Click on title to view photo in large format. Oppede-le-Vieux is one the lesser known but very beautiful hilltop towns scattered across Provence, France. These towns emerged during medieval times, when it was common for bands of raiders to sweep through the plains, pillaging and killing everything in their wake. The locals fled to high ground, building encircling walls that provided protection against the hordes.
Many of these villages suffered severe damage during World War II and were subsequently abandoned. Some, including Oppede-le-Vieux, were rediscovered by artists, who moved back in during the 1950’s and began restoration efforts. In Oppede-le-Vieux, the medieval church atop the hill at left has been completely renovated. The castle on the right side of the hilltop still lies in ruins, however efforts are underway to restore it as well. Eventually, these “perched villages” were discovered by tourists. Restaurants and hotels were quick to follow. Today these hilltop towns are some of the most popular tourist destinations in Provence.