Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is a picturesque village nestled in the heart of Provence. Known for its stunning natural beauty and rich history, this charming village attracts visitors from all over the world.
Our visit was on a winter's day and made for a dramatic backdrop for an already breathtaking location. Situated at the base of towering limestone cliffs, the village is almost improbable.
The origins of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie can be traced back to the 5th century when a small religious community settled in the area. The village takes its name from the Latin word "monasterium," meaning monastery, and the dedication to the Virgin Mary.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is also famous for its traditional Provençal pottery: "faïence." The village has a long history of pottery production, and visitors can explore the many workshops and boutiques that line its narrow streets. From intricately painted plates to delicate ceramic figurines, faïence is a beautiful French tradition.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie's pottery tradition dates back to the 17th century when the village became a hub for skilled potters. The unique clay found in the region, combined with the expertise of local artisans, resulted in the production of exquisite faïence pottery. This delicate and colorful earthenware quickly gained popularity across Europe, earning Moustiers-Sainte-Marie a reputation as a center of excellence in pottery craftsmanship.
One of the most iconic landmarks in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is the Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir Chapel, perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the village. Legend has it that a knight returning from the Crusades hung his golden spurs on a chain attached to a star, vowing to retrieve them if he survived. The golden star, known as "l'étoile de Moustiers," still hangs between the cliffs, attracting visitors from far and wide.
The walk up to the chapel is glorious and features precarious stairways and a path along the limestone cliff.
Don't miss this legendary village if you're planning a trip to the region.
Photography and writing by Emilie Johnson. She lives in Provence and can be found on instagram at @emilie_joly_johnson