3 of the most beautiful villages in Provence

Written by on February 16, 2018 in Provence-Alpes, Tours in France

We look at some of the most beautiful villages in Provence – in a region known for its extraordinary charm, these three stand out…

Gordes – the heart of Provence

If there is one place on the bucket list of most visitors to Provence, it has to be Gordes. It’s almost like going to Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tour, it is the iconic Provencal village. The best way for your first experience of Gordes is from afar at the lookout point. Once you are in the village, your perspective is completely different, and you simply can’t appreciate the grandeur upon which you stand.

Exploring the nooks and crannies and hidden secrets of this picturesque hill top town will enchant you. Cobblestone streets, a majestic 16th century chateau and mellow, yellow stoned houses make this the town the poster boy for Provence. Don’t just take it from me, Gordes is a Plus Beaux Villlage, officially one of the most beautiful villages in Provence.

Take time to view the lower fountain where 400 shoemakers worked until the 19th century, when an earthquake deviated the underground water sources and ruined their businesses. Go underground and discover the Caves of Saint Firmin where dedication and hard work by a local family unveiled silos, vats and an olive mill – 7 floors under the main house!

The environs of Gordes are truly marvellous, such as the Cistercian architecture of the Abbey de Senanque where the monks make lavender from the fields that surround it. Relax in the dry-stone huts known as bories that pepper the landscape and offer respite from the sun for those who choose to hike one of the many glorious trails.

Menerbes – the “floating” village

Allow yourself time to be swept away by the quiet beauty of Menerbes. Like Gordes, on the other side of the Luberon valley, Menerbes is also officially one of the most beautiful villages in Provence, but you’ll discover a very different kind of soul. The legacy of the famous artists who settled in the village – Picasso, Dora Maar, Nicolas de Stël, Jane Eakin and Joe Downing to name a few – have left their mark. Not to mention the late, great Peter Mayle who lived there and featured the town in many of his novels.

As you walk the cobblestone and narrow lanes passing houses from the 15th, 17th and 18th centuries, you won’t be distracted by postcards and lavender sachets for sale. The mass of tourists tend to stay in Gordes and Roussillon so Menerbes is an ideal spot for lunch and a peaceful stroll through a typical Provencal village. There are two bakeries in the village and a general store. Just enough to pick up some snacks for a light lunch you can enjoy perched on a bench in the shade at the top of the village in front of the 16th century church Saint Luc.

Venasque – one of the most beautiful villages in France

Venasque often seems to be overlooked by visitors to Provence. Perhaps it’s because of its location, perched high on a steep ridge and tucked away on the other side of the canyon from its rival gorgeous Gordes. The unique treasures in this tiny village set up high on a crag, where it almost feels as if you’re on a ship that has set-sail, are endless. Perhaps your favourite will be the “Place de la Fontaine” where you can marvel at the beautiful fountain with its cast iron masks spewing water. It’s amazing to think that villagers still fetched water from here until 1960, when finally running water reached the village homes!

Or your highlight might be the story behind a painting in the church that the village had to fight to get back from the Louvre. The 6th-century baptistery and the “capital of cherries” are two more reasons why Venasque is a top place to visit in Provence. It also qualifies for the label of one of the most beautiful villages in Provence.

Emily Durand is a local tour guide who runs tours taking in the most beautiful villages, authentic experiences, fabulous restaurants and vineyards – in short her Your Private Provence tours are an entry to Provencal paradise…

Related Articles

Why Montgènevre offers some of the best skiing in the French Alps

If you’re looking for a ski experience with lots of different runs, plenty of snow, fabulous view and a lot of fun, Montgenevre might be just perfect. In the French Cottian Alps, Haute-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, it’s not well known and that gives is extra charm. Maybe you’ve skied the ‘Big’Uns’: The Three Valleys, Tignes/Val d’Isère, […]

Continue Reading

Why do an Immersion course in France?

Do you speak a little French but want to learn how to speak with a real French accent and increase your knowledge of both the language and France whilst having a brilliant time? Or perhaps you’re a beginner and you would love to start your journey of learning French in a fun and authentic atmosphere. […]

Continue Reading

Small group gourmet and cultural tour of Provence

Experience the very best of Provence, from the flavors of this beautiful southern French area, it’s wines and food specialities, to the culture of its postcard pretty towns, elegant cities and stunning landscape. Join a small group tour (maximum of 6 guests) with Martine Bertin-Peterson of Goût et Voyage for a culinary vacation you’ll remember […]

Continue Reading

A spectacular and festive Christmas markets tour of Alsace

Join the most joyful, festive, fabulous and fun tour of Alsace at Christmas, gourmet dining, gorgeous chateaux, divine wines and the best markets! This is a tour that takes you to the festive land of Noël and Christmas in Alsace, northeast France. You’ll discover towns that look like fairy tales come to life, magical Christmas […]

Continue Reading

Fully catered luxury tandem bike holidays in France

Discover beautiful, gastronomic south west France on a bicycle made for two… Cycling in France is massively popular and that’s no surprise, in the land of the Tour de France, where roads are less populated and the scenery from a saddle is second to none, riding your bike is an absolutely joy. For 2019, there’s a […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top