Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Most Beautiful Hilltop Villages in Luberon, Provence30/05/2023
Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
The Luberon region is one of the must places to visit in Provence. It is 70 km north of Marseille and includes parts of the Vaucluse and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments. This is an area of extreme landscapes, as well as picturesque hill towns that guard sleepy valleys and vineyards.
The hilltop villages of the Luberon are steeped in history: some of them date back to the Middle Ages and the Roman Empire! Each of these Luberon villages is uniquely different, but you can expect to be wowed by countryside vineyards, vibrant lavender fields, cobbled streets, and authentic old French charm.
The best way to explore the hilltop villages in Luberon is by car, on a Luberon road trip. Driving around this gorgeous region is a revelation and a great way to see as much as possible. You can also set your base in the medieval city of Avignon and explore the Luberon region on day trips or with a guided tour. Guided tours are also available from Aix-en-Provence.
We’ve researched some of the most beautiful hilltop villages Luberon has to offer to give you a real taste of Provence: Medieval histories, walled towns, and Renaissance stylings await.
Are you planning a last-minute trip to Luberon, Provence?
Below are some of the best Luberon tours, hotels, and more!
Top Experiences and Tours in the Luberon
- From Avignon: Luberon hilltop villages guided tour
- From Avignon: Luberon hilltop villages half-day guided tour
- From Avignon: lavender villages day tour (seasonal)
- From Aix-en-Provence: Hilltop villages in Luberon guided tour
Top Avignon Accommodation & Lodging
Don’t forget your travel insurance!
SafetyWing offers travelers insurance that combines medical and travel-related coverage for long and short trips (minimum of 5 days)
Luberon Villages Map
On this Luberon villages map, you will also find the cities of Avignon and Aix-en-Provence pinpointed for reference.
Best Luberon Hillotp Villages
The first of these hilltop villages of Luberon is Bonnieux. Bonnieux is located on the northern slopes of Luberon.
Throughout the village’s history, countless dignitaries, lords, and counts have called this place home. This is one of the less touristy spots in the Luberon region, with the village having kept many of its unique village attractions.
The village is characterized by slopping cobbled streets, fountains, washhouses, and the old church. The villages’ architecture is a mix of Gothic and Romanesque.
The Tour Philippe is one of the village’s main attractions. This tower was designed by a dreamer who wanted to see the Mediterranean Sea from Bonnieux. Due to a lack of money and the early death of its author, the tower was never finished, but we are sure you will appreciate the history of the monument and its particular architecture.
Forcalquier is located between the Luberon and the Lure mountain ranges in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Forcalquier sits on the slope of a hill and boasts a Mediterranean climate.
There’s so much to discover when wandering the narrow streets of Forcalquier. If you happen to be in the village on a Monday, head to the Forcalquier market. Spread across the village, it’s one of the biggest markets in the region, and there’s a vibrant atmosphere.
Another interesting thing to do whilst in Forcalquier is to visit the European University of Scents and Flavours. Yes, who knew such a university even existed? Here you can enroll in a workshop to learn about the properties of plants.
This is another of the best hilltop villages in the Luberon and one not to be missed.
Gordes is perhaps the most famous village in Luberon, Provence. You simply cannot beat the hilltop views looking across the village. The beige-brown houses seem to be perched on the hillside, with vibrant green trees filling in any gaps.
Gordes is a maze of narrow streets that are just waiting to be explored. There are plenty of restaurants and small boutiques lining these cute streets. Not only is the view of the village spectacular, but the views of the surrounding Luberon Valley are expansive and breathtaking.
During the lavender season, Gordes is one of the best Luberon villages to visit on this lavender route in Provence.
Located between Ménerbes and Bonnieux, Lacoste is best known for its beautiful castle perched on top of the hill, which belonged to the Marquis of Sade. Its partially ruined state only adds to its intrigue and lure.
Lacoste has had quite a bloody history, with the 1545 massacre being one of its defining points in history. In 1545, an army led by Jean Maynier, Baron of Oppède, undertook a “crusade” against the heretics: he brutally murdered every last resident of Lacoste!
One of the best things about this Luberon village is that Lacoste presents its own view through history. At the bottom of the village, there are small restaurants and art galleries reflecting the modern era. Then as you ascend, the streets turn into cobbles, and the stone arch of Portail de la Garde really shows Lacoste’s ancient history.
If you like atypical places steeped in history, don’t miss the old underground stone quarries. You can also admire the belfry with its wrought iron campanile, a 12th-century church, an old 19th-century Protestant temple, and many bories, the dry stone huts typical of the fields in Provence.
Ménerbes is a commune within a walled village in the Luberon Mountains right at the foothills of the French Alps.
When you first set eyes on Ménerbes, it looks almost as if the village is clinging to the hillside. Cute houses are staggered almost haphazardly on the side of thick greenery.
The streets of Ménerbes are long, steep, and narrow, with a church at one end of the village and a château at the other. During Roman times, Ménerbes played an important role on the Roman highway, which stretched from Rome to the south of Spain.
Wandering the narrow streets of this Luberon village, gazing at the cute blue shutter houses with creeping vines, and taking artistic pictures will have you fanaticizing about living in this hilltop village.
Roussillon is one of the prettiest hilltop villages in Luberon and a must for any Luberon villages tour. Roussillon sits near one of the largest ochre quarries in the world.
The old, characterful houses of Roussillon are all colored in different shades of red and orange, following a local law that stipulates that residents must maintain the ochre color on their properties. Because of the earthy colors of the buildings, a warm and welcoming atmosphere is created, particularly when the sun is beating down.
Take your time to wander around this pretty town. Whilst in Roussillon, you’ve got to head up to the village fortifications. You will be treated to a spectacular view of the valley that surrounds the village.
You should also check out the Le Sentier des Ocres or the Ochre Trail. The 1.5km walk is just around a 1.5 kilometer out of the village and heads right through the ochre quarry.
TIP: If you prefer to stay in the heart of Luberon for your Luberon villages explorations, the B&B Bastide des Demoiselles always has excellent reviews.
Saignon is one of the smallest villages Luberon has to offer, with just a bakery, two restaurants, and a convenience store. It might be small, but it’s also one of the most beautiful villages in Luberon and one of our favorite places to see lavender in Provence.
One of the things you must do whilst in Saignon is to climb the Rock of Saignon. From the top, you will get outstanding views of the Luberon Valley. On a clear day, you can see Mont Ventoux and the Alpes de Haute Provence.
Set out to stroll around the narrow streets, and you’ll soon arrive at a 12th-century Roman church. Whilst walking, you’ll come across charming houses with ancient doors. This is one of those places where you must keep your eyes peeled for quirks and small pieces of ancient history.