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20 Top Attractions & Places to Visit in the Haut-Vaucluse, Provence

Written by Lisa Alexander
Jul 31, 2020

In the heart of the Provençal countryside, the Haut-Vaucluse is a gorgeous sun-drenched landscape that beguiled Impressionist painters Paul Cézanne and Marc Chagall. This vibrant patchwork of farmlands, olive groves, orchards, and lavender fields inspired many paintings.

The Haut-Vaucluse area of Provence begins around Orange and spreads out east of Avignon, south to the Lubéron Mountains, and north to Mont Ventoux. At the crossroads of the Alps and the Rhône Valley, the varied terrain includes chalky limestone mountains, green rolling hills, and fertile plains.

Ancient Gallo-Roman cities and medieval perched villages are scattered throughout the Haut-Vaucluse. In fact, this area is one of the best places to visit in France to discover picturesque hilltop villages. Most of these small, remote towns are delightfully undiscovered but require a driving itinerary.

Tourists can indulge in the local pastime of relaxing at a café terrace on sultry afternoons and evenings. Savoring the delicious Mediterranean cuisine adds to the experience; regional specialties are based on fresh vegetables, herbs, olives, and sometimes feature the prized black truffle.

Plan your sightseeing in this picturesque region with our list of the top attractions in the Haut-Vaucluse.

1. Mont Ventoux: A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Mont Ventoux: A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve | Eric Huybrechts / photo modified

A UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve, this iconic mountain is the most famous nature site in the Haut-Vaucluse. Mont Ventoux is called the "windy mountain" because of the strong winds and violent storms that can occur here. Rising east of the Rhône River above the Ouvèze Valley, Mont Ventoux towers in impressive isolation over the surrounding countryside.

According to local legend, on April 24, 1336, the poet Francesco Petrarch climbed Mont Ventoux for religious and spiritual inspiration. This was the first ascent of a mountain for its own sake.

A typical starting-point to explore Mont Ventoux is from Vaison-la-Romaine. Follow the D938 road to Malaucène, then turn left on the D974. This stretch traverses beautiful scenery with magnificent views and climbs steeply through coniferous forests.

About 16 kilometers beyond Malaucène, a narrow road leads to the viewpoint of Le Contrat then continues winding upwards for six kilometers to the Col des Tempêtes viewpoint. From here, the outlook extends over the Valley of the Toulourenc.

On the summit of Mont Ventoux, visitors will find an observatory and observation platform with views of the Montagne du Lubéron. Above 1,500 meters, Mont Ventoux offers extensive ski slopes.

Mont Ventoux is also famous as a land of black truffles, the prized culinary ingredient of the region. From November through March, restaurants in the area serve delicious dishes made with this delicacy.

One recommended restaurant is Le Gajuléa in the village of Le Barroux (seven kilometers from Malaucène) in a dreamy setting at the foot of Mont Ventoux, overlooking a valley and rolling hills in the distance. The gastronomic Le Gajuléa restaurant serves seasonal cuisine of the terroir, using local products such as truffles, Provençal herbs, and lavender honey. The restaurant features prix-fixe truffle meals in January and February.

Another option is Le Gajuléa's casual French bistro, which offers a convivial ambience and affordable meals.

2. Roman Ruins in Orange

Roman Ruins in Orange

Orange boasts some of the most impressive archaeological sites in France, most notably the UNESCO-listed Théâtre Antique. The 1st-century AD Roman theater is incredibly well preserved, with rich decorations still intact on the back wall. The theater accommodates up to 7,000 people, evidence of the ancient city's size and the Romans' value of entertainment.

Today, the Théâtre Antique continues to be used as an event venue. During the summer, the Chorégies d'Orange festival presents classical music concerts, ballet performances, and operas at the ancient theater.

Other exceptional classical-era monuments in Orange are the Arc de Triomphe, the 2nd-century triumphal arch dedicated to Rome's Emperor Tiberius, and the Temple et l'Hémicycle, ruins of a Roman temple adjoining the Roman theater.

The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, housed in a 17th-century hôtel particulier (mansion) is a must-see attraction. This richly endowed museum displays objects of art, from antiquity through the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Highlights of the collection are the Mosaïque des Centaures, a beautifully restored ancient mosaic, and a series of paintings from the Palais Episcopal that are classified as Historic Monuments.

A worthwhile detour 20 kilometers from Orange is the Château de Suze-la-Rousse, which was the hunting lodge of the Princes of Orange. The medieval fortress was built in the 12th century and enhanced in the 16th century. Surrounded by vine-covered rolling hills, this château is a peaceful getaway in the Provençal countryside. The Château de Suze-la-Rousse is open year-round (except holidays) for self-guided visits or guided tours.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Orange

Orange Center Map - Tourist Attractions
Orange Map - Attractions

3. The Hilltop Village of Gordes

The Hilltop Village of Gordes

Listed as one of the "Plus Beaux Villages de France" (Most Beautiful Villages of France), Gordes is a captivating hilltop village that looks like the scene of a postcard or painting. In fact, artists Victor Vasarély and Marc Chagall found inspiration for their art work here.

Gordes stands dramatically on a steep slope, typical of a medieval "village perché" (perched village) of the Lubéron region. Dominating Gordes is the Château de Gordes, a fortified 11th-century castle that was enlarged in the 14th century and enhanced during the Renaissance era with a monumental spiraling staircase, as well as other ornate features.

The Château de Gordes presents a variety of cultural expositions throughout the year. Also within the castle is the Musée Pol Mara, a museum dedicated to the Flemish painter's masterpieces. Outside the castle on the Place du Château de Gordes are many cafés, restaurants, art galleries, and souvenir shops.

Gordes is 40 kilometers from Avignon, which is less than an hour drive away. On the route to Gordes, the best photo-op is from the road leading up from Cavaillon.

A few kilometers south of Gordes is the Village des Bories. The "Bories" houses are made of flat stones without mortar and usually without windows. For nearly 3,000 years (since the Bronze Age until the 18th century) this type of structure was common for building the huts of herdsmen and sometimes to build entire settlements.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Gordes

4. Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque

Just five kilometers from Gordes in the Lubéron region, the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque is encircled by an idyllic valley where lavender flourishes. From July through early August, the lavender fields enliven the landscape with vibrant purple blossoms.

Founded in 1148 by Cistercian monks, the Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey is still a working monastery that follows the Rule of Saint Benedict. With its simple architecture, serene cloister, and exquisite gardens, the abbey promotes the Cistercian concepts of monastic living: seclusion, poverty and simplicity, prayer, and physical labor. The community gathers for prayers seven times each day.

The abbey is open to the public but requires visitors to respect the quiet ambience of the place and abide by proper behavior and dress code. Visitors may walk around the abbey's exterior grounds, attend religious services, or participate in silent prayer at the abbey church.

Guided tours (in French) take visitors to the abbey church, cloister, chapter hall, and dormitory rooms. Another option is taking a self-guided tour with a digital tablet that presents information in English, Italian, Spanish, and other languages.

The Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque also welcomes visitors for spiritual retreats (maximum stay is eight days) to experience the community's life of prayer. However, visitors must participate in silence and should have the intention to focus on spiritual contemplation.

The property of the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque also includes a lavender farm, olive grove, and apiary. The abbey monks create artisanal products that are sold at the Boutique de l'Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque. For instance, the shop sells items that are made at the abbey, such as lavender honey, lavender-fragranced soap and hand cream, essential oil of lavender, and estate olive oil.

Address: Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, 84220 Gordes

Official site: https://www.senanque.fr/

Sénanque - Cistercian Abbey - Floor plan map
Sénanque - Cistercian Abbey Map

5. Vaison-la-Romaine

Vaison-la-Romaine

In a pastoral landscape at the foot of Mont Ventoux, Vaison-la-Romaine (30 kilometers from Orange) is distinguished as one of the "Plus Beaux Détours de France" ("Most Beautiful Detours in France). The town has a medieval section, with quaint cobblestone streets and old churches, but is most well known for its extensive ancient ruins, dating from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD, including two remarkable excavation sites.

The Quartier de Puymin archaeological site is a gently sloping hillside laid out like a park with oak and cypress trees. The foundations of ancient Roman houses, the House of the Messii and the Portico of Pompey were uncovered here, along with the remains of an ancient temple and the 1st-century Roman theater (now used as an open-air performance venue).

Within the Quartier de Puymin is the Musée Théo Desplans, an antiquities museum that displays statues and other objects excavated at the archaeological site. Items such as toilet and bath accessories, jewelry, religious objects, and ceramics (found in the remains of ancients dwellings) reveal the everyday life of the Gallo-Roman era. Frescos and mosaics give a sense of interior design in Roman villas.

A short walk from the Quartier de Puymin is another archaeological site, the Quartier de la Villasse. Here, visitors can see ruins of public baths, ancient houses, and a carefully paved Roman street featuring gutters. In some places mosaic floors are visible under a protective covering.

In the more "modern" area of town are the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Vaison-la-Romaine built between the 11th and 13th century, and the Jardin des Neuf Damoiselles (Garden of the Nine Damsels).

Visitors can experience the local culture on Market Days held on Tuesday mornings on the main streets and squares of the town. This bustling weekly event draws crowds who shop for everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to goat cheese and spices. Tourists will appreciate the Provençal linens, kitchenware, and handmade leather shoes.

During summer, Vaison-la-Romaine comes alive with cultural events and festivals, which makes the town worth visiting for at least a few nights. The ancient theater hosts large audiences for the Vaison Dance Festival in June and July and the Ancient Theater Week in July, as well as other concerts and entertaining shows throughout August.

Vaison-la-Romaine Map - Tourist Attractions
Vaison-la-Romaine Map - Attractions

6. Grignan

Grignan

Perched majestically on a hilltop, the hamlet of Grignan (less than an hour drive from Vaison-la-Romaine and Orange) was founded in the 12th century as a small pastoral community. The fortified medieval village grew up around its castle, the Château de Grignan, which became the most glorious Renaissance château in Southeastern France. Later, the château almost fell into ruin but was saved by the literary accomplishments of Madame de Sévigné, who lived here in the 17th century.

Today the Château de Grignan hosts several cultural events, including the Musique au Château summertime music festival. Inspired by the acclaimed epistolary works of Madame de Sévigné, the Festival de la Correspondance (Festival of Letter Writing) takes place in July at the château and at other venues in Grignan. In August, Les Soirées Musicales de Madame de Sévigné (musical festival) is held at an outdoor theater on the castle grounds.

Classified as a "Village Botanique," Grignan is renowned for its rose gardens, planted along the castle walls and throughout the village (indicated by a series of signposts), that bloom in spring and summer with more than 150 different varieties of heirloom roses and English roses.

On Tuesday mornings, Grignan has a traditional Provençal open-air market. Local vendors sell typical products such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lavender, honey, and Provençal fabrics.

The countryside around Grignan is a distinctly Mediterranean terrain of scrubland, oak trees, juniper, and lavender fields. Further afield, the woodlands in the foothills of the Alps provide a source of truffles, a sought-after delicacy used in the local cuisine. Another famous local product is the Nougat de Montélimar (a candy made with honey and almonds), which has been produced in the village of Montélimar since the 17th century.

7. Nyons

Nyons

Nestled in a verdant valley sheltered by the Vaucluse foothills, Nyons is listed as a "Plus Beaux Détours de France" (only 16 kilometers away from Vaison-la-Romaine). Nyons is also classified as a "Site Remarquable du Goût" (Site Remarkable for Taste) because of its exceptional regional cuisine and Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée olive oil produced from the "Tanche" black olive variety that grows in the local olive groves.

Equally rich in history as it is in gastronomy, Nyons has retained its medieval ramparts and vestiges of a castle built during the Crusade period. The 16th-century Eglise Saint-Vincent contains a precious Virgin statue and a nativity painting attributed to Ribera. The 13th-century Chapel Notre-Dame de Bon Secours at Place de la Chapelle offers sensational views of the countryside.

Just six kilometers from Nyons is the village of Les Pilles, registered as a "Bâtiment de France" because of its 17th-century houses with unique facades and doors. The village holds a marché des producteurs (farmers market) on Monday evenings from May through November.

Another charming village near Nyons (14 kilometers to the south) is Saint-Romain-en-Viennois. This small medieval village stands on a promontory in the Côtes du Rhône's undulating landscape, with Mont Ventoux as the backdrop. Saint-Romain-en-Viennois is still encircled by ancient ramparts and has retained the tower of its 16th-century castle.

8. Pernes-les-Fontaines

Pernes-les-Fontaines | Ralph / photo modified

A typical sun-drenched Provençal town, Pernes-les-Fontaines has a relaxing ambience thanks to its abundance of flowing fountains. Within the medieval center of Pernes-les-Fontaines are 40 fountains, decorative monuments that were originally designed to provide a water source to local residents (for drinking and washing).

Many of the fountains date back to the 18th century; some are even listed as Historic Monuments. At the Tourist Office, visitors can pick up a "Fountain Walk" map for taking a self-guided tour of the town's fountains.

Founded in the Gallo-Roman era, Pernes-les-Fontaines became a capital of the "Comtat Venaissin" during the Middle Ages and later was ruled by the Counts of Toulouse and the Popes of Avignon. Old stone houses, cobblestone streets, walled fortifications, and medieval town gates give Pernes-les-Fontaines its distinctive old-world charm.

The Porte Notre-Dame, the most spectacular gate in the ramparts, leads to the Eglise Notre-Dame de Nazareth. This 11th-century Romanesque church features ornate columns on the facade with capitals of acanthus leaves. The beautifully decorated nave has a frieze depicting biblical scenes.

Also not-to-be-missed are the 12th-century Tour de l'Horloge, which was the keep (dungeon) of the château, and the Tour Ferrande, which has rare 13th-century frescoes on the third floor. The Halle Couverte, built in the 17th century, served as the town's marketplace for fishmongers and farmers selling fruits and vegetables.

9. Carpentras

Carpentras | phileole / photo modified

Carpentras has a unique heritage, revealed in its Flamboyant Gothic Cathédrale Saint-Siffrein. Built between 1406 and 1519, the cathedral has a Gothic facade with a special doorway, the Porte Juive (Jews' Gate), designed as the entrance for Jews who wished to be baptized.

Carpentras also has a historic synagogue (at the Place Maurice Charretier), the oldest Jewish house of worship in France that is still in use. Built in 1367 and restored in the 18th century, the synagogue surprises visitors with its elegant Baroque sanctuary. The site also houses the 14th-century ritual baths (known as "mikvah"), and two kosher bakeries.

The synagogue is still in use today, but tourists may visit by guided tour on weekdays outside of Jewish holidays. In August, the synagogue hosts a Jewish Music Festival that attracts many locals and tourists.

Carpentras is also renowned for its excellent cuisine and desserts. The Maison Jouvaud (40 Rue de l'Évêché) is considered the top pâtisserie shop in Carpentras and one of the best in Provence. The Michelin-starred Restaurant le Saule Pleureur (145 Chemin de Beauregard) offers innovative gastronomic meals in the delightful setting of a Provençal villa and gardens.

The area around Carpentras grows delicious strawberries, definitely worth trying at the peak of the season in springtime. Every year in early April, Carpentras hosts the Fête de la Fraise (Strawberry Festival). This lively festival brings together farmers and vendors who sell their products in an animated atmosphere with musical entertainment. Visitors have a chance to sample different varieties of strawberries as well as delicious cakes, tarts, syrup, and jams made using the local fruits.

10. Medieval Venasque

Medieval Venasque

The enchanting medieval city of Venasque (listed as one of France's "Most Beautiful Villages") is 11 kilometers southeast of Carpentras in the old "Comtat Venaissin" county, an especially scenic area of the Haut-Vaucluse countryside. The town's dramatic hilltop position proved to be virtually impregnable to invaders throughout the centuries.

Today, the main draw of the location is the chance to wander the town's steep alleyways and admire superb views of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains and Mont Ventoux. In this awe-inspiring natural setting, the village is filled with fascinating religious buildings.

The Baptistère has the distinction of being the oldest religious site in France. Built in the 6th century (and renovated in later centuries) on the site of an ancient Roman temple, the Baptistry is shaped like a Greek cross and decorated with arches featuring repurposed ancient columns.

Also noteworthy is the Eglise Notre-Dame de Venasque, a 12th-century Romanesque church that possesses a celebrated Crucifixion painting (created in 1498) that is considered a masterpiece. The work of an artist from the Ecole d'Avignon, the painting was restored in 1937 by workshops at the Louvre Museum.

The surrounding area of Mont Venasque is covered with endless cherry orchards. The particular variety of cherries that grows here, the "Monts de Venasque" has a registered trademark. The prized fruit is appreciated for its luscious, sweet flavor. Be sure to sample the cherry desserts when in season.

One of the most enjoyable things to do while visiting Venasque is attend the Fête de la Cerise (cherry festival), which takes place in the town annually in June, featuring tastings, presentations of local products, culinary demonstrations, and a clafloutis (traditional cherry custard dessert) competition.

11. Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

The little village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is well-known for its natural springs. In a lush valley, the Fontaine de Vaucluse is a cascading freshwater spring with a source at the Sorgue River. It's most impressive around April and May, when melted snow increases water levels.

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse also boasts a connection with the 14th-century Italian poet and humanist Petrarch, who occasionally stayed in the town (supposedly at the site where the Petrarch Museum is located). Near one of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse's small springs is a tablet memorializing Petrarch and his beloved Laura, who features in many of his poems.

The Musée-Bibliothèque François Pétrarque educates visitors about the life and literary works of Petrarch, known as the "Prince of Poets." The museum contains rare editions of manuscripts and a section devoted to poet René Char, also from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Visitors may also make use of the museum's library and research center or participate in a writing workshop.

12. L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue: The Venice of Provence

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue: The Venice of Provence

The calm, quiet atmosphere of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue comes as a welcome relief to tourists seeking relaxation. Originally a fishing village, the town sits on several canals of the Sorgue River, which is why it is called the "Venice of Provence."

Visitors enjoy wandering around the ancient winding streets and picturesque canals. Several historic mills are still seen along the canals, including those on the Avenue des 4 Otages, Place E. Char, and Place V. Hugo.

The town's Gothic church, the Collégiale Notre Dame des Anges, has a lavish 17th-century interior that exemplifies Provençal Baroque decor. Other noteworthy buildings are the 18th-century Hôtel Donadeë de Campredon, an aristocratic mansion listed as a Historic Monument that now houses an art collection, and the Hôtel-Dieu (Hospital) with its lovely wrought-iron gate, gardens, chapel, and wood-paneled apothecary.

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is an appealing place for lovers of art, culture, and cuisine. The town has a traditional Provençal market on Thursdays and Sundays year-round. Another draw for shoppers is the town's top-notch antique shops and the annual Foire Internationale, which is one of the most renowned flea market and antiques fairs in Europe.

Visitors should also savor the local gastronomy. For a truly gourmet meal, try the Michelin-star restaurant Le Vivier (800 Cours Fernande-Peyre), which overlooks the Sorgue River banks. L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is 17 kilometers from Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.

13. Saumane-de-Vaucluse

Saumane-de-Vaucluse | Eugene Regis / photo modified

Crowning a rocky outcrop in the rolling hills of the Monts de Vaucluse, this typical Provençal village perché has a small Romanesque church, old stone buildings, fountains, shaded outdoor cafés, and atmospheric cobblestone streets. Views from the village extend from the Sorgue Valley to the edge of the Vaucluse Plateau.

At the highest point in the village, the Château de Saumane is a spectacular example of fortified architecture and is listed as a Historic Monument. For several centuries, the château was home to the family of the Marquis de Sade. The author spent time here as a boy, and the influence can be seen in his literary works. After years of restoration, the Château de Saumane has opened to the public for guided or self-guided visits.

The surrounding countryside is filled with oak trees, olive orchards, and aromatic "garigue" plants (Mediterranean scrubland). The prized truffle is also found in this landscape. Many hiking and jogging trails are in the area, and some pass by the quaint little hamlet of Châteauneuf-de-Gadagne.

14. Beaumes-de-Venise

Beaumes-de-Venise | jean-louis Zimmermann / photo modified

Beaumes-de-Venise is a charming village (eight kilometers from Carpentras) that attracts many visitors during summer as well as winter because of its mild climate. Tourists will enjoy exploring the historic center of the village, with its église paroissiale, a beautiful 16th-century parish church, and typical Mediterranean red-tile roofed houses.

The peaceful natural setting of Beaumes-de-Venise is another draw. Orchards and olive groves flourish in this sun-soaked landscape. There are many hiking trails for nature enthusiasts to take in the scenery.

Less than seven kilometers away from Beaumes-de-Venise is the tiny village of Suzette, which faces the Dentelles de Montmirail ("Mountains of Lace") and the foot of Saint-Amand Mountain. Nestled in this gorgeous countryside, Suzette offers amazing views of the Mont Ventoux, the Dentelles, and the plain of Vaison in Vaucluse.

15. Monieux

Monieux

The quaint hilltop village of Monieux stands amid the serenity of the Gorges de la Nesque. This wild landscape is distinguished by its dramatic rocky gorges, vine-covered hillsides, and fields that bloom with red poppies from April through June.

Because Monieux lies on the southeastern side of Mont Ventoux facing east, the village enjoys beautiful sunrises. Below the village, the tranquil Nesque River meanders around the countryside before eventually rushing through the ravines of limestone rocks.

Tourists delight in strolling leisurely through the historic village with its winding lanes and picturesque 16th-century to 17th-century houses. Getting lost in the maze of old streets is a pleasant experience.

There are many historic sights to discover, including the medieval ramparts; the 12th-century Chapelle Saint-Roch; and the Eglise Saint-Pierre, a splendid 12th-century Romanesque church. Gourmands will enjoy visiting a museum dedicated to the regional truffles (Musée de la Truffe du Ventoux) that focuses on the cultural heritage and culinary art of this delicacy.

Monieux also has interesting artistic shops and artisan boutiques. On the first Sunday of September, the village hosts an annual Fête Médiévale (Medieval Festival) honoring the town's medieval heritage.

16. Picturesque Valréas

Picturesque Valréas | Renaud Camus / photo modified

An important city of the Papal states, Valréas has a rich heritage going back 1,000 years. Architectural treasures include the 12th-century Eglise Notre-Dame de Nazareth and the Château de Simiane, an impressive Historic Monument built over several centuries.

The picturesque village is listed as a "Ville Fleurie" ("Flowering Village"). Valréas is well known as a "green" vacation destination because of the pristine nature sites nearby, including areas for hiking and fishing.

Less than six kilometers from Valréas is the village of Grillon, which was formerly part of the Papal territory of Avignon's Popes. The ancient feudal town is encircled by medieval ramparts and centers around its château, which was built in the 12th century. The town also has an interesting church with a wrought-iron campanile and an octagonal stone spire.

17. The Hilltop Hamlet of Crillon le Brave

The Hilltop Hamlet of Crillon le Brave

Crillon le Brave has all the charm of a typical Provençal village perché, with vestiges of 16th-century ramparts and quaint medieval streets. This tiny hilltop village (38 kilometers from Avignon) presides over the beautiful Mont Ventoux valley in the Lubéron region. The peaceful countryside setting of Crillon le Brave makes it one of the best places to visit in Provence for a relaxing getaway.

Visitors will enjoy the gorgeous scenery while taking a stroll through the village or walking along the nature paths just outside of town. Cycling is another popular pastime in this area, the country roads offer the perfect backdrop for an invigorating ride.

The luxurious Hotel Crillon le Brave occupies 10 historic houses within the village near the Eglise Saint-Romain, a Romanesque church. This five-star Relais & Châteaux property is a haven of relaxation and pampering, with two gourmet restaurants, an upscale spa, a swimming pool, and guest rooms decorated with contemporary Provençal flair. Many rooms offer vistas of Mont Ventoux.

18. Panoramic Mountain Views from Séguret

Panoramic Mountain Views from Séguret

In a picturesque setting about ten kilometers from Vaison-la-Romaine, this tiny town is listed as one of the "Plus Beaux Villages de France". Séguret was built on the slopes of a hill, and the historic town is dominated by the ruins of its ancient château.

There is a walking path leading up to the castle with sensational views from this vantage point. The panoramas sweep across the vine-covered hills to the Dentelles de Montmirail, a mountain range with jagged ridges.

As a typical medieval perched village, Séguret has a distinctly old-world character. Visitors are delighted by the Romanesque church, the old houses with Provençal red-tile roofs, and quiet squares adorned with fountains.

Perfect for rest and relaxation, the village features a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets that invite leisurely strolls. The town also has a handful of hotels and restaurants that will delight visitors who are spending a few days here.

19. Visan: Medieval Town of the Popes

Visan: Medieval Town of the Popes | jean-louis Zimmermann / photo modified

Visan is another interesting historic town close to Vaison-la-Romaine, about 17 kilometers away. The territory of the Popes of Avignon in the 14th century, Visan is found in a beautiful setting of rolling hills overlooking a peaceful plain.

The medieval town is characterized by winding streets from the Middle Ages, as well as elegant mansions built from the Renaissance period to the late 18th century. The 14th-century parish church is dedicated to Saint Peter. Inside the church is the exquisite painting Our Lady of Sorrows by Nicolas Mignard in 1659.

Visitors can see ruins of the village's old château sitting at a high point in town. From here, tourists will enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding countryside and nearby villages.

20. Luberon Natural Regional Park (Parc Naturel Régional du Lubéron)

Luberon Natural Regional Park

A gorgeous piece of rural landscape in the Haut-Vaucluse, the Parc Naturel Régional du Lubéron is a UNESCO-listed nature reserve. The Lubéron is a rugged mountainous area based around the Montagne du Lubéron. The 120,000-hectare nature reserve encompasses mountains, green rolling hills, peaceful valleys, extensive farmlands, and orchards.

The Lubéron Natural Regional Park is dotted with many medieval hilltop villages and historic towns, which are some of Provence's most charming, unspoiled tourist destinations. Scattered throughout the Lubéron are ancient "bories" huts. The centuries-old herdsmen's buildings were constructed from boulders without mortar.

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Nearby Attractions in Provence: The Haut-Vaucluse is an off-the-beaten-path corner of Provence, Southern France's most popular region. While many nearby towns in Provence (like Arles and Avignon) are packed with tourists during the high season, the Haut-Vaucluse comprises peaceful countryside dotted with enchanting medieval villages that are relatively undiscovered.

Mediterranean Seaside Towns: The Haut-Vaucluse is a landlocked region, but the Mediterranean Sea is within easy reach. It's a one-hour drive from Carpentras to the bustling seaside city of Marseilles, a 2.5-hour drive to the port town of Toulon, and just over a three-hour drive to the glamorous beach resort of Saint-Tropez.

Exploring the French Alps: Also within a few hours' drive are many wonderful places in the French Alps, including the scenic lakeside town of Annecy, with its fairy-tale ambience, and the historic capital city of Grenoble, which is packed with cultural attractions. Farther north into the French Alps (a four-hour drive) is the iconic Mont Blanc, the highest mountain peak in Europe, and in its shadow, the traditional alpine village of Chamonix.

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