Moustiers-Sainte-Marie Travel Guide: Top 10 Experiences

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While France boasts over a hundred quaint villages, the medieval village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie in the south holds a special place as one of the most exciting to visit.

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, famous for its exquisite faience, is worth a visit for its intriguing heritage sites, charming medieval streets, and the natural attractions that are just a stone’s throw away from the village. With the Valensole lavender fields, Lake Sainte-Croix, and Verdon Gorge surrounding it, visiting Moustiers-Sainte-Marie lets you have an experience that blends history, stunning scenery, and relaxing holidays at one of France’s most beautiful natural attractions.

Nestled within the UNESCO Geopark of Haute-Provence and Verdon Regional Natural Park, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and its nearby attractions offer a sense of wonder and adventure comparable to the beautiful villages nestled in the Swiss Alps. You should not miss to discover them!

Important: In this post, I’ll share with you all the thrilling activities and intriguing sights I encountered during my exploration of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. These are, in my opinion, the top reasons why travelers are drawn to this off-the-beaten-path destination. This post also contains useful information for visitors, helpful tips, and links that will direct you to the exact locations of viewpoints and the official websites of each attraction. These resources should assist you in planning a trip to this remarkable destination in the South of France.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Top view of Moustiers
Top view of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Planning to visit Moustiers-Sainte-Marie? You can find the best hotel deals in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie here.

1. Discover Moustiers-Sainte-Marie’s Unique Heritage and Legends

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - The star of Moustiers Sainte Marie
The star of Moustiers Sainte Marie

The way Moustiers-Sainte-Marie was built is unique, I believe.

Did you know that the first residents of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie were not ordinary people? They were monks who moved into the cavities of the mountains above the current village during the 5th century. These monks and their religious origins are the reasons behind the village’s name, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. “Moustiers” means monasteries, and “Saint-Marie” depicts the Holy Virgin.

I haven’t discovered other settlements that evolved into a village from humble mountain monasteries other than Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

Anyway, if there is one thing that distinguishes Moustiers-Sainte-Marie from the hundreds of villages in France, it is the village’s star—the village’s icon.

It is the star for which Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is famous. You can find the star of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie above the village, hanging in the middle of the Ravin de Notre Dame. If you’re in the village on a bright sunny day, just look in the direction of the mountain, and you should see the star twinkling.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - The star of Moustiers Sainte Marie over Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir
The star of Moustiers Sainte Marie over Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir

The star might seem like just a promotional campaign, but it’s not. It’s a legendary artifact that has been hanging above Moustiers-Sainte-Marie for several centuries. The star was there even before the tourism industry boomed.

Legends attribute the star above Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to the Knight Blacas, who joined a crusade in the 12th century. He vowed to pay tribute to the Virgin Mary by hanging a star if he survived the crusade. A plaque along the stairs to Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir attests to his legend.

However, the star of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie has fallen several times in the past due to the degradation of the chains that suspend it. It has been replaced several times as well to keep the heritage alive.

The current star, more than 1 meter in size, dates back to only 1957 and now hangs 250 meters above the village. And the chains that hold the village’s star? They’re 150 meters long. You can still see one of the previous stars, the 1882 version, in front of the Faience Museum.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - The star of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie seen from the village
The star of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie seen from the village

Isn’t it amazing how Knight Blacas hung the star above the village? Given the weight of the chain and star, Knight Blacas is indeed a legend!

2. See Moustiers-Sainte-Marie’s 1500-year-old Heritage

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - The tower of Église Notre-Dame de l'Assomption
The tower of Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption

Although Moustiers-Sainte-Marie isn’t as ancient as its neighboring towns, this village won’t leave you empty-handed when it comes to discovering heritage sites.

Actaully, the entire place could even be considered a heritage site! The most notable historical monument in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, a 12th-century church located in the heart of the village. If you’re facing the mountains, you can find the church on the left bank of the river.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Close up shot of Église Notre-Dame de l'Assomption's tower
Close up shot of Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption’s tower

Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption is unique for its 22-meter high tower, designed in the Lombard Romanesque style. It’s also one of Europe’s oscillating bell towers. When its bells ring out, the tower of the church sways.

The interiors of the church were built in the Romanesque style but were renovated in the Gothic style in the 14th century. The renovation was not completed, however, because the friar who managed the renovation passed away. This is why you will see a mixed architectural style inside Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption. The nave is Romanesque, and the choir is Gothic.

You should also take note of the altar in the middle of the choir. Surprisingly, the altar is actually older than the church! It’s a historical item, a sarcophagus, dating back to the 5th century. The altar of Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption is also a work of art. When you visit, come close to the altar, and you’ll notice its bas-relief sculpture. It depicts Moses crossing the Red Sea.

swipe the 360° image below to see more views

Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption is just one of the heritage sites in the village. There are more, and we’ll discuss them later.

3. Find Peace at Moustiers-Sainte-Marie’s Pilgrimage Site

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir
Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir

If you’re seeking a spiritual retreat or just some peaceful moments to relax your mind, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is a destination you should consider.

A historical monument in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie serves not only as a cultural treasure but also as a breathtaking pilgrimage site. This monument is known as Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir. Located at the highest point of the village and tucked in a ravine in the mountains, Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir is a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It holds significant importance in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Inside Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir
Inside Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir

Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir, a 12th-century edifice, became a famous pilgrimage site in Europe in the 17th century. Its religious reputation originated from the unique miracles that took place on the site. These miracles, known as “suscitations,” occurred when stillborn babies were baptized in the chapel.

After the stillborn babies were baptized, they “briefly” came back to life in a phenomenon some referred to as “welcoming the babies to heaven.” The babies’ skin turned pink, and sometimes their feet moved before they were buried in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. This attracted many wealthy families who funded the renovation and improvement of the church.

Today, Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir boasts parts that are works of art to admire when you visit. The most notable parts of Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir are its door and stained glass. Its wooden doors can be classified as a masterpiece of Renaissance art, with beautiful bas relief of the saints and various ornamentation.

swipe the 360° image below to see more views

Particularly during the off-peak or shoulder seasons, the area around Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir is peaceful. When you step inside the chapel, you’ll find tranquility.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Stairs to Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir
Stairs to Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir
Moustiers Sainte Marie France - View of Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir from the stairs
View of Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir from the stairs
Moustiers Sainte Marie France - View of the village from Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir
View of the village from Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir

Inside Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir is the best place to admire the chapel’s stained glass window. It glows with kaleidoscopic colors, with images depicting the miracles that occurred on the site.

Located at an elevated site above the village, the path to Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir is quite scenic. However, there are no elevators available. To reach it, you have to ascend a staircase of 262 steps.

Legends say these stairs were originally 365 steps, corresponding to each day of the year. Although the staircase isn’t as long as it once was, the oratories of the Stations of the Way of the Cross remain. These oratories are decorated with faience and are like gems you can see along the way.

If you’re looking for destinations in France that feature a beautiful and historical church, you should consider visiting Reims. This city is home to an awe-inspiring cathedral where the kings of France were once crowned.

4. Marvel at Moustiers-Sainte-Marie’s Beautiful Scenery

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - View of the village and lake Sainte-Croix from Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir viewpoint
View of the village and lake Sainte-Croix from Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir viewpoint

By visiting Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, a village nestled at the foothills of a mountain, you’ll be closer than ever to some of the most stunning vantage points in Verdon. If you enjoy admiring nature or photography, you have another reason to visit Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

Situated 800 meters above sea level, the viewpoints above Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, just a few steps away from Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir, offer one of the most spectacular landscapes in the South of France. From there, you can enjoy an overlooking view of the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

On a clear day, the view stretches as far as Lake Sainte-Croix. The panorama also includes the verdant forests of Verdon. It could be the refreshing sight you’re looking for!

swipe the 360° image below to see more views

If you are a hiking enthusiast, consider going beyond the viewpoint near Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir. The La Chaine Trail offers a superior view of the star of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. This trail begins at the lowest part of Notre Dame ravine, situated just below the church.

Along the way, you will encounter a fork (the stairs). Choose the path that does not lead to the church, and you should see a trail mark for La Chaine Trail. For guidance, you can refer to the map available on the official website of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

Before setting off, it is advisable to visit the tourism office to check the trail’s availability. It is important to note that this trail is not suitable for children.

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is more than just a village; it is the starting point for numerous adventures. As you continue to explore, you will discover a variety of activities in and around Moustiers-Sainte-Marie that allow you to enjoy nature.

5. Explore Moustiers-Sainte-Marie’s Quaint Village

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Charming streets of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Charming streets of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

After visiting the two main historical monuments in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, resist the urge to leave the village immediately. As previously mentioned, the village itself is a stunning heritage site that warrants exploration.

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is a picturesque village, brimming with charming structures. These buildings, set against the dramatic backdrop of the mountain, create a breathtaking view.

As you wander around, you will likely find yourself capturing numerous photos on your phone or camera. Each image will serve as a memento of the beauty and charm of this unique village.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Rue de la Bourgade
Rue de la Bourgade

Vine-covered houses, quaint pastel buildings, and fairytale “caladed” alleys can transport you back centuries.

The experience is even better in spring or summer. During these seasons, flowering plants are hung on the village’s railings and light posts, creating a pleasing visual display.

You might even stumble upon a charming medieval fountain! And if you get hungry, there are shops that will satisfy not only your appetite but also your sense of sight. Here’s a sample view:

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Place du Couvert
Place du Couvert

Among the numerous beautiful spots in the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Place du Presbytere is a must-see. This location is just a few steps away from the largest bridge in the village, situated in the main square, Place du Couvert.

From Place du Couvert, you should notice an entrance to a small covered passageway next to a pink building. This building is marked with the words “Le Relais”, indicating a hotel. As you enter this path, be sure to have your phone ready. This route leads to the most photogenic part of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Fountains and street lamp in the village
A fountain and a street lamp in the village

Place du Presbytere is the square in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie that offers an exceptional view of the tower of Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption. The scene is reminiscent of a movie set in the Middle Ages.

Upon arriving at Place du Presbytere, you’ll find a cozy restaurant that was once the Chapel of the Gray Penitents, built in the 15th century.

Interestingly, the First Faience Museum was also located here. It was housed in a 14th-century vaulted cellar beneath the square. You can find the entrance beside the stairs.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Place du Presbytere
Place du Presbytere

However, if you wish to visit the Faience Museum, another destination not to be missed in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, you should head towards the village’s town hall.

Did you know that France is home to many beautiful, quaint villages like Moustiers-Sainte-Marie? These charming places are not only found in the South of France, but also in the north.

One such place you must visit is Colmar. This fairytale town is sure to provide you with the ultimate escapism trip! Strasbourg is an alternative to Colmar.

6. Go for a Hunt: Moustier’s-Sainte-Marie’s Exquisite Faience

Before Moustiers-Sainte-Marie gained fame for its star, the village was renowned for its earthenware, specifically faience. Remarkably, this small village was once the primary source of faience earthenware in France.

The art of faience-making was introduced to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie in the 17th century by an Italian monk named Lozarro Porri. The growth of the faience industry in the village was initially slow. However, it gained momentum in the 18th century when King Louis XIV enacted the Sumptuary law.

King Louis XIV himself transitioned from using extravagant gold and silverware to earthenware crockery. Following the king’s lead, the nobles of France also began to use earthenware. This trend significantly boosted the sales of the faience industry in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

For several decades, the village led the faience industry until larger faience factories were established in France and Europe. Although Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is no longer the leading producer of faience, the villagers have preserved the craft.

Today, faience is one of the main attractions that make a visit to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie a must.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Faience
Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Faience artworks

You should visit the village to see the beautiful works of art that noblemen and kings once used during their meals. As you wander around Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, you may still find shops making faience. Some of them even sell faience as souvenirs.

However, if you want to see the best faience in the village, you must visit the Faience Museum, which is located next to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie’s town hall. In the Faience Museum, 300 pieces of faience await you. You’ll even find pieces dating back to the beginning of the faience industry in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie in the 17th century.

If you love art, you’ll be delighted to see the faience in the museum. The pieces there are extraordinary, filled with detail and color, and come in different sizes and shapes!

Some faience in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie’s Faience Museum aren’t just plates with stunning decorative paint. Others are plates with paintings that portray the daily lives of the locals. You can find teapots, crockery in odd yet beautiful shapes (like fish), and so on.

If you are planning a visit, please refer to the official website of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie’s Faience Museum for the most recent visitor information. The website also provides a map indicating the museum’s current location.

Are you interested in museums? The French capital boasts some of the best museums in the world that you must see! These museums are one of the reasons why Paris is well worth a visit. You can find a list of unmissable attractions in Paris here.

7. Watch Spectacular Sunsets in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Sunset in the 262-step stairs of the village
Sunset in the 262-step stairs of the village

A day can be spent exploring the picturesque village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, visiting its historical sites and museum, and taking in the breathtaking views. The village also boasts cozy cafes that are perfect for relaxing.

If you find yourself still in the village in the late afternoon, consider extending your stay until sundown. The golden hour and sunsets in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie are truly spectacular. This is largely due to the village’s location.

Upon examining its position on a geographical map, you’ll discover that Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is nestled beneath towering limestone mountains, resembling a wall. This unique location contributes to the stunning views, particularly during sunset.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Sunset view of the village
Sunset view of the village

What’s important to note is that the village and the mountains face west, the direction where the sun sets. If the skies are clear during sunset, the warm-colored sunlight directly illuminates the village and the mountains. The entire village is bathed in a golden hue. The mountains behind the village can even glow pink! This is a beautiful moment that you would be fortunate to witness, especially if you’re traveling with loved ones.

There are numerous spots in the village where you can watch the sunset in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. For the best golden hour scene in the village, I recommend visiting Rue de la Bourgade, Place de Eglise, Saint Anne Chapel, or Rte. de Riez Viewpoint.

Rue de la Bourgade and Place de Eglise are easily accessible, especially if you’re already in the village. These locations are situated on the banks of the river that flows through the middle of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. They feature quaint buildings, benches for relaxation, and relatively open spaces offering mountain views. The golden hour here is truly magical.

Saint Anne Chapel is located on elevated ground near the car parking lots, south of the village. From here, you’ll have a panoramic view of the village center of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, with the mountain beside it. You can also see Lake Sainte-Croix from Saint Anne Chapel. This spot is also perfect for watching the sunset!

If you want to see Moustiers-Sainte-Marie with the mountains in the backdrop, the view along Riez Road is a must-see. It offers a wide-open space that allows you to observe the village from a slight distance.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Golden hour in Moustiers Sainte Marie
Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Spectacular sunset in Moustiers Sainte Marie
Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Evening in the village

8. Take Pictures in Plateau de Valensole Near Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Valensole lavender and golden fields
Valensole lavender and golden fields

A visit to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie offers more than just breathtaking views and spectacular sunsets. The journey to the village itself is an enjoyable experience, filled with awe-inspiring views. This is particularly true when you pass by the Plateau de Valensole.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Valensole lavender fields and tiny house

The Plateau de Valensole is situated between Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and Manosque, which is the largest town in the department with a train station. Valensole and Moustiers are only 10 kilometers apart. Therefore, it’s worth adding to your itinerary if you’re planning to visit Moustiers.

However, the beauty of Valensole varies with the seasons. For instance, a visit in March will reward you with stunning views of snowy peaks and blooming almond trees.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Valensole lavender fields windmill

As the season transitions from spring to summer and the weather warms up, the scenery in Valensole undergoes a transformation. The vast plains of the plateau burst into hues of purple and gold. Fields of wheat ripen, and thousands of lavender flowers come into bloom.

By July, or during the summer, you’ll notice numerous tourists stopping at the roadside to park and take pictures. You’re welcome to do the same! This area is one of the most photogenic parts of the South of France.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Instagrammable lavender fields in Valensole
Instagrammable lavender fields in Valensole

The stunning purple fields stretch for kilometers, creating the feeling of being in a completely different world. You might also come across sunflower fields, so keep an eye out!

Before heading to Valensole or Moustiers, make sure to clear some storage on your phones or cameras. A visit here could provide you with a month’s worth of photos to share with your friends on social media.

This is why it’s recommended to rent a car or hire a private service when visiting Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Public buses won’t allow you the flexibility to stop by the roadside to take pictures. Alternatively, joining a group tour can be a convenient and more affordable option.

9. Relax at Lake Sainte-Croix Near Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Overlooking view of Lake Sainte-Croix
Overlooking view of Lake Sainte-Croix

Indeed, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie’s location is what makes it a must-visit, especially for vacation seekers and nature enthusiasts like myself. A trip to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie places you just minutes away from some of the best natural attractions in France.

If you find yourself in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and venture to the viewpoint near Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir, you’re likely to spot Lake Sainte-Croix. This, I believe, is another compelling reason to plan a trip to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Cozy restaurants in Lake Sainte-Croix
Cozy restaurants in Lake Sainte-Croix

Lake Sainte-Croix, the third-largest artificial lake in France, serves as a hydroelectric dam that supplies electricity to nearby villages. It’s vast, measuring approximately 10 kilometers in length and 2 kilometers in width.

Before its construction, local residents opposed the creation of Lake Sainte-Croix due to concerns about its impact on the region’s landscape. Despite these objections, the construction of the dam proceeded.

During the construction of Lake Sainte-Croix, the village of Salles du Verdon was flooded. However, the village was later relocated and rebuilt.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Beach of Lake Sainte-Croix
Beach of Lake Sainte-Croix

Despite the initial controversy surrounding its construction, Lake Sainte-Croix now benefits the region by supplying electricity and boosting tourism. Every year, the lake attracts millions of visitors.

Lake Sainte-Croix could be the ideal vacation destination you’ve been searching for. If you’re from Europe or the United States, you don’t need to travel halfway across the world to find beaches with turquoise water. Lake Sainte-Croix offers just that.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Les Salles-sur-Verdon in Lake Sainte-Croix
Les Salles-sur-Verdon in Lake Sainte-Croix

Whether you want to swim, try windsurfing, or canoe, Lake Sainte-Croix offers all these activities. If you prefer to relax and enjoy the views, there are restaurants along the shore that provide pleasing views of the calm water and stunning mountains.

For those traveling with children, there are camping grounds around the lake equipped with barbecue grills and more. If you’re interested in hiking, that’s also an option. In fact, you can hike from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to Lake Sainte-Croix in approximately an hour and 15 minutes.

See all the activities in Lake Sainte-Croix here.

If lakes are what you’re after in your travels, I’ve got a few suggestions! Over in Switzerland, places like Geneva, Lucerne, Interlaken, and Montreux are worth a visit. Over in Italy, you might want to consider Lake Como and Lake Garda. These spots are just as breathtaking as Lake Sainte-Croix.

10. Have an Adventure in Verdon Gorges Near Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Gorges du Verdon and Lake Sainte-Croix meet below Pont du Galetas
Gorges du Verdon and Lake Sainte-Croix meet below Pont du Galetas

When you visit Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, you’re not only near one of the most beautiful lakes in France, but also the largest canyon in Europe—Gorges du Verdon!

What’s even more fantastic is that Lake Sainte-Croix and Gorges du Verdon are connected. The turquoise waters of Lake Sainte-Croix actually originate from Gorges du Verdon. This ensures that there’s never a shortage of fun, whether you prefer relaxation, adventure, or a bit of both.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Gorges du Verdon glacial turquoise water
Gorges du Verdon glacial turquoise water

If you’re someone like me who finds joy in visiting remarkable natural phenomena, then your soul will be overjoyed upon seeing Gorges du Verdon. Its sheer spectacle is beyond what words can describe.

Technically, Gorges du Verdon stretches for 50 kilometers, with the most stunning views starting from the commune of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and extending to Rougon. The Verdon River, which flows through the middle of the canyon, serves as a boundary separating the Var department from the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department.

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Cavities on the cliffs of Gorges du Verdon
Cavities on the cliffs of Gorges du Verdon

If you’re interested, you can rent a boat or kayak and sail on the Verdon River. There, you’ll encounter towering limestone cliffs and mountains that rise up to 700 meters. You can discover caves, rock formations, and the results of 250 million years of geological activity.

But kayaking and sailing on the Verdon River are just the beginning of the adventure in Gorges du Verdon. The area offers a range of activities, from mild to extreme sports, including hiking, rock climbing, highlining, and hydrospeed!

Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Stunning rock formations in Gorges du Verdon
Stunning rock formations in Gorges du Verdon

If you prefer sightseeing only, the viewpoints that you must see are:

  1. The belvedere of the dent d’Aire (accessible by hiking or driving a car) — is the spot with the most beautiful overlooking view. The majestic cliff walls of the canyon. Its giant twists and turns are visible from this spot.
  2. Pont de Galetas (most accessible from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie) — is the bridge over the point where Lake Sainte-Croix and the Verdon river meet. Here you’ll find the iconic postcard view of Gorges du Verdon.
  3. The Point Sublime (located near Rougon, accessible via car +10-minute hike) — is the viewpoint where you can observe one of the narrowest parts of Gorges du Verdon. Unmissable!
Moustiers Sainte Marie France - Point Sublime
View from Point Sublime

If you want to learn more about Verdon Gorge, you can visit Verdon’s official website. Discover the outdoor activities in Verdon Gorge here.

When to Visit Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, in my opinion, is a captivating village in the South of France that you shouldn’t overlook. If possible, add this charming location to your travel plans. You won’t regret it. However, before you embark on your journey, consider factors such as the weather, the lavender blooming season, and the activities you wish to partake in during your visit.

The optimal time to explore Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and its nearby attractions is in July, specifically from the last week of June to the first two weeks of July. This period not only showcases the lavender fields at their peak but also offers ideal summer weather for outdoor activities. These could include wandering through the streets of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie or embarking on adventures in Lake Sainte-Croix and Verdon Gorge.

Bear in mind, though, that summer is a popular time for tourists. Therefore, be prepared to share the sights with other visitors. If the lavender fields aren’t your main interest, you might prefer to visit during the shoulder season when there are fewer tourists and hotel prices are more affordable.

If you’re seeking a quieter retreat, consider visiting just after winter, or in early spring. During this time, you can stroll around the village with hardly any other tourists in sight.

How Long to Visit Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Depending on your plans, a visit to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie could be as short as half a day or as long as three days. Ideally, a two-day visit would allow for a relaxed exploration of the area. During this time, you can take in the highlights of the village, visit the lavender fields, and relax at one of the nearby natural attractions. A two-day stay also provides the opportunity to experience the village’s stunning sunset.

If you’re pressed for time, a one-day visit could work, but you might miss out on some natural attractions that require more time to fully appreciate, such as Verdon Gorge or Lake Sainte-Croix. While it’s possible to see the village, lavender fields, Verdon Gorge, and Lake Sainte-Croix all in one day, it might feel a bit rushed.

If you’re traveling from a distance and want to thoroughly enjoy this village, consider staying in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie for three days or more. This would allow you to travel at a leisurely pace and fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the village, lavender fields, gorge, and lake.

Visiting Moustiers-Sainte-Marie for two days or more? Find the best hotel deals in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie here.

How To Get to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Planning a trip to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie might present one challenge – the limited public transportation. The village doesn’t have a train station and bus services are infrequent.

The most practical way to get there is by driving a rented car from nearby cities like Nice, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Avignon, or Lyon. Having a car also allows you to visit the stunning sites around Moustiers and in Verdon Regional Natural Park.

The drive from these cities to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie can take two to three hours. If you’re looking to save on fuel, consider starting your journey from Manosque, the nearest large town with a train station.

While the lack of public transportation might be off-putting if you’re used to traveling this way, don’t let it deter you! There are also tours available that offer a hassle-free trip to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

Discover all tours and day trips to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie here.

More Places Like Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

While Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is a fantastic place to visit, it’s not the only location in France that offers a variety of experiences. The South of France, for instance, is home to many villages that resemble the medieval charm of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and offer unique adventures.

If you’re still planning your itinerary and are undecided about Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, or if you’re searching for another picturesque village to explore, you might want to look at my list of the top 10 villages in the South of France.

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is one of the villages in my list, and the rest are:

  • Gordes: A well-known hilltop village in the region, famous for its beauty.
  • Eze: A timeless medieval fortified town known for its unique charm.
  • Saint-Paul-de-Vence: Famous for its modern and contemporary art museums and galleries.
  • Carcassonne: A city marked by the crusades and the Templar Knights, known for its bullfighting culture and gastronomy.
  • Aigues-Mortes: A city known for its well-preserved medieval walls.
  • Rocamadour: A place where miracles happen, known for its black Madonna and an ancient bell.
  • Domme: One of the most beautiful villages in France.
  • Chamonix: A breathtaking mountain town known for its stunning scenery and outdoor activities.
  • Saint-Cirq-Lapopie: Known as one of the most beautiful villages in France, located on a steep cliff.

Should you wish to explore a larger town that’s equally beautiful and nestled in nature, Annecy is a great choice. It’s often referred to as the Venice of the Alps due to its picturesque surroundings. Similar to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Annecy is home to a lake that’s fringed by castles, gorges, and beaches, adding to the reasons why a visit to Annecy is a must.

That’s the extent of what I can provide about Moustiers-Sainte-Marie currently! I hope your trip is filled with wonderful experiences!

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Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, France
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, France

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