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Most Beautiful Villages in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur background image

Most Beautiful Villages in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Provence conjures images of dazzling azure skies, ordered olive groves bathed in sunshine and stone cottages with painted shutters. Inland, it’s a place that promises to realise dreams of a relaxed lifestyle, while the glamorous coast draws the stylish and well-heeled in their dozens. The beaches of the Côte d’Azur are nothing short of legendary, their sweeping sands sloping gently into the cool Mediterranean, where tanned figures sip Champagne on yachts.

Points of interest: Saint-Tropez | Monaco | Menton | Verdon Gorge | Avignon | The Provençal Colorado | MUCEM, Marseille | Luberon villages | Sénanque Abbey | Arles | Aix-en-Provence | Nice | Cannes | Palais Bulles | Pont du Gard | Châteauneuf-du-Pape | L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue | Cassis | Mercantour National Park

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Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Public Domain


Dubbed ‘Étoile de Provence’, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie sits perched on the cliffside at what is the start of the Alps and end of Haute-Provence’s rolling pastures. It is known for its faience earthenware. The layout of the village looks rather like a nativity scene with a large gold star hanging above. Be sure to visit the magnificent, listed parish church with its Lombard bell tower and the Notre-Dame de Beauvoir chapel which can be reached by climbing 262 steps carved out of the rock.


By MOSSOT - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Coaraze [📸 MOSSOT]


Nicknamed ‘village of the sun’, Coaraze is perched on a rocky outcrop just half an hour from the bustling city of Nice. For a period of 4 years from 1744 to 1748, the village was under Spanish administration. Stroll through its winding cobbled streets, through arched covered passages and past houses painted in Italian pastels.

By Alberto Fernandez Fernandez, CC BY 2.5
Gourdon [📸 Alberto Fernandez]


Teetering on a rock edge with a remarkable panorama of the magnificent Med, the fortified village of Gourdon is famed locally for its glass art, perfumes and soaps, honey, nougat and gingerbread. Its elevated position has meant it has served as a stronghold many times in the past. Climb “Chemin du Paradis” for incredible views at the end.

By Patrick Rouzet - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Sainte-Agnès [📸 Patrick Rouzet]


Europe’s highest seaside village, Sainte-Angés sits high above the coast on a rocky outcrop some 780m above sea level with tremendous views over the Mediterranean. The village has managed to escape hosting too many tourists, largely down to its challenging access route. Its cobbled streets and vaulted passages lead to sights such as the castle ruins and WW2 concrete bunker with a substantial underground tunnel network.

Bouches du Rhône

By BlueBreezeWiki - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Les Baux-de-Provence [📸 BlueBreezeWiki]

Les Baux-de-Provence

The idyllic hilltop village of Les Baux-de-Provence is perched atop a ridge about 15km northeast of Arles. A simply gorgeous example of a Provençal citadel complete with 11th century castle ruins, a stunning château, 16th and 17th century churches, chapels, local produce stores, cafes and honey-coloured stone mansions lining its sun-kissed streets. Because of its dazzling setting and spectacular architectural, historical and cultural heritage it draws flocks of day-trippers so its best to visit in the late afternoon or evening.


La Grave-la-Meije [📸 Oisans Tourisme]
La Grave-la-Meije [📸 Oisans Tourisme]

La Grave-la-Meije

Le Grave lies at the foot of the Col du Lautaret, facing the majestic glaciers of the north side of La Meije. Its volcanic stone houses with typical wooden features are painted against a breathtaking, mountainous backdrop. The village is known mainly as a ski resort among the more adventurous skiers although it has avoided becoming a tourist trap.

By OT Queyras - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Saint-Véran [📸 OT Queyras]


At 2042m above sea level, Saint-Véran is one of the highest vilages in Europe. It lies within the Queyras Regional Nature Park and enjoys a unique natural position. Its picturesque part stone, part timber chalets line the streets and you will discover rare wooden fountains, a listed church and an old fire engine.


By MOSSOT - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Bargème [📸 MOSSOT]


Sitting on a rocky hill overlooking the valley below is the 12th century village of Bargème. It is the highest village in the Var: perched at a height of 1,097m its authentic and peaceful atmosphere is home to a Romanesque church and the ruins of the feudal castle.

By Logret de Carlin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Gassin [📸 Logret de Carlin]


Sat atop a craggy promontory, the medieval Gassin looks out over St-Tropez bay and Maures forests. Occupied since the Neolithic period, it wasn’t until the development of nearby seaside resort towns and the construction of a railway that the village saw steady streams of tourists and was recognised for its provenНal beauty.

Seillans [📸]
Seillans [📸]


This medieval hilltop village perched between the southern Alps and the Esterel offers a variety of cultural and historical pursuits. Tourists are lured by its charming buildings and scenery combined with its sunny and warm climate. Every August the village hosts the International Musique-Cordiale festival celebrating classical, choral and jazz music. The village appealed to Max Ernst who moved there in the early 1970s.

By Pierre Bona - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Tourtour [📸 Pierre Bona]


Tourtour is a beautiful amber-stoned village stretching out across a promontory with stunning panoramic views across the Massif des Maures, Sainte-Baume and Sainte-Victorire and Mont Ventoux in the distance. A stroll through its cobbled lanes will reveal is medieval history.


Ansouis [📸]
Ansouis [📸]


A part fortified village topped with a listed castle, Ansouis has changed very little over the centuries. Its pretty 15th-17th century houses have been meticulously restored and the remains of the ancient walls, the belfry tower and pretty fountains make for a leisurely stroll.



Perhaps one of the most well known of all the Provence hilltop villages, Gordes rises up among the valleys of the Luberon and is topped with a Renaissance style castle which is a major tourist attraction. Every Tuesday morning, the village hosts its weekly market. Its stone-paved streets are lined with merchants selling their wares including food, clothing, Provençal dishes, decorations and handicrafts.

Lourmarin [📸]
Lourmarin [📸]


Nestling amongst vineyards, olive groves and almond trees sits the lively village of Lourmarin. Late British writer Peter Mayle (A Year in Provence) lived in Lourmarin as have many other writers who chose the village because of its unspoilt location. The road leading to its castle is lined with fountains, pretty provenНal houses and little gift shops.

By François de Dijon - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Ménerbes [📸 François de Dijon]


A maze of cobbled alleyways and authentically rustic buildings, the hilltop Ménerbes is best known for its links with A Year in Provence writer Peter Mayle who recounted his tales of renovating a farmhouse just outside of the village. Picasso and Franco-Russian artist Nicolas de Staël both owned houses in the village. Be sure to visit the quirky corkscrew museum where more than 1000 different varieties of the essential tool are on display!

By Vid Pogacnik - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Roussillon [📸 Vid Pogacnik]


Situated within the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon on an ochre ridge, Roussillon really is a provençal artists’ palette. Its buildings all conform to a colour palette of rich reds, deep oranges and earthy pinks that blend in with its magnificent natural surroundings. The village sits in the heart of the world’s largest ochre deposit which was intensely mined in the 18th century for its pigments to be used in the textile industry. Irish writer Samuel Beckett went into hiding from the Germans in the village between 1942 and 1945. During that time he wrote his novel Watt.

Séguret [📸 Vaucluse Tourisme en Provence]
Séguret [📸 Vaucluse Tourisme en Provence]


Medieval Séguret clings to a hillside above undulating vineyards. Its streets are narrow, cobbled and lined with flowering vines. A good base for hikers and cyclists, and lovers of peaceful countryside, you can gently wander its alleyways and discover its past.

By Jacques Le Letty - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Venasque [📸 Jacques Le Letty]


At the foot of Mont Ventoux, teetering on a rocky spur, rests Venasque. Its twisting streets and archaic buildings are weathered by centuries of harsh winds. To trace back its long history, visit the three main buildings: the walls, the Notre-Dame church and the 11th century baptistery.

Campsites in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

La Bergerie is a quiet, family owned site, situated in the hills about 3km from Vence and Saint Paul de Vence. 10km from the sea...

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This quiet, pretty site is a few kilometres inland from the coast, 2 km. north of the DN7. Close to the unusual Roquebrune rock, it...

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Camping Sandaya Rivièra d’Azur is an excellent site near the Côte d’Azur that will take you away from the Mediterranean coast's bustle. Spread out over...

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Sandaya Douce Quiétude is just a 10-minute drive from the sandy beaches at Saint Raphaël and Agay (with campsite shuttle transport) but is quietly situated...

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Camping la Camassade is a beautiful rural site set on a hillside in Provence, just 10 minutes drive from the medieval village of Tourrettes-Sur Loup...

This family run campsite is only two kilometres from the stunning, ancient hill village of Gordes. The roads around the hillside campsite are stony and...

A warm welcome awaits visitors to the peaceful and rustic setting of Camping les Fontaines. It is a small, family run site set in three...

Les Pinèdes is set in a pine forest on a hill above the town of Pertuis. It is in the Parc Naturel du Luberon, in...

Camping de la Meije has a superb setting surrounded by majestic mountains. It is an ideal site for couples and families who are looking for...

Alpes Dauphiné is situated at an altitude of 800 m. on a south-facing slope in the Hautes-Alpes, close to the interesting regional centre of Gap...