A stay in Provence, a taste of the good life par excellence: frarant with lavender and garrigue, cicadas singing, sun-kissed cuisine... and beautiful villages that will leave you speechless. Here is our selection of the most beautiful villages of Provence, classified with 3 and 2 stars in the Michelin Green Guide.
Les Baux-de-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône)
Perched high on its eagle’s nest, Les Baux-de-Provence is a marvelous fortified village with an unassailable air... despite the endless hordes of tourists who invade in fine weather, storming its narrow cobbled streets and taking over the castle remains. To enjoy the charm of this corner of paradise, situated at the gateway of Val d’Enfer, it’s best to visit during spring or autumn, when the old buildings regain their peace, content and with total peace of mind with past glories.
Don’t miss: the château des Baux-de-Provence, demolished in 1632 by order of Richelieu, is interesting for its remains: the citadel ruins, the towers, a castral chapel (12th to 16th century) and its keep which opens out onto a magnificent view.
As red as the earth that surrounds it, as red as its name… With its narrow lanes, sometimes stepped, its crammed houses with their ochre-painted facades that compete in colour and harmony, the views that unecpectedly appear, it’s a chance to escape. The village of Roussillon contuinually charms, particularly at dusk when the grazing rays of the sun illuminate the facades, revealing a nuanced palette of colour, from yellows to reds.
Don’t miss: the Sentier des Ocres, two trails designed to reveal the amazing landscapes formed by ancient quarries where man and natural erosion have carved fairy chimneys above the famous Chaussée des Géants.
This ampitheatre-like village seems almost blessed by the gods and its ancient terraced houses resemble a Provencal crib against a background of blue sky. In the heart of the Verdon Natural Regional Park, and very close to the Lake of Sainte-Croix, it’s famous not only for the exceptional Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, but also for three centuries of its locally produced fine milk-white pottery.
Don’t miss: the Faïence museum, where you can view moulds, period tools and, of course, the work of the great faïenciers of Moustiers.
©iStock Roberto Lo Savio/iStock
La Grave (Hautes-Alpes)
Nestled in the valley of the upper Romanche Valley, in the heart of the massif des Écrins, La Grave looks across to the legendary la Meije, mountain, famous for its daunting ridges. This friendly mountain commune, which retains its traditional housing, attracts mountaineering and ski enthusiasts, as well as ordinary visitors, enthralled by the spectacular scenery that the high mountains offer.
Don’t miss: the cable car ride from Glacier de la Meije to enjoy the unforgettable views.
Whenever an enemy threatened his borders, Louis XIV would rely heavily on the Marquis de Vauban, with his strong experience in the field of poliorcetics. The talented miltary engineer would provide a committed response to the call of his leader, adapting his strategies to the most difficult terrains. Such was the case with Mont-Dauphin, where marvelous, well-reserved pink marble buildings crown a vast promontory. The view of the entire Guillestrois is genuinely regal!
Don’t miss: a guided tour of the fortified town of Mont-Dauphin.
Reach for the skies! You will have to climb to an altitude of 2,040m to explore the chalets of Saint-Véran, entirely built of wood and stone, and the incredible charm of Europe’s highest commune.
Don’t miss: the Soum Museum, a house dating back to 1641, miraculously saved from fire, and now the oldest in the village with architecture that characterises the typical upper Queyras home.