Provence boasts some of the most picturesque villages in France, if not all of Europe. From cozy stone houses with terracotta rooftops to astounding castle ruins atop rocky outcrops, the South of France has it all. Often outshone by the famous cities in the area, these lesser-known villages make amazing holiday destinations for every visitor. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil village among fields of lavender for a relaxing holiday, or a seaside village with beautiful beaches and amazing seafood restaurants, you’ll find them in Provence!
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite villages in the area that all have something special to offer. Without further ado, here are our top 10 villages to visit in Provence:
West of Avignon and north of Nîmes, the town of Uzès boasts a different, but just as spectacular kind of architecture. The town is filled with beautifully preserved Renaissance towers and houses, coupled with narrow, winding streets that give Uzès a distinctly medieval feel. The village has about 8,000 inhabitants, and a rich history dating back to Roman times. It’s famous for the Roman aqueduct that supplied water to the city of Nîmes. The most famous part of this aqueduct is the Pont du Gard, which is only a 14-kilometer (9 miles) drive from the town of Uzès. In the town itself, visitors can enjoy the medieval center, the Duché Palace, and the well-known Saturday farmers market.
Uzès also provides a charming base to explore the rest of the region. For example, if you choose to stay in this cozy studio apartment in Uzès you can enjoy the small-town vibe of the village and be in close proximity to many of the great attractions in the region, such as the Pont du Gard, the Papal Palace of Avignon, and the Roman Ruins of Nîmes. Have a look at our other vacation rental apartments in Provence if you’re considering staying in another Provence town or city.
3. Vaison la Romaine
Vaison la Romaine is another town with amazing Roman vestiges. Located north of Avignon, the town contains some of the most important Roman heritage sites in the country: the Villasse archeological site, featuring the ruins of Roman homes and baths, and the Puymin hill, where you can see remains of Roman public buildings. Also worth seeing is the ancient Roman bridge across the river Ouvèze. Furthermore, Vaison la Romaine features sun-filled squares and beautiful fountains. The small town only has about 7,000 inhabitants, but boasts many great restaurants and cafes where you can taste exquisite Southern French cuisine. Alternatively, you can also try cooking a local dish with ingredients from the market at home in your own apartment. Check Provence’s Food Culture & Southern French Cuisine for inspiration!
5. Les Baux de Provence
Seillans is the easternmost village of this list, and is located west of Cannes on a beautiful hillside overlooking a valley. The picturesque medieval center of this town is so steep that it is only accessible on foot, but it is worth the climb. The narrow winding streets of the center give way to several beautiful sun-filled squares where you can enjoy the temperate Mediterranean climate. The village has about 2,500 inhabitants, and also boasts a castle, chapel and several gorgeous tall houses. The landscape surrounding Seillans is filled with olive groves and vineyards, which make for great day trips.
7. L’Isle sur la Sorgue
8. Saint Rémy de Provence
Saint Rémy de Provence is one of the most famous villages in the region, and is located south of Avignon and just north of the Alpilles mountain range. The village has about 10,000 inhabitants, and it is best known for being the birthplace of Nostradamus and the home of Vincent van Gogh during an important period in his life. While he stayed in the asylum of the village’s monastery, van Gogh painted one of his most famous paintings, The Starry Night. Besides the monastery, the town features a beautiful historic city center and the wonderful ancient Roman site Glanum. Here you can marvel at the oldest Triumphal Arch in France. To read more about the town, check out Visit Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in just 48 hours!
Porquerolles is different from the other villages on this list, as it’s located on and island! The island Porquerolles can be found just off the Mediterranean coast between Marseille and Cannes. Nature on the island has been beautifully preserved, and as a result you’ll find plenty of secluded beaches with white sand and strikingly blue water, as well as a maritime pine forest! The island only has about 200 inhabitants, and the small village features a lovely port and some great seafood restaurants and cafes. This is a place to relax on the beach, hike along the coast and mostly just enjoy the best that Mediterranean life has to offer. For more amazing beaches in the area, check out our Top 10 Beaches in the South of France.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our top 10 villages to visit in Provence! Have you ever visited the South of France?