We used to go in Provence every summer for holidays -until my parents decided to stop dreaming and start living their dream. They moved in Provence twenty years ago. Yes, this magnificent region of France is where I grew up. You can imagine how happy I am to come back home every year -this is quite a contrast with Hong Kong's hustle and bustle!
[This post has been written to be read with a glass of rosé on your hand, in preference a Côtes du Ventoux -enjoy!]
Fancy a road trip in Europe? Why not taking the scenic roads of Provence and go village hopping? The region boasts some of the most picturesque villages in France, if not all Europe. From cozy stone houses with terracotta terraces to astounding castle ruins, Provence has it all. If you avoid the tourist season (mid June to end of August), you will have the best time getting lost in the villages, meeting the locals, wandering in the markets and enjoying Provence's relaxed lifestyle. Ready to hit the road?
10 of The most beautiful villages in Provence
With its warm climate, glittering seas, sophisticated villages, local markets and mountainous countryside, Provence will enchant you at the first sight. Actually, there is so much to explore it can be hard to prepare an itinerary and to choose where to go. Let me tell you about 10 charming villages of Provence I particularly love...
01. L'ISLE SUR La SORGUEs, the idyllic village
If you're looking for a place where to fall in love, this is it. For a romantic night, book a table on the pond at Les Terrasses du Bassin. And if you are here on the first Sunday of August, don't miss the beautiful floating market on the emerald-green waters of the river. Not only you will find some delicious local products, but you'll also discover some of Provence's old traditions, including costumes and music -it's a real celebration in l'Isle sur La Sorgues!
02. LES BAUX DE PROVENCE, THE PERCHED VILLAGE
No wonder why Les Baux de Provence has been named one of the most beautiful villages in France. Perched in the heart of the Alpilles on a rocky plateau, Les Baux offers an exceptional panorama of the verdant green countryside. This former village holds some beautiful fortress ruins that looks like something out of a fairytale. Don't miss the visit of the Carrières de Lumières. It's a grandiose limestone site transformed on a exhibition hall that hosts extraordinary multimedia shows which are very unique.
03. LE VILLAGE DES BORIES, the cutest village IN GORDES
Classified as a historic monument, Les Bories is now a beautiful open air museum where it feels good getting lost. This tiny village consists of several bories, which are basically dry stone huts -constructed without the use of mortar. If you can find bories throughout the region, this village is very unique, has it has a large cluster of buildings remaining. Great to explore with kids!
04. SÉGURET, The charming village nestled in the mountains
Situated at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains, Séguret offers the most stunning view across the vineyard landscape. Its beautiful cobbled streets and rough stone walls will ravish the photographers. Don't miss the scenic hike to the castle on top of the hill, you'll get rewarded on the top with great views.
05. VAISON LA ROMAINE, the MEDIEVAL VILLAGE
The small village of Vaison la Romaine contains some of the most important roman heritage sites in France. With its cobblestone streets and old stone houses, sun-filled squares, beautiful fountains and great cafés, it has that charming atmosphere you can only find in Provence...
06. Roussillon, the colorful village
The hill town of Roussillon sits atop the world's largest ochre deposit. The ochre gives the earth and the houses their unique rose colored beauty. Strolling to the south end of town provides a breathtaking view of the ochre canyon -the hike through the dusty orange/red canyon is breathtaking, you can't miss it.
07. Suzette, The tiny village in the midst of vines
A tiny jewel perched in the mountains countryside between the vine terraces, Suzette is one enchanting village. The restaurant Les Coquelicots (Poppies) offers spectacular views of the jagged Dentelles de Montmirail -it's a perfect spot for a glass of Beaumes de Venise or a Provençale lunch/dinner.
08. Sault, the Lavender village
Looking for the best place to admire lavender fields? You got it! During the season, you can expect stunning views over the lavender. The village iself is utterly isolated, and remains pretty much untouched by tourism. And not only Sault village is lovely, but the road to get there is absolutely beautiful...
09. VENASQUE, THE QUAINT VILLAGE IN THE HILL
If you want to know what la douceur de vivre means, come to Venasque. Tiny picturesque village perched on a hill, Venasque is the kind of small village where you'd dream to live. It's very small and compact with a few shops, restaurants and hotels, lots of flowers everywhere, friendly locals who seems to all know each others... A village where time has stopped.
10. Gigondas, the village for hikers and/or wine lovers
Gigondas... you might have heard that name somewhere... and it's probably because of its famous wine! Gigondas is also a great place for hikers, as there are many beautiful trails starting there. And if you're a trail runner, I highly recommend to sign up for La Traversée des Dentelles, a 10 or 21K race across some of the most gorgeous landscape in Provence.
Some of these villages are some of the most visited tourist sites in France, so you know the rule to avoid the crowds... Go off season and wake up early in the morning... You will take a nap in the afternoon anyway!
Have you been in Provence? What do you think are the most beautiful villages in Provence? Inspire me for my next trip back home!