France, Provence

Cutest Villages in Provence

The villages in Provence are some of the most picturesque villages you’ll ever see in France. It is actually what the region is known for, even amongst French people! They are known for the quaint, quiet villages with typical markets and warm sun.

If you know that visiting Provence is on your bucket list and you want to get the true ‘Provence’ experience by finding these typical quintessential towns, I’ve got you covered! In this article, you’ll find some of my top tips for visiting the region and my top 5 favorite villages in Provence.

I based this list on our own week-long road trip through Provence, which was built using our Airbnb host’s local recommendations. We can confidently say these villages were the highlights of our visit! I hope you get a chance to explore at least some of the villages on your trip to Provence.

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

 

Tips for visiting Provence

⛱️ Save the Côte d’Azur for its own trip (unless you have the time)! I say this because I have noticed that ‘Provence’ and the ‘French Riviera’ are sometimes confused. Although technically they are part of the same region, they are both very different vibes and experiences. I highly recommend giving yourself enough time to fully appreciate each and try not to cram too much into your trip. I’d plan at least 7-10 days in Provence and at least another week in the Riviera!

☀️This is a very popular summer destination. As you can imagine, this area that is known for its sunshine is super popular in the summer. Even local French people will vacation here in the summer! Expect there to be crowds and book your trip enough in advance!

🚗 Renting a car is the best way to get around! The public transportation in this region is quite limited. There aren’t as many trains or buses as I would have imagined compared to the rest of France. And to get the best experience, you really have to find the small towns which can be harder to get to. Renting a car and going on a road trip is the BEST way to make the most of your visit!

READ MORE: 5 things you should know when you visit Provence

 

5 of the cutest villages in Provence

Best town to stay in Provence: Aix-en-Provence

The narrow streets of Aix-en-Provence on a sunny day. A girl sits beside a fountain in a roundabout.

Although I wouldn’t call Aix-en-Provence a town or one of the smallest villages in Provence, it is still a must-see! It is also a great spot to base yourself. Since it is a bit larger so you’ll have more accommodation, restaurant and tour options!

To keep in mind: it’s pronounced ‘ex’ not axe!

Aix is particularly known for being the birthplace of Paul Cézanne. There is a free walking tour you can take around town called the ‘Steps of Cézanne’. You can ask about it at the tourism office! You can also visit Cèzanne’s studio which is a museum dedicated to him and his work.

What’s great about Aix-en-Provence is that even if you do not have access to a car, there are plenty of tour options departing from Aix. Whether you’re looking to take a tour of the lavender fields or want to check out some of the other towns in Provence, you’ll have plenty of options to get you there! Here are some tour ideas to get you started:

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Where to stay in Aix-en-Provence:

Les Loges Sainte Victoire ($$$): Won the Traveller’s Choice award in 2023 by TripAdvisor! This place looks absolutely stunning equipped with a pool, free parking, and a spa!

Boutique Hotel Cezanne ($$): Another best-selling property in Aix on TripAdvisor! This place has beautiful rooms and a bar onsite.

Hotel Paul ($): Although there is no parking available at this property, it is a seven-minute walk away from the old town in Aix!

 

Village with a castle: Les Baux-de-Provence

The view overlooking les Baux de Provence castle along with the cute medieval streets

This village in Provence is quite the site to see. It sits on top of a hill and has an amazing view of the Alpilles Hills! It’s free to visit but I will say that parking was a bit challenging to find, and you still might have to walk up the hill a bit to get back to the town.

You can really feel the history here because of the medieval castle and fortress that sits above the town. They have a guided tour that I would highly recommend taking. We just missed it and without the guide, it was hard to really appreciate the site and learn about its history. They do have some panels and videos on display but I can only imagine how much a guide would have added to the experience!

 

Prettiest town in Provence: Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

The most charming streets in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie which also showcasing its gorgeous view overlooking the region

This is one of my top 2 favourite villages in Provence and we discovered it completely by chance! You’ll want to pop into Moustiers-Sainte-Marie if you are planning a visit to the Gorges du Verdon because it is the closest town nearby. I highly recommend visiting both; it was a highlight during our particular road trip!

It is absolutely adorable!! Another town nestled into the mountains but this time with a more religious history. There is a church at the top of the hill that, if you have the time and the energy, you can walk up to. Without the hike, you still have gorgeous views of the surrounding area and the village itself is as picturesque as they get!

READ MORE: How to make the most of your visit to the Gorges du Verdon

 

Hidden gem: Roussillon 

A girl sitting on a ledge with the Roussillon ochre reserve behind her and another photo of a girl walking through the orange streets of Roussillon

Roussillon happens to be my other favorite village from our trip to Provence. It is very unique as it is built on top of an ochre deposit. As a result, the town is made up of red and orange buildings. It is so beautiful and is quite the contrast to the mountains and forests of the region.

Most of the villages of Provence aren’t massive, so for each visit, you don’t necessarily need a lot of time there. But for Roussillon, I would plan some extra time to walk around the Sentiers des Ochres. This is a beautiful trail that runs through the old Ochre mines and quarries! You can easily spend at least an hour exploring the trail followed by a nice lunch or a drink on a terrace in town!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Your 10-day Provence itinerary

 

Coastal town: Cassis

(left) a view of the port town of Cassis from the water. (middle) a girl overlooking a bay in Les Calanques National Park. (right) admiring the coast of Provence from the rocky beaches

To switch things up a bit, I also wanted to talk about another side of Provence’s personality – the coast. More specifically, you’ll want to pay a visit to Les Calanques National Park. These are limestone cliffs and coves that are gifted with beautiful beaches. It’s quite popular to visit from Marseille, but we chose Cassis because it is much smaller and way cuter.

You can spend a day wandering around this cute port town, taking a boat tour of the park, and hiking along the coast to find some private, tucked-away beaches! You can find everything you need to know to visit Cassis and Les Calanques in my free guide below!

READ MORE: FREE GUIDE: A day in Cassis and Les Calanques

 

BONUS: Gordes

A town on a hillside sits in the middle with the road leading up to it with trees and bushes lining the road.

I wanted to give a special shoutout to Gordes because it also deserves to be on this list of the cutest villages in Provence. Another hilltop village, Gordes historically has been around since the Roman Empire because of its high vantage point.

Gordes also hosts several summer festivities like concerts, festivals, and exhibitions. It really should be the perfect place to visit during the summer months! Personally, we didn’t have time to stop and visit Gordes. But we were able to admire the view from the drive, which I’d recommend doing as well. It’s such a lovely drive!

 

Which village are you going to visit first?

Cutest villages in Provence

By now, I hope you have more than enough inspiration for your Provence bucket list. I have gone over some of the cutest villages in Provence for you to explore on your own trip. I tried to include enough variety between mountainous places, coastal gems, and larger spots so you could find ideas that are best suited for your trip.

You can find all of these destinations including 4 other villages in Provence PLUS some lavender field recommendations in my 10-day Provence itinerary. I used my own road trip as a basis for this itinerary and expanded and optimized it for future visitors!

READ MORE: Your 10 days in Provence Itinerary

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Caity Zagar

Travel Planner & Blogger

Welcome to CZ Phones Home! I’m here to help make your travels easier by giving you tips, advice and inspiration to make your trips memorable!

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