Fontaine-de-Vaucluse tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse in Vaucluse

Visit Fontaine-de-Vaucluse (Provence, France)


Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is a small town in a picturesque setting east of Gordes in the Vaucluse department of Provence, best known for being at the source of the river Sorgue.

The town was originally developed on the site of a Roman settlement, and prior to that the area had been inhabited since prehistoric times. It now has a resident population of about 600, but a summertime population rather higher...

Exploring Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

Gorges in Fontaine-de-VaucluseAt Fontaine de Vaucluse you can see the source of the River Sorgue. The river starts in a tranquil pool, that gives rise from its depths to an enormous amount of water (an average of 22 cubic metres each second but almost 10 times that amont at its peak) that soon goes crashing off down some rapids.

This is especially dramatic in spring when melting snow high above the village gives rise to an very large water flow of water. This quiet pool giving rise to a crashing river is really quite a remarkable spectacle!

Even in summer and winter when the source is much calmer the river valley below remains green and verdant, getting water from other small streams that keep it flowing all year around, and very pretty indeed.

The Sorgue River source is a few hundred metres up the river valley from the village, made especially impressive because of the high cliffs that tower over the valley.

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse have done little to improve the charm of the valley by allowing lots of cheap gift shop type cabins to set up all along the valley, but happily the beauty of the scenery - especially the last 50-100 metres in the section passed the stalls - outweighs the harm they have done. So highly recommended for a visit anyway.

But there is more to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse than this water source, and the village is an attractive medieval village surrounded by the dramatic high cliffs of the Vaucluse - this setting plus the emerald green river help to explain why this is one of the most visited villages in Provence.

Historic monuments in the village include the remains of a medieval castle and an 11th century church.

What's in a name?

You might naturally assume that the village takes it's name from 'fountain or source in the Vaucluse department' but in fact Vaucluse is called after Vallis Clausa, Latin for 'closed valley', and it is the village that gave its name to the department, not the other way around as you might expect...

The paper mill in the village is also interesting, demonstrating paper production techniques from the Middle Ages, and there are a large assortment of museums - we found the 'geology' museum and 'local history' museum quite interesting.

Attractions nearby

After exploring the valley between the village and the source, you can enjoy renting a canoe in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse to follow the Sorgue downstream.

Most visitors to the region will want to explore some of the popular villages, several of which are classified among the most beautiful villages in France (Gordes, Venasque, Menerbes, Roussillon). See these and other local highlights at places to visit in Luberon.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Vaucluse guide and the Provence guide.

See also:

Map of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and places to visit

Visit near Fontaine-de-Vaucluse with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Vaucluse

Address: Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Avignon, Vaucluse, Provence, 84800, France || GPS: latitude 43.921, longitude 5.1262

Plan your visit to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, Provence

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Collégiale Notre Dame des Anges (Sorgues): religious monument (3km)
  • Gordes: most beautiful village (6km)
  • Abbaye de Sénanque (Gordes): religious monument (6km)
  • Venasque: most beautiful village (9km)
  • Jarditrain: remarkable garden (10km)
  • Pernes-les-Fontaines: recommended detour (10km)
  • Menerbes: most beautiful village (12km)
  • Roussillon: most beautiful village (14km)
  • Carpentras: town of art and history (16km)
  • Jardin de la Louve: remarkable garden (18km)

The French version of this page is at Fontaine-de-Vaucluse (Francais)