The 7 Most Beautiful Villages in France
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, endless fields of lavender and sunflowers, the daily markets, and the hilltop villages. Yes, the secret is out…Provence is beautiful. Here is the 7 of the most beautiful villages in Provence that you need to add to your itinerary. 

Most Beautiful Villages of France

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, how beautiful it is. 

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. 

Most Beautiful Villages of Provence

Many people, including me, plan their itineraries around visiting Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Travel to the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and go to the heart of Provence – the department of Vaucluse. This area has the greatest number of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France.  There are 7 in fact. Let’s explore each of them. 

RELATED READING | Guide to the best markets in Provence by the day of the week

ANSOUIS

Ansouis is a tiny, yet pretty Provence village. It offers a fair number of ancient picturesque streets perfect for strolling. 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.

hilltop village in france

Top things to do in Ansouis:

  • Visit the key landmarks: 12th century Ansois Chateau, 13th Saint Martin church, ancient fortified wall
  • Market day is Thursday
  • Museums: Musee Extraordinaire, Musee des Arts et des Metiers du vin
  • Day trip to neighbouring must-see village of Cucuron (4km)
stone building with blue shutters and flowers
blue weathered door with purple whisteria

GORDES

Gordes is a hilltop photogenic village which offers one of the most stunning panoramic views of the Luberon valley. The buildings of pale beige and 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. There’s a reason why it’s so popular with tourists. 

hilltop village in provence

Top things to do in Gordes:

  • Tour the key landmarks: 11th century Gordes Castle, 18th century St Firmin Church
  • Market day is Tuesday
  • Best Restaurants in Gordes: Casa Rosario – for wood burning pizza on a pretty terrace. La Trinquette is the perfect spot to watch the sun set on a very small terrace. Dine at Michelin star restaurants La Citadelle or La Cuisine d’Aglaé
  • Day trip to 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 famous Abbey lined with lavender fields. Monks still live there and produce honey, lavender and liquor
cobble stone laneway with stone buildings
tall stone building in france

LOURMARIN

Lourmarin sits on a level plane and is nestled in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees. This enchanting village 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. It’s hard to describe, but this village, just made me happy. It has an enchanting feel to it.

stone castle in france

Top things to do in Lourmarin:

  • Visit the main sites:  15th century castle, 15th century Romanesque St Andre church
  • Market day is Friday
  • Best restaurants in Lourmarin: Auberge La Fenière – offers 2 choices Le Restaurant or Le Bistro 
  • Day trip to neighbouring must-see village: Bonnieux (13km)
stone buildings with vines hanging
weathered door with vines

MENERBES

Menerabes 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. This is romantic village is best visited later in the day to watch the sunset.   

hilltop village

Top things to do in Menerbes:

  • Visit the main landmarks:  14th century Saint-Luc church, 18th century chapel Ste Blaise, 18th century wrought-iron belfry
  • Tour the corkscrew museum
  • Market day is Thursday
  • Best restaurants in Menerbes: 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
  • Day trip to the neighbouring must-see village: Lacoste (6km)
stone buildings in provence
stone archway in paris

ROUSSILLON

Roussillon 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’s a  wonderful village to stroll through its small maze of streets with views over the countryside below. 

hilltop villages

Top things to do in Roussillon:

  • Visit the main sites:  Ochre cliffs, 19th century clock and bell tower
  • Market day is Thursday
  • Best restaurant in Roussillon is David – a Michelin star restaurant  
  • Day trip to neighbouring must-see village: Joucas (6km)
stone archway in provence
stone buildings in provence

SEGURET

Séguret is a picturesque village  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.

Séguret, Provence, France. This picturesque little village is situated in the famous Côte du Rhône vineyards which is the most northern part of this area.

Top things to do in Seguret:

  • Visit the main sites:  10th century Ste Thecle chapel, 12th century Saint-Denis church, 12th century gate, 14th century belfry, Huguenots’ Gate
  • Market day is Sunday
  • Do a wine tour or visit one of the many wineries as you approach the village
grapes on a vine
ancient water fountain

VENASQUE

Venasque is a very small, quiet and peaceful village situated above the Nesque valley full of cherry trees. It’s 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.  

countryside in france

Top things to do in Venasque:

  • Take a city tour:  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
  • Day trip to neighbouring must-see: Mont Ventoux (30km) – ride or drive to Mont Ventoux’s peak at 1,910 m 
stone village in france
stone archway in france

As a holidaymaker…

This once quiet region is no longer a hidden gem. In part, due to the prestigious title of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France or the Most Beautiful Villages of France. But also, Peter Mayle’s famous book, A Year in Provence, brought a flood of tourists to this area. There is no denying that this is a pretty special place. I can see why these are the 7 most beautiful villages in Provence. 

villages in provence
villages in provence

78 Comments

  • Clarice

    Wow! I wasn’t able to really take a closer look at these places but I agree with you that they’re beautiful. So far Venasque is my favorite. The view is breathtaking.

  • Natascha

    I spent three weeks travelling in Provence, but the only village I visited from this list is Lourmarin. Gordes, sitting on this hill, looks especially charming. Although I have no plans of returning to the region in the near future, I will save your post for the next time I go there. Thanks for the beautiful pictures!

  • Trisha Velarmino

    I loved their strategy of ensuring that the heritage of the community stays and lives on. I didn’t know about this esteemed titles for villages. What a landscape Gordes has and Venasque looks classy!

  • Maria Veloso

    What a treat to stroll through these charming villages and sample their restaurants and cafes. I’m amazed at just how Gordes village was constructed on top of the hill. But, if I had to choose, I’d go to Ansouis first because I enjoy nature photography!

  • Sherianne

    Perfect timing, I’m considering a sister trip in France this fall and the information is greatly appreciated. Gordes looks gorgeous and I love that there is a nearby Abbey lined with lavender fields. Bookmarking this!

  • Ami Bhat

    Gordes stole my heart. And to think there is a castle here too. That would make this climb to the top of my list. This would be followed by Segreut – the hamlet has so much of history to explore and the views are just stunning. Thanks for sharing these offbeat hamlets with us.

  • Linda (LD Holland)

    It is definitely time for us to plan a return visit to Provence. We loved a visit to Gordes and watched the sun set over this lovely hilltop town. And we wandered through other villages that we don’t remember the names of. So this post gives us a great list of the small villages to explore on our next trip. Especially if we plan our market days right. We definitely don’t want to miss Roussiloon on those stunning red cliffs.

  • Bhushavali N

    I was planning a trip to Provence when the whole world came to a stand still. Thanks for reminding me of it. I should look into it again and plan my trip again. Good to know there are 7 beautiful villages here. I was planning a day or 2 days trip here, looks like I’ve gotta plan a longer stay. The whole region looks beautiful and reminds me a bit of Malta. It is fascinating how there’s a castle/chateau in almost each of these villages. I wouldn’t miss a Wine Tour in Seguret.

  • Farrah

    Ah, these villages are gorgeous + it’d be awesome to try the different restaturants there. I’d love to check out Gordes for those views and Lourmarin looks lovely! <3

  • Krista

    Some of these villages on the hills remind me so much of the villages in Spain. I haven’t toured Provence yet but I would love to do a road trip here and check out these historic villages.

  • Venaugh

    These villages look like a tour through history! So many intricate and historical details to see that make each of these villages so beautiful. I love the idea of the cherry trees everywhere, it’s something I’ve never seen but sounds amazing!

  • JJ

    I would love to visit Provence! The whole place just looks like something out of a fairytale! Your pictures are fantastic

  • Megan

    These look so quaint and beautiful. I love the look on Ansouis and all the beautiful stone buildings built on a rich green hill. What a lovely area!

  • Catherine

    Wow, each of these villages in Provence is more charming than the last. I’d want to visit each and every one of them. Gosh I can’t wait to get back to international travel!

  • Emma

    I’d love to visit Provence. Of all the areas of France I’ve visited, this is not one I’ve had a chance to get to yet. These villages are adorable, so quaint and beautiful. That view of Gordes is impressive. And all those tiny streets look so much fun to explore

  • Barry

    You have some stunning photos here – very colourful and pcturesque. A lovely read for me to get acquainted with these villages. A lot of us Brits have emigrated to this region as it is seen as one of the most beautiful areas of France ( sadly I’m still in the UK!). I never knewv Rousillon has a Michelin Starred restsuarant – that must pull in a lot of outsiders. Interesting that the villages often have different market days – I suppose that is to ensure an even flow of customers over the week and to avoid everyone having to decide which to go to if they are all on the same day.

  • Umiko

    All of these villages are so pretty. Kudos to whoever had the ideas to protect and promote the heritage of these villages and made people stay and proud of their villages. I wonder what incentives they gave to villagers – money, jobs, etc. – before tourists started to come and brought more money to them.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      I so agree Umiko, and they definitely have something to be proud of, they are indeed beautiful.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Carmen for your comment and happy to know I have inspired future 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Carol Colborn

    I have never been to Provence/ Those photos of little places in the seven villages are so beautiful, especially the one with the flowery wisteria vines!

    • The.Holidaymaker

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Sam Sees World

    Wow, all these villages look so well preserved and beautiful! I love visiting the old villages, they are always so stunning! I also love your photos, look amazing!

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