The historic region of Provence in France is one of the first places in the number of attractions. Travelers admit that it would take several months to visit only the main cultural and natural sites.
The amazing azure of the sky, the warm winds of the Mediterranean, the lavender fields stretching far beyond the horizon – that’s Provence, a paradise in the south of France. Unique in its natural features, the area has a reputation as one of the best regions in the world for recreation at any time of year. The territory is easy to find on the map: the departments are located between the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, the mountain range of the Alps and the Rhone River.
The best time to visit Provence
Provence is so good that it is difficult to determine the best time to vacation in this blessed land. The warmest, but “overcrowded” are the summer months, especially July and August. The most favorable time for a good rest – May, June, September, October.
The benefits of the visit include:
- The air is warm, but there is no heat, the rains are very rare;
- During the fall months, water and air temperatures are kept around +22-24C;
- prices are still (or are already) low;
- Traffic jams are almost nonexistent.
Top 10 attractions
Among other French regions Provence stands out by the fact that to see a lot of interesting things all year round – natural and architectural sites densely inhabited by towns and small villages.
It’s a calling card of the district. The most extensive areas, with exquisite flowers are at the following addresses:
- the medieval abbey of Notre Dame de Senanc;
- Valansol plateau;
- Department of the Alps;
- the small village of So;
- Château du Bois farmstead.
The country celebrates the Lavender Festival every year on August 15.
The Pontifical Palace of Avignon
A medieval building of grandiose proportions from the 14th century, an object of great historical value, the residence of several of the highest ministers of the Roman Church. Currently, there is a museum inside, and every year the palace hosts an international theater festival.
Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde Basilica in Marseille
The cultural object is already eight centuries old. At first it was a small chapel, then donations were collected, and a church appeared on the highest hill of the city. The unique structure is considered a protective symbol of the city.
Swamps and pink flamingos
In the Rhone delta, flocks of pink flamingos have taken a fancy to the swampy areas that are unusual for the region. Large animals and numerous flocks of birds love the desert areas – hundreds of migratory birds stop here to rest.
Markets in Ile-sur-la-Sorgue
People come to the city for a whole day to visit the two famous markets: flea and grocery. Among the antiques you can find real rarities, you can taste and stock up on the freshest vegetables, fish and fruit.
The ancient stone village of Le Baux
A unique village 25 km from Avignon – the beauty and the national pride of the French. The locals’ houses carved into the rock and the magnificent views of the valleys at the foot of the mountain are a constant attraction for visitors from all over the world.
Gorge du Verdon
The canyon is a very beautiful landscape, reminiscent of the famous American gorges. Impressive is the depth, in some areas reaching 750 meters, and unusually green color of the water of the river of the same name, flowing along the bottom.
Amphitheater and Roman monuments in Arles
The main attraction of Arles – a huge arena, built by the Romans and well preserved. Mass theatrical performances are held on its territory. Unique information about the period of Roman rule is carefully preserved in the local museum.
Ochre mines near Roussillon
The small village was nicknamed “Martian” because of the reddish color of the soil and the surrounding rocks. Ochre was once mined in the surrounding area, and it soaked into the dust all around.
Chateau d’If on the island of the same name
The gloomy structure 4 km from the Marseille coast is a former state prison. It housed particularly important prisoners, but the most popular is considered to be the legendary Count of Monte Cristo, a literary character of Alexandre Dumas.
In addition, there are a great many parks, religious buildings, numerous historical and architectural monuments.
Little-known points of a good vacation in Provence
In addition to the well-known and long-established resorts of the Cote d’Azur, in the south of France, there are other places where you can enjoy plenty of sun, sea and amazingly clean air.
- Commune Truin. Travellers are greeted by hospitable staff, excellent cuisine, with magical wines. There is a small swimming pool on a spacious site with a gorgeous view of the surrounding area.
- Cassie Village. Beaches, cozy little restaurants for all budgets, Kalanka Park will delight you with silence and lack of resort life. The bays of PortPin and d’En-Vau, are memorable for their fantastic beauty. There are two levels of trails developed for hiking – for beginners and experienced hikers.
- Porquerolles Island. The sparsely populated island off the coast of the French Riviera has amazingly clean beaches and a ban on motorized vehicles. Trying to litter the area results in huge fines. Particularly impressive is the peaceful silence, the purest sea air and birdsong.
Gastronomy of Provence
The most outstanding attractions of Provence are not limited to architectural and natural monuments. The local cuisine is no less famous, capable of impressing the most demanding gourmet. Provence cuisine is the result of a skilful combination of many national cuisines.
The king of the table is the famous bouillabaisse soup made from several varieties of fish and seafood. It was invented many years ago by sailors from Marseille, but since then the recipe for the simple soup has changed a lot and is on the menu of the most luxurious restaurants in France.
Among other gastronomic delights, the Courgette Fleur omelette, ratatouille, stuffed leg of lamb, Beauf-en-Dub beef (meat stewed in red wine) are amazingly delicious. You can’t leave Provence without tasting the exquisite salads of Mesclane, Nicoise. The sumptuous sauces Pistu and Aioli and Tapenade pasta are considered the pinnacle of the chef’s art.
There are restaurants, cafes, and bistros at every turn to get a tasty meal or snack.
Interesting facts about the Provence region
- Those who like to see something unusual are attracted to the Corkscrew Museum. The richest private collection is part of the Menerba winery (34 km northeast of Avignon). Tourists benefit from the visit in two ways: they get to see the world’s only exhibition and taste the products of local winemakers.
- In the Rhone Valley, houses have no windows on the north side. It’s not the builders’ fault – it’s how the residents protect themselves from the swooping mistral, a very cold and extremely fast wind.
- The region has made a name for itself in great literature. English writer Peter Mayle was so captivated by its special coloring that he wrote a series of books about this striking region.
- Residents are reverent about their native language. Interestingly, in the not too distant past they had their own, Provençal language. Over time, the dialect was abolished, but it is still studied by schoolchildren and students at one of the universities.