5 villages you cannot miss in Provence, France

Welcome to Provence, the French fairytale comes true. One of the most beautiful regions of France is packed with fantastic food, picturesque hilltop villages, legendary wines, bustling markets and a balmy climate. In the very heart of Provence is the Luberon massif. Those three mountain ranges from east to west makes for the perfect summer destination.

Luberon is where you’ll find the most beautiful and picturesque villages, vineyards, ancient abbeys, lavender fields and hiking trails. Luberon is a rural, traditional region that still makes time for good things in life. It is the perfect region to enjoy a lay back way-of-life, with fine food and even finer wine. Nearly every village hosts its own weekly market, packed with stalls selling local specialties, especially olive oil, honey and fresh fruits, perfect for a picnic! Discover the 5 most beautiful villages in Luberon, Provence!

Provence, Luberon, Gordes, by Dancing the Earth

Gordes

One of the most beautiful villages of France, Gordes is one of those picture-perfect villages that you don’t want to miss on your trip to France. It actually has been voted by Travel + Leisure “most beautiful village in the world” in 2023!

It’s easy to see why as you drive on the winding hillside roads. You’ll see Gordes perched high up on the hill, 340 meters above the valley and overlooking the luscious landscapes of the Luberon. Each house is built into the hillside at different levels with a storybook charm.

In fact, its situation on the hill means that for hundreds of years, it’s been a place of refuge for those needing to escape wars and rebellions. It has a fascinating history, having suffered from the plague, earthquakes and bombings over the years. Yet, it managed to preserve its ancient charm.

I visited it first in 2018 during a weekend getaway in Provence and really loved it despite being a really hot afternoon. This time I chose to enjoy an early morning stroll, watching the town slowly waking up. Don’t miss the Church of Saint Firmin and the streets leading to it, they’re the prettiest.

Gordes Viewpoint

The most iconic photos of Gordes are taken from this viewpoint. Enjoy the sun getting up or down on the stone houses sitting on the edge of the hillside, looking down on the luscious green valley below.

At sunset, the viewpoint can get busy especially during the summer months. There’s also not a lot of parking around there so I’d recommend to come for sunrise.

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque

Just below Gordes is the Our Lady of Senanque Abbey, a stunning abbey built in the 13th century. This sublime medieval Cistercian abbey provides one of the most iconic shots of Luberon. Founded in 1148, the abbey is still home to small monastic community, which makes a living by producing honey, olive oil and allowing guided tours inside. From mid-June, the fields around bloom with lavender making for an even more magical setting.

The Abbey opens everyday from 9:30am (11am on Sundays) to 6:30pm and the guided tour is 8€ per adult / 4€ per children. Reservations are essential, as are conservative dress and respectful silence inside.

Provence Ultimate Itinerary, Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque lavender, by Dancing the Earth

Village des Bories

This small dry stones huts village dates back to the 17th century. Peasants from Gordes were making a living out of the land, extracting stones from the ground to make room for crops. They transformed those pile of stones into stone cabins, terraces, walls, enclosures etc mastering the stacking of stones. This is the perfect example of a temporary settlement, without a cemetary nor a church, which were used to double the size of permanent villages during seasonal agricultural work.

The Village des Bories opens everyday from 9am to 7pm and costs 8€ per adult / 4€ per children.

Roussillon

Called the “red town”, Roussillon is one of the most unusual and beautiful villages in Provence. The village sits next to a deep canyon, where they used to mine ochre. The inhabitants around used it to paint the facades in the village. Because of this, each home is a colorful ochre tone, spanning from terracotta oranges to dark reds. The beauty of all these colors is hard to beat, and it’s lovely to walk around the town, watching the walls change color as the sun moves across the sky.

The most iconic photography spot is the town hall. From there, you can go up towards the belfry and get a stunning panoramic view over the Luberon. Just down the pedestrian street next to the townhall is a beautifully painted garage door. Keep in mind that this is a private property so if you take any photos, do it respectfully.

Joucas

Out of the beaten path, Joucas is one of my favorite villages of Provence. Located between two of the most beautiful villages of France, Gordes and Roussillon, this peaceful village is the picture-perfect traditional and authentic Provencal village, far from the touristic ones. I love its cobblestones streets, called “Calades”, beautiful dry stone houses and stunning views over the Luberon. It’s a rather small village so you’ll be done exploring it in less than an hour.

Lacoste

Lacoste still looks much the same as it would have done when the scandalous Marquis de Sade lived there in the 18th century. The enchanting streets of the village really makes it one of the most beautiful villages of Provence. It’s a very quiet village and every street feels like stepping back in time!

Like all the villages of Provence, Lacoste is a hilltop village and the views from the top are just incredible. You’ll get the most beautiful views over the mindblowing landscapes of the Luberon from the Château de Lacoste, which now belongs to the designer Pierre Cardin. The panorama from the castle over the Luberon, the Mount Ventoux and the nearby villages is just breathtaking. The castle is mostly in ruins but the renovated part is open to the public in July & August.

Oppède-le-Vieux

One of the lesser-known yet nicest villages in Provence, Oppède-le-Vieux is straight out of a fairytale. Not to be confused with the more recent and less typical town of Oppède, Oppède-le-Vieux features tiny cottages, painted shutters and narrow lanes. The hilltop village is home to 15th-century stone houses, beautiful vineyards and amazing views of the lavender fields. The village is wonderfully well-preserved and authentic, it feels like stepping back in time. Hike up to the church and castle at the highest point of the village. You’ll find the most spectacular view of the gorge below.


Those are only my 5 favorites villages of the Luberon, Provence, but there’s plenty more to see! Bonnieux, l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Ménerbes, Lourmarin, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, etc. It’s impossible to see them all in a weekend so I highly recommend to take a week or so to explore the region. Especially if you also want to explore the famous lavender fields! But if you only have a weekend or a few days during your South of France trip, I suggest you to take a full day guided tour in some of the most beautiful villages of Luberon! Alternatively, this half-day Luberon guided tour will enable you to have a wonderful glimpse of this beautiful region. I hope this guide will be helpful for you to plan your next trip to Provence! As always, don’t hesitate to ask me anything, in the comments below or on Instagram!

With love,
Marina

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12 Comments

  1. Mohana Das
    8 June 2024 / 10 h 40 min

    How pretty! I love the soft terracotta pastel shades that dominate the palette. The architecture looks beautiful and there’s such an aura of romance around these villages.

    • Marina
      Author
      8 June 2024 / 14 h 43 min

      Yesss I have to say it’s a very romantic area!

  2. 8 June 2024 / 11 h 25 min

    as a professional dancer myself, I absolutely love the name of your blog and your pictures! Thanks for sharing, I have only visited the capital in France which I felt was overrated! this looks absolutely gorgeous and much more suited to my style of travel!

    • Marina
      Author
      8 June 2024 / 14 h 38 min

      Yesss you’d love it there!!!

  3. 8 June 2024 / 13 h 01 min

    I loved all of Provence. I visited a few of these towns, but you gave me ideas and inspiration for a few more!

    • Marina
      Author
      8 June 2024 / 14 h 38 min

      Provence is amazing with so much to see! I’m glad you liked this article, thank you!

  4. Terri
    8 June 2024 / 15 h 33 min

    The stone huts in the Borries village remind me so much of the ancient houses in Puglia. Lovely! I’d like to visit these towns.

  5. 8 June 2024 / 18 h 03 min

    Your photos are amazing. We plan to be here next spring so I am saving this post for planning. Thank you!

  6. 8 June 2024 / 19 h 04 min

    It has been far too long since our last visit to France. These small towns in Provence are lovely and would definitely be spots we would want to visit. I love Gordes with its viewpoint. And there are so many charming things to see just wandering on the cobblestone streets. We definitely should plan to visit one time when the lavender is in bloom!

  7. 8 June 2024 / 22 h 05 min

    Those villages look amazing! I would love to vosit all of them, but if I have to choose one it would be Opoede-le-Vieux. Thanks for detailed information and gorgeous pictures!

  8. Sonia
    8 June 2024 / 23 h 19 min

    Saving this for our next trip to France. It has been a while since we’ve spent time in France on vacation.

  9. 9 June 2024 / 10 h 34 min

    These are great suggestions, and beautiful photos. I am saving this for our next France trip – we often visit family near Toulouse, and though I really like Occitanie, These villages look super stunning and different in character, so we will try to visit one or two!

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