In the South-Eastern region of France lies the wonderful region of Provence. The vibrant hues of colour never cease to amaze the naked eye. From the lush greens of the hills to the beautiful blues of the Mediterranean Sea. From breathtakingly beautiful lavender fields to picturesque views of the countryside, there’s a sweet smell in the air.
You cannot help but admire the beauty of architecture, buildings, and cottages nestled in the rolling hills like gems on a crown. The land of legendary tales, artists, movies and rich history and an even richer palette to quench your thirst for fine food. Not to forget the beautiful wineries. Sip on a glass of the world famous Provence Rosé wines while taking in the visual treat that this place has to offer. A brew with a view, indeed.
How To Get There
Getting to Provence from Paris is not a herculean task. Let’s see what our various transport options are to get to Aix-en-Provence .
There are three train operators providing locomotive services from Paris to Aix-en-Provence. On average, 13 trains provide direct services to reach Provence France.
Time taken: 3 hrs 15 min
Cost: $100 – $130
If you are looking for ways to save up on travel from Paris to Aix-en-Provence, both Flixbus and Isilines provide direct bus services to make your journey cheap and comfortable. There are other operators but most of the trips involve bus changes.
Time taken: 10 hrs-12hrs
Cost: $35 – $50
The quickest out of all, if you want to reach Provence France in no time, you can book a flight well in advance. Hop!, Airfrance and KLM are some air carriers providing services from Paris to Provence. Layovers do not make sense since the expenditure incurred on the tickets are more or less similar to the direct ones.
Time taken: 1 hr 15 min
Rent a Car
If you know how to drive then this is the most convenient option out of all. You can rent a car and opt for a road trip. Take your time and soak in the beauty of the surroundings. Rent a car from one of the car rentals, provided you’re 21-25 years of age (depends upon the policy of the car rental agency). To rent a car in France, you’ll need a valid driver’s license, a credit card in your name and a valid passport for ID purposes
Time taken: 7 hrs
Things To Do In Provence
From the gorges to the blue Mediterranean sea, Provence is indeed a visual delight for tourists and travelers. While one would want to take their own sweet time to unravel the beauty of this place, there’s only so much that can be covered within a limited time frame. The scenery and history of Provence could keep one engaged for months to truly experience everything that this place has to offer. Or you might want to go back again and again to explore whatever has been left incomplete on the list.
However, that does not seem like a feasible option given the fact that are so many places to see and so many people to meet. So we have taken inspiration from the French and allowed ourselves the Liberty to go ahead and compile a list of fifteen attractions/ things to do when in Provence, France. Take a look and plan your next vacay accordingly.
Visit The Roman City Of Nimes
Nimes is a Roman city which lies on the border between Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon. Visiting the Les Arenes, the first-century Roman arena is a must on the list if you are fascinated with gladiators and their history. While in Nimes, you must also visit the Maison Carrée, a temple built in the 5th century by the very famous Napoleon Bonaparte.
Best Time To Visit: June to August
Enjoy The Beauty Of Lavender Fields At Abbaye De Senanque
Lavenders are the epitome of grace and delicate beauty. Imagine visiting a field full of lavenders and only lavenders. Can you smell the fragrance already? The 11th-century Cistercian Abbaye de Sénanque in the Luberon is one of the most iconic images with its Roman architecture and beautiful lavender fields. Make sure to include this one on your list.
Best Time To Visit: When the lavenders are in bloom, beginning from Mid June.
Visit The Perched Village Of Gordes
The sight of the village of Gordes perched on rocky cliffs overlooking the surrounding countryside is an enthralling view on its own. Trek your way up. Look out for the chic fashionable French architecture. The French have now converted this village which was once an insanitary dwelling into something high end and admirable altogether.
Best Time To Visit: April to October
Take In The View Of La Ponche, Saint-Tropez
Visit the oldest part of town in Saint-Tropez, La Ponche and enjoy walks along serene beaches. The calm serenity and the colorful architecture of the place is bound to mesmerise you. La Ponche was previously a fishing district in the tiny village of Saint-Tropez. Why not try a hand?
Best Time To Visit: July to August
Museum Of European And Mediterranean Civilisations (MUCEM) & Fort Saint-Jean
Located in Marseille, the biggest city in Provence, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MUCEM) is an experience in itself. Make sure to buy tickets to this museum. And do not forget to visit the newly restored Saint-Jean Fort which is linked to the museum by a walkway. It is a must-visit on the list of history buffs when in Marseille.
Love places and things that are aesthetically pleasing? This place is bound to blow your mind away. The blues of the Mediterranean could not get any bluer with the clear blue skies and perfectly built structures mostly in pastels or faded tones that compliment the entire picture altogether. Not a picture perfect view you say?
Best Time To Visit: June to October
Visit The Seaports At Marseilles
Marseilles is the largest city in France after Paris. This cosmopolitan city is one of the oldest in Provence and is a Mediterranean port town. You could also opt to go cruising or buy tickets for cruise port excursions. All the seafood lovers or the non-seafood lovers, you cannot miss the Vieux Port to taste the unique delicacy bouillabaisse when in Marseilles. It is a special kind of seafood stew.
Best Time To Visit: June to September
Indulge In Wine-Tasting At Châteauneuf-du-Pape
The medieval village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape was built in 1317 and overlooks beautiful lavender fields and warm green hillsides. Wine-tasting at the wineries is an experience that one should not miss when in Provence.
Best Time To Visit: April to July & August to October
Horse-Back Riding And Bird-Watching At The Camargue
The French cowboy country of Camargue is located right at the mouth of the Rhone River. It is a vast swampy delta that lies towards South of Arles. Get transported to fairy land as you watch a herd of white beauties race in the beautiful marshes of Camargue Natural Park area. If you are a bird lover or just a nature lover in general, you must visit this natural park. Horseback riding and bird-watching are two of the interesting activities here.
Best Time To Visit: Visitors visit throughout the year to admire the beauty of the wetlands.
Go Antique-Shopping In L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
The L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a dream haven for antique lovers visiting France for the first time. When in Provence, make sure to go antique-shopping at the L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to fulfil your heart’s desire of buying the most antique souvenirs in France. There are at least 300 outlets selling antiques. From paintings to furniture – name it and you have it. It is very close to Avignon so if you’re in and around the area, do not forget to take a detour and make this a part of your itinerary. In addition, there are huge international antique fairs at Easter and in the autumn. Make sure to visit the weekly Sunday market.
Best Time To Visit: September to November
Spend The Weekend At Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence is an escapade from the bustling cities in Southern France. A little college town but the charm of the streets and fountains enthralls every age group alike. Walk around exploring gardens and appreciating art at art galleries while you also go shopping. Visit the Musée Granet where works of Picasso and Paul Cezanne are on display with more than 12000 other works.
Pick up some fresh fruits, ornaments, garments or other souvenirs from Le Grand Marché, an open air market situated at Cours Mirabeau area three days a week. Or bask in some sunlight and fresh air at Le Terrain des Peintres. A park with a spectacular view of Mount Saint Victoire. Also, a great inspiration for quite a few works by Paul Cezanne.
Best Time To Visit: March to May & September to November
Go Trekking At Mount Saint Victoire
Just situated on the outside of Aix en Provence, trek up the mountain and enjoy the spectacular view from up above. The majestic beauty of the mountain is a lot more staggering when viewed from up close. A challenging trek so don’t forget to carry enough water and keep yourself hydrated. It is also a phenomenal place to hang out at the foot. But if you are going through with the trek, there’s a cross waiting to be touched at the summit. You cannot miss the beauty of Mount Saint Victoire when in Provence.
Best Time To Visit: Access is restricted owing to fire risks in the summer months from June to September.
Head To The Hillside Village Of Bonnieux
The hillside village of Bonnieux is located in Luberon, north of Provence, France. This pretty place is full of restaurants and the best view of the place can be had from one of the restaurants. The charm of the place lies in the fact that you can enjoy your meals and laze around while enjoying a spectacular view.
Best Time To Visit: April to October
Visit The World Heritage Site Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard lies in the South of France, a few kilometres away from Avignon. The Romans do take their architecture very seriously and this magnificent structure is proof of that. The structure was originally built to carry water but now has become a World Heritage Site. It is one of the most incredible locations for picnics and go for a swim in the river.
Best Time To Visit: June to September
Go Hiking And Kayaking At The Gorges du Verdon
The Gorges du Verdon, also known as the Grand Canyon of France, is a river canyon that runs for about more than 25 km long and 700 m deep at quite a few spots. You could go kayaking, climb the sides or go hiking. If you’re adventurous, then driving along the top could be a daredevil task for you. If you choose to explore the entire length of the canyon, you can enjoy the view of the artificial lake of Sainte-Croix which is a very popular picnic spot.
Best Time To Visit: Mid April to Mid October
Spend A Lazy Day At The Lourmarin
What comes to your mind when we talk about lazy days? This market place in Provence is not the largest but definitely makes you feel comfortable at once. It gives off a very warm vibe where you just want to laze around with a glass of wine while munching on their delectables. From sausages to baguettes, they have every meal fit to have a grand picnic. On Fridays, you could also pick up souvenirs from fabric stalls with typical quirky Provencal fabrics printed with lemons or olives.
Best Time To Visit: End of April to Mid October
Truly, Provence has something in store for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Book a flight, pack your bags, and enjoy exploring Provence when you’re in France. Let us know what you did during your trip in the comments!