When it comes to small, mostly intact hilltop medieval villages in France, there are a handful (like St Paul de Vence) that grab all the glory, all the headlines, and the lion’s share of visitors. Then there are the equally impressive, but less recognised and less visited villages. Tourettes-sur-Loup fits quietly, and quite comfortably,  into that second category.

Only a short drive from the more famous St Paul de Vence, Tourettes-sur-Loup is at first a little deceiving. If you arrive by car from the north-east along Route de Vence, where there is no distant view of the village, then the initial impression is one of “just another quaint little French country village”. There is a main square, a car park, and some typical shops. There is very little to alert you to the fact the something special is on offer.


Going through the arch is like going through the looking glass to another age.

Access to the older part of the village is through two very unassuming and unadorned archways just past the visitor centre on the Place de le Liberation, one at each end of the short row of shops and restaurants. It’s almost like stepping through the looking glass …

Tourettes-sur-Loup is somewhat smaller than St Paul de Vence, but other than that they are similar in many ways. There are the same cobbled streets, the same stone buildings leaning at unusual angles, the same intimate alleys – all the charm and beauty, just on a slightly smaller scale. Tourettes-sur-Loup has none of the noble history of its more strategic neighbour, and while that may have limited its growth, it may also have served to preserve its historic fabric.

There are a few things Tourettes-sur-Loup does not share with its big brother. It doesn’t have as many expensive galleries, and it doesn’t have thousands of people crowding the streets and alleyways every weekend. It’s up to the reader as to whether or not these are advantages or disadvantages, but Teddy found it to be an entirely acceptable situation. In fact, as far as Teddy was concerned, the quiet charm was a big winner.


The quiet cobbled streets of Tourettes-sur-Loup

The other advantage for the visitor considering their options is that the accommodation in Tourettes-sur-Loup, while just as comfortable as in St Paul de Vence, is a little cheaper. There may be fewer restaurants from which to choose, but they are just as good. There are still galleries to explore, though they may not be as upmarket as elsewhere.

The views from the end of the rocky outcrop are just as stunning. In fact, looking out over the valleys and gorges that surround the ridge on which the old town sits made Teddy want to go exploring the brush and discover the caves and grottos by the dozen that surely must be hiding down there somewhere. Looking at some of those households at the top of the cliff edges, Teddy wonders how soundly some of them can sleep at night, knowing those dizzying drops are right outside their window.



Continue driving a little further west out of town along the same road (though now it’s renamed Route de Grasse), beside and even between large outcrops of rock, and you’ll also pass another interesting landmark. As your road does a small hairpin, off to one side is a tall romanesque viaduct. Very impressive.

As with many other villages of its type, the locals have gone out of their way to have lots of plants and foliage to soften the hard stone walls. The cool green also helps to reduce the heat bouncing off those walls on a hot day. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of foliage in the form of weeds (like Morning Glory) running wild through the valleys and creeping up the side of the ridge.

Every know and then, you also manage to discover old arches and windows now filled in with rough stone, or old timber lintels lost among the stonework and now clearly a little worse for wear.

If it’s more of that magical French medieval history that you’re after (a-la St Paul-de-Vence), then Teddy highly recommends Tourettes-sur-Loup.

(Teddy has lots more pictures of Tourettes-sur-Loup on the desktop backgrounds page, and the iPhone background page.)


Tourettes-sur-Loup clings to the edge of a rocky outcrop.


3 Responses to Tourettes-sur-Loup

  1. Ches says:

    My son recommended your blog. I’ve bookmarked it.

    [Teddy: Thanks!]

  2. Afvallen says:

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  3. Mac says:

    Helpful info. Lucky me I found your website unintentionally, and I’m stunned why this accident didn’t came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

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