Visiting Goult, The Unsung Gem of Provence’s Luberon Valley

Exploring Provence’s famous Luberon Valley in the south of France was a series in setting aside expectations–and nowhere was that more apparent than when we visited Goult.

I expected to be most wowed in the Luberon Valley by sprawling lavender fields (which admittedly weren’t at their best when we visited in April) and the famous hilltop village of Gordes, but there’s no doubt that it was tiny, picturesque Goult that stole my heart.

I’ve seen Goult, France described online as one of the least-visited villages in the Luberon Valley, and while that is quite possibly true, it boggles my mind as to why.

Goult is stunningly beautiful, easily accessible from other villages in the valley, and rather quiet, with an understated charm that’s lacking from some of the more popular places.

Kate walking down a narrow street in Goult during our France road trip. There's a pink building to her left and she's wearing a long blue skirt.

Pulling up to Goult, we immediately felt at peace.

How could we not, surrounded by incredible beauty and a just-right level of visitors: not so few that it felt like a ghost town, and not so many that it felt like a theme park?

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I’ve hesitated to write about Goult because, well, what is there to say about a town so small that the highlight of our time there was spending a luxuriously long lunch sipping cold white wine in the sunshine while not-so-subtly trying to make friends with the golden retriever at the table next to us?

But I can’t not write about it–because even months later, when I close my eyes and remember exploring the Luberon Valley, my mind wanders immediately to Goult.

Photo of a small white car parked in Goult France. There are stone buildings visible behind the car.

Where is Goult, France?

Goult is nestled on a hilltop overlooking the Luberon Valley, less than a 15-minute drive northwest of Bonnieux and about 20 minutes southeast of Gordes.

In other words, if you’re touring the most popular villages in the Luberon Valley and looking for a laid-back addition to your time in Provence, it’s not hard to add on a visit to Goult!

Kate in a long blue skirt standing in front of a building in Goult with green shutters. Wisteria is blooming on the building. Don't miss visiting Goult during your south of France itinerary!

Fun Things to Do in Goult

Is it too much of a travel writing cliche to write here that the best thing about Goult is that there’s very little to do in it?

Seriously: if you Google “things to do in Goult”, the responses mostly assume that you mean the region around Goult, and provide suggestions for things as far away as the Sénanque Abbey or Bonnieux.

That’s no reason to stay away, though–that’s a reason to come.

If you’re looking for ideas, though, here’s what to do in Goult if you stop by while you’re touring the Luberon Valley in Provence!

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Mark your calendar and visit on Thursday.

Thursday is Goult’s market day, a day when the town comes alive with what my friend Allison describes as “a hedonistic celebration of the senses”, all cheeses and fruits and satchels of lavender wafting their smell in your direction.

Sadly, we didn’t get a chance to visit Goult on a Thursday, so missed out on this gem–but if you’re willing to sacrifice a little quiet time (the town is understandably most crowded on market day) to experience a truly remarkable market in Provence, come to Goult on Thursday.

Boxes of white and green asparagus in front of a cash register at the outdoor food market in Aix-en-Provence

Have a leisurely lunch at a cafe.

Dining outside–specifically dining outside in the sunshine, on a cobblestone street, while eating a ridiculously delicious meal over a table so small it doesn’t seem like it should be able to handle the plates, bread basket, wine glasses, and water glasses that descend upon it in quick fashion once you sit down–is an essential experience of any trip to Provence, and that includes Goult.

Our lunch in Goult is, quite honestly, one of our top ten memories of all our trips to France combined.

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While the food was tasty, it was the atmosphere that really sold the meal–we were so relaxed by the end of our lunch that we completely blew off our plans to visit Roussillon and declared that we needed to spend longer exploring and savoring Goult instead.

There are several restaurants in Goult, serving up everything ranging from unpretentious takeaway dishes to luxurious, high-end cuisine, so you’ll have an option regardless of your taste.

We ate at the casual and sunny Cafe de la Poste when visiting Goult, and had a fabulous time.

Salad topped with chicken, a basket of bread, and a glass of white wine at Cafe de la Poste in Goult Provence

Walk up to the windmill at the top of town.

Named the Jerusalem Windmill, this lovely, 17th-century windmill is situated right at the top of Goult–and the area surrounding it provides gorgeous views of the valley.

Jerusalem Windmill, one of the best things to do in goult france

Admire the views over the Luberon Valley.

Goult is dotted with beautiful terraces, often complete with benches, that provide an incredibly peaceful place to sit and admire the Luberon Valley–we sat down to enjoy the view at more than one of these terraces when visiting Goult!

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Meander through the quiet streets.

Goult is, above all other things, simply beautiful.

All stone buildings with colorful wooden shutters on the windows, simply walking through the streets here–and maybe stepping into the patisserie for a sweet treat–is a delightful way to explore one of the best small towns in France during a quiet afternoon in Provence.

Kate in a blue skirt in Goult, France. There's a stone building with blue shutters to her left, and she's facing away from the camera. Goult is one of the best places to visit in the south of France.
About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

11 thoughts on “Visiting Goult, The Unsung Gem of Provence’s Luberon Valley”

  1. Bonjour Kate et Jeremy: We also love Goult; the first and last photos in your article include our home next to the Roman-era gate, with the blue shutters. Goult is a ‘living village’ with a nice little market, boulangerie, fromagerie and restaurants that are open through most of the year – unlike the ‘tourist’ focused and well known towns in the area. The boulangerie, formagerie, epicerie, most restaurants, the 13th century Eglise Saint-Sébastien and the small town square are all on the central Rue de la République — with the the Moulin de Jerusalem (windmill) at the top. This gives a sense of the size of Goult.

    Visitors driving into Goult should park in one of the two small parking lots – one in the town square and the other opposite the boulangerie. Do not try to drive up the narrow road to the top by the windmill, unless you have limited mobility. The central old Town of Goult is best visited on foot. Also watch for the one small traffic light on the road up the hill — for the road to the school.

    If you want to bring your family or a group to Provence, the ‘castle’ / chateau in the center of the old Town is also available for rent – which amazing accommodations: http://www.lechateaudegoult.com/goult-village.html

    We strongly recommend Le Carillon, a restaurant on the square in the middle of town which has wonderful food, a welcoming feel, beautiful interior when the temps are cool and tables outside when it warms up. Be sure to call for reservations; they are often booked for lunch and dinner from March through September. Laetitia and staff also speak English and German, if you don’t speak French. See: https://www.restaurant-goult.com/contact.html

    La Bartavelle is also a very nice high quality restaurant with a charming location in an arched stone ‘caveau’. See: https://labartavellegoult.com/les-propritaires

    We also love Cafe de la Poste – although this well known cafe on the Town square changed ownership in 2021, purchased by a man who owns a number of restaurants in the area. The location is wonderful and things began to recover in 2022. Le Goultoise opened next door and has become a favorite with locals, with a moderately priced prix fix menu. La Terrasse is also one of our favorites, but is open only through the summer season.

    Finally, it is a very good idea to learn some basic french before you arrive. Goult is french, and proud of it. A basic attempt at Français shows respect and is appreciated. Many people do not speak english. When you sit down at a restaurant, the owner also assumes the you ‘own the table’ for the evening. There is no rush to ‘finish your meal’ and clear the table for the next guest, like a typical restaurant in the USA. This can be interpreted by Americans as “poor service”, but definitely is not. The waiter will almost never deliver your bill until you ask for it.

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  2. I forgot to mention all of the hiking trails around Goult. From the Moulin (windmill) at the top you can hike down through the ancient farming terrasses and through the valley to Menerbes, Beumettes, Gordes, La Coste, etc. The valley is agricultural, full of small farms, vineyards and lavender fields etc. so these are nice hikes. Plan to leave in the morning and have lunch in one of the towns, then walk back. Or ask for a cab if you’re tired. Be sure to wear sunscreen and a hat – the Provence sun can be intense! And bring water if temps are warm; there won’t be much along the way except peace and quiet.

    Also be sure to stop and see Le Pont Julien, the ancient Roman bridge just outside Goult, built in the year 3 CE. It was used for car travel until 2005! The Roman architect must be proud of his achievement. See:

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  3. I knew Goult back in 1987, much as a man can. It was during festival in August after I sat for the bar that year. I was taller then. What surprised me was how tiny the people were there. Real people of the land. Subsistence farmers surrounded by olive trees and all the scents associated with rural France. Everyone was in their cups, I participated in a donkey race in the town Square. I don’t know how but I ended up being the life of the party. We had great wine and great bread and camaraderie what more could a person ask for. I miss it dearly, do I go back and spoil the memory?Have the billionaire investment bankers ruined it yet? Yes no? but one memory I have, was a complete lack of young children apparently the economy was such that the youngsters had to move out to make a living. I hope that is changed. As I hoped the character of the town has remained constant. Perhaps I will go back I find your review of the town incentivizing. The people we remember. But sometimes we forget the details of the places.

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  4. Hi Kate! Loved reading about your experience, I am heading to Goult in a few months 🙂 Where did you rent your Volkswagen from?

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    • Thanks, Cailey!

      That wasn’t our Volkswagen, just wanted to snap a photo of it there. 🙂 We rented a very unremarkable car.

      Reply
  5. Dear Cailey: We have a home in Goult and typically rent longer term from Car2Europe, which will deliver a brand new car to a convenient autopark just north of Marseille, with a lease rate that is less than car rental companies. We always lease a relatively small (compared to the typical American car) Peugeot 308 or 2008. The typical American car or SUV would be dangerously large for small roads in the area, and impossible to maneuver through 17th century passages in French towns like Goult.

    That said, Car2Europe could not provide this service this summer – due to the chip and car shortage. So we rented from Avis; they have a very convenient center next to the TGV station outside Avignon, plus one in Aix and the Marseilles airport.

    Gas and diesel are easy to find across Provence, typically in or near a shopping center. There are very few EV charging points yet, however, so I wouldn’t rent an EV. (We are trying to get an EV charging port installed next to the parking space we own, but it hasn’t been approved yet.)

    Finally, plan to park in a parking lot outside the center of most French towns in Provence, e.g. Gordes, Bonnieux, Roussillon, etc – and walk up to the town center. In Goult, there are two small parking lots at the top of the hill, just outside the oldest part of town along the main road. Walk up from there to to the old walled part of Goult, the Moulin de Jerusalem and trail heads at the top.

    When you are in Goult, enjoy a classic French lunch at Le Carillon on the Town square. See: https://www.restaurant-goult.com Le Carillon also offers excellent dinners. La Bartavelle is another excellent choice for dinner. See: https://labartavellegoult.com Both are family owned and run. Be sure to contact them at least a week ahead of time for a reservation; they are often booked. A phone call is best if you speak a little French. Email also works.

    I hope this is helpful.

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