I feel really lucky to have been able to spend some time exploring Provence. I think it to be one of the most beautiful areas of France, if not the world. From tiny villages filled with mystery, to sophisticated settlements offering incredible backdrops while you sample the local produce, there is definitely a village for every taste. Here are my five favourite villages in Provence.
St Remy de Provence
One time home to Vincent Van Goph and Nostradamus, Sainte Remy de Provence is a beautiful example of a perfect Provencal village. Across pretty village squares and beneath arching trees colourful shops entice you in to discover locally made melt in the mouth products and beautiful scenes reveal themselves. The oldest part of the village lies within the circular main road that runs around and through the village.
Clinging to a Luberon hillside, above fields of vines, tiny Bonnieux is best visited on market day when the compact village comes alive with market stalls winding up the hill from the main roundabout. From the top of the hill photographers are rewarded with beautiful views over the village centre and rooftops. A bread museum exposes the significance to the French of their bread.
Much-photographed Gordes is a larger village that stands prominently on a tall hilltop. The sand-coloured houses and other buildings drip down the hillside randomly, creating a beautiful scene. The village centre boasts some lovely restaurants and interesting shops. Bars offer verandahs with incredible views across the local area. Popular Abbey Senanque, and its lavender field, is also nearby.
Nestled amongst the Cote d’Azur calanques, and just outside Marseille, Cassis is a very pretty little harbour overlooked by a castle and surrounded by cafes, restaurants and shops. The hillsides around Cassis are lined with olive trees and vineyards. There is plenty of beautiful Provencal produce available here.
|Moustieres Sainte Marie, Verdon, Provence, France|
Moustieres Sainte Marie
Of all the villages high up in the Alpes de Haute Provence region, Moustieres Sainte Marie is probably the most special on account of the tiny chapel perched high above the village, set into the limestone cliffs. A star hangs on a chain between the church and the nearby cliff-face which, according to legend, indicates that a knight held during the crusades, managed to return to the village. How the original star was hung remains a mystery.
In July and August the village is surrounded by lavender fields and the village is a favourite accommodation spot for those wanting to enjoy the nearby Gorges du Verdon.
Do you have a favourite village in Provence? If you’re not hell-bent on keeping it a secret, share your tips in the comments below!