The Medieval Ruins of Oppède Le Vieux, Home to an Antipope and Shelter from the Nazis

The Medieval Ruins of Oppède Le Vieux, Home to an Antipope and Shelter from the Nazis

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Oppède Le Vieux is a small town in France, which is best known for its Medieval château, or castle, which today lies in ruins. The town was abandoned several centuries ago, when its inhabitants left for a new area where they could farm more productively. Although the town lies in ruins today, it has a colorful history behind it, involving an antipope and a group of artists fleeing from the Nazis during the Second World War.

Oppède Le Vieux is perched on the northern side of the Luberon, a massif in central Provence, in the south of France. It is built against the part of the massif known as the ‘Petit Luberon’, which means ‘Little Luberon’, and can be found in the Vaucluse department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.

A view of Oppède Le Vieux. Photo source: ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Oppède Le Vieux is said to date back to the 12 th century. During this time, the town was home to a farming community, and its most prominent structures were its church and its château. The church is known as the Collegiale Notre-Dame d'Alidon, and is located high above the town. Within the walls of this ancient structure are a great number of frescoes, though many of these are either faded or ruined. It has been reported that at the moment, the church is being restored.

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As for the château, it was once the property of the counts of Toulouse. Then, during the 13 th century, the structure fell into the hands of the papacy. During the Western Schism, which took place between the second half of the 14 th century and the first half of the following, the castle of Oppède Le Vieux was the home of Antipope Benedict XIII for a period of time. An Antipope is an individual in opposition to the one who is generally seen as the legitimately elected Pope.

Ruins of the Castle of Oppède le Vieux, Vaucluse, France

When the antipope was forced to flee from the town, he, according to one source “’flew off’ from the very top by way of an arched postern opening onto the empty space below, borne, it's said, by the devil himself.” The next famous / infamous resident of the château was Jean Maynier, Baron of Oppède. The baron is said to have made the château his headquarters, from which he waged war against the Waldensians, a Christian movement founded by Peter Waldo in the 12 th century. During this war, 11 villages are said to have been destroyed by the baron’s men.

Statue of Peter Waldo ( CC BY 3.0 )

Despite thriving during the Middle Ages, Oppède Le Vieux was later abandoned after the 16 th century. It has been claimed that as it was peaceful during that time, most of the town’s inhabitants decided to move down into the valley, which had land better suited for agricultural purposes. A new town, known as Oppède les Poulivets, was founded, and the old one was left abandoned for the next couple of centuries.

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It was during the Second World War that some new life was injected into the ghost town. During this period, Oppède Le Vieux became a perfect hiding place for artists wanting to escape from the persecution of the Nazis who occupied France. This group, which included painters, writers and sculptors, were known as le Groupe d’Oppède, and was led by the architect Bernard Zehrfuss.

During the war, the Nazis unleashed a purge of art that was not useful to the German government for propaganda purposes. Museum directors and artists that refused to comply with Reich-approved art were killed or forbidden from practicing art. The Gestapo frequently made impromptu visits to the homes of artists to ensure their compliance. In response to the oppressive restrictions, many artists were forced to flee and the ruins of Oppède Le Vieux were a good hiding place.

The community of artists seeking refuge grew to about 50 strong, the most notable of whom were the sculptor François Stahly, and the artist and writer Consuelo de Saint Exupéry (the wife of Antoine de Saint Exupéry, the author of Le Petit Prince ). Nevertheless, this community did not last long, and they eventually left the town. Today, Oppède Le Vieux is a tourist destination.

Medieval Church of Notre-Dame-d'Alydon d'Oppède, Vaucluse, France ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

The Medieval Ruins of Oppède Le Vieux, Home to an Antipope and Shelter from the Nazis - History

Bed & breakfast in Oppède-Le-Vieux, Luberon

Environmentally responsible from is first day, La Buissonniere has always been committed to providing its guests an healthy environment, that means cleanliness and respect.

We focus on providing the best sanitary conditions and processes for you and us.

Covid 19 Mesures

A tiny all-wooden swimming pool, to catch some coolness and wellness.

You can also “privatise” the place, including kitchen, many living rooms and the garden, for weekly rent. No breakfast, but a cleansing lady one hour a day.

Please feel free to contact us for special fare.

A bed & breakfast in La Buissonnière means :

  • Living in a charming old house right in the center of Oppède-le-Vieux, the most magical village of Luberon.
  • Awaking out of time, with the song of the birds, facing a dramatic landscape.
  • Enjoying a tasty breakfast, made of organic food, mostly local products (as far as possible), homemade for the jams and pastry.
  • Relaxing in an elegant Art Deco atmosphere and revitalize yourself in the absolute calm of a preserved natural space.
  • Discovering the treasures of the Luberon Regional Nature Park , one of the jewels of Provence.
  • Choosing among the many hiking (like the GR6 ) or biking trails (like the Tour du Luberon ) which are to our door.
  • Or spending one day in Avignon , the Alpilles , Aix-en-Provence or Marseille .

The house

We are ideally located in the heart of the old village d’ Oppède : right in the center, but in an absolute calm.

La Buissonnière is a distinguished house of the 17th century, which sheltered a time the girls’ school. In french, “Buissonnière” means “skipping school”, and it’s the perfect place for it.

Its luminous rooms face the medieval part of the village.

Its closed garden exposed to the south accommodates you for the breakfast, a siesta or a sunbath.

Each windows offers you stunning views on the beauty of the village. By night, each room shows you the illuminated wonderland, with the medieval church and ramparts.

No TV but a library including English books, music, a free wi-fi connection in the whole house.

Shared facilities

The lounge provides travel guides, tourist information, magazines, local information, literature… (French and English)

The breakfast is served in the garden when the weather is warm.

It can also be served in one of our living room when the weather cools. It is made of of organic food, mostly local products (as far as possible), homemade for the jams and pastry.

At the top of the House, a typical provencal room named “soleillan” provides a panoramic view. Here you can relax, drink a tea or fresh drink, read a magazine or simply enjoy the landscape.

The village

Located in a natural site of rocky outcrops and forests, Oppède-le-Vieux was preserved from modern urbanization and presents an exceptional architectural testimony: medieval and Renaissance houses, ancient stalls frontages, a 12 th century church, and the ruins of an ancient fortified castle…

Visitors are invited to leave their car at the entrance of village, which they will discover while walking through a beautiful landscaped garden, growing 80 rustic local varieties. Then, it is along the leafy “ calade s”* that one reaches the perched church Notre-Dame d’Alidon and the ruins of the castle.

They dominate the village and, far down, the valley, with the Mont Ventoux , the Monts de Vaucluse and the Alpilles for background.

* calade is a Provencal term for a cobblestone road, a typical work in old Luberon hilltop villages.

Oppède-le-Vieux, a Magnificent Old Village in the Luberon.

When friends come to visit us in Sablet, some who may be there for their first and maybe only time in their life, we plan our time together so they see and experience what we think are the best parts of our beautiful corner of Provence.

It is really hard to decide where to go when they are there for just a week even if we say we are not going to go farther than one hour away by car. That distance includes almost all our favorite places except for Cassis which is more like one and one-half hours away but its our favorite seaside village so we make an exception.

My list of places not to miss include the Tuesday morning market in Vaison-la-Romaine, Crestet, Séguret, Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape for wine lovers, Roussillon and Gordes in the Luberon, Sénanque Abbey especially during lavender season, Pont du Gard although not technically in Provence and the aforementioned Cassis.

We also love Aix-en-Provence, Bonnieux, Lourmarin, Villedieu, Les Baux de Provence and the surrounding Alpilles where the best olive oils in France are produced, the Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux. Its hard to whittle our list to make everything fit let alone get to new places where we have not been before.

So it was a little unusual a few weeks back when friends Steven and Susan were visiting that we decided to go to Oppède-le-Vieux where we had not been before. Oppède-le-Vieux is generally not very well known, little is written about the village in the various guide books about Provence but I had it in my head that I wanted to go.

So off we went. Oppède-le-Vieux is a beautiful village with many ruins perched on the northern face of the Luberon mountains about one hour's drive from Sablet.

If you go visit Oppède-le-Vieux, you will have to leave your car in the parking lot at the base of the village from there, follow the path up the hill. There is a small fee for the parking lot.

It was beautiful and sunny, late April, the day we went and the trees were in full bloom as we walked up the path through the terrace garden into the old village.

Oppède is in fact two villages: Oppède-le-Vieux ("the old" in French), built against the Petit Luberon and dating back 1000 years, and Oppède-les-Poulivets ("nice view" in Provençal), today known as "le village", down in the valley.

There is a terrace café and a few shops in the center of the old village below the church and ruined castle. This is a good place to rest and soak up the atmosphere after your walk from the parking lot.

Cross in the old village square. I love that blue sky.

The walled village and arched passage.

A beautifully restored home.

Chapel of White Penitents in the old village.

A 15 to 20 minute walk up hill on cobblestones through the trees past ruins of ancient dwellings will bring you to the summit and the 16th century Church of Notre Dame d'Alidon.

As you hike up to the village, look back as you have magnificent views out towards Mont Ventoux Gordes is in the foreground.

Church of Notre Dame d'Alidon is being restored by the commune.

Church of Notre Dame d'Alidon.

The ruins which remain of the castle. Pay attention when you are up on the summit as there are drop offs and no rails.

The view out of a window of the castle ruins.

Besides the church and castle ruins, a climb to the summit from the old village below will be rewarded with fantastic views of the countryside.

As we walked back to the old village below, we passed more flowering trees.

More restored homes in the old village.

A pretty house. I like the blue shutters with flowering tree.

Towards the end of the 19th century, a post office and school were opened down in the valley in Poulivets and the residents of the old village slowly moved out of Oppède-le-Vieux. In 1909, the city hall officially moved to Oppède-les-Poulivets and consequently the old village became deserted.

After World War II, attracted by Oppède's beauty and history, some people returned and refurbished some of the houses beyond the ramparts and little by little the old village came back to life. I really like this beautiful place and Oppède-le-Vieux is now on my list of places not to miss.


Thanks to the film, “A Good Year,” based on the book of the same name by Peter Mayle (British author known for his series of books about life in Provence), Gordes gained even more popularity among tourists. You will easily find its postcard view in Instagram or Facebook. French writers prefer Gordes for vacation. Every single house there is filled with Provence authenticity. Even its church doesn’t look like a typical solemn Catholic cathedral. It is light and shiny. We also chose this town to stay in, but with the intention of seeing other, less famous, towns of Provence.

A dessert. Provence, France.

The Medieval Ruins of Oppède Le Vieux, Home to an Antipope and Shelter from the Nazis - History

Provence is a very fine place to visit in the south of France. The larger cities like Avignon are packed with history, art and some of the world's best architecture. The food is some of the most celebrated in France. The wine is fine. And it's easy to take the TGV from Paris to be whisked right into Avignon within walking distance of the Palace of the Popes. Then, the perfect villages of the Luberon await your visit, and the Rhone Delta is where you'll find the beef (and the flamingoes).

First, lets look at the map below. The northern part of Provence is the Vaucluse. At the western boundary of Provence are three compelling towns, from north to south they're Avignon, St. Remy and Arles. To the east of those, there is the Luberon, with villages like Menerbes, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Bonnieux, Saignon, Lourmarin, Cucuron, Oppède Le Vieux, Lacoste (where Marquis de Sade’s castle is located) and colorfully framed by its ochre cliffs, the charming town of Roussillon.

Provence: Along the Rhone

The most well known bit of Provence is the Vaucluse, which includes the Luberon, made famous in part by the books of Peter Mayle. The Camargue is a distinctive bit of the region known for cowboys called les gardians, beef and horses. Its wetlands bioshere reserve is a world heritage site that attracts bird watchers from all over Europe. Go in spring or fall. Avignon is the capital of the Côtes du Rhône wines and home to the Palace of the Popes. St. Remy is an art town. Take a signposted walk, Promenade dans l'univers de Vincent van Gogh, to see Van Gogh's Rooms at the Maison de santé Saint-Paul, then see the Roman site built atop a Greek one at Glanum just outside of town, where the Romans smoked their wine, just outside of town. Have lunch across from the entrance at the Villa Glanum (where you can stay if you wish). Arles is a charming town built around the Roman Arena that hosts events throughout the year. On Saturday morning the largest market in Provence is held. Near the Rhone in Arles you can visit the Roman Baths of Constantine.

The Natural Park of the Alpilles and the Baux de Provence

It is also called the capital of the Provence lifestyle. Van Gogh fell in love with it and stayed there a year. He drew 150 paintings reflecting the light and beauty of the landscapes of the Alpilles. Move up to the Cloister St Paul where Van Gogh was hosted, there you can admire some reproductions of his paintings.

Popular village 5 minutes from St Remy which has preserved its tranquility. Postcard landscape, blending the brightness of the Alpilles, olive groves and Provencal farmhouses beautifully restored.

Follow the main road and go up, at the top of the village. After passing the “Chapelle des Pénitants” you will access the castle ruins that offer a breathtaking panorama over the plain of the Durance and the Alpilles.

Les Baux de Provence, its castle and Careers light

Medieval town perched on a rocky outcrop, the fame of Les Baux de Provence is already made. Young and old take great pleasure to come here. The site and the castle come alive regularly to add to the medieval atmosphere even more authenticity. From April to September “Les médiévales des Baux” offers a trip back in time and introduce you to some of the activities of the day: shooting catapult, crossbow shooting, swordplay…

The visit of the Careers light 5 minutes walk from the castle is a delight. At a height up to 20 meters, these limestone quarries welcome multimedia shows at the forefront of technology. Projections and light shows brilliantly reveal the beauty of the place.

Mas d'Oppede

  • Location Oppède Villa - Luberon - Provence, France
  • Sleeps 8
  • Bedrooms 4
  • Baths 4
  • Rating

Time has gone since the houses in Provence were dark and dull, with low ceilings and narrow windows. The interior of the house is clean, bright and cozy - not what one might guess from stony authenticity of the outside.

The two bedrooms on the ground floor and the Master bedroom on the first floor are air conditioned. Each of the 4 bedrooms has his own en-suite bathroom.

A brand new shopping center has been built in Coustellet, less than 5 minutes’ drive. Close to the famous villages of Ménerbes and Oppède le Vieux.

One of our preferred houses in our collection, a perfect picture of Provence!



4 bedroom/ 4 bathrooms sleeps 8

Ground Floor (RDC) Bedrooms/ Bathroom Layout

  • Bedroom 1 - Air conditioned Queen bedroom with en-suite bathroom (Shower, sink, WC). Opens on a nice stone courtyard terrace.
  • Bedroom 2 - Air conditioned Queen bedroom with en-suite bathroom (Shower, sink, WC). Nice views on the vineyards and lavender field.

Second Story (1er étage) Bedrooms/ Bathroom Layout

  • Bedroom 3 - Air conditioned Master bedroom, King bed (2m) with en-suite bathroom (Tub, shower, sink, WC).
  • Bedroom 4 - Queen bed with en-suite bathroom (Shower sink,WC).


  • Three bedrooms with A/C
  • Broadband Internet/ WiFi
  • Satellite TV with English News Channels
  • Cd player/ stereo
  • iPod Dock (speaker base)
  • Fully Equipped Kitchen including Dishwasher
  • Washing Machine
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Hair dryers in each bathroom
  • Indoor Dining for 8 people
  • Outdoor Dining for 10 people
  • Day bed on the Mezzanine
  • Baby Crib/ Cot if required
  • High Chair
  • All linens provided
  • Pool towels


  • Sun Loungers
  • Parasols
  • Outdoor Terraces
  • Outdoor Dining for 10 People
  • Charcoal BBQ
  • Shaded and Grassy areas
  • Boules Court
  • Private Parking
  • Beautiful views on the Luberon hills, vineyards, and lavender fields

Pool Information

Dimensions/ Depth: 12m x 6m

Security (Fence, Alarm): Alarm, no Fence

Salt water System: No

Heated?: Yes, upon request. Additional charges may apply.

Please note that pool heating is dependent on outdoor weather conditions and specific temperatures cannot be guaranteed

Note: The pool is set in a very private place with fantastic panoramic views on the countryside.

Maid Service

End of stay cleaning, and 2 hours twice per week included. Linens changed weekly unless agreed otherwise. Maids not responsible for washing guest dishes/ pots/ pans or personal laundry.

Rates & Availability


Average rating:
5 out of 5 based on 10 ratings. 10 user reviews.

Q. Would you recommend Only Provence to friends or family? If not, why?
R. Yes

Q. What star rating (1-5) would you give this villa? (5 being best)
R. 5

Q. Did your villa meet your expectations? If not, why?
R. Yes

Q. Were you able to find the property easily?
R. Yes

Q. How were you treated by the property’s staff and manager? (5 being best)
R. 5

Q. How would you rate the cleanliness of the villa? (5 being best)
R. 4

Q. Is there anything that needs to be replaced or updated?
R. We had all the burnt out light bulbs replaced - there were many!
We had two scorpions in the house (rare but can occur in all homes, especially in countryside during hot weather). I would have loved to know in advance that it was possible and what to do and to know that they are not poisonous there. Lots of time on google dealing with that!

Q. Would you consider staying here again?
R. Yes

Q. What did you like about your experience?
R. The Villa location is ideal, views are gorgeous, so quiet and peaceful. Kids loved the pool. Genevieve (house manager) was super accommodating and helpful.

Q. What is one thing we could do to improve your experience with Only Provence in the future?
R. Thought the booking process and communication was all terrific. We had a great trip!

Q. Would you recommend Only Provence to friends or family? If not, why?
R. Yes

Q. What star rating (1-5) would you give this villa? (5 being best)
R. 5

Q. Did your villa meet your expectations? If not, why?
R. Yes

Q. Were you able to find the property easily?
R. Yes

Q. How were you treated by the property’s staff and manager? (5 being best)
R. 5

Q. How would you rate the cleanliness of the villa? (5 being best)
R. 5

Q. What else could we provide to improve your stay?
R. Nothing! It was a close to perfection as possible!

Q. Is there anything that needs to be replaced or updated?
R. One of the pools reclining chairs needs to be fixed. There was a rip in the canvas.

Q. Did you book any chef or tour services? If so, what was your experience?
R. No

Q. Would you consider staying here again?
R. Yes

Q. What did you like about your experience?
R. The Farmhouse was lovely, the 2 foot thick stone walls kept the house cool even during the heat wave that occurred during our stay. The sunsets while sitting by the pool were beautiful, in fact, everything from the landscape, the pool, the interior of the house were spectacular.

Q. What is one thing we could do to improve your experience with Only Provence in the future?
R. If I had to think of something then Possibly a stereo system that could Pipe the music out to the pool area

Q. Testimonial for Only Provence
R. To me this is the only way to experience Provence! The farmhouse, the pool and surrounding landscaping and vineyard were all beautiful. The smells of lavender and rosemary, walking across the street to the local vineyard for a tasting and the sunsets are experiences We will never forget. Absolutely Amazing!!

Q. Testimonial for Only Provence
R. We hadn't booked through 'Only Provence' before having used other villa companies for this region in the past. We had some concerns about comitting a deposit as we didn't know anything about the company but the service was professional, efficient and property as described. The website photographs were accurate and the villa was of a high quality. We would be more than happy to book through only Provence in the future.

Q. Would you recommend Only Provence to friends or family? If not, why?
R. Yes

Q. What star rating (1-5) would you give this villa? (5 being best)
R. 4

Q. Did your villa meet your expectations? If not, why?
R. No

Q. Why your villa didn't meet your expectations?
R. Availability of bicycles

Q. Were you able to find the property easily?
R. Yes

Q. How were you treated by the property’s staff and manager? (5 being best)
R. 5

Q. How would you rate the cleanliness of the villa? (5 being best)
R. 5

Q. What else could we provide to improve your stay?
R. We like to spend time outside in the evenings playing cards etc and if it were our property we would improve the outside lighting we needed quite a lot of candles although we were expecting this. There were only three bicycles available and which meant the four people who had intended to cycle couldn't. The fourth bicycle was being repaired and was promided for Tuesday after our arrival but didn't ever appear.
A minor point is the amount of fridge space for a house of this size. most of the properties we stay in have larger fridges or an outside kitchen fridge to fall back on. We like to shop in local markets and cook rathe than eat out every day and with 6 men drinking beer we found it tight for space for fresh food.

Q. Is there anything that needs to be replaced or updated?

Q. Did you book any chef or tour services? If so, what was your experience?
R. No

Q. Would you consider staying here again?
R. Yes

Q. What did you like about your experience?
R. Lovely villa, beautiful view and great location. Perfect layout for our combination of parents with adult daughters plus their partners.

Q. What is one thing we could do to improve your experience with Only Provence in the future?
R. The service was very good apart from delivering the bicycle.

The villa was delightful, characterful and well located for exploring the nearby hilltop villages. We particularly enjoyed the petanque court. It was also a real bonus to have a lavender field right next door. We hope to go back to Mas d Oppede again in the future.

I did not go on the wine tour but those who did said the guides were very knowledgeable and informative and they all learned a great deal from the experience as well as having a fantastic time.

Chef Julien was outstanding and helped to make my son’s 26th birthday very memorable. I marvel at his ability to arrive, cook a gourmet meal in a kitchen he had never seen before then leave the kitchen in a better state than when he arrived.

As for OnlyProvence, I would use one word - efficient. Everything went smoothly, with no hitches. Had we not booked through you we would not have discovered the marvelous chef or the tours. I am grateful to my daughter Rebecca who discovered you and thank you for enabling us to have a marvelous vacation.

The house and setting were lovely. We had a wonderful time, but I do have some ideas for improving the place.
First, a few typed pages about what's nearby (with detailed directions) would have been extremely helpful. A few hours work by someone familiar with the area would have spared us (and all other visitors) a lot of research on where to find a grocery store, a bakery, etc… Second, the people who greeted us spoke limited English, which was charming until we had a plumbing problem that needed to be discussed. Third, there were a lot of bugs in the pool. An extra cleaning during the week (or a pool cover) would have been ideal.

Would you recommend Mas d Oppede, Only Provence, Chefs or Tours? Why or why not?

What star rating would you give Mas d Oppede? 5
What star rating would you give Only Provence? 5

The people we dealt with at OP were lovely, and the house was as promised -- which is the most important factor in our satisfaction!

Great villa. Exactly as billed. Warm welcome. Prompt response with any issues. Overall really happy.

Areas for improvement:
One of our children cut his arm quite badly on the Sunday after we arrived. A medical kit in the house would have been v helpful. Also, a list of key numbers – eg hospital, pharmacy – would have helped as well.

Would you recommend Mas d Oppede and Only Provence?
Yes – great service and a great holiday.

What star rating would you give Mas d Oppede? 5
What star rating would you give Only Provence? 5

Thank you for helping us to arrange a really great break.

It was the authentic Provence experience we were hoping for. The property and the view of Lavender, Vines and the Luberon mountains was the stuff of dreams.

Areas for improvement:
Nothing obvious that we could identify. We were there in warm weather but when it is hot air conditioning might be needed in the Master bedroom given it is upstairs. My wife could not find the hair dryer!

Would you recommend Mas d Oppede, Only Provence, Chefs or Tours to friends/ family?

Yes we found the villa absolutely superb and the service and response from OnlyProvence excellent. Genevieve our villa liaison was extremely helpful including getting us an appointment at the local doctor when our daughter was sick when they said they could not see us….local network helped! Chef Marie cooked the most amazing meal for us….we are still talking about it!

We had an amazing time at the property. We have been traveling around Europe this year, and this was our 8th property we've stayed at in the last 9 months, and hands down our favorite. You never know exactly what to expect when arriving, but the pictures still don't do it justice. It was for us without a doubt, home away from home. One of the games we play in the homes we've stayed at is, "what would we change if this was ours." We had to admit that finally we had found a spot that the answer was, "not a thing." It was everything we would could have asked for. It's exactly how we would do a Mas in the Provence. It's large, spacious, bright, perfectly decorated with every amenity you need, while at the same time feeling cozy and charming. The house has so many doors and windows that open up to the garden that even while inside you have the feeling of being outside. It's completely updated so you lack for nothing while perfectly blending the charm you want when visiting the Provence. The garden is filled with nooks and crannies for outdoor eating, reading, sunbathing, sitting by the fountain or watching the incredible sunrise over the vineyards, right outside the kitchen door. The fully equipped kitchen actually was fully equipped and the fig tree in the garden dropping fruit made for some great baking, while the huge supermarket five minutes away has everything, and I mean everything. As a hobby cook I was in heaven.

The house is stunning, lovely location, will return.

Areas for improvement:

Would you recommend Mas d'Oppede and Only Provence to friends and family?
Yes, very much.

What star rating would you give Mas d Oppede? 5
What star rating would you give Only Provence? 5

The setting was beautiful. The house was very comfortable and seemed much larger than the website showed. The location couldn't have been more perfect and the site of the house had gorgeous views. We never wanted to leave.

Only Provence is a very professional organization and treats it's clients with the highest regard. You all have excellent communication skills which helps take out all the guesswork needed for planning a great vacation.

Areas for improvement:Check the bikes working condition beforehand. Hair dryer in every bathroom.

Would you recommend Mas d Oppede, Only Provence to friends/ family?
In a minute. All of the above….

What star rating would you give Mas d Oppede? 5
What star rating would you give Only Provence? 5

The Village

Nearest Villages

Closest Village Oppède 4 KM 2.48 mi Map Village Info
Nearby Village Ménerbes 5 KM 3.1 mi Map Village Info
Nearby Village Gordes 10 KM 6.2 mi Map Village Info
Nearby Village Goult 10 KM 6.2 mi Map Village Info


Oppède Le Vieux is a magnificent little hill-top village. Built high on a rocky outcrop and surrounded by lush vegetation, thick forests and rocks form a striking backdrop.

To visit Oppède Le Vieux, leave your car in the carpark at the base of the village before following the picturesque path up the hill.

You will be enchanted by this historic village which has so much to offer: a 12th century collegiate church which dominates the skyline, the ruins of an ancient chateau and the remains of historic workshops and boutiques.

It is a pleasure to wander around this village and visitors will admire the charming 15th and 16th century houses that have been skilfully restored.

You can rest awhile in the peaceful square and soak up the atmosphere.

Numerous artists, writers and movie stars have been so charmed by the style and beauty of Oppède Le Vieux that many have bought property here. you, too, will also fall in love with this beautiful place.

Ruins of the feudal chateau. 12th century church.

Renaissance and medieval houses.

Getting here:
The easiest way to get to Inland Provence from the US is to fly to Marseilles International Airport (MRS). If you would like to see Paris, fly to Charles de Gaulle Airport then connect directly to the TGV(high speed train) from CDG TGV2 to Avignon TGV(3 hours direct) and rent a car. You would plan to see Paris on the way back, taking the TGV from Avignon TGV to Gare de Lyon, getting a cab to your hotel in the city.

Things to do

Local Attractions
Hiking and Cycling.

Route des vins and visit of villages.

Outdoor markets of Provence.

"Le Petit Café" in Oppede le Vieux.

Local Markets
Sunday: L'Isle sur la Sorgue

Thursday: Rousillion, Les Beaumettes

Within Walking distance
Hiking tracks to the Luberon hills

A large store has opened in Coustellet, at 5 minutes' drive

Note: Maps show approximate location

Terms and Conditions Overview

Arrival: Saturday (arrival date subject to availability)

Minimum Stay: 1 week - please inquire about exceptions outside the summer months.

Services Included: Final cleaning and any additional maid service listed on the web page

Making your reservation: These properties are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, before you reserve, you are required to review and sign a rental agreement for the villa (the “Rental Agreement”). We will send you the Rental Agreement by email. The Rental Agreement explains in detail all of terms and conditions regarding rental and use of the property in detail. We shall have no obligation to accept any reservations, unless the Rental Agreement is fully executed.

Payment: After you have signed the Rental Agreement and filled out the appropriate information, as approved by us, a nonrefundable payment of the one-half (50%) of the Rental Fee (which price is defined in your Rental Agreement) must be received by us within seven (7) days to confirm the reservation. The remaining one-half (50%) of the Rental Fee is due 60 days before the arrival date, and is also non-refundable. If reservations are made less than 60 days prior to the arrival date, then 100% of the Rental Fee must be paid upon the signing of the Rental Agreement. Please know that a failure to pay any portion of the Rental Fee as set forth above and in Rental Agreement can result in loss of the reservation of the villa and a termination of the Rental Agreement. We will confirm receipt of each payment and note any outstanding balance and due date(s).

Cancellation: We have a no refund cancellation policy, but usually succeed in rescheduling cancelled reservations to the Spring or Fall or re-booking the cancelled period to another group and refunding the party that cancelled. Failure to pay the final balance (which is due 60 days before arrival) or provide required information for the security deposit may be deemed a cancellation with no refund due. Clients are advised to consider Trip Cancellation Insurance with the carrier of their choice at the time of confirmation.

For more information about how you can reserve this villa for your vacation, please contact us:

Adorable Small Villages in Northeast France


From Jacquie of Flashpacking Family

Kaysersberg in Alsace may be small but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most famous villages in France. It is one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France and in 2017 it was voted Village préféré des Français.

It earns its status as one of Alsace’s fairytale villages with its colorful, timber-framed houses that are seen throughout the region. But what makes Kaysersberg a little more special than its enchanting neighbors, Eguisheim and Riquewihr, is that it is much less busy. Add to this the beautiful River Weiss running through the center of the village, the 800-year-old Kaysersberg Castle looking down from above and rolling green hills clad in vines surrounding the village.

Make sure to take the steps up to the top of the castle for beautiful views over the village and the surrounding countryside or drive up into the vines just outside of Kaysersberg for even more impressive views.

Combine This Small Town in France With…

Kaysersberg is situated at an equal distance between Strasbourg and Basel and would make an excellent weekend getaway from Paris.


From Kerri of Beer and Croissants

Châteauneuf-en-Auxois is located in the heart of the Burgundy wine-producing region. Its position high on a hill in the Auxois Valley made it the perfect spot for one of the area’s strategic fortresses, the Châteauneuf Castle.

Today the castle is the main reason why visitors are attracted to this small town. With a resident population of under 100, it is quintessentially French with its narrow, cobbled laneways lined with the houses of a bygone era. Many of these medieval buildings from the 14th-century still exist, some of which have been turned into small art galleries or gourmet food stores selling locally produced items. It is perfect for spending a few hours just walking around. In the summertime, many of the houses are adorned with beautiful flowers and ivy.

The northern entrance to the town is where one of the original gates to this former walled town can be seen. The gate is also a marker for the access point to one of the best views over the valley. Follow the signs to Pont de Vue and La Croix de Mission to find the lookout.

If you can’t get enough of this town, consider also going to the nearby town of Vandenesse-en-Auxois. Located right on the Bourgogne Canal, it offers a majestic view of the fairytale castle from ground level.

Combine This Small Town in France With…

Châteauneuf-en-Auxois is easily accessible by vehicle from two of Burgundy’s most prominent cities, Dijon and Beaune. The short distance takes around 45 minutes from either location and as such makes for a perfect road trip in the Burgundy region .

Photo provided by Kerri of Beer and Croissants. Reused with permission.


From Josie of Josie Wanders

The village of Riquewihr in the Alsace region of France is truly adorable. The walled town center is filled with traditional half-timbered houses that are painted in all colors of the rainbow. In spring and summer, they are covered in wisteria and other vines and it’s such a romantic place to just sit and enjoy.

Being in the Alsace region, Riquewihr is nestled in amongst wineries, and tasting some of the local wines can be done right on the main street. There’s also plenty of locally produced food too. Look out for delicious bakeries, cheese shops, and small goods.

There is a small museum located in town, and one section of the medieval walls can be accessed to explore, but just wandering the streets is captivating enough for a relaxed visit. If you stay overnight, look out for the nightly light show at the upper gate of the town.

Riquewihr is also located on the Grand Crus, the Alsace wine trail so it is a great location for a hike amongst the vineyards if you are looking for a more active visit.

Combine This Small Town in France With…

Riquewihr is less than one hour from Strasbourg or twenty minutes from Colmar, so is a perfect day trip from either of these larger cities.

The Ultimate Guide to a Road Trip in Provence

When to Go

This is admittedly a more and more difficult question over the years, if you’re trying to catch the lavender in bloom. In 2019 our trip dates were 4-9 July, and by the last days we were passing lavender fields that had already been harvested. As blooming periods are shifting earlier, I would recommend the last week of June and first week of July for optimal lavender visiting. However, there are plenty of non-lavender related activities to do in Provence, so don’t worry if you can’t make it there during this period!

How to Get There

BY TRAIN: It’s only a 2h45 TGV ride from Paris Gare de Lyon to Avignon TGV, and 3h09 to Aix-en-Provence TGV (be aware, if you’re looking to base yourself in either Avignon or Aix, these two stations are located a ways out of the center of town- you’ll need to take another train or rent a car to get there).

If you’re coming from Paris, this is by far the easiest option. We chose Avignon because there are multiple car rental locations within the train station complex, and it only took a little while before we had the keys and were on our way.

Check out train ticket options HERE (booking through Omio will give me a little commission, and their customer service is great- I once got strep throat and had to cancel a train the day before my trip and easily got the majority of my money back).

BY PLANE: The largest international airport in the center of the Provence region is Aéroport Marseille Provence, located in Marignane next to Marseille down on the coast. From there, you can take a free shuttle bus from the airport’s bus station (platform/quai 5) to the train station Vitrolles Aeroport Marseille Provence. The buses run every 10-15 minutes. From the train station, take a TER (regional train) up to Avignon (18.30€) or Aix-en-Provence (11.90€). There is a small regional airport near Avignon but your flight options will be limited.

BY CAR: From Paris, take the A6 highway towards Lyon and then the A7 from Lyon to Avignon (around a 7 hour drive, traffic permitting). Once you approach Avignon, follow signs for the D900- many of the villages and lavender fields are located off of this route.

How to Get Around

As great at the train systems are, for a road trip in Provence, renting a car is non-negotiable. You’ll get the most out of the trip if you can make your own itinerary and have the freedom to change it at will- we spent a lot of time pulling over next to random fields and often changed destination at the drop of a hat. Additionally, most of the locations you’ll want to stop at (and nearly all in this guide) are only accessible by car.

Where to Stay

Airbnb is the way to go in this region, as many people rent out their summer homes when not staying there, and you can find some incredible places for great prices. We stayed in one which I unfortunately can’t recommend as we weren’t huge fans (though it served its purpose), but I found a few others in the area that have great reviews!

  • Apt
  • Caseneuve
  • Gordes

All photos courtesy of Airbnb. Links: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3

Can’t-Miss Spots

(Vaucluse, Luberon and Alpes de Haute Provence)

Oppède-le-Vieux: This adorable hilltop village in the Luberon is accessible to tourists only by foot leave your car in the parking lot at the bottom of the hill and make the 10-15 minute well-marked trek up through the woods and olive groves. Once at the top, you can wander the cobblestone streets in the shadow of the remains of a 12th-century chateau, discovering the restored 15th and 16th century houses and workshops.

Colorado Provençal: Before you ask- yes, it’s named for the state! These former ochre quarries, like the ones in Roussillon, were mined for the natural pigments in the clay between 1871 and 1993 (over 20 different shades in the Colorado Provençal alone).

They’re now a protected historical monument and can be visited from February through December, with two paths (one long, one short) that will take you through the quarries to marvel at the natural beauty of the site, despite its heavily industrial past.

It will cost you 5€ to park your car in the lot at the entrance to the quarries, and opening times vary depending on the month. You can find the most up-to-date information on the hours and prices HERE.

Roussillon: This charming village is unlike most you’ll find in the south of France, with its buildings dyed orange and red thanks to the ochre found in the local clay. It won’t take you long to wander its streets and explore, as it’s quite small, with a population of only around 1300 people. The real attraction lies outside of the village.

A few minutes’ walk from the center of town, you’ll find yourself at the start of the Sentier des Ocres, a set of paths which will take you through the ochre quarries (one takes about 30 minutes, the other around 60 minutes). The colors here are less diverse of those in the Colorado Provençal but no less spectacular, especially at the end of the day when the light turns golden and hits it just right.

Entry will cost you 3€, and opening hours vary by season (find them HERE). After visiting the quarries, head back into town and grab an ice cream to eat while sitting by the town hall (pictured above).

Plateau de Valensole: No summer road trip in Provence is complete these days without a stop at the lavender fields in Valensole, easily the most famous and popular in the region. The most photographed fields are those of Lavandes Angelvin, off of the D6-Route de Manosque highway. Not only are there lavender fields, there are also sunflower fields for a bit of diversity in your photos.

Because of its popularity, there’s now a large designated parking area across the highway from the fields, making it quite easy to stop for photos. Be careful crossing however as cars don’t really slow down- I saw quite a few tourists nearly get hit.

Tip: If you do decide to stop here, be sure to get here early to avoid the crowds (although there still will be crowds)! If you’re looking for fields with no people around, I recommend continuing east on the D6 past the village of Valensole- you’ll find many views with the Alps in the background (see the first picture in this post).

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie: Built into a cliffside over the western edge of the Gorges de Verdon, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is known not only as one of the most beautiful villages of France but also for its production of faïence, which is pottery covered with a white tin glaze and often decorated with colorful motifs on top.

There’s a spring that flows from the cliff, creating a waterfall through the village, a means of hydroelectric power for its inhabitants, and a place to refill your water bottle after climbing up and down the hilly streets. The Chapel Notre-Dame de Beauvoir, perched above the village, is a historical monument and accessible via the Way of the Cross, a pathway with 262 steps leading up the cliff.

Gorges du Verdon: Known for its stunning, naturally turquoise water, the Gorges de Verdon and Lac de Sainte-Croix have become an increasingly popular summer destination for French and visitors alike. It gets its color from the minerals in the water.

The most famously photographed view, pictured above, is from the Pont du Galetas on the D957 highway, which sits just above where the Verdon River feeds into the Lac de Sainte-Croix. The D957 will take you all around the lake, and there are plenty of little beaches to stop at- I recommend heading further south away from the bridge to avoid the crowds, unless you want to rent a canoe or paddleboat.

However, for the picture above, there are parking lots on either side of the bridge, and a big sidewalk so you can stop and admire the gorgeous scenery.

Simiane-la-Rotonde: Inspired by a photo on my friend Mary’s Instagram, once I saw that Simiane-la-Rotonde was only 20 minutes away from our Airbnb, I knew we had to go! A few fields are around the village, though some are private property (please don’t trespass for the sake of a photo!). We chose this one for the great view of the village in the background.

Tip: if you’re looking for the best light, come a little over an hour before sunset, as the sun goes down behind the village from this angle.

Fun story though: I was aiming to come when the sun was at a certain height, and it wasn’t quite low enough when we arrived, so we thought we’d go park and walk around the village. As we drove up, we saw white smoke billowing above the rooftops, and discovered that a building was on fire and the road into the village was closed! Hoping no one was hurt, but with nothing we could do, we decided to drive to Sault to check out the nearby fields, and then stopped here on our way back.

Gordes: While it has gotten admittedly more touristy in recent years, it’s for good reason- Gordes is one of the most picturesque and lovely villages in the Vaucluse department. Driving into the village, there’s a clearly marked lookout point, from which you’ll find the view pictured above.

The commune dates back over a thousand years to the Roman empire, and the chateau was built in 1031. It was also an active resistance center during WWII, and was bombed in 1944 due to the resistance efforts. Strolling the streets today and marvelling at the views over the surrounding countryside, or relaxing poolside at La Bastide de Gordes, it’s hard to imagine the wonders and horrors this village has seen.

Tip: If you’re looking for the best light and the fewest people, come in the morning- the photo above was taken around 6:30am. Head to Le Cercle Républicain afterwards for a coffee and a hot croissant or pain au chocolat (they get them from the local boulangerie). They open at 7:30 and have an adorable little balcony with a couple of tables overlooking the surrounding landscape- the perfect spot for a morning bite.

Abbaye de Sénanque: This beautiful little abbey is tucked away behind the village of Gordes and surrounded by lavender fields, which are tended by the abbey’s monks. They also raise honey bees, and sales of their honey and lavender help cover their living expenses and building maintenance.

Unfortunately, due to overzealous tourists trampling the lavender in their quest for the perfect photo, the lavender fields are surrounded by high fences, making many of the angles you’ve seen on Instagram now impossible. However, it’s still worth a visit if you’re also visiting Gordes, just to see its beauty! You can also visit the abbey itself (see visiting hours and entry fees HERE) or buy a jar of delicious lavender honey from the monastic shop.

Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt: With its charmingly colorful streets and medieval castle ruins, Saint-Saturnin is both idyllic and interesting- not just a spot to stop for photos, but a place where you can climb the cobblestone steps and stand where people once stood nearly a thousand years ago.

The château ruins and restored chapel that sit on the hilltop date back to 1056, and the dam next to it was built in 1863 as a water source for the village. From this vantage point you can admire the rooftops, the steeple of the Saint-Étienne church, and the 17th century windmills. Down in the village, don’t miss the 3 gorgeous doors that are listed as historic monuments.

Tip: I recommend stopping for a meal at Le Saint Hubert– we went for brunch/lunch and it was the best omelette of my life (be sure to tell Lise and Eric that I sent you!).

What to Bring Back

Market baskets & other local goodies: The Marché d’Apt is one of the area’s biggest and best markets, for food as well as other souvenirs. We headed there to stock up on fresh produce, and of course made a stop at a few other stands as well. You can buy classic French market baskets (ironically most of which are made in Morocco), local honey, sachets of dried lavender, jams and spreads made with local ingredients, and massive jugs of olive oil. My item of choice was a small woven straw purse (I already own two market baskets) to replace my other summer bag whose handle had just broken.

Wine: If you’re road tripping in Provence, you absolutely must heed the signs at the sides of the road alerting you to the fact that a winery is nearby. There’s a huge variety of options for Provençal wine depending on the types of grapes- some domaines have many different choices, others are smaller family farms that offer just two or three each of whites, reds, and rosés.

When you stop, you’ll be taken into their designated tasting area- a cool, humid wine cave attached to their home for some, a large counter with uniformed staff for others. You’re encouraged to taste as many wines as you wish, and you’ll be able to buy bottles for close to wholesale prices. And of course, DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!

Some of our favorites from the trip:

Domaine de Tara (we learned about this one from Le Saint Hubert- great sparkling rosé!)

Domaine de la Citadelle (probably the most “established” of the ones we visited)

Domaine du Puy Marquis (not the friendliest welcome but great dry rosés and a scenic drive to get here)

Domaine de Grand Saint-Julien (pictured above- there is a friendly dog and some adorable cats here!)

I’ve put together a handy map to help you find all the locations on this list!

Have you ever taken a road trip in Provence? What would you add to this list? guest review guidelines

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Watch the video: Oppède le vieux (November 2022).

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