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.
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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.

43 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.

    Reply
    • I just want to say how much I appreciate you commenting here. I stumbled across this blog while looking for information about Goult. My daughter and I are traveling in June for a month to France and I found a charming home to rent there. This blog along with your advice and information have honestly made our decision on which home to rent an easy one. We are truly excited to “live” in a tiny charming French town… if even for a short time. Now if only I could speak French!

      Reply
      • Dear Dara: Thanks for your message. One caveat: few people in Goult speak English, and they clearly prefer French. It will be important to learn at least a few basic French phrases and customs – which is a sign of respect. DuoLingo is a great online tool that my wife and I both use, to increase our knowledge of French – which we highly recommend. You have a few months, so a solid hour on Duo every day will definitely help.

        For example, when you enter a shop, store or restaurant, everyone says “Bonjour!” as a greeting. Similarly, everyone says “Bonjour!” to the person in the checkout line at a market. When you leave any establishment, say “Au revoir! Bon journee!” (Good bye and good day.)

        When you are in a restaurant, do not expect wait staff to hover around your table – particularly at the end of a meal. They won’t rush to clear the table for another customer, because you ‘own’ the table until you leave. They typically will not present a bill; you have to indicate to a waiter that you are ready. (l’addition = the bill) Many Americans take this respectful and slow approach as poor service; French people would be shocked by the rush in American restaurants!

        A few more tips: The ‘epicerie’ (small market) in the old village is the best place for produce, local wine and just about everything. Lea’s across the street is best for excellent cheese and wine. The boulangerie / patisserie (a treasured local resource) is open in the morning and afternoon. If you need to stock up or get gas, the SuperU in Coustellet is where most people go – about 15 minutes away. (You will need to buy grocery bags at the counter or bring them – and customers fill their own bags.)

        Lunch at Le Carillon and Cafe de la Poste are wonderful, but be sure to make a reservation — both are popular and will book up. The new Le Goultois opened a lunch area in the back, and is a lower cost but fun spot next to Cafe de la Poste, with a lot of local character.

        Goult’s market is on Thursday, and includes fresh fish from Marseilles, textiles, food and wine. The main Rue de Republic road and central square are blocked that day, so you may need to figure out an alternate route if your rental is near the top of the hill. See: https://provence-guide.net/marches/provencaux.php?id=1724&lang=en Don’t miss the Saturday morning market in Apt – which has been running since the 12th century! Be sure to get there early, e.g. 8am. Finding a parking space can be fun, but there are lots of options. See: https://en.luberon-apt.fr/discover-the-luberon/experiencies/apt-market

        Finally, renting a car is a very good idea – so you can get out and about and visit local towns, sites, etc. One major caveat: If you reserve in the USA, e.g. through AVIS or Hertz, they WILL NOT HELP YOU if you have a problem! The company in France is separate, and the American company will not stand behind your reservation, the price they ‘guaranteed’, etc. Make your reservation directly with the company in France, e.g. http://www.avis.fr (You will need to learn / know some French, so this is also good practice.)

        Let me know if you have any questions.

        Reply
        • Hi Mark,
          We really appreciate all the information you have offered regarding rental cars. We will be traveling to Provence this summer, and we are a family of five, all adults. What size car do you recommend, will be staying in the region for two weeks? We did look at the 2008 Peugeot and it says it only would be good for two bags; there are approximately three days we will be traveling in between places where we would have to transport our luggage and that was our concern about making sure we have a car that will fit a total of six suitcases and five people, but at the same time, not getting a large car.

          Reply
          • Dear Michael: In the USA, a vehicle for 5 people and their bags would be easy – just rent a minivan or large SUV, which are common. In contrast, old towns in Provence have roads designed for people and horses. You will find that they are incredibly narrow in many places by US standards – and ‘normal’ cars in the USA would be very large.

            The largest vehicle I would rent is a Peugeot 3008, which is still a small SUV by US standards. It seats 5, but it would be tight for 5 adults. Plus most people from the USA have large bags – which probably wouldn’t fit.

            So your only option would be something like a Peugeot 5008 or Rifter. See: https://www.peugeot.co.uk/models/categories/7-8-and-9-seater-cars-range.html Unfortunately, you will find that this will create an ‘exciting’ driving and parking experience in towns like Goult, Apr, Rousillon, Menerbe, Bonnieux, Gordes,, etc. You will need to park near the bottom and walk up. Many popular towns have parking lots near the bottom, e.g. Bonnieux. In Goult you could park in the central square.

            Another alternative would be two smaller vehicles, e.g. two 2008s. This would make driving more comfortable, but increase costs.

            One more note on driving in Provence: check the ‘market’ day for each town. These are great to visit, e.g. the Saturday market in Apt which has been held for 900 years! You should arrive early in the morning; markets close up around noon. Parking is also at a premium, because French people use them. On the other hand, don’t pick a market day if you want to visit museums, churches, etc.

            I hope this is helpful.

            Mark

        • Thanks for the tips! I’ve been using DuoLingo for the last few months. I should add that my daughter speaks French fairly well. I’ll be leaning heavily on her. Lol
          Our rental is right in town and I can’t wait to walk around an enjoy the town!

          Reply
      • Hi Dara,
        Do you mind telling me the home you found to rent. We are going to stay a month in Goult the beginning of 2024. Thank you so much.

        Reply
        • Hello!
          Sorry, I’m just seeing this. We rented a townhouse right in town so we could walk around easily without having to drive.
          It’s called Maison du Postier3 and I rented through onlyprovence.com.

          Reply
    • Hi Mark,
      You are so lucky to live in the charming village of Goult!
      My husband and I have always enjoyed our time spent there.
      I have a question for you. The Cafe de la Poste was at one time owned and operated by a couple that I believe were married.
      He tended the bar and she ran the restaurant. They were always very nice and the gentleman would never let me pay for the postcards I got. The last time we visited Goult they were no longer there. The locals told us they had sold the restaurant.
      Because of Covid we haven’t been able to get back to France-hopefully that will change in the fall!!
      What I was wondering if you remembered this couple and could let me know how they are doing.
      Thanks so much and enjoy your wonderful life in Provence!

      Reply
  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:

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for all of your helpful information. We’re coming to Provence for a month in October and trying to figure out where our base should be. Since our goal is to speak and listen to French and walk, walk, walk, Goult sounds perfect (if we can still find a place to stay!) Can you tell me how chilly it is likely to be in October? I’ve looked at the weather apps, but hearing it from a local is so much better. Also wondering if the best way to get to the area from the US is to fly to Paris, take the TGV to Avignon and then rent a car. Thanks!

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • Dear Linda: We have a house in Goult, and Fall is our favorite time of year there. Our last trip started in early September and we left in mid November. The weather is typically beautiful in the first half of October – and cools off a bit toward the end. Rain storms can roll in from time to time. This site has the most accurate data, in my opinion – including temps, rain, cloudy days etc:

      https://weatherspark.com/y/51626/Average-Weather-in-Goult-France-Year-Round

      We like trains and the TGV from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Avignon is very nice. If you haven’t tried the TGV before (or similar high speed trains in other parts of Europe), you will wonder, “Why don’t we have these in the USA?!” Reserve your tickets directly on the SNCF site, not through one of the many online brokers; a version is now in English: https://www.sncf-connect.com/app/en-en/trips

      Be sure to review the map of the CDG airport ahead of time – to locate the TGV station. You will exit the terminal and take an escalator down to the station. See:
      https://www.parisaeroport.fr/en/passengers/access/paris-charles-de-gaulle/train and the map: https://www.parisaeroport.fr/en/passengers/access/paris-charles-de-gaulle/terminals-map It is easy to get to when you know where you’re going! For more info see: https://www.sncf.com/en/passenger-offer/travel-by-train/tgv-inoui/your-travel

      Also check the diagram of seat locations on your TGV train – to locate the right car ahead of time. Car / coach numbers are/were also painted on the platform., in the rough location where cars will stop. The car number is also displayed on the side of each car, near the door. Two TGV trains may also be hooked together, with numbers 1 – 10 and 11 -20, etc.

      Finally, a tip on rental cars. We do short term leases with AutoFrance, which delivers a new Peugeot to you – straight from the factory! 30 days is typically the minimum:

      The Auto France Team
      1 Orient Way – Suite F-190
      Rutherford, NJ 07070
      (201) 393-7800 or (800) 572-9655
      http://www.AutoFrance.net
      [email protected]

      If you won’t be there for 30 days or want to use a standard car rental agency, be sure to book it DIRECTLY with the company in France, NOT a website in the USA! The company may be separate, e.g. we found that AVIS in France is separate from AVIS in the USA – and AVIS in the USA would not help us with any problems, even though we booked the reservation through them!!! This is an opportunity to practice French, because the French sites typically do not provide an English option. SIXT is another option – a local rental company. And rent a French vehicle, because the built-in NAV system is optimized for France. We like Peugeot, e.g. the 2008. And DO NOT rent a large vehicle (typical USA size), because the streets are very narrow in old French towns. The Peugeot 2008 is better than the larger 3008, for example.

      There are not a plethora of gas stations in the Goult area, by the way. The ones at the Super U in Coustellet (near Goult) are the most convenient.

      I hope all of this info is helpful.

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

    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.

    Reply
  6. Your piece on Goult is spot on.We rented an Airbnb for the month of September.So many villages to see within 30 minutes and a whole world within an hour.Walikng around the village streets is a delight.As you say,coming back to Goult after a day of sightseeing is so peaceful.
    Enjoy your travels!

    Reply
  7. Hi! Thank you so much for all this wonderful information and for all the great comments. Can someone mention about how many hours one might need to spend visiting the town of Goult after having lunch at La Terrasse, family of 5 adults, then onto Joucas. It will be our first day arriving from visiting the Valensole region. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Michelle,

      If you’re just wanting to enjoy the atmosphere of the town and visit a few of the shops and viewpoints, a couple of hours after lunch will be plenty to see the highlights. :-)

      Reply
      • Thanks so much, Kate. Also do you think most lunch meals would be around 1 hour to an hour and a half for our size family? We want to slow down but we are also attempting to make the most of our days:)

        Reply
        • Hmm… it’s really hard to say, but that sounds about right. If you order 3 courses maybe 1.5-2 hours.

          Of course, this is France–you could easily spend 2.5-3 hours at lunch if you wanted!

          Reply
  8. Hi Mark,
    We thank you for the great advice and information. If we’re understanding correctly, being that our plan is to visit lots of small towns throughout Provence, you’re saying that the 3008 with allow us to have less of a problem parking in the small towns? There are three days that we need to deal with moving from place to place with the luggage in the car throughout this two week trip and we have 5 carry-ons and one medium medium size suitcase. I guess for those days we unfortunately will have to keep some luggage on our laps as well, those trips are about an hour and a half at most. They are three days within trip that have longer sightseeing days, no luggage. In your opinion, do you think this would make sense? We appreciate any suggestions. We don’t want to have to continually park outside of the towns, if possible, so are not thinking of the 5008 nor renting 2 cars as traveling with our 3 adult daughters.
    Thanks again, Michelle and Michael

    Reply
    • Dear Michael and Michelle: The Peugeto 3008 is the largest vehicle I would rent to drive around Provence. As I noted previously, many of the roads are incredibly narrow by US standards, Regarding your luggage: the 3008 has ~510 litres / 18 cubic feet of trunk space. So it would be a good idea to measure your luggage and see how much will fit in the trunk. On a recent trip to Goult our son’s girlfriend brought a very large suitcase that consumed much of the space in the 3008. As someone else noted, ALL of your luggage should be out of sight when you park – in the trunk, under the screen that you can pull across to cover the contents. Note, however, that if you stack bags up high in the trunk, the screen cannot be pulled across to cover them.

      RE parking outside of town, this is required in most towns – particularly in the summer when there are more tourists. Parking in town is limited and reserved for residents. Plus the walk up is often nice and a good way to see the ancient town defense walls, etc. Goult is small and an exception – there are two parking areas in the center of town, and one at the top of the hill. It would be a good idea to research each town you plan to visit and find the parking areas before you get there.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Reply
  9. Hi Mark and Kate,
    We’re just trying to understand the best place to rent the car from right now. We have a reservation with Hertz USA for a 308 SW, but after reading your suggestions and looking at all the dimensions between that and the 3008, we’re not sure about the legroom, what do you think? We rented in the past from Costco travel with Enterprise and it worked out ok for us, it was just for one day off of a cruise. But we’re hearing as you’re saying Mark about renting from the French company only, but then we see other people mentioning Discover Cars as Kate suggested, and also some people have mentioned rentalcars.com. Should we be concerned if it’s not the company in France? we don’t wanna run into any issues.
    Thank you both.

    Reply
    • Hi guys,

      Obviously, I’m not local to France, but we have traveled there extensively now, including on several road trips!

      Personally, we’re not loyal to any particular rental car company and rent from different ones–both local and international–across Europe and haven’t had any major issues over the years. We do buy the extra insurance, often with a $0 deductible, for peace of mind.

      We like Discover Cars a lot and find their aggregate system very easy to use (and it’s way more efficient than tracking down local companies individually in each location). Rentalcars.com is similar as far as I know, and is owned by Booking(.)com.

      Honestly, with 5 adults, 6 suitcases, and one European vehicle, your best bet is simply to be prepared for being cramped. It’s doable, but there’s really no way to make it spacious without separating into 2 vehicles, which you understandably don’t want to do.

      Limiting luggage as much as possible is one way to give yourselves more room, and on days without luggage, you guys should be comfortable enough in the 3008 or similar.

      Generally, the standard advice is to leave absolutely nothing (luggage, etc) visible in a car when you park it. That’s not to say theft is incredibly common, but it’s a standard rule throughout much of Europe to prevent theft (think of it like locking your doors when leaving your house), so it’d be ideal if your luggage was able to be concealed in the back of the vehicle. Most SUVs and hatchbacks in Europe will have a shade that pulls over the top of the trunk area, concealing the contents.

      Most towns in Provence require you to park outside the historic center and walk in, which is to your benefit with a larger vehicle. In your case, consider opting for spaces that are a bit further away from the center (where you’ll often find more wiggle room) versus trying to park as close to the center as possible. You can often find paid parking lots on Google Maps or similar and then set your directions right to them, which is what we usually do.

      If you haven’t booked all of your lodging yet, you might also consider spending at least parts of your trip in the countryside or at least outside the city centers. Isolated hotels, bed and breakfasts, farmhouses, etc, often have spacious parking lots and obviously much less traffic. What you lose in a central location you gain in ease of parking and peace of mind. We like to mix it up and do a bit of each, country property vs within town.

      Hope this helps a bit!

      Reply
    • Dear Michelle and Michael: As I mentioned previously, we typically do long term rentals with Car2Europe. Due to COVID, however, they temporarily discontinued this program. so our last rental was with AVIS. I booked the reservation on AVIS.com in the USA. There were major ($thousands) billing errors in France, and we discovered that AVIS USA is a separate company from AVIS France. AVIS USA provided no help – zip, nada. They would not even contact AVIS France to help us resolve the issues. On the Avis France side, they would not honor the price on the US reservation – because it was not made on the AVIS.fr website. Fortunately we found a rep with AVIS France who tracked down the errors and fixed everything.

      Even though Hertz claims to the only international car rental company, it appears that Hertz France is also a separate company. See: https://www.dnb.com/business-directory/company-profiles.hertz_france.7928b227a497890548da4d874612c55f.html

      In short, we will never again book a rental in France (or another country) via a US website. I strongly urge you and others to do the same.

      Reply
  10. Dear Kate,
    I must say thank you so much for allowing us to ask these questions and have this forum, it is by far the most helpful site I have come across and I have been working on this trip since before the pandemic as we have had to put it off all those years until now. We so appreciate your kindness.
    Yes we are all set, we are staying in one location in the Valensole region, taking the train from Paris to Aix, and then the second location near Gordes for the Luberon, within the two week period. We are also making a point of dropping off our luggage first at our home bases before going out to sightsee on days of arrival in the two places we’re staying.
    So on sightseeing days which do not require moving from our base except for those few days, no luggage will be involved in the car. And knowing that you feel the 3008 would be comfortable enough without that luggage is a plus for us and that the car can also fit on the narrow roads approaching the villages, etc from what Mark mentioned, eases our concerns.
    We were not completely understanding if it is important to be able to drive into the villages to park or is that not a necessary? For that reason we are trying to get the car that makes the most sense for the small roads as we don’t want any issues in general, and still be not fully cramped, if possible.
    Thank you so much for all your tips and advice they are so helpful.

    Reply
    • Hi Michelle,

      Of course! More than happy to help. :-)

      For driving into the villages–you’ll never need to drive into the small historic centers (there are typically parking lots right outside of them). For bigger towns, like St. Remy for example, you will drive through parts of the town, but not the most walkable part. Even smaller towns, like Lacoste, you’ll park more or less outside of town. Virtually all of the historic centers are closed to non-resident traffic.

      It sounds more complicated than it is–it’ll likely feel much more intuitive once you’re there!

      If you want to see a few examples in action, on our Instagram account we have a highlight from last spring labeled simply “Provence”, and we have a couple of videos showing the roads, including a couple shot through the windshield (toward the end there’s one short video in particular that shows one of the smaller roads in action).

      I’m attaching a snapshot from Gordes last spring as well–this is the closest parking lot to the historic center, and as you can see, there are plenty of small SUVs there!

      Parking Lot in Gordes, France

      Reply
  11. Dear Mark,
    Thank you so very much for both of your reply posts. We really appreciate the information you are providing. We will keep in mind all that you were explaining to us about the car companies in France. So sorry you had to go through all of that regarding your rental at that time. Michael looked into Avis after we saw your original post, but the prices were astronomical compared to the US site-had you found that as well? We also clicked on the link you gave for Hertz, but it connected to their business information website, wasn’t sure how to get to the actual booking site? We thank you again, how wonderful that you are able to live in Goult!

    Reply
  12. Hi – thanks for the helpful information. We are a family of four looking to stay in or near Goult for 4-5 nights in mid/late July. Can you recommend any accommodation options with a pool?

    Reply
    • Hi Mark,

      We’ve never stayed anywhere with a pool nearby, though there are plenty of options! Personally, we tend to search for our accommodation through Booking(.)com, prioritize places with an 8.0 rating or better in most places, and primarily search based on location.

      I believe they have a filter for properties with pools, though not all of the pools will be private–even when renting a cottage, as sometimes multiple cottages or houses are grouped together as vacation rentals and they share a pool. If privacy is important to you, be sure to read the property descriptions carefully!

      Reply

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