Known from earliest times, this seemingly impregnable fortress, sitting on top of its sheer-sided rock and dominating an ancient Roman road, is one of the most authentic villages of the region known as the Comtat Venaissin – to which it gave its name.
This reputation is due not only to its designation by the Historical Register but also because of commitments made in 1967, by the local authority, which established control over all work on the exterior of buildings, including the restoration of ruins, so that their original vernacular character could be maintained. It's the same principal that applies in nearby Gordes.
The village is listed among 'The Most Beautiful Villages of France.
Research and archaeological investigation in Provençal caves have revealed that the Comtat Venaissin was inhabited in the Neolithic Age (circa 7,000 years ago). The Romans settled in the area long before the Christian era, and stayed for around 500 years. Traces of their civilisation are everywhere. Enormous stone blocks from the Roman period are the foundations that support the 'Towers' of Venasque. This construction very likely was part of a stronghold (oppidum) that dominated the old Roman road below and provided surveillance of the entire region. Most hilltop villages in this region date from this time.
It was not until 1792 that the Comtat became a part of France when the troops of Louis XVI, still called ‘King of the French’, entered Carpentras to take possession of the Comtat in the name of the Constituent Assembly.
Since 1978, 'Les Monts de Venasque' is a trade mark for cherries, the first of its kind in France. The exceptional sweet flavour and size of these cherries is due to the climate and orchards where they grow.
For visitors, there is a particular delight in wandering the village streets, stopping for a coffee or lunch; it's all very peaceful, relaxing and unhurried.