Provence is a region of France that’s absolutely jam-packed with amazing things to do and see. It seems almost impossible to whittle all these attractions down into one ‘must-see and do’ list, but unless you’ve got unlimited time at your fingertips, that’s exactly what you’ll have to do!
How to pick out your Provence ‘top ten’.
Choosing a ‘top ten’ is tricky for a holiday destination as full of world-class attractions as Provence. There are a few criteria you’ll need to consider before you start. What’s your budget? Who do you have to keep happy – teenagers, elderly relatives, a partner, or just yourself? What are your centres of interest? Do you love visiting gardens and museums, or is it all about the adrenalin rush of exciting experiences, or are you a bon viveur, keen to sample the local food and drink?
Answer these questions first and you can start on your list. Alternatively, going on specialist Provence tours can be one way of taking the headache out of the whole process! Tour companies will offer a range of different tours tailored to your group profile and interests – all with the added benefit of a local’s eye view of the region.
Provence – a splendid blend of natural beauty and outstanding built heritage!
If you absolutely want to draw up your own itinerary, here are a few of the biggest draws in Provence:
- the Carrières de Lumières sound and light show
- The dramatic Gorges du Verdon
- Hilltop villages such as Gordes
- The wildlife of the Camargue wetlands
- Roman heritage in Arles and Orange
- The beautiful hills of the Luberon region
- Top artworks on display in Antibes, St Paul de Vence and Nice
Provence is a large region, so placing yourself in a central location can be useful if you want to see a lot of different sights without necessarily having to book different accommodation each night. Aix-en-Provence is probably the largest town that fits into this category and day trips from Aix en Provence to most of the sights mentioned above are perfectly possible. From Aix, it’s also a short drive to one of the Mediterranean’s most distinctive urban centres, Marseille, where you can see another iconic Provençal sight, the basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde. Founded in the 7th century BC, the city boasts a fascinating mix of heritage and culture that’s perhaps best seen in the new Museum of the Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM). If you tire of city-seeing, then just along the coast from Marseille are the wonderful ‘calanques’, atmospheric sea inlets composed of white limestone.