliffs, ochre quarries and lush green pine trees. In contrast to the other villages in Provence, this one is so vibrant and colourful with its red stone buildings and brightly coloured painted shutters and doors. It is wonderful to stroll around in this picturesque village through its small maze of streets.

This village is situated in one of the largest ochre deposits in the world and is surrounded by magnificent red cliffs, ochre quarries and lush green pine trees. In contrast to the other villages in Provence, this one is so vibrant and colourful with its red stone buildings and brightly coloured painted shutters and doors. It is wonderful to stroll around in this picturesque village through its small maze of streets.

Additional information:

  • Main sites:  Ochre cliffs, 19th century clock and bell tower
  • Market day: Thursday
  • Food & Drink: David – a Michelin star restaurant  
  • Neighbouring must-see village: Joucas (6km)
This village is situated in one of the largest ochre deposits in the world and is surrounded by magnificent red cliffs, ochre quarries and lush green pine trees. In contrast to the other villages in Provence, this one is so vibrant and colourful with its red stone buildings and brightly coloured painted shutters and doors. It is wonderful to stroll around in this picturesque village through its small maze of streets.

Séguret

This picturesque little village is situated in the famous Côte du Rhône vineyards which is the most northern part of this area. It lies at the foot of a hill topped by the ruins of its feudal chateau. Roam the ancient medieval streets and admire the historical monuments at every turn. Be sure to visit one of the many local wineries while in this area.

This picturesque little village is situated in the famous Côte du Rhône vineyards which is the most northern part of this area. It lies at the foot of a hill topped by the ruins of its feudal chateau. Roam the ancient medieval streets and admire the historical monuments at every turn. Be sure to visit one of the many local wineries while in this area.

This picturesque little village is situated in the famous Côte du Rhône vineyards which is the most northern part of this area. It lies at the foot of a hill topped by the ruins of its feudal chateau. Roam the ancient medieval streets and admire the historical monuments at every turn. Be sure to visit one of the many local wineries while in this area.

Additional information:

  • Main sites:  10th century Ste Thecle chapel, 11th and 12th century Saint-Denis church, 12th century gate, 14th century belfry, Huguenots’ Gate
  • Market day: Sunday
This picturesque little village is situated in the famous Côte du Rhône vineyards which is the most northern part of this area. It lies at the foot of a hill topped by the ruins of its feudal chateau. Roam the ancient medieval streets and admire the historical monuments at every turn. Be sure to visit one of the many local wineries while in this area.

Venasque

This very small, quiet village, situated above the Nesque valley full of cherry trees, is believed to be one of the oldest villages. It is well-preserved and is definitely a must-see for all history buffs.

This very small, quiet and peaceful village is situated above the Nesque valley full of cherry trees. It is believed to be one of the oldest villages, making any history lovers’ dream. There is a small tourism office which will guide you through the village’s well-preserved sites, otherwise, they are not open to the general public.  

This very small, quiet village, situated above the Nesque valley full of cherry trees, is believed to be one of the oldest villages. It is well-preserved and is definitely a must-see for all history buffs.

Additional information:

  • Main sites:  6th century baptistry, Romanesque chapel of Saint-Siffrein, 12th century Romanesque defence tower of Le Pinet, 13th century Notre Dame church, three towers known as the Saracen towers, ruins of a large chateau, remains of ancient monastery of the Chartreux
  • Neighbouring must-see: Mont Ventoux (30km) – ride or drive to Mont Ventoux’s peak at 1,910 m 
This very small, quiet village, situated above the Nesque valley full of cherry trees, is believed to be one of the oldest villages. It is well-preserved and is definitely a must-see for all history buffs.

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The 7 Most Beautiful Villages in Provence There is a reason why so many artists flock to Provence for inspiration – whether it is to capture its beauty through a paint brush or poetic prose, I now know why. The tall cypress trees, shimmering valleys, countless vineyards, daily markets, pretty villages and of course, the endless fields of lavender and sunflowers. Yes, the secret is out…Provence is beautiful.
The 7 Most Beautiful Villages in Provence There is a reason why so many artists flock to Provence for inspiration – whether it is to capture its beauty through a paint brush or poetic prose, I now know why. The tall cypress trees, shimmering valleys, countless vineyards, daily markets, pretty villages and of course, the endless fields of lavender and sunflowers. Yes, the secret is out…Provence is beautiful.

36 Comments

  • Danik

    I been to Provence a few times and I looked at this list and I haven’t done any of these places! I am shocked! 😀 I am back in the region in September with a car, so hopefully I can take some time out and check out some of these places. 🙂 Great list.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Danik for reading the blog and saying that it inspired you to check some of these Villages in the fall. Happy travels, you won’t be disappointed!

  • Maggie

    I’ve never been to Provence, but your pictures remind me so much of Tuscany! Grapes, medieval villages, cypress trees…fabulous. So now I both want to go back to Tuscany AND go to Provence for the first time. It looks like a dream!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Maggie for your comment. I have been to Tuscany too and although there are some definite similarities, it just feels a bit different in both regions. I love them both, and would return to them time and time again.

  • Josy A

    Gorgeous photos. I love these kinds of villages. They look so peaceful and you just know they’ll be some amazing food to be found there too!

    My sister lives on the Dordogne, so I really need to explore more of these pretty areas. Thank you so much for sharing possible places for me to explore!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      How fortunate you are to have your sister live in the Dordogne. I would love to visit that area! Yes, the food is exceptional here as it is full of local fruits, vegetables and cheese makers. The markets, there is one every day of the week in a near by village, are the best places to try whatever is in season. Hope you get a chance to visit one day soon!

  • APRIL KEY RODE

    I’ve never been but the photos reminded me of Italy! I like the breathtaking views but my question is how far it is from the beach area? I like the overlooking mountain view but it’s nicer to be near the beach at the same time too!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      The Mediterranean is a couple hours drive from this area. But there are some small lakes to be able to cool off very close by. Almost everyone has a pool, as the temperatures are quite warm even in the shoulder seasons. Thanks for your comment April.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Certainly Gordes is one of the most popular of the Villages featured here. It is indeed beautiful, just a bit busier. Roussillon is just so unique and bright and colourful compared to the other villages. Great choices!

  • anshul

    Gordes and Séguret look really pretty. And all these villages look as if they just popped out of a painting. I would love to explore Provence and click such pretty pictures.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comments. Gordes is one of the most popular Villages in this area, and for good reason, it is beautiful. Just a bit too busy for my liking. Seguret on the other hand is very quiet and peaceful, and smaller of some of those Villages. But thank you for your kind words and that you like my photos. I hope you get there one day soon!

  • Tania Muthusamy

    I haven’t been to any of these gorgeous towns but I did go to Provence many years ago. Would love to go again and check these out. I love the pale beige buildings of Ansouis. I can see why Loumarin would make you happy. It’s adorable streets, fountains and vineyards! And Seguret looks beautiful too.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment Tania! It appears it is time to make a return trip. I too love the pale colour of the buildings, especially with the pale blue shutters. They are all so picturesque.

  • Ketki

    It is all these cute little towns that make a country lovable and worth going. Yes going to Eiffel tower is a bucket list item but visiting these villages would make a holiday worthwhile. Thank you for recommending these!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      You are absolutely right, you have to go to the main attraction, Paris, but we love then taking a trip after that to the French countryside, as there is nothing else quite like it. I am glad you enjoyed the post.

  • Paulien

    I’ve heard a lot about the Provence but I actually have never been there. Would love to go soon though! Especially Ansouis and Loumarin look very nice, I’ll keep them in mind!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Paulien for your comment. I do hope you get there one day soon, and pleased to know that you liked the look of Ansouis and Lourmarin.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Carol for your comment. Yes, you must be referring to Ansouis. This tiny village is abundant with gardens and flowers.

  • Milijana

    Gorgeous photos!!

    Oh, I want to visit Les Plus Beaux Villages de France in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region so much! I wish to visit them with no tourist crowds so I could enjoy them to the fullest. I believe a great time to go would be early autumn when the grape harvesting season is?!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Milijana for your comment. Yes, we went in the early fall and found that the high tourist season was over, but it was still a bit early for harvesting grapes. They were still on the vines, as you can see by my photo. Early morning and early evening, these quiet little villages were all to ourselves. During mid day is when we we still find people touring. But it is nice to see a bit of activity as well, locals coming out to dine, shop and catch up with friends is all part of the Provencal way of life.

  • Mohana

    Provence looks dreamy and picturesque! All the photographs make the little villages look picture perfect and an abode of peace. These are the places where I would not only like to travel, but maybe live for a bit too. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment Mohana. We must be kindred spirits as I would love to live too! It was an immediate feeling of peace and thinking, wow, what it must be like to live here.

  • melody pittman

    Wow! This post came at a perfect time as I’m hoping to go to Provence this fall. Gordes is at the top of my list. I love the architecture. Thanks for an in-depth look at what to expect in this beautiful city.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Wow, that is great timing! You enjoy your trip and hopefully this gave you some options when touring this region. Safe travels!

  • Delphine

    Some beautiful photos here… it’s great that you managed to get pictures without the hordes of tourists in the summer. Those villages are gorgeous and if the sun is out, it’s as beautiful off season. The ochre colours of Roussillon would be the perfect photo opp for me!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Delphine for your comments and kind words. I never (well almost never) travel during the peak summer months. This was in September. I am quick with setting up my shot and hopefully no one interferes, so they are not always perfect! But travelling in “shoulder season” is the only way to travel in Europe and still be able to enjoy it without the crowds. I have so many bright and colourful photos of Roussillon and loved visiting it because it is so different than the rest of the villages.

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