Valensole, Provence: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Valensole (Provence, France)
Valensole is a small town on a hill to the east of Manosque in the south-west of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department.
It is a small traditional Provencal town and although the region is mostly visited for the surrounding countryside - in particular the Valensole plateau is well known for its lavender and its almond and olive tree plantations - you are likely to also visit the town while you are in the region.
France This Way comment: there is perhaps not a great deal to see in Valensole and it is a 'lived-in' town rather than a tourist town, but it is still pleasant to visit - and we found the inhabitants to be much more friendly than any other town we visited in Provence!
You can start your visit in the square at the bottom of Valensole, the Place Thiers, with the lavoir and an old stone fountain (this is where you arrive if you follow the path from the main car park to the town centre). From here you can walk first along the Boulevard Frédéric Mistral, the tree-lined main street in the town, where you will find most of the shops and cafes.
From here you can continue into the quiet narrow streets and alleys in the historic village of Valensole, lined with medieval stone and pastel painted houses that occasionally open into small shady squares, where you will come across various features of interest. There are a variety of fountains and chapels, a traditional 17th century washhouse and the other small architectural details that give Provencal towns their unique charm.
The Chapel Saint-Mayeul is a simple chapel in Valensole that dates from the 17th century and was built on the site of a shop - the shop was given to the town by its owner with the express wish that a chapel dedicated to the patron saint of the town be built here.
Eventually at the top of the hill you reach the Church of Saint-Denis that dominates the village. Originally built in the 11th century, the church has been modified several times over the centuries and a significant part dates from the 14th-16th centuries. The church, with its typical Provencal campanile, has a roman style facade and a gothic choir. Inside the church look in particular at the stone carvings and capital stones and the 16th century stalls.
There is a great deal to enjoy in the surrounding region, with lovely scenery and the extensive lavender fields of the Valensole plateau to enjoy.
We should mention that not every lavender field is a thing of beauty: some are neglected and overgrown and others are replanted each year so the plants are very small: so it is still a great pleasure when you come across a well maintained and beautiful lavender field!
The best time to visit and see lavender fields in flower is around the last week of June and the first half of July. If you visit at other times you might still see lavender looking lovely, but not necessarily with the famous purple flowers! Less well known, sunflowers are also grown on the Valensole Plateau and if you are lucky you will see a lavender field next to a sunflower field!
Attractions in the vicinity
One of our favourite villages in the area is at Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages in France', while the stunning Gorges du Verdon are about 30 kilometres east of Valensole.
Map of Valensole and places to visit
Visit near Valensole with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
Address: Valensole, Digne-les-Bains, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Provence, 04210, France || GPS: latitude 43.838889, longitude 5.984444
Plan your visit to Valensole, Provence
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Clos de Villeneuve: remarkable garden
- Barrage de Gréoux: site of natural beauty (11km)
- Lac d'Esparron: site of natural beauty (12km)
- Lac de Quinson: site of natural beauty (17km)
- Lac de Sainte-Croix: site of natural beauty (18km)
- Prieuré Notre Dame (Ganagobie): religious monument (19km)
- Moustiers: most beautiful village (19km)
- Verdon: regional natural parc (20km)
- Jardins du prieuré de Salagon: remarkable garden (21km)
- Jardins du château de Sauvan: remarkable garden (21km)
Market days in Valensole, France
Regular market(s) are held in Valensole each Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Valensole (Francais)