The Best Things To See And Do In Provence, France

Provence has countless attractions that no traveler should miss. French Provence is your destination if you are looking for an exciting experience full of wonderful places to discover.

Just hit the roads of Provence to discover authentic places with medieval villages, traditional markets, or beautiful turquoise beaches.

The Provence region is one of the most visited in all of France due to its natural charm and varied tourist offer, which invites visitors on a cultural and pleasant journey through the different departments of the region.

For this reason, we want you to discover the best things to do in this beautiful region and give you that little push that you need to smell and taste the beautiful Provence that I tell you ahead of time that smells like Lavender and tastes like cheese and wine.

Visit the Lavender Fields of Provence in the Summer

If you plan to travel to Provence, you cannot miss the majestic lavender fields that decorate the region.

lavender fields of Provence

Between June and August, the fields of Provence are painted purple, and as such are the best dates to enjoy this beautiful region in all its splendor.

There are many towns where you will find beautiful lavender fields that make this product their lifestyle since it is the primary economic source of many areas of Provence.

In addition to the visual pleasure of these fields, it must be remembered that lavender has healing, soothing and antiseptic properties.

And a pretty exciting elaboration process that you can discover in some museums and factories that you will find along your route.

We recommend visiting Grasse, the capital of perfume, with huge lavender fields.

The Valensole plateau and the village of Sault, a pretty town that lives mainly from crops, among which lavender is one of the most important for the life of the town.

Explore the Calanques National Park between Marseille and Cassis

How not to name the jewel of Marseille. A little away from the city center, in the south of Marseille, is the Parc National des Calanques.

Calanques National Park

An extraordinary landscape of coves and trails that leaves any visitor in awe.

Ideal for spending a day of adventure hiking and enjoying a good swim on the blue coast.

This extensive natural park of more than 8,500 hectares of land and 43,500 hectares of the aquatic area makes it a unique place in Europe.

The combination of large mountains, small fjords, and estuaries throughout this park’s three municipalities makes it a magical place you could never have imagined in the south of France.

Visit Arles and its Roman Monuments

If you want to know the Roman heritage in France, Arles is your place. The beautiful city of Arles is located just 1 hour from Marseille.

Republic Square, Arles

In its architecture, we can see the ancient Roman Empire heritage presented in this city as an arena, theater, and Roman baths.

Each street has a unique charm and portrays a beautiful postcard.

Arles is a beautiful city that inspires anyone and is so special that it made Van Gogh paint 300 paintings during his stay in the city between 1888 and 1889.

Today, these paintings are exhibited in the Vang Gogh Museum in this city’s heart.

Spend a Day in Avignon, the City of the Popes

Located on the banks of the Rhône river, in the beautiful region of Provence, the city of Avignon, which was the papal seat from 1309 to 1377, makes it the most powerful in Europe.

Avignon bridge Rhône river

This is one of the reasons why it has generated a great architectural and cultural heritage, which has remained in good condition to this day.

Enjoy the opportunity to walk the streets of Avignon contemplating the attractions of the city such as:

  • the Papal Palace,
  • Avignon bridge,
  • their squares,
  • the Cathedral of Notre Dame des Doms
  • And all its streets until you get to see the remains of the walls.

And after a long walk, I’m sure you’ll agree that Avignon is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the south of France.

Explore Marseille

Marseille is, with 859,543 inhabitants, the second-most populous city in France after the capital Paris.

Marseille at night

On the Mediterranean coast, Marseille is the most important city in Europe due to its economic power thanks to its commercial port, which is one of the most powerful on the continent.

As well as the historical value of the city that makes it a unique region on the entire Mediterranean coast.

The city of Marseille was born in the year 600 BC, discovered by sailors from Phocaea, and preserves a great historical heritage full of

  • archeological sites,
  • medieval forts
  • and even monuments commemorate the events that occurred in the city during the Second World War.

Even though many media and tourist agencies have created the hoax that Marseille is an ugly and dangerous city.

Like a good revolutionary city, Marseille still stands and shows us a journey of ancient and modern history.

A city full of culture and attractions leaves its visitors speechless not only because of its city and its secrets but also because of its beautiful surroundings.

Enjoy a Day (or several) in Aix-en-Provence

You cannot miss your stop in Aix-en-Provence on your trip through Provence. The old capital of the region is a city full of history and beauty that opens its doors to those curious about art and architecture.

Aix en Provence

Aix-en-Provence was a Roman walled city founded in 123 BC, of which very little remains today.

However, today’s Aix-en-Provence still retains a tremendous medieval heritage from the city’s golden age when celebrities such as King D’Anjou and many Italian and Flemish painters moved to the area and made Aix a privileged city.

Today you can relive the city’s history by walking through the colorful streets of the town, enjoying the beautiful facades of the buildings and the museums of the city.

Along your walk, you will enjoy incredible city postcards, such as the Saint Saveur Cathedral, the Saint Jean de Malta Church, and the Roman Baths.

But that’s not all; after a short break for a drink on the Cours Mirabeau avenue, don’t forget to meet the city’s favorite sons, Cézanne and Vasarely.

These two artists from different eras honor the locals with their works and museums that attract thousands of tourists each year.

Visit the Luberon Castles

You don’t have to go to the German Black Forest to see fairytale landscapes. In the Luberon valley, you can find some of the best-preserved castles in all of Europe.

The Marquis de Sade Castle in Lacoste, Lourmarin, and Gordes are the three main castles that deserve a stop along the way and a photograph.

Castle of Marquis de Sade

The Marquis de Sade castle is located between Bonnieux and Gordes, and its entrance costs 10 euros.

The castle built in the sixteenth century became important in the eighteenth century when the Marquis de Sade began to live in the castle and experience some obscene scenes related to pornography and its libertine style.

Despite being a remarkably well-preserved castle, these dark stories about the Marques are the ones that attract more tourists to visit this place.

Lourmarin Castle

The medieval and Renaissance mix makes this castle one of the most visited in Provence.

Inside it preserves treasures such as period furniture and a beautiful old stone staircase.

Castle of Gordes

Gordes Provence

This castle, built in the 11th century and rebuilt during the Renaissance, amazes tourists with its architectural emulsion that pleases everyone’s eyes.

However, it is not only its architecture surprising but also its interior, which exhibits the works of various artists who have ties to Provence, such as the massive modernist star Vasarely.

Get to Know the Ancient Roman Theater of Orange

Another must-see in Provence is the Orange theatre. A few km from Avignon is the city of Orange which has one of the best-preserved Roman theaters in the world.

Unlike other theaters of the Ancient Roman Empire, this one still retains its scenic façade with an elevation of 37 meters.

Its impeccable aesthetics is surprising despite having been built in the 1st century and having only had small reconstructions throughout its history.

Today it is possible to visit it, and if you are lucky enough to be in the city on certain dates, you may be able to attend a play or opera concert as an audience.

To carry out the cultural visit, you have to pay an entrance fee of 10 euros, which also includes a visit to the Museum of Art and History, which is located right in front of the theater.

It is allowed to take photos in the place so do not forget your camera.

Visit the Camargue Natural Park

Just a few minutes drive from the Roman city of Arles is the beautiful 86,300-hectare Camargue National Park.

horses at sunset in Camargue Natural Park

On the shores of the Mediterranean, a delta forms between the Great Rhône and the Small Rhône, forming lagoons, swamps, dunes, and salt pans.

This environment has its own ecosystem that helps conserve thousands of protected species.

On your walk through this natural area, you can enjoy protected species in semi-freedom, such as horses, bulls, and turtles, among other land animals.

Also, you will be amazed by the number of birds in the area that gives color to this landscape that La Provence gives us.

If you are lucky, you may have the opportunity to photograph the flamingos that often make the Camargue their home in the months leading up to winter.

Spend the Day in the Gorges du Verdon, the Largest Canyon in Europe

Near the French Riviera, in the heart of Provence, is this beautiful canyon that all travelers and photographers fall in love with every year.

The history of this landscape dates back to 250 million years when this surface was under water.

The shells and the sand began to form these stones that we now see today as large cliffs on the banks of the Verdon River.

The landscape is entirely divine with its majestic cliffs and turquoise river water.

Who has seen turquoise water in a river? At first, it is hard to believe, but this wonder does exist, which is why thousands of tourists come to this place to take a kayak ride or to take a path contemplating the landscape.

Visit Nice, the Capital of the Côte d’Azur

The Nice region is a tourist engine for France, marked by its geographical location, gastronomy, and hanging villages. It stands out as one of the best destinations in the entire Côte d’Azur.

Costa de Niza

Located between the sea and the mountains, Nice is a diamond in the rough. The proximity to the Italian border and the principality of Monaco gives this city an added tourist value.

Nice has been part of two countries in different periods, giving it a beautiful mix in its architecture, gastronomy, and the way of being of the locals.

The historic center of Nice is beautiful and deserves a good walk to contemplate the contrasts and find the beautiful Cathedral of Saint Nicholas that will remind you of some other Russian cathedral.

Discover the Mercantour National Park

Less than an hour from the Côte d’Azur is another of the treasures of the Provence region.

This National Park is located between the Alpes de Haute Provence and the Alpes-Maritimes and extends along various valleys and mountains, ideal for the more adventurous.

The park is a protected area with endemic species, and therefore we must be careful with the environment regardless of the activity we are going to carry out.

Mercantour is exciting for those more daring as it is ideal for canyoning and rafting.

Many companies organize activities for reasonable prices, but that’s not all. Mercantour is a house of climbing and hiking, so don’t forget to add a little adrenaline to your trip.

If you prefer something more relaxed or do not have much time to explore, take the route of the Train of Wonders.

This train departs from Nice every morning and takes you along the old Salt Trade Route passing through the Mercantour villages.

During the trip, a guide will comment on the landscapes so that you do not miss a single detail of this incredible French treasure.

Visit Cannes and the Lérins Islands

Cannes is world-renowned for its European film festival and hotels that attract famous personalities to vacation on its shores.

Puerto de Cannes

Its tourist offer ranges from culture to fashion and luxuries; this is how Cannes welcomes different profiles of tourists.

The Boulevard de La Croissette promenade is the city’s soul that dazzles visitors with its bars and beach.

The rest of the beaches in Cannes, as well as the Lérins Archipelago, are also very popular. The five islands of Lérins are located in front of Cannes and are beautiful and wild islands you can visit by boat or kayak.

The islands hide pristine beaches, wineries, and even 15th-century monasteries.

Tour Charming Saint-Tropez

Saint Tropez is a small seaside town located on the Côte d’Azur, in southwestern France, between Marseille and Nice.

Puerto Viejo de St Tropez

Though once nothing more than a humble fishing village, today, Saint Tropez is synonymous with luxury and ostentation.

In Saint Tropez, it is common to see the port full of luxury yachts, sailboats, and different stores of renowned names.

For all this, it is not uncommon that when you think of Saint Tropez, the first thing that comes to mind is glamour, elite, exclusive clubs, and luxury cars.

And although you would not be wrong at all, the truth is that Saint Tropez has much more to offer us.

That is why we invite you to stroll through its old town, go to its Provencal market and relax on its beaches. And do not forget before leaving the city to go up to the citadel to admire the view of the entire town and the sea.

Visit the Hanging Villages of the Luberon (Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, etc)

Take a day to visit these beautiful towns that hang from the rock.

Gordes, Rousillon, and Bonnieux are some of the medieval towns that force us to stop along the way and walk their narrow streets.

Its medieval charm is irresistible to any self-respecting traveler, so spend a day in these Provencal villages, where you will find the true essence of Provencal life.

Visit Grasse and Create Your Own Perfume

Grasse could not be missing from this list of destinations you cannot miss during your French Provence visit.

Grasse Perfumery

The city of Grasse is internationally known as the perfume capital. It has 40 perfumers out of the 200 that exist worldwide.

Thousands of tourists visit this beautiful medieval-style city every year with the pleasure of preserving mansions and restored houses from the 17th century.

We recommend visiting the International Perfume Museum, where you will discover all the steps necessary to create a fragrance.

From botany through the transformation of the raw material and ending with the end of the process, resulting in a delicate and luxurious product.

We also recommend visiting the Fragonard Museum, where you can delve into the history of perfume and discover all the technical advances that have been achieved from ancient Egypt to the present day.

Take the Ocher Route in Roussillon

If you visit Roussillon, you cannot miss the Ocher route. Upon arrival, you can park your car at the entrance of the town for a maximum of 3 euros per day.

View of Roussillon

Once you are ready, you can start your route between these orange-toned stones that hikers fall in love with.

There is a short route of 1 km that lasts 30 minutes and another one of a little longer of 3 km that lasts approximately 60 minutes.

The trail allows anyone to finish it since it is not very difficult.

In addition, we recommend visitors to see the Ocher and Color Conservatory, where you can discover the secrets of this beautiful geological formation of Goethite, as well as the artistic use of some of these natural pigments.

Drive the 3 Corniches of the Côte d’Azur

When you travel near Nice, take the opportunity to enjoy the pleasure of driving along with one of the three cornices of the Côte d’Azur.

Eze view from the road

These three roads, called Low, Medium, and High, border the Coast, giving us a spectacular view of the cliffs of the Maritime Alps.

The great Cornice or high cornice is the most spectacular and has some viewpoints where you can take a break, such as the Belvedere d’Eze viewpoint and Le Vistaero, which is closer to Monaco.

Visit Les Baux-de-Provence, one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France

A few minutes’ drives from Arles is Les Baux-de-Provence. The town that concentrates all the charms of the villages of Provence in one.

view of Les-Baux-de-Provence

Narrow streets, terraces, markets, crafts, and good weather are synonymous with this medieval town that thousands of tourists visit yearly.

This town nestled on a rocky plateau has an incomparable heritage as it has 22 protected architectural monuments that give this town a priceless historical value.

The castle is the attractive protagonist of the town.

This massive fortification with 360-degree views served as protection during multiple wars.

It still retains much of its structure, and you can still see some of the weapons used back then, such as the three giant catapults on display around the castle.

Fly in a Balloon in Luberon

To enjoy a complete and unforgettable experience in Provence, we want you to enjoy it from the Air.

The Luberon is a unique place from which many balloons take off, taking tourists to see the fortified villages in the area from a bird’s eye view.

Many balloon flights leave from Folcarquier daily by different companies in the morning for prices between 240 and 260 euros per person.

Visit the Roman aqueduct of Pont Du Gard near Avignon

The Pont Du Gard, 26 km from Avignon, is one of the tourist attractions that you should not miss. The Pont Du Gard is one of the most important Roman aqueducts in Europe.

In fact, it is the second-best preserved after the Segovia aqueduct.

best things to do in Provence

Take the Mont Faron Cable Car in Toulon

Mont Faron is a 584-meter-high summit, accessible by cable car, which you can take from the city of Toulon.

At the top, you can find a small zoo specializing in felines and a monument in memory of the Allied landing in Provence.

You can also access it from the road.

The price of the cable car is 7.80 per adult, and the truth is that it is worth paying to go up in a few minutes and enjoy one of the best viewpoints in all of Provence.

When to Visit Provence, the Best Time of the Year

Provence has a mild climate throughout the year, making it ideal to visit any time of the year.

However, if you travel to Provence to see the Lavender fields and do outdoor activities in good weather, you should go between the end of June and the end of August.

However, on these dates, prices increase and it is more difficult to find accommodation due to the large number of tourists who come to the Côte d’Azur.

If, on the other hand, you are a quiet person who does not like the hustle and bustle, we recommend you go between May and the beginning of June.

Finding accommodation will be easier for you, prices will be cheaper and best of all, you won’t have people everywhere when you want to take your pictures.

On these dates, you can visit the most famous villages of Provence, without stress and scorching temperatures, unlike in July and August.

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