One of the most beautiful villages in France, Venasque is a medieval town perched on a steep cliff, far from mass tourism. Situated 11 kilometres from Carpentras, in the heart of the Vaucluse, it gave its name to the Comtat Venaissin.
It's a true pleasure to stroll its steep lanes and discover its heritage: the 13th century baptistery, the Romanesque church and its painting won back from the Louvre, the Roman walls...
The site of Venasque has been inhabited since prehistoric times as evidenced by the presence of caves in the valley of the Nesque. It was the territory of a Gallic tribe whose centre was Carpentras.
In the Romanesque era, a wall flanked by three semi-circular towers was built to reinforce the site's natural defences and protect it from attack, which could only come from the southeast.
Under the Merovingian dynasty, the bishopric of Carpentras withdrew to Venasque due to the turmoils in the region. Saint-Siffredus, one of the bishops, is believed to be responsible for the construction of a cathedral and of a church dedicated St John the Baptist, of which today no vestiges remain.
In the Middle Ages, Venasque became the possession of the Counts of Toulouse, then was ceded to the popes until 1791, the year in which it came out from under pontifical authority and was attached to France. Besieged during the Wars of Religion, Venasque has never been conquered.
Stating in the 19th century, the population continuously decreased. The trend reversed itself in the 1960s, as in many Provençal villages, with the arrival of newcomers from other parts of France and Europe who restored the houses to live here year round or to have them as their holiday homes.
Many artists opened studios in Venasque: ceramists, potters, painters, upholsterer decorators... Don't hesitate to go meet them, they will share their passion with you.
Since 1978, the “Monts de Venasque” is the premier registered trademark of cherries in France. 110 farmers in 21 communes harvest each year 20,000 tons of this crown jewel. The cherry orchards, sheltered from the mistral wind, enjoy exceptional sunshine. Farmers also cultivate the strawberry of Carpentras, the Black Truffle, the Muscat of Ventoux and the AOC Côtes du Ventoux wines.
To see in Venasque
The area surrounding Venasque abounds in wonders waiting to be discovered. It's worth spending a bit of time here or even coming back.
Fountain in the village of Venasque
Ramparts of the village of Venasque
Door in the fortifications of the village
Panoramic view on Mont Ventoux
In the streets of Venasque
The church of Venasque
The Baptistry in the Church of Venasque
Painting of the crucifixion in the Church of Venasque