Monday, July 8, 2013

Venasque, a Most Beautiful Village in France

One of our favorite day trips from Sablet is exploring the hill-top villages of the Luberon, especially Gordes and Roussillon. To get there, we take the D4, a scenic route that traverses Carpentras and then becomes a narrow winding road flanked by cherry orchards until it passes below the village of Venasque.

A few weeks back, Greg, Jennifer and baby Julia came to visit from Lake Como and we departed for the Luberon but when we got to Venasque, we turned off the road and went up the hill since we had not been there for a long time. The temperature was cool but the sun was shining and sky blue, ideal for a walk around the village.


It was the beginning of cherry season and the trees along the road were loaded with ripening fruit. The area is particularly beautiful when the cherry trees are covered with white and pink blossoms.

Cherry trees loaded with ripe fruit

Venasque is a small picturesque village that sits on top of a steep hill. It is classified as one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France (translated as most beautiful villages of France), one of seven villages with that designation in the Vaucluse region where we live.

The view to Venasque over the village cemetery

Venasque is one of the oldest villages of the Comtat Venaissin often referred to simply as the Comtat. Comtat means county in its original sense, or land belonging to a count and Venassin refers to Venasque, a former bishop seat which gave its name to the Comtat.

Arched doorway through the defensive walls

Venasque's location on top of the hill provided a natural defense against attacks from enemies. Nevertheless, in Roman times, a defensive wall with towers was built around the village. The arched doorways were restored at the beginning of the 20th century.

Tower and an arched doorway through the defensive walls

The thick walls of the ramparts which survive connect three Saracen towers and two arched doors "portes."

Close up view of the defensive Saracen towers

Supposedly the stones in the defensive wall that no longer exist were removed as if the wall was a sort of rock quarry and used to build the school and houses in the village.

Arched doorway through the defensive walls into the center of Venasque

Venasque is small and compact with a few shops, restaurants and hotels. It can be easily visited in a few hours.

Venasque street

There are lots of flowers and plants which decorate the stone houses and shops which line the streets of Venasque.

Venasque door

Venasque house

Water fountain

Venasque house;

As you wander the winding streets in Venasque you come upon the House with the Blue Shutters.

La Maison aux Volets Bleus

Flowers on a Venasque house

Venasque street

As you can see, Venasque is a small village, there are only 1,156 people who reside in the village. The people who live in Venasque are called Venasquais.

Venasque house

Venasque street

Arched passageway

Water was piped to houses throughout the village between 1959 and 1965. Prior to this time, villagers got their water from the various fountains throughout the village.

Venasque fountain at Place de la Poste

Venasque B and B

Venasque fountain at Place de la Planette

The Notre Dame church in Venasque dates from the end of the 12th century. The side chapels date from the 17th and 18th century, the bell tower from the 17th century.

Notre Dame Church in Venasque

War Memorial near Notre Dame Church

Side door entrance to Notre Dame Church

Pretty house near Notre Dame Church

The fountain in the center of Venasque at Place de la Fontaine

The Venasquais are known for the cherries and table grapes (Muscat de Venasque) they grow.

View from Venasque

If you find yourself in Venasque and looking for a place to eat, you might try Les Remparts which I told you about here.

Bonne journée mes amis et à bientôt.


  1. What a very pretty town and it looks like well worth a visit, but then any of the Plus Beaux Villages de France are worth seeing they all have such different features. Some great photos here, bravo. Enjoy your week Diane

  2. I had forgotten how truly beautiful Venasque is, Michel! Thank you for this, I think a visit is in order. :)
    Have a wonderful day!

  3. Hi Michel, love your new layout - does your beautiful photos proud!

  4. Diane - You are right about all of the Plus Beaux Villages being worthwhile to visit. I have made a point to try and get to all of them in the South of France. Still a few to go. Have a great weekend.

    Heather - I think it is worth the effort to visit Venasque especially if you live not too far away. Try the Restaurant Les Remparts if you are there over lunch. Good food with a great view.

    Barbara - Thanks so much! I appreciate the feedback. Have a great weekend.