Provence is much more than Valensole, lavender and sunflowers! I’ll be sharing with you the prettiest villages in Provence, including Roussillon, Moustiers Sainte Marie, Gordes, Lourmarin and also the town of Aix-en-Provence. I had a list of about twenty different towns that I wanted to see during our time in Provence, but the distances are much longer when you are driving on tiny French roads. The villages don’t look so far away from each other, but the roads are quite narrow and among the hills and mountains. I have narrowed it down to my favourite villages. If like me, you have less than a week in Provence then these are the prettiest villages in Provence that you really must see.
I’ll also be telling you where to stay near each of the towns. We stayed in two different places during our time in Provence, to allow us to be closer to more inland Provence and then to be closer to the sea and the pink saltpans!
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1st of the Prettiest Villages in Provence: Roussillon
Roussillon is built on top of a large hill and has some incredible views from up top. This is one of the most ‘instagrammable’ villages in Provence. I actually saw a photo from here on Instagram and saw the orange buildings and added it to my itinerary. The orange colour comes from the Ochre deposits in the surrounding rocks. A lot of the buildings have an orange hue, which is really unique and lovely to see. The main town hall is the most beautiful building. It is a tiny little square between two buildings.
What to do in Roussillon?
Visit the Town Hall
This is the most instagrammable spot in Roussillon. This is just for the photo, but it is worth it. Try and come early as later on there are some signs put out at the front that will ruin your photo! It is a beautiful orange building with flowers all over.
Walk the Ochre Trail
There is a lovely walk, where for a few Euro you can walk through the bright orange rock. It is called the Sentiers des Ochres. There is one shorter trail and one longer trail. It is 3 Euro for an adult and the longer trail will take you an hour to complete.
Visit one of the many art galleries
Roussillon is full of amazing art galleries! Even wandering around aimlessly you can’t miss them. You might even be tempted to buy a piece of art! Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it is still lovely to have a look around.
When is the market day?
Market day is Thursday here! Usually until 12 or 1pm. Head here to buy some incredible French cheese.
Where to park in Roussillon?
There is a free parking right in the centre of town, but only for 45 minutes. We parked here to have lunch, and then hopped back into the car to park elsewhere after! 45 minutes definitely isn’t enough in this lovely village. There is another parking just outside of the village that costs a few Euro for the whole day and luckily also has some shade.
Where to stay in Roussillon?
Only 10-15 minutes drive from Roussillon, Coquillade Village is the perfect place to stay. It is a real treat, with the Olympic sized pool and the best breakfast I have ever had. The breakfast is 28 Euro but I have never seen such an incredible spread in all my life. Our room had a Jacuzzi, steam room/shower and the best beds I have ever slept in. I would definitely recommend staying here. The dinner was also incredible. Boyan had the steak one night and I had pasta and both were incredible.
Domaine de la Petit Isle
A bit further away but also has a lovely pool and comfortable rooms. This hotel is about 17km away from Roussillon.
Ibis budget apartment
This is perfect for those who wan to visit Provence without the Provence prices! They have standard rooms with a small bathroom, all for only 76 Euro per night for two people. It was the cheapest accommodation I could find in this area.
Read more: What to do in Roussillon
Most Instagrammable village in Provence: Moustiers Sainte Marie
This is another one of my absolute favourite towns in this area. Again, it is built into a rock. However, this time it is built into the side of the rock. Moustiers Saint Marie is a beautiful village full of small shops that are perfect for a photo before they open. There is also a stream that comes down from the mountain and creates a little waterfall. There is a small bridge that goes over this stream and connects the two parts of this village.
When is the market day?
Market day here is a Friday morning. Here you can buy all local produce such as honey and home made jams.
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Where to park in Moustiers Sainte Marie?
There are two car parks here. The one we parked in seemed to be free! Then there is another one as soon as you turn right once in the town. From here, you walk up past the town hall to start exploring the town.
Where to stay in Moustiers Sainte Marie?
La Bastide de Moustiers
A tranquil and beautiful hotel set amongst countryside and with a backdrop of the mountains behind. The food looks incredible and it has a lovely pool.
Le Jas du Colombier
This hotel looks absolutely incredible. Again here are stunning views of countryside all around and a fabulous pool.
Maison d’Hôtes à Angouire
With excellent views and comfortable rooms, this cheap and cheerful hotel looks like a lovely place to stop on your Provence trip!
The hilltop village of Gordes: One of the Prettiest Villages in Provence
This lovely village is very close by to Roussillon, so I would recommend seeing both in one day to avoid going down the same little roads twice. It is 340 metres above sea level, so of course has great views all around. From here you can see the famous Luberon Mountain. It is beautiful to walk around the cobbled streets and old stone houses.
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What to do in Gordes?
Visit the Chateau – Castle of Gordes
This used to be a medieval fortress. You can visit the exterior for free.
During lavender season, which is mainly in July, this abbey is surrounded by beautiful purple lavender. Even without the lavender, it is still a stunning old abbey to see.
When is market day in Gordes?
Head here on a Tuesday to have a shop around at the market.
Where to stay in Gordes?
Hotel les Bories and Spa
This hotel is perched on the side on the hill. It has the most incredible views. It also has both an indoor and outdoor pool.
Le Clos de Gordes
Le Clos de Gordes has incredible traditional stone buildings and some very funky interiors. There is a swimming pool, and as it is such a popular area for cycling, you can even hire a bicycle.
Gîte in Gordes
For 74 Euro a night you can rent a basic gîte in Gordes. All the basics included, it looks like a nice place to stay without the Provence price.
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4th Prettiest Village in Provence: Lourmarin
This is the last village on my list! Vineyards and olive trees surround Lourmarin and unlike all of the other towns, this one is not on a hill! It is much easier for accessibility. The parking is free! It is full of restaurants and cafes, so a perfect place to stop for a bite and a wander around. Lourmarin is really not very big so you don’t need that much time here.
What to do in Lourmarin?
Walk around the castle
There is a 15th century castle to visit after lunch and then you’ve seen it all.
Visit the market
On a Friday morning there is a market here selling local produce. It is mainly clothes and household items that have been hand made such as soap. Although there are also some food stalls.
Where to stay in Lourmarin?
Le Moulin de Lourmarin
This is an 18th century former oil mill. The rooms look absolutely incredible. You can walk to the Chateau de Lourmarin from Le Moulin de Lourmarin.
Villas de Luberon
This very chic loft is the ideal place to stay to explore Provence. It is a great apartment for a longer stay, where you can feel at home for a week.
Chalet Bastide Bellegue
This is the cutest little hut! It has everything you need as well as a pool and lovely outdoor seating to enjoy your breakfast in the morning.
And for the Prettiest Town?
This is one of the larger towns in the area. At first I was unimpressed, but then we finally drove into the parking for the old town. The old town area is really beautiful. Aix has tall crumbly houses and lovely little streets to wander through. It really doesn’t have the feel of a large town! It is a great place to stay as it has good connections with other areas of Provence. Being further south, you can even take a day trip to Marseille or Camargue from here.
Aix-en-Provence is full of lovely little shops and cafes. We went to a pancake café and had incredible pancakes; unfortunately I can’t remember the name. However, if you want good pancakes then Aix is the perfect place.
I hope you enjoyed my post on the prettiest villages in Provence!
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