village house in luberon provence under tree canopy
France

Your Guide to Luberon Villages in the Heart of Provence

Provence, France. It’s hard not to fall under its spell. Known for its enchanting medieval villages clustered in and around the valleys and plateaus of the scenic landscape. Experience the calm beauty of Provençal life. 

To make your itinerary planning a little easier I’ve put together a guide with all the can’t miss Luberon villages found in the heart of Provence. 

Also in this ultimate guide, you will find the top things to do in Luberon and answer all of the frequently asked questions about Provence. As an added bonus, check out all of the dreamiest places to stay. Let’s dive in!

The Luberon Villages

At the heart of Provence are the Luberon villages. Lively or sleepy they all have one thing in common- you’ve got it- they’re all beautiful. Going from one to another with the most gorgeous countryside in between is a top reason to go to Provence. 

In France they even created a prestigious title of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France or The Most Beautiful Villages of France to distinguish the most beautiful. The entire region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur has the highest concentration of these designated villages with a total of seven. In Luberon, 5 of 7 can be found here. Designated or not, here are some of the Luberon villages worth visiting. 

5 Villages in Luberon Awarded 'The Most Beautiful Villages of France' Title
  1. Ansouis is a hilltop village surrounded by vineyards, dates back to the 15th century.  
  2. Gordes sits in the most idyllic setting that is best admired as you approach it. An ancient fortress, built on a Roman foundation, is the central point of the village. From there, winding streets span outwards giving you incredible Luberon valley views.    
  3. Lourmarin sits on a plain among olive groves, vineyards, and almond trees. It’s one of the loveliest to visit, with its many ancient fountains and winding streets. Tiny bistro tables and chairs spill out onto the cobbled streets begging you to sit awhile and enjoy a delicious meal.  
  4. Menerbes is a stunning hilltop village with sweeping views of vineyards, orchards, and to Mont Ventoux. This once quiet medieval village was the setting of Peter Mayle’s book ‘A Year in Provence’ and is now on the tourists’ map. 
  5. Roussillon is unique due to its fiery red, orange, and yellow buildings due to the large ocher clay deposits. 
Must See Villages in Luberon Beyond the Award-winning
  1. Bonnieux is a beautiful hilltop village that offers one of the best views in Luberon. Perched up high its an impressive village as you approach it due to the 12th century church steeple that can be seen for miles. 
  2. Cucuron is best known for its stunning pool of water in the main square with towering 200-year-old plane trees. It’s so beautiful that it’s one of the scenes in the movie “A Good Year” starring Russel Crowe.
  3. Lacoste is quite unique in that the entire village is made from ochre limestone. The biggest draw to this frozen-in-time village is the restoration of the 9th-century Lacoste Castle by fashion designer Pierre Cardin who also hosts summer festivals. 
  4. Saignon is unique in that it features three castles, built by three different owners. Not unlike the other hilltop villages in Luberon, Saignon also offers spectacular panoramic views with the most impressive to Mont Ventoux, and on a clear day the Alps. 
Hidden Gem Villages in Luberon
  • Buoux is one of the tiniest villages you will find in Luberon. This off-the-beaten-path village is best known by rock climbers due to its rugged cliffs. The ancient fortress offers incredible views of the surrounding valley. 
  • Goult is one of the lesser-known and visited villages, yet is quite lovely and quaint. Seek out the old town, where buildings were carved out of the rocky hillside. And, don’t miss seeing the iconic Goult windmill as it’s the perfect panoramic viewing of the picturesque scenery. 
stone buildings with vines in Luberon Village in Provence
stone village in Luberon Provence
  • Joucas is a quiet sleepy village that’s often overlooked by tourists. There are attractions in this ancient hilltop village, it’s only full of cobbled steps and twisty alleyways perfect for getting lost in. 
  • St-Saturnin-les-Apt is a must-see for lovers of architecture. A castle ruins, a 10th-century Romanesque chapel, a 16th-century windmill, and ornate doorframes on even the modest of buildings. 

Top Things to Do in Luberon

The best thing to do in Luberon is to see as many villages as you can. Use this Guide of top things to do in Luberon as a way to either add to your experience of visiting the villages or add to your itinerary. There is a little something for everyone. 

Vineyards in Luberon

Spread throughout the gorgeous countryside on your way from village to village you’ll find the Luberon vineyards and wineries. Most are small, unassuming, and family-run, yet are always welcoming for an impromptu visit. However, brush up on your French as English is not widely spoken.

If you want a more formal wine tasting experience, seek out the larger wineries. There, you’ll be served by English-speaking staff and can sip along with nibble on some local cheese, but it comes at a price, and a dear one at that! Don’t let the cost deter you, pick one and enjoy this top thing to do in Luberon. 

grape vineyards in Luberon France, the Heart of Provence

Here are a few vineyards in Luberon worth seeking out: 

Dining in Luberon

Oh yes, dining in Luberon is a top thing to do! Whether it’s a tiny unassuming bistro or a Michelin star restaurant (and there are a lot of them!) it will be the most delicious food you’ve ever tasted. Likely due to the fact that restaurants in Luberon are all farm-to-table using only local ingredients and what’s in season. 

dining under vines in a village in luberon in Provence

The cuisine in Provence is simple, rustic, and superb – it’s all about letting the ingredients speak for themselves. One such restaurant was Maison de la Truffe et du vin du Luberon in Menerbes. It features the star ingredient, the truffle in every dish. Lourmarin is the best village for its café culture and beaucoup de restaurants. Here you’ll find a great mix of Michelin star restaurants and classic French bistros. C’est Magnifique! 

Markets in Luberon

Market days in Luberon are the best way to experience life in Provence. There is at least one Luberon village market day for every day of the week. Even the sleepiest of villages come alive on market day. From early morning until noon feast on the freshest fruits, vegetables, cheese, bread, wine olives and olive oil. Pretty flowers, the finest of French linens, brightly coloured ceramics and even clothes and household items, depending on the size of market, can be found. 

framed art in market stall

Antiques in Luberon

If visiting Provence during spring to autumn you’re bound to stumble upon an outdoor antique or flea market on le weekend. I love slowly strolling through, hunting for treasures. In almost all cases, I don’t find anything I can safely tuck away in my suitcase to bring home. Maybe it’s the dreamer in me, as I find it so fun eyeing what I might buy if only I had a pied a terre en France. 

antique white pottery plates stacked on white cabinet in luberon provence

Some of the larger antique and flea markets in Luberon can be found in towns like Avignon and Orange. Second only to Paris, I’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is the village to go for the best selection of antiques in Provence. Speaking from experience, get there early, as it draws huge crowds on both Saturday and Sunday. 

Hiking & Biking in Luberon

The best way to take in the beautiful scenery in Luberon is by bike or on foot. There’s an endless network of walking and bike trails that takes you past farms, vineyards, ancient mills, and maybe even the odd ruin. Most trails are marked making it easy to navigate even if you’re not a local. Just venture out and see what you might find. 

red ochre cliffs with trees found in Roussillon in Provence

One of the best hiking trails can be found in the village of Roussillon at Le Sentier des Ocres because of its distinctive red cliffs created by the world’s largest ochre deposit. And, for the serious bikers, the famed Tour de France climb of Mont Ventoux is a must. Or, a fun way to get around to those villages that are nearby is to rent e-bikes (to reduce that uphill work-out).

A Natural Wonder in Luberon

The main draw to the village of Fontaine de Vaucluse is to seek out the largest natural springs in the world. Jacques Cousteau tried to determine the depths of this beautiful spring and failed. The only known probe has made it to 308m, but it’s thought that the spring comes from somewhere much deeper. All of the rainwater from Luberon forms a catchment of 1100 sq km. The deep blue crystal clear springs water feeds into the Sorgue River. 

blue water with stone building in Luberon Provence

The secret is out and unfortunately, this is no longer considered a hidden gem of the Luberon. Expect big crowds to this regional natural park as it’s a popular spot for families. Kayak rentals are available and this is considered a top thing to do in Luberon.   

FAQ and Guide to Luberon

What are Regions and Departments of France

You’re excitedly planning a trip to Provence. But you keep coming across different names like Vaucluse, Provence, Luberon, and Avignon and are now confused as to exactly where you are going and what’s the difference. So let’s break it down, and I’ll keep it real simple. 

  • France is divided into 13 administrative regions, like Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (or in English Provence Alps French Riviera). For ease, many just refer to Provence, the Alps, and the French Riviera area  
  • Each region has a prefecture, which is a chosen city that acts as that region’s representative. The prefecture for Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is Avignon
  • Those 13 administrative regions are divided into departments 
  • The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur has 6 departments: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhone, Var and Vaucluse 

Part of the department of Vaucluse is Le Luberon. Luberon is considered the heart of Provence. Much of Luberon, almost 600 sq km, is made up of a massif. A massif is a group of mountains, and Luberon has 3 ranges: the Lesser Luberon (le Petit Luberon), the Greater Luberon (le Grand Luberon) and the Eastern Luberon (le Luberon Oriental).  

Where is Luberon

The Luberon is located in central Provence. To locate it on a map of France, simply look along the bottom of the Mediterranean coastline for the city of Marseille. About 30km directly above Marseille is the beautiful city of Aix-en-Provence. And, viola about 10kms above Aix you’re in Luberon. 

Map of Luberon
map of Luberon in heart of Provence
How to get to Luberon: 

When you’re planning a trip to Luberon, there are two key routes for international visitors.

  1. Fly into Marseille. Rent a car and Marseille to Luberon is approximately one hour north
  2. Fly into Paris. Take the high-speed TGV train from Paris to Avignon and arrive in 2.5 hours. Rent a car and Avignon to Luberon is 30 minutes east

Another option is to look for trains that run out of Cavaillon, which is considered the gateway to the Luberon.

RELATED READING | If you are visiting Paris first, be sure to check out all of my amazing Paris content.

How to Get Around Luberon

The best way to get around the Luberon is to rent a car at one of the airports or train stations. Having a car allows you to go village-hopping at a whim.  There are some local buses that crisscross to some Luberon villages, however, they tend to be one in the morning and one at night. 

Is Luberon Worth Visiting

Oh my, yes, a really big yes! Le Luberon is definitely worth visiting. Many believe that Luberon is simply the most beautiful landscape in all of France. I have been to the stunning Côte d’Azur, or French Riviera, and can easily say that Provence stole my heart. So, if you want to go to Provence, then Luberon is the area to zero in on. 

hook with basket, cutting board, linen in luberon provence
Luberon is the heart of Provence.  

Unlike most destinations, there are no must-see attractions in Luberon. What makes it so special is the vibe- it’s so relaxed and relaxing. The scenic views, the cute villages, there is so much beauty at every turn. 

When is the best time to go to Luberon

Provence experiences an ideal climate of over 300 days of sunshine a year. The summer-like temperatures begin as early as April and extend into late October. July and August are the hottest months and are also the busiest months to visit. If you don’t like the crowds, but still want to enjoy warm temperatures June and September are the best months to visit Luberon. May and October will be quieter still, and still pleasant temperatures. If you want to really feel like a local and have Provence all to yourself, travel in April and November.  

Where to Find Lavender in Luberon

If you want to see lavender in bloom, go to Provence between late June and early August when it’s harvested. The peak lavender season in Provence is July. When lavender is not in bloom you can still visit lavender farms and distilleries in the Luberon.

purple lavender field in luberon Provence

The most famous lavender field in Luberon is the Senanque Abbey, near the beautiful village of Gordes. Beyond Senanque Abbey, here are the other top places to see the pretty purple lavender fields, with a handy GPS: 

  • Bonnieux GPS location: 43.823517, 5.307929
  • Lacoste GPS location: 43.844829, 5.283633
  • Menerbes GPS location: 43.833376, 5.204666
  • Saignon GPS location: 43.861839, 5.425994

Where to Stay in Luberon

From luxury châteaux to cozy guest houses, I’ve rounded up the very best Provence accommodation options in Luberon. 

Best hotels in Luberon 
  1. La Bastide de Marie, Maisons et Hotels Sibuet is an 18th-century hotel with a pool surrounded by vineyards in Menerbes 
  2. Le Jas de Joucas Hotel-Restaurant is located in the Luberon national park in Joucas with mountain views and an outdoor pool 
  3. Le Jas de Gordes – is located in the Gordes countryside with outdoor pool and extensive gardens
  4. Le Maison de Lourmarin – is located in an ancient stone home in the old town of Lourmarin and has access to a restaurant and shared lounge and kitchen
Best vacation property rentals in Luberon 
  1. Sparkling Cobble – 1-bedroom rural home in Gordes with shared swimming pool 
  2. Ochre Orchard – 3-bedroom home styled in traditional Provencal white and grey is situated in the countryside near Roussillon 
  3. La Maison en Pierre – is a 4-bed, 4-bath home that sleeps up to 10 guests with private gardens, an outdoor pool, and dining in Oppede le Vieux village
Where we stayed in Luberon

We stayed in Maison Leontine, a gorgeous restored 2-bed, 2-bath home with outdoor dining and pool in a quiet, authentic village of Cabrieres d’Avignon. This lovely stone village that has been around since the 1100s makes for the perfect home base to explore the best villages in Luberon. I daydream of returning to gorgeous this villa again.

How Long to Stay in Luberon Region

Stay in Luberon for as long as possible! Kidding aside, if you can afford a week that will be enough time to see and do almost everything in this Guide. I’ve provided some itinerary  Itinerary options really depend on where you decide to make your home base. So 

Luberon Itinerary Options (based on proximity)
  • Gordes to Joucas (5km) to Roussillon (5km) to St Saturnin les Apt (10km) to Goult (18km)
  • Menerbes to Lacoste (7km) to Bonnieux (6km) to Boux (11km) to Saignon (7 km)
  • Bonnieux to Lourmarin (14km) to Cururon (8km) to Ansouis (5km)

What are the Best Day Trips from Luberon?

With Luberon being central in Provence, it’s well placed to venture beyond and see top cities. 

Outside of Luberon, here are the best day trips that are less than one hour:

  • Aix-en-Provence – is a beautiful lively Provençal city that is chockfull of pretty fountains and winding side streets 
  • Avignon – a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, this “capital” city of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region is full of history and architecture. A top thing to see in Avignon is Pont du Gard, an aqueduct built by the Romans over 2,000 years ago 
  • Venasque – designated as ‘The Most Beautiful Villages in France’ it lies just outside of Luberon and on your way to Mont Ventoux 

As a holidaymaker…

Traveling to Provence France is a bucket list destination that long lives in your heart. Hopefully, this guide will help make your itinerary planning a little easier and that you don’t miss any of those beautiful must-see Luberon villages found in the heart of Provence. 

lavender, fountain, village in Luberon in Provence
lavender fields with Abbey in Luberon villages in Provence

60 Comments

  • Dania

    The lavender fields are lovely! I would love to spend some time visiting the wineries in Luberon Villages.

  • Michelle

    Oh my gosh, these are picturesque. I love visiting small towns and villages in Europe, they make you feel as if you have stepped into a fairytale! Thanks for including the smaller and lesser known villages as well. I am adding them all to my list!

  • Noel Morata

    The Luberon area is what I think of when I dream of France and all the best of these smaller towns, cobbled streets and stone buildings with amazing markets, outdoor cafes and a simple lifestyle. The delicious food, fresh in season and celebrating the joy of simple, outdoors and being present, its all amazing.

  • Carolin

    Thank you for always taking me to new places and introducing me to them. I ca only repeat what previous commenters have said, the Luberon villages look magical. Gordes in particular stood out to me with its fortress atop a steep hill. Those sites always enchant me and if I wouldn’t know it was in France, I would have guessed Spain. How tourist-friendly are they in that area? Can I get away with very basic French?

  • Clarice

    Thank you for sharing this detailed post. Very helpful for first-time visitors like me. Will make sure to visit the hidden gem villages that you mentioned. I look forward to visiting St-Saturnin-les-Apt.

  • Pam

    What a beautiful region to visit. You’ve gone into such detail here that it’s definitely persuaded me to visit! There’s such a variety of things to do and see in the area – would love to visit the Lavender fields

  • Bhusha

    I’ve been considering a trip to Provence forever. I still haven’t found an economical way to visit Provence from my place. It is so very true that it is hard to not fall in love with the place. Luberon Villages are so charming. They remind me of such charming villages in Belgium that I’ve been to. Ansouis sounds super interesting with its history plus vineyards. I love these absolutely tiny villages like Buoux. There are many Michelin Star restaurants in Luberon? Wow!

  • Ossama Alnuwaiser

    I assume they do not know the depth of the natural spring since someone name Jacques Cousteau tried to measure it and failed. It is interesting to know about the largest spring in the world. You covered some amazing places and give ideas about the hidden gems in Luberon Villages. I enjoyed reading this article.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      It was actually Jacques Cousteau who tried and failed to measure the depth. Someone after him was able to do it. Quite a fascinating piece of history wouldn’t you say? Happy to hear you enjoyed reading the article.

  • Jackie

    This is everything I need to plan a magnifiscent trip to the Luberon villages of Provence! How wonderful to know that so many of the most beautiful places are within a short distance from eachother, too. I would especially love to visit the tiny town of Buoux , and also do some treasure hunting while in this region. No doubt, I would come home with a lovely painting as a souvenir to remember my experience. Of course, lavender and wine will be on the itinerary, too. I think Provence must be on everybody’s bucket list – with good reason! This narrows it down to the best destinations. 😀

  • Lasma

    Provence is one of the nicest areas in France and I really hope I can go back there soon! I loved reading about the Luberon area and seeing the 5 villages. love the colorful houses of Roussilon! it reminds me of an Italian town where I have been!
    Thanks for sharing this!

  • Indrani

    I was in Provence almost a decade back, it seems to have retained its charm even today! We did the day trip from Paris and regret not having stayed somewhere close by. You are right about seeing any many villages as possible there. Hiking around too would be a great experience. Wish I had the list of places to stay then!

  • Emma

    There’s not much I love more than French villages, and since I haven’t been to Provence yet I am all over this list. What great places, so pretty and charming and the fact there’s a market for every day of the week just sells this even more to me.

  • simplyjolayne

    My husband and I visited many of these villages in the Fall one year and fell in love with the area. We based ourselves in Aix-en-Provence and did a lot of driving. I think next time we would find an amazing little place to stay within the valley itself.

  • Umiko

    All the villages in Luberon are very beautiful. But Roussillon caught my attention with its bright colors. I also like the outdoor activities the areas offer to visitors. Hiking sounds wonderful!

  • Lisa Manderino

    Wow, This area of France looks incredible. It would be so fun to visit all the small towns in France!

  • Mayi

    I love small villages. Even though I was born and bred in France, I have not visited the Luberon region or Provence, for that matter. The region ticks all the boxes for me, some of the most beautiful villages in France, hilltop villages, kilometres after kilometres of lovely lavender and medieval villages. I am now adding the region on my list.

  • Ashlee Fechino

    I really enjoyed reading your article about Luberon – it is the ultimate guide! Thanks for sharing all the photos, places to hike and bike, where to stay, and more on visiting the famous lavender fields.

  • Agnes

    I have been to France several times, but not yet to Provence. It’s still on my top list. Luberon villages are on my bucket list as they are charming, pretty, full of history, beautiful stone architecture, and incredible views. I would love to take pictures of lavender. For sure I will visit all vineyards in Luberon mentioned by you! Your guide is very detailed and full of exciting tips.

  • Alice Ford

    how beautiful, and those lavendar fields wow. BRB while I go get a wine, baguette and block of cheese. Seriously inspired to take a trip to Provence right now.

  • Elyse

    This part of France looks so dreamy and I would love to explore it one year, thanks so much for sharing all this helpful info. Love the photos too

  • Kelly

    I’ve never been to France. The idea of Paris has never appealed to me, but Luberon sure does! I love smaller towns, wine and good food, so the Luberon area is perfect! Great post!

  • Barry

    I knew nothing about Luberon before and now I know loads. Such a pretty and rustic part of France, and your photos capture it well.
    I never knew that Fontaine de Vaucluse hosts the largest natural springs in the world. Such a unknown piece of info for me that should be on my list to go visit.
    I personally adore the smell of fresh lavender so would love to be passing fields of it wherever I travelled in the region.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      I’m so happy I was able to introduce you to this lovely part of France. If you love lavender, then you’ll have to go. The lovely fragrance is in the air especially when surrounded by fields of it.

  • Donna Emperador

    I love quaint little towns. While bigger cities are nice for the action, I find smaller places have more personality. Plus you get the chance to really get to know the people. I would love going to the small family run vineyards. My French is a bit rusty, so thanks for the tip about English not being widely spoken.

  • Lisa

    What a beautiful part of Provence to visit! I’ve never heard of Luberon but these small villages are what I love most. The tiny village of Buoux sounds wonderful and so charming. I’m sold on visiting.

  • Natascha

    I totally agree – Luberon is worth a longer visit. I have spent a few weeks climbing there – the rock is really amazing too. And after the climbing we explored the small villages and went for some wine tasting. I would love to go back one day.

  • Linda (LD Holland)

    We did a little travelling around Provence the last time we visited. But only made it to Gordes on your list of lovely villages to visit. We loved Gordes high on the hill and have fond memories of chocolate and wine. So we will definitely have to plan to see more of the Luberon Villages the next time we get to France. Each looks like it will offer an unique treat. I can see why some believe that Luberon has the most beautiful landscape in all of France.

  • Jeanine

    What a wonderful area to visit, I love the older villages they have so much charm and history…This looks like an area thaat needs to be placed on the DO list… thank you so much for the guide

  • Angela

    What a dream region! When I read this post I feel like taking an extended vacation and going to enjoy a place like this, with peace, beautiful scenery, quality food and cozy accommodation. Thank you for sharing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.