Provence is a daydream brought to life. Neverending rows of lavender. Free-flowing wine. Sleepy villages. Even beautiful beaches. But where to begin? We offer these favorite destinations for your best day in Provence.
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For the Nature Lover: The Calanques
Discover one of France’s top natural wonders. This series of inlets is located along the coast, stretching out on both sides of Marseille. Lace-up your hiking boots and walk in, preparing to be stunned by the crystal-clear azure water and pristine natural beauty of the place. Calanques National Park is home to 140 protected animal and plant species, of which nearly half are marine animals. The old fishing village of Cassis, between Marseille and St. Tropez, is a good access point to the Calanques.
For the History Buff: Pope’s Palace, Avignon
Explore one of the world’s largest buildings, the residence of six popes, and the seat of western Christianity dates to the 14th century. Gothic architecture was famous for its opulence during this period. Today, you can visit more than 20 rooms, including Clement IV’s papal apartments and incredible housing frescoes by Matteo Giovanetti.
For Lavender Fans: Senanque Abbey, Gordes
Incorporate a visit to this Romanesque abbey into your lavender tour. There’s something so sublime about how it complements the abbey’s stark, 12-century architecture. The monks here make a living from the lavender fields and the honey bees they keep. The best time for lavender viewing is June to August. Take time while you’re here to visit the Lavender Museum.
For the Artist: Aix en Provence
Be inspired as you stroll through the streets of Aix en Provence, admiring the countless fountains. Aix is known as the “City of the Thousand Fountains.” When you see one at every intersection, you’ll soon understand why. As you roam, trace the steps of Paul Cezanne, Emile Zola, and Albert Camus, and don’t miss the 1500s tapestries in the medieval cathedral.
For the Adventurer: Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
If you love off-the-beaten-path excursions, make your way to Moustiers- beneath the high bluffs that edge the Verdon Gorge. Those who are up to it can climb the 250 steps to the Notre-Dame-de-Beavoir chapel. Or, visit the red town of Roussillon, another hillside village known for its red ochre rock, used in the construction of many of the buildings. The town sits next to the National Park of Luberon.
For the Water Lover: Le Còte Bleu
Move over, Còte D’Azur … enter, Le Còte Bleu. The Blue Coast is a nice alternative to Cannes, Nice, and St. Tropez, with its captivating Calanques (see above) and sleepy little villages to explore. Sandy and pebbly beaches, rocky creeks, and tall cliffs line turquoise water, which itself is a playground for swimmers, divers, snorkelers, and paddlers. Consider a ride on the Petit Train de la Côte Bleue, a tiny railway that hugs the Estaque cliffs, for a beautiful and exhilarating ride.
Ready to go to Provence? Us, too! Let’s chat about these activities and many more.