A medieval village perched on the Monts de Vaucluse

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... 

From the Esplanade, a magnificent view spreads out before you and lets you admire the landscapes of the Monts de Vaucluse, the Dentelles de Montmirail and the Mont Ventoux.

A brief history of Venasque

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 and in the surrounding area

To see in Venasque

  • The baptistery of Venasque, one of the oldest religious sites in France.
  • The Notre Dame de Venasque Church where you can admire several remarkable pieces: a very beautiful 17th century altarpiece, the painting of the Crucifixion from the Avignon School dating from 1498, procession crucifix from the 15th century
  • The ramparts and Roman towers.
  • The view from the Esplanade over the Monts de Vaucluse and the Mont Ventoux.
  • The Notre Dame de Vie institute which attracts many of the faithful each year
  • The Cherry Festival in the month of June.
  • The summer market on Fridays from 5pm to 8pm.
  • The bories: the town's territory counts 240 of them.
  • La Forêt Enchantée (the Enchanted Forest), open-air amusement park in a forest inhabited by sprites, elves and witches: giant maze, mini treetop adventure,  learning trail...  The children will love it!
  • The Jardin de nos grands mères Our grandmothers' garden

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

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