Discover the 7 Most Beautiful Villages in Provence

There’s a reason why so many artists flock to Provence France for inspiration – whether it’s to capture its beauty through a paintbrush or poetic prose.

Along with the most beautiful villages in Provence, it’s the tall cypress trees and shimmering valleys.

The French countryside is extra magical in Provence.

It’s dotted with countless vineyards and if you time it right, endless fields of lavender and sunflowers.

Oh yes, there’s no denying it, Provence countryside is beautiful.

Visiting hilltop Provence villages is a dream holiday. And, I’ve taken that dream holiday! Spending a week going from the prettiest villages in Provence France, one by one.

With so many of them, how does one choose which ones to visit? Easy – let the designated title of Les Plus Villages de France be your itinerary guide. I will share my experience visiting the 7 officially crowned the most beautiful villages of Provence.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to book. Please check out my privacy policy and disclosure for more information.

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

castle with courtyard with blue sky and valley in background in one of the plus beaux villages de provence

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France or The Most Beautiful Villages of France is a prestigious title awarded to…you guessed it the most beautiful villages.

Currently, 172 villages in France get to claim this honour.

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. And, it worked!

These now sought-after villages are always on travellers’ itineraries. Just like mine.

Les Plus Beaux Villages de Provence

pond with gardens in les plus beaux villages de provence

Now that you know about this prestigious title, let’s look at travellers’ favourite region – Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur!

This large region in France covers a total area of 31,400 sq/km. Massive right?

This region has 20 beaux villages in its 6 departments, they are:

  1. Alpes de Haute Provence (1) – Moustiers Sainte-Marie
  2. Alpes-Maritimes (3) – Gourdon, Coaraze, Sainte-Agnes
  3. Bouches-du-Rhone (1) – The Beaux de Provence
  4. High Mountains (2) – Saint-Veran, Severe
  5. Var (6) – Tourtour, Cotignac, Bargeme, Seillans, Le Castellet, Gassin
  6. Vaucluse (7) – Ansouis, Lourmarin, Roussillon, Gordes, Menerbes, Venasque, Seguret

Ask anyone where the heart of Provence is and they will tell you it’s the department of Vaucluse. And, it just so happens to have the greatest number of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. 

When I was planning a trip to Paris followed by Provence I had my eye on this region. I had been before, making Nice my home base to explore Monaco and its nearby hilltop villages.

What sealed the deal for me, why not pick the department with the most number of beaux villages in Provence, and off I went!

7 Most Beautiful Villages in Provence

1. Ansouis

hilltop village with valley below in provence most beautiful villages

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 colour stone and feature ancient doorways. Being a hilltop village, it offers uninterrupted panoramic views of the Luberon Valley.

There’s an abundance of flowers and gardens spotted throughout this pretty village in Provence. This is one of the nicest villages in Provence for photography lovers and garden enthusiasts.

Visiting Ansois: the most beautiful village in Provence

  • Top attractions: 12th-century Ansois Chateau, 13th Saint Martin church, ancient fortified wall, Musee Extraordinaire, and Musee des Arts et des Metiers du vin
  • Market day: Thursday
  • Recommended restaurant:
    • La Closerie – traditional Provencal cuisine Michelin-starred restaurant with a lovely outdoor terrace
  • Where to stay: an elegant 1-bedroom in the heart of Ansouis village with a terrace and outdoor seating, check prices
  • Nearby must-see village: Cucuron (4km)

2. Gordes

Gordes, hilltop village made of white limestone in Luberon the most beautiful villages in provence

Gordes France is a hilltop photogenic village which offers one of the most stunning panoramic views of the Luberon France Valley. It’s considered one of the best villages to visit in Provence.

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 Gordes is so popular with tourists, it truly is so beautiful!

Visiting Gordes: the most beautiful village in Provence

  • Top attractions: 11th century Gordes Castle, 18th century St Firmin Church
  • Market day: Tuesday – one of the best markets in Provence
  • Recommended Restaurants in Gordes:
    • Casa Rosario – for wood-burning pizza on a pretty terrace with a casual dinner
    • La Trinquette is a funky little bistro with the perfect v spot to watch the sunset on a very small terrace
    • La Bastide de Pierres – a hotel/restaurant in the heart of the Old Town serving classic Provencal cuisine with a modern twist
  • Where to stay: a 2-bedroom stone villa with a pool and pretty private gardens overlooking the Luberon countryside
  • Nearby 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

3. Lourmarin

stone village in Luberon most beautiful villages in provence

Lourmarin sits on a level plane and is nestled in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees.

This beautiful 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 cafés. It was one of the best places to visit in Provence for its shops and restaurants.

It’s hard to describe, but this village, just makes me happy. It has an enchanting feel to it.

Visiting Lourmarin: the most beautiful village in Provence

  • Top attractions: 15th-century castle, 15th-century Romanesque St Andre church
  • Market day: Friday
  • Best restaurants in Lourmarin:
    • Cafe Gaby – a casual eatery with a light menu perfect for brunch or lunch
    • La Louche a Beurre – farm-to-table restaurant with all the French classics with a terrace with countryside views
  • Where to stay: a 3-bedroom ancient stone house from 1634 that has been updated with a lovely Provencal decor
  • Nearby must-see village: Bonnieux (13km)

4. Menerbes

FR 7 Villages in Provence 1

Menerbes is surrounded by glorious uninterrupted countryside views making it easily one of the most beautiful places in Provence.

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 one of the best villages in Provence France to watch a sunset. Visit this romantic village late in the day and enjoy your evening here over a leisurely meal.

Visiting Menerbes: the most beautiful village in Provence

  • Top attractions: 14th-century Saint-Luc church, 18th-century chapel Ste Blaise, 18th century wrought-iron belfry, Corkscrew museum
  • Market day: Thursday
  • Best restaurants in Menerbes:
    • Maison de la Truffe et du vin du Luberon – has a lovely garden terrace that offers a beautiful view of the sun setting behind the mountains, oh, and also features the star ingredient, the truffle, in every dish (delicious!)
    • Les Saveurs Gourmandes – a Michelin-star restaurant that even vegetarians can enjoy
    • Le Galoubet – a casual eatery featuring a delicious quiche paired with a local wine makes this the perfect lunch spot
  • Where to Stay: 2-bedroom gite with lovely rustic charm interiors, overlooking the Provence countryside and pool
  • Nearby must-see village: Lacoste (6km)

5. Roussillon

colourful village in Luberon Provence

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, making it one of the prettiest towns in Provence.

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

Visiting Roussillon: the most beautiful village in Provence

  • Top attractions: Ochre cliffs known as best places in Provence France for hiking, 19th-century clock and bell tower
  • Market day: Thursday
  • Best restaurants in Roussillon:
    • Le P’tit Gourmand – a cozy bistro perfect for a quick lunch
    • La Treille – a casual restaurant with a lovely outdoor terrace with views of the surrounding countryside
  • Where to stay: 2-bedroom apartment in a 250-year-old Village house with stunning views and charming French country decor
  • Other Provence villages to visit nearby: Joucas (6km), Goult (7km), Gargas (8km)

6. Seguret

grass in valley with stone village in front of hill is one of the beautiful villages in provence

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.

Visiting Seguret: the most beautiful village in Provence

  • Top attractions: 10th century Ste Thecle chapel, 12th century Saint-Denis church, 12th-century gate, 14th-century belfry, Huguenots’ Gate
  • Market day: Sunday
  • Recommended restaurants:
  • Where to stay: 3-bedroom stone villa in the countryside with a pool to enjoy the exceptional view with an equally gorgeous interior

7. Venasque

countryside in with valley and hills as one of the beautiful villages in provence

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’s a small tourism office which will guide you through the village’s well-preserved sites, otherwise, they’re not open to the general public.  

Visiting Venasque: the most beautiful village in Provence

  • Top attractions: 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 the ancient monastery of the Chartreux
  • Recommended restaurants:
    • Les Remparts Hotel-Restaurant features local cuisine while dining on the beautiful outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside
    • Le Petit Chose – is a great cafe (and bar) for lunch or afternoon happy hour
  • Where to stay: a 3-bedroom villa with views of Mont Ventoux from a stone terrace
  • Nearby must-see activity: where to go in Provence for the best views is to Mont Ventoux (30km) – ride or drive to Mont Ventoux’s peak at 1,910 m 

FAQ: Provence Most Beautiful Villages

What are the best market towns in Provence?

The best market towns in Provence are Avignon, St Remy Provence, Aix en Provence, Isle sur la Sorgue, and the Provence villages of Gordes and Lourmarin.

What town is the best home base to explore all of Provence?

The town that makes the best home base to explore all of Provence is Aix-en-Provence due to its location. Other best villages to stay in Provence would be Gordes, Menerbes or Lourmarin.

Which other villages are worth visiting in Provence?

Other Luberon villages in Provence that are worth visiting include Lacoste, Bonnieux, Cucuron and Saignon.

What are the beautiful villages near Aix en Provence?

The best villages near Aix-en-Provence include Lourmarin, Roussillon, and Gordes.

What are the beautiful villages near Avignon?

Discover enchanting villages like Gordes, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Arles and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence near the UNESCO-listed city of Avignon.

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. 

To help plan your upcoming trip, refer to my Travel Guide to France, where you will have access to all of my resources and articles.

I will leave you with a few articles I think you will enjoy:

Similar Posts