France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Hilltop Towns of the Luberon, France
The Luberon is home to many villages with spectacular locations!




The Luberon area, so named because of the Massif du Luberon, a mountain range that covers a broad area, is a popular area for hiking and other outdoor activities. Much of the land is in the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon.

But the Luberon is also known for its many hilltop towns and villages, dating back centuries. Each has its own personality and character, and they are fascinating places to spend a few hours, a day, or a week or more, depending on your desires and schedule.

To visit the villages, you will need a car, but also good walking shoes, as the streets are often cobblestone and uneven. Plan to do some climbing too, as these are hilltop villages!

Here are a few of the best known of the hilltop villages:


Bonnieux enjoys a dramatic location, with its church at the top of the village at an altitude of 429 meters (1,407 feet). Walking through the village means narrow vaulted walkways, steep hills, and more—but with dramatic views of the surrounding area. More...


Gordes is known for its large Tuesday market and its château. It is also close to the lovely Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque. Gordes' dramatic location provides many photo ops, particularly in the late afternoon. More...


Once home to the Marquis de Sade, whose ruined château still dominates the landscape, this tiny town has become a base for fashion designer Pierre Cardin, who sponsors the Lacoste Festival. More...


Although Ménerbes has been a village for centuries, it got on the tourist map in the 1980s, after the publication of Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence, describing the adventures of restoring a house nearby. More...


Oppède-le-Vieux was all but abandoned until a group of artists and writers decided to reinvigorate it. It's a bit out of the way, with lovely views and streets. More...


So named because of the red ochre mines nearby, Roussillon is a most colorful village, with both natural landscapes and buildings in a variety of shades of red, orange, and yellow. More...

You may want to base your time in the Luberon in one of these towns, or in nearby L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. They are quite close together geographically (map), and can be easily visited on day trips or excursions.

As you explore, you'll find that many villages have their own Musée de la Lavande, or lavender museum. There will be lots of opportunities to buy lavender products, if you're so inclined. You may also pass fields of sunflowers as you wander along the small roads.

About the Luberon

About Provence

About the Vaucluse




Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Gordes, France

Above, Gordes in the late afternoon sun.

Below, Lavender fields, as seen from Bonnieux.


Lavender fields, Luberon



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