Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is France’s one of the most beautiful villages.
With its centuries-old buildings and charming pastel-colored houses all sitting at the foot of a spectacular limestone mountain, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is undoubtedly a shutter presser spectacle.
Absolutely, by its appearance, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie can make visitors feel that they traveled back in time.
Yet, is the appearance enough to tell that this village is truly worth a visit?
For me, it is enough.
As long it is Instagrammable, and our friends would feel envy when we post it online. Why not!?
Just kidding! It should not be that way.
What’s important? We travel to places we will surely love, where we can really enjoy, or grow, or feel better.
But seriously, France has many charming countryside villages, we must select carefully. Traveling isn’t free, so our trips should be worth it! 😀
In this blog post, I will highlight all the beautiful things that await in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. May this help you decide if Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is worth a visit.
Let’s talk about first some facts about Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
Introduction: Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, France
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is a village established by the monks of Lerins in the 5th century.
It is built at the foothills of the western tail of the Alps in southern France, an area now we call Verdon Natural Regional Park.
This small village of less than a thousand residents has a porcelain industry known worldwide for several centuries now.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is also known for the legendary golden star that is hanging above the village. According to the legends, a knight crusader placed the golden star in there.
It is for the honor of Saint Mary who made his wish come true to return to his village after being captured by the Saracens.
Yet, the legend was never confirmed, and the true history of the star still prevails as a mystery.
The golden star still hangs today on a chain suspended between two cliffs. However, the original star was replaced already after the time it fell many times.
Ultimately, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is also known for its picture-perfect position, with the limestone cliffs in the background.
By the way, I wrote an article about the 10 most beautiful villages in the south of France (click here to read). Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is one of these beautiful villages. If you love quaint villages and medieval experiences, you should also discover the others. They’re just the perfect place to satisfy your wanderlust.
Reasons Why Moustiers-Sainte-Marie in France Is Worth a Visit
After scouring the internet, different blogs, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, I found 8 things that should convince you to visit Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. These are also the best things to do in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie when you visit the village:
Reason #1: Picture-perfect view of the village
In today’s world of skyscrapers and asphalt roads, a town with such a view as Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is a pleasure to the eye. It would be so refreshing to see towering limestones instead of concrete buildings, don’t you agree?
The limestone mountains behind the village are just a spectacular art of nature that surely would make us feel awe-inspired when we see it in person. Together with Moustiers-Sainte-Marie village, they make a thrilling sight that I think we must see at least once in our lives.
I could not imagine the beauty of the view of the village from afar during the golden hour in person. It could be the most “eye-gasmic” scene that awaits us in the whole south of France.
Golden hour is the time of the day when the sun is near the ground, bursting orangey-red light to the surroundings. It is also the best time to capture photos. The angle of the sunlight during the golden hour reveals more details of the subject that is perfect for photography.
You should also know that Moustiers-Sainte-Marie village is photogenic even at night. You really have to clean up your camera’s storage before going here!
The lights in the village spill to the mountains. They make the mountains glow, perfect for the lens of our cameras and for the lens of our eyes.
Photographer or not, the view is enough to satisfy our senses with spectacular views everywhere, day or night.
Reason #2: Gorgeous sceneries within the Village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
No doubt why Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is listed as one of France’s most beautiful villages. Stare at it from afar, and you will be awe-inspired. See it from the inside, and you’ll be enchanted by its charm.
In the village, you will encounter many fairytale-like houses, buildings to make your fantasies come to life. The windows, lanterns, and vines covering the walls will enchant your eyes with medieval goodness!
In other parts of the village, you can find the pastel-colored houses bursting with eye-catching hues delightful to see. The pastel homes on the streets are partnered with ancient fountains and flowering light posts, forming the picture-perfect scene that will surely satisfy anybody’s wanderlust.
The beautiful sceneries in the village never leave your sight even while you’re eating. Moustiers-Sainte-Marie has several restaurants that offer mouth-watering meals together with eye-glittering views.
Just look at the photo below.
Isn’t the view fantastic!? I could spend more than an hour eating the croissant, feeding my eyes as I feed my tummy. For me, it’s the perfect entertainment, better than any Netflix, Disney, or whatever!
Yet, for me, the best spots of the village are found where we can view the nearby mountains. There, the spectacle of the mountain and the charm of the quaint houses mixes. Do you agree?
Reason #3: The Buildings and landmarks of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Aside from quaint houses and remarkable views within the Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, three attractions await you in the village. By visiting these three, you pick up pieces of the village’s history, architecture, and nature.
Most probably, the ancient arched bridge you will notice first by the time you arrive in the village center. It is one of the bridges that connect both sides of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, divided by the Adou river flowing in the middle.
Another bridge lies at the corner of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie village near the mountains. It’s relatively small compared to the bridge at the west portion of the village center.
Beside it is a small waterfall, with waters coming from the mountains to the east. You can dine in the shops and restaurants near the waterfall. Try, as it could be the best place to get refreshments for your tummy and mind.
In between the bridges, you can find a beautiful church called Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption. Like most ancient structures in the village, it was built between the 12th and 14th centuries.
The church has a tower, the tallest structure in the village. Outside, you can observe it against the beautiful mountains behind – a picture-worthy view, must not forget to capture.
The church is made up of bricks, with vines hanging around it. It’s a marvel in the village that adds enjoyment to your medieval-age experience within Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
Reason #4: Moustiers-Sainte-Marie’s Notre Dame de Beauvoir Chapel
After Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, you can visit another beautiful church in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. That church is called Notre Dame de Beauvoir, and unlike Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, it is found somewhere outside the village.
The church is not that far from the village, though. You just need to move up on a 262-step stairway to the mountains. That may sound tiring, but don’t let that discourage you from visiting!
The climbing up the stairway won’t be that long, and it would only take up to 15 to 30 minutes. Besides, breathtaking views await there at the top! From the shrine’s viewpoint, you’ll see the village, Lake of Sainte-Croix, and the surrounding fields.
When you reach the shrine, you can enter for free and have some peace and quiet. Relax, meditate and pray, especially if you are Christian. Here’s what Notre Dame de Beauvoir have inside:
Reason #5: The Village’s Porcelains
Learning about other place’s cultures – that’s one of our goals when traveling! Here at Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, you won’t miss out on a new culture to learn.
Besides Christianity, the foundation of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, the porcelain industry is something that you can tap into in the village. It is what Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is famous for! 🙂
There are several pottery stores you can visit in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Each of them can show you different art of earthenware. You can buy souvenirs if you want.
You can head into Musée de la Faïence if you want to learn the history of porcelain making or pottery in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. In the museum, you will see many aesthetic earthenwares painted with images of classical and contemporary art.
Reason #6: Lavender Fields near Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Every summer, you get another reason why to visit Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Summer is the blooming season for lavender… and the vast fields near the Moustiers-Sainte-Marie turn into an eye-catching purple plane.
With rows of perfectly aligned purple plants, it’s hard not to get amazed so bad. It’s going to feel like you’re an ant crawling in between strands of purple fabric. Nevertheless, the lavender fields are a totally mesmerizing place that you must not miss seeing.
What’s exceptional about the lavender fields in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is the rugged mountains on the scene. If you want to see more beautiful lavender fields, you can try going to Valensole. It is another town in Provence 30 minutes away from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie on wheels.
Reason #7: Moustiers-Sainte-Marie’s nearby Lake of Sainte-Croix
As mentioned earlier, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is in the heart of the regional nature park of Verdon… and you know what it means. Adventure! 😀
Nature is not only about sightseeing, but more activities, of course! From Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, drive south, and you’ll arrive at the Lake of Sainte-Croix, where more fun activities await. Many people say that it is the best lake to visit in France!
It could be the best part of visiting Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, especially if you love action under the sun. In the Lake of Sainte-Croix, you can rent a boat or kayak to explore the lake.
The lake has a beach with beautiful turquoise water. It is a paradise – perfect for swimming. Yet, most people recommend skipping the beach. They say we must proceed directly to the gorges.
I saw the recommendations from Google Maps reviews. Based on the pictures, I agree to skip the beaches and head to the gorges immediately! It’s incredibly scenic, mesmerizing.
Some even say that the Lake of Sainte-Croix matches the Caribbean sea because of its beautiful waters. The place is also comparable to a gigantic open-air swimming pool, giving good vibes to anyone who sees it.
Visitors who have been to the lake recommend 2 to 3 hours of stay to enjoy the lake and the canyon. Renting a pedal boat for 2 hours costs 40 EUR.
If you just want sightseeing, there are plenty of campsites around the lake where you can stay for a while. It’s best to visit the lake if you have your friends or your family with you.
Reason #8: Scenic hikes within Verdon Natural Regional Park
If you want adventure after sightseeing, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie has more for you! Try hiking the mountains near the village. Several hiking trails spread out starting from the village center.
From Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, you can try going to the two hiking trails:
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie – Roman Road is a scenic hiking trail that’s 9.8 kilometers in total. It is a loop trail that, of course, starts and ends in the village.
The hiking trail is rated moderate in terms of hiking difficulty. According to Alltrails.com, the best time to explore the loop is from March until October.
Another hiking trail is called Moustiers – Ravin du Riou via Plaine de Durance. It is a 6.9 kilometer out and back trail slightly shorter than the first mentioned.
The hiking trail encompasses rivers and several steep parts of the mountain. With that, it is rated as hard. Alltrails.com says that the best time to hike Moustiers – Ravin du Riou is from April to October.
The Village’s Inspiring Photos to Make you Visit Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Here are more photos of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to inspire you to visit this beautiful village. I added pictures of an afternoon in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to give you an idea of how beautiful it is during sunset.
Save it on Pinterest.
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