Blue skies, fragrant fields, fabulous wine and charming fishing villages, the Provence’s delights are too numerous to describe them all. But to fall in love with this tasty morsel of France here’s just seven reasons why you should immediately schedule a trip to the south of France. Provence deserves not even universal love but universal worship.
The Lavender Fields
The lavender blooms from June to August, and a day exploring the Luberon region by bike or by car will be your perfect Provençal adventure.
If you believe that the famous lavender fields are just a trick photo on booklets, your opinion will change as soon as you see the real thing. The purple sea is slightly rippling in the breeze, the heady sun-imbued scent and the lazy buzzing of happy bees … Your feelings will not only be subtle but overloaded. The lavender blooms from June to August, and a day exploring the Luberon region by bike or by car will be your perfect Provençal adventure. If you’re an amateur or a professional photographer, make your way to Gordes and the Notre Dame de Sénanque monastery to find there the quintessential shot of the brilliant purple. What you see will be completely unusual as so much purple is extremely rare in nature. The monastery has not only a magnificent lavender field and Romanesque architecture preserved from the 11th century but also a gastronomic boutique. Must eat – monastery honey. If you’re in Provence on August 15, you will come just in time for the Lavender Festival in the charming town of Sault.
Medieval town of Gordes
Town of Gordes in the evening
In fact, you will start exploring Provence as soon as you get acquainted with exquisite, refreshing and delicate flavors of rosé wine, the tipple of the area.
Provence’s magic effect on all the senses is not limited by lavender. In fact, you feel this as soon as you get acquainted with exquisite, refreshing and delicate flavors of rosé wine, the tipple of the area. You do not have to go far to enjoy a glass – every local bistro will have a few decent options on the menu.
But true wine buffs just have to explore the Bandol region, on the southern fringes of Provence, where the Mediterranean climate and limestone soil make ideal location for exquisite wines. Bandol rosés are made up of at least 50% Mourvèdre grapes, most often blended with Grenache and Cinsault to create the ideal flavor.
Bandol rosés from Domaine Tempier
Drop in Domaine Tempier winery to explore their bottomless wine-vaults. Taste the wine in Chateau de Pibarnon accompanied by the fascinating stories of wine makers and enjoying the mesmerizing view of the Mediterranean. You will look great with a glass of rosé against the azure waves.”
Chateau de Pibarnon
Chateau de Pibarnon
Our choice is Niçoise salad served with oven-fresh baguette and local butter. Enjoy and let time stand still for a little while.
What goes best with rosé you taste? Of course, a long lunch under the patched shade of branchy trees. The French are not fast food lovers: the slow-food philosophy is much closer to them and a place for a leisurely meal should be appropriate. One of our favorite lunch haunts is the Place des Cardeurs in Aix-En-Provence, where several cafes and bistros squeeze up against each other, and the only difference between them is the different coloured tablecloths… Actually, rosé in combination with the climate of Provence and splendid delicacies will turn your lunch into a symphony. Whatever you order will complement each other and the wine. And let intuition tell you which dishes are worth your attention. Our choice is Niçoise salad served with oven-fresh baguette and local butter. Enjoy and let time stand still for a little while.
Place des Cardeurs (Aix-en-Provence)
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday the main squares of the town are filled with fresh flowers, intriguing flea market finds and fresh products.
Having scheduled to stop in Aix-En-Provence for lunch you may refine your plans a little and roll into town earlier to experience the noisy joy of a French market. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday the main squares of the town are filled with fresh flowers, intriguing flea market finds and fresh products. The market suggests anything: from flavoursome white peaches to ripen tomatoes and olives stuffed with almonds, garlic or lemon. The best option is to act spontaneously, which will give you a lot of preferences. Come without a shopping list and leave with a full bag and a head stuffed with dozens of recipe ideas. You will definitely be up to culinary experiments at your villa’s kitchen after such experience.
Market in Aix-en-Provence
The Charming Villages
Although the village has fewer than 500 residents, its population increases by over a million tourists every year.
The cream-coloured buildings and terracotta roofs of the villages frame Provence’s emerald-green hills as a royal tiara. It will be the right decision to turn off your navigator and drive into each village on your way having in mind Les Baux de Provence, one of the most spectacular villages of all, as your final goal. It is perched beneath a tall cliff topped with a medieval castle. An interesting fact: Although the village has fewer than 500 residents, its population increases by over a million of beauty- and history- seeking tourists every year. As you wander along the narrow cobbled streets you’ll feel like getting back in space and time, to the days of knights, donjons, sieges, and romantic serenades. To see the history through the lens of today, make time for the Carrières de Lumières show inside a former Bauxite quarry, where images are projected on to the stone walls, ceiling and floor to create thrilling animated stories dedicated to the works of the Renaissance’s masters, pop art, surrealism, etc. You can find the topic of the next installation on their website.
Carrières de Lumières
Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin produced some of their best works while being inspired by the nature here.
The Provence’s landscapes has been inspiring artists for hundreds of years but none glorified them more than the post-impressionists. Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin produced some of their best works while being inspired by the nature here. Born and raised in Aix-en-Provence, Cézanne saw the impressive Mont Sainte Victoire as his muse. They say, he painted it nearly 80 times in his lifetime. You can find out more about the artist and his work at the Atelier Cézanne, a museum located in the artist’s former studio close to the town center. Van Gogh lived in Arles for several years where he painted his legendary works of the Sunflowers series. His best friend, Gauguin, also stayed with Van Gogh in Arles. However, it seems that two geniuses could not live in one town. One day a tremendous quarrel broke out between the artists, ending by Van Gogh’s cutting off his earlobe in the heat of the argument (although there is another version: as if the ear was cut off by Gauguin and not by Van Gogh, but Van Gogh took the fall in order to save his friend). You can find out the full story behind the incident and more facts about the painter’s extraordinary talents and personal life at the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh.
The Sainte Victoire mountain
Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoir (1902-04)
Town of Arles
Town of Arles
The Wild Beauty of the Mediterranean
Start exploring the area in Cassis, a sleepy fishing village with plenty of charm. In the afternoon, take a sea tour to the Calanques – secluded rocky coves.
Following the winding roads to the south, sooner or later you’ll find yourself at the Mediterranean sea. Although the neighboring Cote d’Azur magnetize tourists with its sandy beaches and famous residents, the limestone cliffs and crystal clear waters around Marseille tempt with their solid although wilder beauty. Start exploring the area in Cassis, a sleepy fishing village with plenty of charm. The colourful sea front is dotted with fishing boats, cozy cafes and stores making it the perfect place for morning jogging (or a walk). In the afternoon, take a sea tour to the Calanques – secluded rocky coves that are only accessible by boat, and admire the topaz-sparkling blue waters before crowning your day with a cool glass of rosé.