Pernes-les-Fontaines, Provence: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Pernes-les-Fontaines in Vaucluse

Visit Pernes-les-Fontaines (Provence, France)

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Pernes-les-Fontaines is a town to the south of Carpentras in the Vaucluse department of Provence. There are several sites of interest to discover as you explore the old town, which has been officially classified as a 'recommended detour town'.

Exploring Pernes-les-Fontaines

Pernes-les-Fontaines has retained a substantial part of its original fortifications, most notably the imposing entrance gates into the historic town, and visitors still enter the town by one of these substantial gates. There are three of these gateways here; the Porte Notre-Dame, entered by a bridge across the Nesque River (the most umpressive of the three), the Porte Villeneuve and the Porte Saint-Gilles.

France This Way comment: although Pernes-les-Fontaines is not the most visited tourist destination in Vaucluse we thought the historic gateways, towers and fountains made it a pleasant diversion and a visit is recommended if you are in the area.

Fountain next to entrance to historic centre of Pernes-les-Fontaines

Inside the walls you will also see many fountains: Pernes-les-Fontaines has 40 of these fountains (hence the name of the town, which had the reference to fountains added in 1936). Most of the fountains were installed in the 18th century, some later, and the most interesting have very decorative and interesting carved designs. The most impressive is the Fontaine du Cormaran, dating from 1761 and next to the 17th century market hall.

The tourist office in Pernes-les-Fontaines here can give you details of a route that discovers most of the fountains. The tour of the town also passes various other highlights so we do recommend you follow this marked route to explore Pernes-les-Fontaines. These highlights include a number of grand old 17th century houses; the 17th century town Hall; parts of the medieval ramparts; the traditional covered market; and a couple of smaller chapels.

In the heart of Pernes-les-Fontaines there is an impressive clocktower which is part of a 13th century castle. The tower is on a small hill and there is a path that leads up to it: this is worth the climb, principally for the lovely views from the top of the hill.

Be sure to also see the vibrant colourful frescoes in the 13th century Ferrand Tower in Pernes-les-Fontaines - these paintings are among the main reasons to visit the town, and include both biblical paintings and also 'contemporary' subjects such as the exploits of King Charles I.

The roman style Church of Notre-Dame-of-Nazareth in Pernes-les-Fontaines is to the north of the historic centre near the Pont Notre-Dame. The church dates from the 12th century, although it was much altered in the centuries that followed. On the southern side you can see the damaged remains of the original entrance (the rest of this side is rather a mix of repair work and alterations), but it is the western facade and doorway that is of most interest.

After exploring the town centre you can follow an attractive walk along the banks of the Nesque river that starts next to the Pont Notre-Dame.

Colourful houses, ramparts and belfry in Pernes-les-Fontaines

Attractions nearby

Pernes-les-Fontaines is well placed to explore the villages of the Luberon such as Gordes and Roussillon to the east, or to travel west to explore the imposing historical centre of Avignon. Both options are recommended! We also enjoyed a stroll along the riverside in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to the south of here.

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

See also:

Map of Pernes-les-Fontaines and places to visit

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Visit near Pernes-les-Fontaines with France This Way reviews

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Tourist classifications

Pernes-les-Fontaines is classified as a recommended detour town (plus beau detour)

Address: Pernes-les-Fontaines, Carpentras, Vaucluse, Provence, 84210, France || GPS: latitude 43.998611, longitude 5.059722

Plan your visit to Pernes-les-Fontaines, Provence

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Jarditrain: remarkable garden (4km)
  • Carpentras: town of art and history (6km)
  • Venasque: most beautiful village (7km)
  • Collégiale Notre Dame des Anges (Sorgues): religious monument (9km)
  • Abbaye de Sénanque (Gordes): religious monument (15km)
  • Gordes: most beautiful village (15km)
  • Jardin du château de Brantes: remarkable garden (15km)
  • Dentelles de Montmirail: site of natural beauty (20km)
  • Avignon: secteur sauvegarde (21km)
  • Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Repos de Montfavet (Avignon): religious monument (21km)

Market days in Pernes-les-Fontaines, France

Regular market(s) are held in Pernes-les-Fontaines each Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Pernes-les-Fontaines (Francais)