One side is perched on a cliff overlooking the gorges of the Ardèche, the other faces the Côtes du Rhône vineyards. The two facets of this former stronghold draw visitors because of their simplicity and the exceptional setting.
- By the waterside : The rivers Ardèche and Cèze
- Castles and ramparts : The ramparts, the Sarrazine tower, the "castelas"
- Unusual sights : The "hoaxes" in the village streets to tease the tourists
- Wine : The Côtes du Rhône wines
In the very south of Vaucluse, some thirty kilometres from Aix-en-Provence, Ansouis and its thousand-year-old castle look onto the Grand Luberon forest-planted hills from which the village is separated by vineyards.
- Castles and ramparts : The castle
- Wine : AOC Côtes du Luberon wines
Bargème is the highest village in the Var : perched at a height of 1,097 m, it offers an unobstructed view of the valley. This listed site is overlooked by the towers of its medieval castle, which was partly devastated by the Wars of Religion, and will enchant all those who are fond of old buildings and medieval heritage.
- Castles and ramparts : The Sabran-de-Pontevès Castle
The houses of Gordes cling to the side of the Vaucluse plateau, overlooking Cavaillon plain. They are arranged in tiers around the imposing Renaissance castle and church and narrow cobbled streets wind their way through them. Gordes is a village of artists and has been extolled by Marc Chagall, Victor Vasarely and Pol Mara ; it is a must on Provence’s cultural trail.
- Abbeys and churches : Sénanque Abbey
- Castles and ramparts : The Renaissance castle
- Panoramas : Views of the village from the road, view of Apt Valley and Cavaillon plain from the top of the village
- Unusual sights : The village of Les Bories (dry-stone huts)
- Wine : AOC Côtes du Ventoux wines
At the North of Gard, La Roque-sur-Cèze was built on a rock peak overlooking the Cèze which spans a twelve-arches old bridge. Dominated by the traces of the former castle and its chapel, the village with sloping cobbled streets and its houses, made with creamy stones and curved-tiles cornices, offers a breathtaking view of the Cascades du Sautadet, an exceptional natural site which adds to the attraction of the place.
- By the waterside : The river Cèze and Cascades du Sautadet
- Castles and ramparts : The traces of the 12C castle and ramparts
- Panoramas : The view of the Cascades du Sautadet from the top of the village
- Wine : Côtes du Rhône wines
Les Baux-de-Provence lies perched like an eagle’s nest in the heart of the Alpilles and is a must-see place in Provence which artists, craftspeople and makers of local produce keep alive all year round.
Lourmarin sprang up at the foot of the gash that the River Aiguebrun cut in the Luberon and it stands amid vineyards and olive groves. Its fountain-lined streets thread their way around the Castellas and a charming Romanesque church and lead to the magnificent castle. This was built in the 15C by the Agoult family and today houses a well-stocked collection of furniture and objets d’art. Lourmarin is an artists’ village and, among others, attracted Henri Bosco and Albert Camus who are both buried in the cemetery.
- Castles and ramparts : The castle
- Gastronomy : AOC Côtes du Luberon wines
- Unusual sights : The graves of Henri Bosco and Albert Camus
From the top of a rocky spur overlooking the Luberon garrigue and vineyards, the fortified village of Ménerbes and its castle watch over the neighbouring Most Beautiful Villages of Gordes and Roussillon. Inside, the narrow streets reveal a wealth of heritage : old houses, the town hall square with its 17C belfry and bell tower. Like many villages in the Luberon, Ménerbes has attracted several famous artists such as Picasso who used to have a house there.
The high set houses of Montbrun-les-Bains overlook a plain swathed in lavender and protect the ruins of a medieval castle. The narrow streets lead from one fountain to the next down to the bottom of the village where, for the past twenty years, the pump rooms have given a new lease of life to an ancient spring that has beneficial effects.
- By the waterside : The sulphur springs
- Castles and ramparts : Ruins of the Renaissance castle
- Panoramas : View of the plain and Mont Ventoux
At about 70 kms from Nîmes, Montclus set up in a meander of Cèze river. The dungeon of the medieval castle still overlooks the village which has kept a part of the former Benedictine monastery built in the rock by the Templars. Surrounded by vineyards and fields of lavender, Montclus is nicely restored and offers to the visitors the charm of its small alleys with its white-stone houses, its covered ways, its stairs and its luxuriant vegetation.
- By the waterside : the river Cèze
- Castles and ramparts : the dungeon
- Unusual sights : remains of the monastery built in the rock