Venasque tourism & sightseeing
Visit Venasque (Provence, France)
Venasque is a village in the centre of the Vaucluse department of Provence, to the south-east of Carpentras and east of Pernes-les-Fontaines. Perched high on a rocky promontory below Mont Ventoux, Venasque has far-reaching views across the Nesque valley and Vaucluse.
The village is also officially listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages in France'.
The village has a pleasant centre to explore, with the quiet streets interrupted by the babble from the occasional fountain, and several buildings of particular interest. The most important of these is the baptistery.
Venasque Baptistery is an impressive structure dating back to the 6th century and in place du Presbytère next to the church. The traditional 'well' in the middle of the floor of the baptistery enabled adults to immerse their whole bodies in the water during baptism (a tradition that only changed in later centuries when people started being concerned about unbaptised children, and baptism without immersion was approved).
The four sides to the baptistery represent the shape of the cross, the five arches in each side represent the senses, and the eight sides to the baptism well represent the seven days of creation plus the day of the resurrection (Easter day). (A small entry charge is payable to enter the Venasque baptistery.)
Other highlights in Venasque include the Church of Notre-Dame (12th-17th century), containing an important 15th century painting of the crucifixion*, and the substantial ramparts and towers in the village - there are especially good views from the path between the towers, and on a clear day you can see as far as the Dentelles de Montmirail.
* In the church you can read an interesting story of this painting: it was thought to have been ordered by a Knight called Thezan from the Avignon School of Art in 1498 and was probably part of a series of three paintings carried out at the same time. After decorating the church for 200 years the painting was set aside and forgotten in a dusty store room, where it remained until 1932 when it was discovered by the local Canon in a very poor state. It was sent to Paris to be restored and after some heated debates about whether it should remain in the Louvre Museum in Paris it was finally returned to its 'correct' place in Venasque Church.
You can also see the Saint-Siffrein Chapel and the Priory of Saint-Pierre-les-Termes.
The countryside around Venasque
Nearby, one particular highlight in the shadow of Mont Ventoux are the Gorges de la Nesque - these scenic gorges can be seen by road from above the gorge or a footpath through the bottow of the gorges.
You will also notice many small stone shelters called bories in the area around Venasque, and part of a wall erected in the early 18th century to defend the region against the plague epidemic that was spreading across the country from Marseille.
Map of Venasque and places to visit
Visit near Venasque with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Vaucluse
Venasque is classified as a one of the most beautiful village in France (plus beau villages)
Address: Venasque, Pernes-les-Fontaines, Carpentras, Vaucluse, Provence, 84210, France || GPS: latitude 43.996944, longitude 5.147222
Plan your visit to Venasque, Provence
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Jarditrain: remarkable garden (3km)
- Pernes-les-Fontaines: recommended detour (7km)
- Carpentras: town of art and history (10km)
- Collégiale Notre Dame des Anges (Sorgues): religious monument (10km)
- Abbaye de Sénanque (Gordes): religious monument (10km)
- Gordes: most beautiful village (10km)
- Gorges de la Nesque: site of natural beauty (16km)
- Roussillon: most beautiful village (16km)
- Menerbes: most beautiful village (19km)
- Dentelles de Montmirail: site of natural beauty (21km)
The French version of this page is at Venasque (Francais)