3 Days in Provence - Hilltop Villages & Culinary Gems

3 Days in Provence - Hilltop Villages & Culinary Gems

Your 3 Days in Provence will take you on a road trip through the Luberon Valley, revealing beautiful hilltop villages, vibrant local markets, acclaimed restaurants and scenic sights that capture the region's timeless allure.

What sets this region of France apart for us is the exceptional value you can find hidden in small villages peppered around the countryside. With Michelin-recognized restaurants and charming hotels, it's the perfect destination for those seeking a serene environment with culinary gems and rich cultural experiences.

Our 3 Day Provence itinerary includes local hot spots and unique experiences you don't want to miss.

Outline: 3 Days in Provence

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Best Time to Go to Provence

For those keen on seeing the lavender in bloom, early July is the prime time, but be prepared for tourist crowds during this period.

If lavender is not a must-see, consider visiting Provence in May or September to escape the summer crowds and enjoy pleasant weather, lively villages and vibrant markets.

It's best to avoid the off-season from November to March, as the weather gets chilly, and some places and markets may not be open.

Driving Around Provence

The Luberon Valley

The best way to explore Provence is by car, cruising along its picturesque country roads that wind through the valley up to hilltop villages. Navigating the region is easy, as most villages have a main road running through them. While some smaller local roads may be narrower, overall, driving through the region is a breeze.

🚙 Compare car rental rates from Marseille Airport

3 Days in Provence

Day 1 - Lourmarin

Lourmarin village

Spend your first day in the vibrant village of Lourmarin, known as the gateway to the Luberon Valley. The creative and fashionable village is a great starting-off point to explore Provence, as it's located just under an hour's drive from the Marseille International Airport.

Where to stay

Stay in Lourmarin for one night before venturing off further into the countryside. We enjoyed our stay at Le Moulin a chic boutique hotel situated in a charming 18th-century oil mill. The location was unbeatable, right next to the lively Friday market and within walking distance to various shops, restaurants, and Chateau de Lourmarin.

🧳 Browse more stays in Lourmarin


Explore the vibrant village of Lourmarin

There is an abundance of fun things to do in Lourmarin. These were a few of our favourites:

🍓 Shop the Friday market. This is when the village comes alive with live music and over 150 vendors selling an array of products, from food and produce to housewares, clothing and accessories. It's a must-see if you can align your stay accordingly.

🐈 Wander through the quiet backstreets to marvel at beautiful medieval buildings and perhaps even encounter cute cats strolling about.

🛍️ Shop charming boutiques like our favourite, Mise En Scene.

🍵 Visit La Calade De Lourmarin, a tea shop with a lovely garden space you can relax and savour a refreshing iced tea.

🍷 Taste wines of Provence in Domaine de Fontenille's tasting room - it's free!

Have a picnic at Chateau de Lourmarin

Indulge in a delightful picnic experience at Chateau de Lourmarin, a historic 15th-century castle overlooking the village. Gather your favourite ingredients from the market or artisanal shops and take the stairs at the back of the castle to find a hidden picnicking area amidst an olive grove. There is no fee to visit this part.

Find a shady spot under one of the olive trees and enjoy your mouthwatering spread. We had olive tapenade accompanied by a fresh baguette, sweet market strawberries, creamy goat cheese, and savoury chorizo sticks. Enjoy the flavours of Provence with Chateau de Lourmarin as your backdrop.

Top tip: don't forget a knife, a board or plate for serving, and a picnic blanket.


Apertifs in Lourmarin's centre-square

Sit in the charming old-centre square and people-watch

Start your evening in the charming old-centre square of Lourmarin, where you can immerse yourself in the village's rich history, once home to renowned writers, artists, and intellectuals like Albert Camus. Sip rosé and take in the sights of locals and visitors passing by. Snag a spot at one of the sidewalk tables at Café Gaby or La Fontaine, both offering the perfect vantage point.

Taste wines and tapas at Le Tonneau

Next, venture up the street to Le Tonneau, a gem in Lourmarin, ideal for wine enthusiasts and charcuterie lovers. The raised patio, adorned with tables made from wine barrels, set the stage for a fun evening amidst the village's charming ambience.

Keep the night going with funky tunes at La Maison Cafe

Continue your evening at the hip La Maison Cafe, where locals and travellers gather to enjoy cocktails and the music scene. Check their event schedule to see what's on offer during your visit. On Saturday night, we were treated to a DJ playing disco and funky tunes, followed by an "electronic-jazz" performance with synth and drums. It was a groovy evening!

See our list of 10 unique things to do in Lourmarin

Day 2 - Bonnieux, Menerbes & Roussillon


For your second day in Provence, drive into the centre of the Luberon Valley to explore three of Provence's most beautiful hilltop villages.

Where to stay

Our room at Le Clos de la Glycine

For your last two nights, we recommend staying in Roussillon, our favourite village we visited. Its stunning ochre-coloured cliffs, historic buildings, and convenient location for day trips to nearby villages made it a perfect choice.

We were pleasantly surprised by Le Clos de la Glycine, a delightful hotel nestled in the heart of Roussillon. Their rooms offer picturesque views of the valley, and their on-site restaurant, Restaurant David, is a true culinary gem, offering outstanding cuisine and valley views from your table. With rooms starting at 125 € per night, it's a great value.

🧳 Browse more stays in Roussillon


Drive from Lourmarin to Bonnieux for a panoramic viewpoint

Viewpoint from Bonnieux

Start your day with a picturesque drive from Lourmarin to Bonnieux. Meander along the winding road, as it weaves through the gorge and ascends to the hilltop village of Bonnieux. Once you're at the top, pause on the side of the road to stretch your legs and take in panoramic views of the Luberon Valley.

Explore Menerbes and enjoy a scenic lunch at Cafe Du Progress

Continue your journey to Menerbes, a quiet village nestled amidst the rolling hills that exudes an old-world charm. At Café Du Progress, make a reservation to secure a coveted spot on the terrace, where you can indulge in farm-to-table cuisine and feast your eyes on the countryside views. Cafe Du Progress is a local favourite.

After your delectable lunch, walk along the ancient stone houses to uncover Menerbes' artistic side. Stop in at Maison de la Truffe to visit the art gallery upstairs and make your way back down to Chez Auzet, for freshly brewed iced-tea and delectable pastries, all while basking in the valley views that surround you.


Explore Roussillon and dine on Provencal cuisine overlooking the ochre cliffs

After checking into your accommodation in Roussillon, take to the charming streets to see the village's ochre-coloured houses and immerse yourself in the bohemian atmosphere.

Discover unique boutiques like Bals'Art, where you can sample organic balsamic reductions and macerations, and Cricri, offering natural paints in ochre shades. Don't miss Maison Brémond 1830, a gourmet grocer showcasing delightful local products from Provence, perfect for bringing back as gifts.

For an unforgettable dining experience, head to Restaurant David, our top pick for dining in Provence. Its Michelin-recognized cuisine, coupled with awe-inspiring views of the ochre cliffs, is the ultimate Provencal experience. Aim to dine at sunset to see the cliffs radiate like precious gems in the forest, and if you're lucky, you might even catch a rainbow.

See our list of 9 fun things to do in Roussillon

Day 3 - Goult, Gordes & Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt


Continue your journey in the peaceful countryside to discover the local way of life, acclaimed Provencal restaurants and scenic sights.


Visit a local market

Lourmarin Friday Market

In Provence, many villages have their own "market day" selling an array of locally sourced goods and artisanal products, like freshly basked pastries, aromatic herbs, perfectly sweet strawberries, goats cheese, kitchenware, and stylish clothing, accessories and jewelry.

Depending on the day of the week, visit one of the local markets in the region:

  • Tuesday: Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt or Gordes
  • Thursday: Roussillon, Goult or Menerbes
  • Friday: Lourmarin or Bonnieux
  • Saturday: Apt
  • Sunday: Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Arrive early, as markets in the Luberon come to life by 9 AM, and vendors wind down their stalls at lunchtime around 12:30 PM.

Top tip: while browsing the stalls, you may find similar items at different prices, so take your time to seek the best deals.

Explore Goult and enjoy a leisurely lunch in the village

After your market stroll, savour a gourmet lunch at Le Carillon, a restaurant known for its innovative Provencal-style cuisine. Secure a spot on their outdoor terrace in the heart of the village and indulge in one of their set menus. Afterwards, take a leisurely walk around Goult, a place that left us dreaming of living in Provence.

If time permits, don't miss the Edith Mezard boutique in nearby Lumieres - the entire store is tres-chic! I found a stylish crochet purse and a serving plate adorned with lemons.

Drive the scenic loop from Gordes to Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque and a panoramic picnic spot

As Gordes is arguably considered the most beautiful village in the Luberon Valley, it can get quite touristy. Admire the stone houses cascading down the hillside from afar to avoid the crowds, and continue your journey towards Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque to revel in the beauty of lavender fields. Complete the loop with a panoramic picnic at Aire de pique-nique Route de Murs.

Gordes ➝ Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senanque ➝ Aire de pique-nique Route de Murs

Top tip: Before embarking on the loop, don't miss the chance to visit Lyse Bakery in Coustellet for an outstanding variety of pastries and treats, including their unforgettable lavender macarons.


Explore Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt and dine at Le Saint Hubert

Le Saint Hubert Restaurant in Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt

Discover Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, an off-the-beaten-path village exuding an authentic local charm with fewer tourists. Wander down the main strip to witness genuine daily life as locals read and talk amongst friends at sidewalk cafes.

The village has earned international acclaim for its restaurant, Le Saint Hubert, featured in Conde Nast. It's a prime example of big-city chefs moving to the countryside to embrace a laidback lifestyle and access fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Make a reservation to taste Le Saint Hubert's farm-to-table cuisine. Their three-course tasting menus are a great value at 48 € and their dining room has lovely views of the valley and mountains.

Enjoy your 3 days in Provence!

Get started on booking your trip to Provence

  • 🌃 Book your accommodation: Booking.com is our go-to for finding places to stay. Sort by top reviewed.
  • 🚗 Reserve your car: see Rentalcars.com to compare car rental prices across different companies.
  • 🤠 Browse tours with local guides: through GetYourGuide
  • 🛫 Book your flight: use Skyscanner to compare flights across different airlines (we recommend booking direct with the airline, however).

Combine Provence with a trip to Paris in our 1 Week Paris and Provence itinerary.

See our 12 day France and Italy itinerary, which includes Provence.

Don't miss our other Provence travel guides:

Combine Provence with a trip to Monaco. See what to do in Monaco for a day.

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