Provence is home to some of the most charming villages in Europe. Think of narrow cobblestone alleys weaving through pastel color buildings, with quaint squares and ancient churches around the corner. Some of these villages sit atop hills, offering breathtaking panoramas of the mesmerizing vineyards and lavender fields below. Simply magical! While each village has its own unique charm, some definitely stand out. In this curated guide you’ll find out which are the most beautiful villages in Provence!
Please note the order the villages were listed below does not necessarily reflect our preference. I simply organized them according to our itinerary, and honestly think that all of them deserve a visit. They are the best villages to visit in Provence and you can take a look at our comprehensive travel guide to Provence if you want itinerary suggestions to plan a visit to them.
- 1) Aix en Provence
- 2) Les Baux-de-Provence
- 3) Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
- 4) L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
- 5) Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
- 6) Gordes
- 7) Goult
- 8) Oppède le Vieux
- 9) Ménerbes
- 10) Lacoste
- 11) Roussilon
- 12) Bonnieux
- 13) Saignon
- 14) Apt
- 15) Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt
- 16) Simiane-la-Rotonde
- 17) Lauris
- 18) Lourmarin
- 19) Cucuron
- 20) Ansouis
- 21) Valensole
- 22) Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
- Map of the most beautiful villages in Provence
1) Aix en Provence
Once the medieval capital of the region, Aix en Provence has evolved into a bustling hub with youthful energy. Describing it merely as a ‘village’ might be an understatement. Given it features an urban atmosphere, a thriving university, and a lively shopping and nightlife scene. Yet, amid its modern facets, Aix remains deeply rooted in its rich cultural and historical heritage. And maintains that quintessential romantic aura that has long defined Provence.
We spent a couple of nights in Aix en Provence and it was the best place to start our road-trip through Provence. We were very impressed by Aix’s stunning architecture and the myriad of cultural, artistic and gastronomical experiences it offers. The town truly is the best of both worlds and certainly a great home-base while exploring the region!
Best things to do in Aix en Provence
Check our Aix in Provence travel guide with best recommendations of hotels, things to do and restaurants.
While in Aix en Provence, stroll the cobbled streets of its historical center checking the Aix Cathedral, Fontaine de la Rotonde and Place Richelme. Go on a scavenger-hunt to find Aixs 1000 fountains. Also, take the time to visit the nearby vineyards Domaine Richeaume and Chateau Gassier and try delicious Provençal wines.
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2) Les Baux-de-Provence
Perched atop a rocky outcrop and surrounded by gorgeous landscapes of olive groves, vineyards and the Alpilles mountains, lies the village of Les Baux-de-Provence. Stepping into this town immediately transported us to medieval times, when the village ranked as one of the most powerful in Provence. It felt like the charming cobbled street stones and its rocky buildings are standing still in time. Including the 11th-century Château des Baux, which remains as imposing as it has been for centuries!
Best things to do in Les Baux de Provence
We loved wandering through the medieval cobbled streets exploring boutiques selling local products. Also visiting the 2 churches in town and checking the beautiful views from the village. That’s not to mention visiting the castle and the magnificent Carrières des Lumières, which is truly one of the best things to do in Provence!
Carrières des Lumières
Carrières des Lumières is an immersive art experience located, just a few minutes walking from the center of Les Baux. It is the most unique exhibition we’ve ever visited and is definitely a must-do in Provence. We were completely fascinated by the iconic paintings and artistic masterpieces being reflected into the walls of a massive limestone cavern, enveloped in a thrilling combination of lights, colors and sounds. And can’t recommend it enough.
You can purchase tickets in advance to Carrières des Lumières here. And don’t forget to bring a jacket, as it gets quite chilly inside the cave.
Saint Rémy de Provence was one of the biggest surprises of our trip. Initially planned as a brief overnight stop en route to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, we found ourselves captivated. So, we decided to spend the entire day after wandering its graceful streets and savoring the culinary delights from its exquisite restaurants. It ended up being one of our favorite villages in Provence.
Best things to do in Saint Rémy
While in Saint Rémy, wxplore the old town, specially the areas around Place Favier and Place de la Mairie. Indulge in delicious sea food at Gus restaurant or galettes at Lou Planet, while listening to French music played in the square. If you are traveling on Wednesday, visit the typical Provençal market.
L’Isle sur la Sorgue is known as the Venice of Provence and it is easy to understand why. Canals surround the old town area and the promenade by the crystal-clear waters of the Sorgue River is simply delightful. It can be explored in half a day, like we did. But, it is also a good idea to plan for a whole day there and take your time checking the charming boutiques. As well as having an slow meals at a restaurant by the water.
What to do in L’Isle sur la Sorge
Stroll through L’Isle sur la Sorgue charming cobblestone streets, where we came across many antique shops and beautiful squares. Pay close attention to Pl. de l’Église, where the gorgeous Notre Dame church is located, as well as the cute Cafe de France. We also enjoyed some downtime at a café by the water before heading to Gautier Municipal Park.
A unique village by the banks of Sorgue River boasting multiple waterfalls and the most charming atmosphere. Visiting the “Fontaine de Vaucluse,” which is one of the largest springs in the world, was one of the highlights of our trip. And so was having the opportunity to enjoy this magical town during evening and day time. By the way, I can’t recommend enough booking at least one night at the magnificent Hotel du Poéte, which has an amazing pool and the most romantic atmosphere!
What to do in Fontaine de Vaucluse
While visiting Fontaine de Vaucluse, you should have an unpretentious meal or drink at one of the cafes or restaurants by the water. We enjoyed the food and view at La Vanne Marel quite a lot. Then, head to explore the town center by foot, admiring it’s historical buildings including Church of Saint Véran and the surrounding cliffs. Visiting the Fontaine de Vaucluse natural springs is also a must. And on a hot day, why not to rent a canoe or kayak to paddle down the river and enjoy the beauty of the village and it’s natural surroundings?
Read our in depth Fontaine de Vaucluse Travel Guide here
Domaine des Peyres
15 minutes away from Fontaine de Vaucluse lies Domaine des Peyre, a super artsy professional vineyard. We visited the property for a tasting and really enjoyed their wine. The host was extremely knowledgeable and the ambiance immaculate. Tastings are free of cost and visitors can feel free to acquire wines or olive oils from the property, which are of really good quality and fairly-priced.
We loved strolling around the vineyard and appreciating the various art pieces spread across it the property. But what really struck us was the gorgeous infinity pool overlooking the vineyards and the comfortable villas available to visitors. It had me dreaming with coming back to spend some days at this exclusive property, check it yourself and let me know if it isn’t idyllic?
Gordes is an imposing village perched at a hilltop and unarguably one of the most unique sights in Provence. Its stone buildings are seemingly carved into the cliffs, giving the impression that village and nature are the same. It is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France and I must agree it deserve the title, as it is indeed a magical place. It’s the stuff European dreams are made of!
What to do in Gordes
The cobbled stone streets are organized in labyrinth shape and should be explored calmly. I recommend checking the many cute shops and visiting the main church in town. For those with a sweet tooth, Ladurée, renowned for its macarons, has a boutique here. It’s haven for lovers of French Pastry like myself. There’s also a couple of cellars to be visited in town, if you are interested. Once you have explored the historical center, head back to the road leading to the village and stop to admire the views over Gordes, which are unbelievably stunning. You will be close to Abbey of Sénanque, another major postcard from Provence.
Abbey of Sénanque
The Abbey of Sénanque was founded on the 10th century by a dozen of Cistercians and centuries later still operates as a religious site. It’s a gorgeous place surrounded by lavender fields and definitely deserves a visit. You can either visit the external area or do a self-guided tour of its interior if you book the tickets in advance.
Goult is a true hidden gems in Provence and one of our favorite villages. It’s romantic streets are filled with charming stone buildings and the views from the windmill are gorgeous. We absolutely loved strolling through its cobblestone streets and having the whole village basically for ourselves. Having lunch at a restaurant in the main square was really relaxing and it kept us dreaming of moving in there for good. Maybe one day?
8) Oppède le Vieux
We visited Oppède le Vieux during sunset and were greeted by an almost deserted village. While we couldn’t enjoy one of its famous cafés, we had a great time wandering around its extremely romantic streets and admiring the imposing “upper village” perched atop the hill. Then we headed up to check the 13th century church and castle, from where we watched a jaw-dropping sunset from the ruins. 2 hours were sufficient to enjoy the village and I must say they were some of the most delightful of the whole trip!
Ménerbes is often overlooked in conventional travel guides, but was a total surprise for us. Not only is an extremely charming village in Provence. But it also has the most beautiful views to the vineyards on one side and lavender fields on the other. It turned out to be one of the most enchanting village we’ve ever visited. And we definitely recommend paying it a visit – 2 hours are sufficient.
What to do in Ménerbes
Wander through the cobblestone streets and visit the cemetery and the nearby church. Take a look at the views on both sides, as they are quite distinct from each other and equally beautiful. It you visit between June andJuly, head to the bottom of the village to appreciate the beautiful lavender fields. It’s truly a view of a lifetime. Oh, Boulangerie Pâtisserie Lyse is close by and serves the most delicious macarons and French pastry!
Lacoste is a unique village perched on a hilltop and with the most stunning views to the nearby villages and lavender fields. It is extremely charming and surprisingly jovial, as the it serves as study-abroad base for Savannah College of Art and Design students. There are many creative installations spread across the village as a result of this collaboration, which makes it even more pleasant to stroll around town!
What to do in Lacoste
Learn more about Marques de Sade, who inspired the expression “sadism” and visit the castle owned by him. Check the amazing views of Pfriem Terrace, especially during lavender full bloom. If you are interested in modern art, pay a visit to the SCAD museum. If you’re visiting during summer, check the schedule for Lacoste Festival which features many great presentations.
Roussilon is one of a kind. It’s a village nestled in the heart of Luberon and renowned for its ochre cliffs and vibrant orange dusty colors. A place that stimulate your senses and offers the unique experience of visiting an ochre mining site. Definitely one of the most picturesque villages we visited in Provence and it is perfectly explored in 4 hours, considering a visit to the mines and a calm stroll through the romantic village.
Bonnieux is hilltop village in Luberon with the most beautiful views of Lacoste, lavender fields and Monts de Vaucluse. It’s an extremely charming town and a perfect place to wander through medieval cobblestone streets checking its art studios and fountains. The two churches, placed atop and at the base of the village, are also must-sees in Bonnieux and complement the beautiful views of the valley.
What to do in Bonnieux
Wander the streets in Bonnieux heading upwards to visit the gothic medieval church atop the village. On your way up, check Rue Droite, which is the oldest and most magical street in the village. Stop at La Terrazza di Bonnieux for a drink or meal with the most beautiful views. On the way down to Place Gambetta stop at Glacier Crêperie Le Tinel for delicious crépes and ice-creams. Then check the “new church” from 1870. Friday is the ideal day to visit, as that’s when the market happen in Bonnieux.
Saignon may have been our favorite village in Provence. It was there we found the most charming square with a mossy fountain in the center encircled by quintessential Provençal buildings and a welcoming café. When we thought it couldn’t get better, we fell in love with the cobble stone streets filled with cute shops and watched the best sunset in Provence. Saignon truly captured our hearts, and I can’t recommend it enough, even if it means taking a detour on your journey.
What to do in Saignon
Wandering the streets of this this small village is a bliss. Having no agenda is the best way of exploring Saignon. But make sure to check Atelier St Louis, where the most elegant and high-quality summer hats are hand made. As well as the Notre-Dame de Pitié, a church built in the 12th century. You can’t miss the main square where the most magical fountain is located. If time allows, stay for dinner at Un jardin sur le toit where you can watch a gorgeous sunset.
At first glance, Apt might not have impressed us due to its urban exterior and developed outskirts. But delving deeper into its historical center, meandering through its picturesque streets and squares, we found ourselves smitten with this ancient Roman town. Our affection only grew when we visited on a Saturday morning, catching the vibrant buzz of one of Provence’s liveliest markets. Suddenly, Apt became the place to be in Provence!
We also had the opportunity of joining the Lavender Festival in Apt. It was such a unique and great celebration and I shared all about it in this post. If you’re visiting during summer, make sure to plan your itinerary in a way you can also take part in the festival!
What to do in Apt
Browse the center of Apt and it’s many shops selling local products, including Apt’s main pride: the candied fruits and nuts. La Maison du Fruit Confit has a long tradition serving these delicacies and is a must visit. It’s worth checking St-Anne cathedral and the schedule for lavender fest, when the most popular French flower is celebrated in town.
We absolutely loved La Providence, the hotel we stayed for 3 nights. If you are looking for a gorgeous boutique-like hotel with fair prices, that’s the place to go.
Saint Saturnin lès Apt may be out of the way, but it’s certainly worth every second spent to get there. We were totally struck by this stunning town and couldn’t recommend it more. To our surprise, a wedding was going on in the main church during our visit to Saint Saturnin. We will never forget witnessing family and friends gathering at the church vicinities to celebrate the new weds. Also seeing them taking a grand tour around town in a vintage car. What a moment!
We shared this and other special moment on our Instagram. If you’re curious, head there and check our highlights. This was truly a dreamy moment in Provence!
What to do in Saint Saturnin lès Apt
Atop the hill where Sait Saturnin is located there is a castle which can be visited. On the way there you will find a suspended lake with beautiful views of Luberon, which makes the trip uphill even more attractive. In town, take a calm stroll, observing the gorgeous doorways and the charming alleys leading to the church.
Similane la Rotonde lies on a hill overlooking the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and a plateau with magnificent lavender fields. It has remained unchanged for centuries and is an epicenter for lavender production in Provence. Even though the surrounding fields had not bloomed yet in mid-July, we very much enjoyed strolling through the city and checking the magnificent views.
Lauris wasn’t in our initial plans, but since our kind hosts from Les Achantes recommended it so enthusiastically, we decided we had to check it out. What a surprise it was to explore this gorgeous medieval village flying completely under the mainstream radar. It ended up being one of our favorite villages in Provence. We just loved strolling trough the castles gardens from the 18th century and visiting the garden of dyeing plants. Considering it’s less than 10 minutes away from Lourmarin, it should be a no brainer to pop by and explore for yourself.
Loumarin is hand down one of the prettiest village in Provence. It exudes a very elegant and atmosphere, which is complemented by trendy shops and charming restaurants. We spent some hours calmly wandering its streets, shopping at the local market and sipping wine at Le Tonneau, a highly recommended wine bar.
What to do in Lourmarin
Visit Château de Lourmarin, a 16th century castle nestled in the heart of the village. If possible, visit Lourmarin on Fridays, as this is when one of the most regarded provençal markets take place in the village. Enjoy the opportunity to indulge in delicious local products!
Cucuron is perhaps the biggest hidden gem in Provence. I simply cannot understand why this village is not featured in all travel guides, as it is absolutely stunning. A gorgeous pond surrounded by imposing trees is what we first saw when arriving in town. Multiple charming restaurants, including Michelin-starred La Petite Maiso, encircle this pond and makes it for a perfect place to chill and people watch. The rest of the village is easily discoverable by foot and you cannot miss visiting Notre-Dame de Beaulieu where a whittled-down poplar tree leans over every summer.
Ansouis is renowned for it’s striking castle overlooking the village and surrounding vineyard fields. It was a lovely place to visit, but I wouldn’t recommend spending more than a couple of hours there. We very much enjoyed visiting Château Grand Callamand, a close-by vineyard for some wine tasting. The property is just gorgeous and available for weddings and parties – it may be the perfect place to visit if you are looking for french wedding inspo.
Valensole is the most visited town in the Valensole plateau, which is where the most jaw-dropping lavender fields of Provence are located. The town itself is really cute and has some nice shops and restaurants, but the real focus are the surrounding fields. In the nearby town Manosque you can visit the L’Occitane fabric and I would recommend staying for a couple of nights to fully enjoy the area and it’s striking nature.
Check our curated guide on the best lavender fields in Provence
How to even begin explaining the magic of Moustiers Saint Marie, an idyllic village nestled in the imposing limestone cliffs of the Verdon Park? Waterfalls flow through the city and the pedestrian cobblestone streets have the most romantic atmosphere. It’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places we’ve visited and is an absolute must while in Provence.
What to do in Moustiers Saint Marie
Visit the Notre Dame de Beauvoir Chapel, which can be reached by climbing an ancient stairway up the hill. Take a moment to observe the Star of Moustiers, which hangs above the church and is a symbol of the village. Then wander through the romantic cobblestone villages, appreciating the gorgeous pastel color buildings and the waterfalls flowing in the middle of this town. In the city center, check the Church of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption and sit at one of the charming cafés or restaurant to people watch and enjoy the village’s calm atmosphere.
Map of the most beautiful villages in Provence
I recommend you get our Provence personalized map if you’d like to get all of these locations and many more seamlessly integrated to your Google Maps. Our exclusive Provence map features 236 pins, including most beautiful villages (beyond what’s described in the post), 50+ lavender fields, wineries, restaurants and more. It’s the most efficient and reliable way of planning a trip to Provence!
I hope these tips were useful to you. If you’re planning a trip to Provence, make sure to check other exclusive travel guides about Provence by clicking here. And if you have a question or an additional tip to fellow travelers, please leave a comment below!