Provence is not where the traveller goes to run themselves ragged trying to see it all; it’s where they go to experience life at a pace so sedate sometimes it feels as if they’re standing still. And that’s ok with them. The wide open natural spaces, intriguing medieval ruins, and opportunities to stretch their physical boundaries makes Provence as much an excursion of the body and mind as the French culture. But for those salivating for a good glass of traditional French wine and the chance to savor truly authentic Provencal cuisine, don’t fret; everyone will find their pace here in Provence.
The little town of Les Baux-de-Provence does feel quite medieval, with its crumbling stone houses and stately castle. One of the most popular sites in France outside of Paris, Les Baux-de-Provence offers fantastic views of the countryside below the ruins. The best time to visit the village is on the weekends, to avoid the weekday tourist crowds.
Nestled between the Durance and Rhône rivers is the low-lying string of mountains known as the Chaîne des Alpilles. The mountains are only 1,600 feet (498 meters) at their highest point, but thanks to the surrounding flatland appear to soar much higher. The region of the Alpilles is known for its exquisite olive oil, cuisine, and wineries; a true epicurean’s delight.
One of the most beautiful canyons in France is the Verdon Gorges, a ravine that appears to be painted in lush green plant life. The gorge is named after the Verdon River, itself a vibrant turquoise color, that cut through the rock and created the environment for the limestone to be covered in flora. Verdon Gorges is popular with hikers and climbers who scale its green walls, and kayakers that enjoy navigating the teal waters of the Verdon River within.
The enticing blend of sun and turn-of-the-century opulence propelled the city of Nice into the (unofficial) title of “capital of the Côte d’Azur“. Whether you’re on the hunt for fantastic markets or exquisitely opulent architecture, Nice is a can’t-miss. Visitors must see the city’s museums of modern art and individual galleries featuring the works of Marc Chegall and Matisse.
Parc National du Marcantour is believed by many to be one of the most stunning natural parks in France. Marcantour houses many rare breed of both flora and fauna, including grey wolves, the ibex, and the mouflon, and ancient Bronze-era carvings have been discovered in its caves. Visitors are welcome to drive, hike, bike, ski, and snowboard in the valley when it is not closed during the seasonal snows from October to May. Don’t miss the Gorges du Daluis, a vibrant red canyon that would not look misplaced if it were plucked from France and rehomed in the dusty outskirts of Arizona.
Book Your Next Group Trip to Provence with Back-Roads Touring
The lavender-carpeted fields of Provence. The staggering sight of Gorges du Verdon. The movie star looks of Cannes. The French Riviera has it all, and on this tour we’ll soak up its history, glamour and natural beauty.
Wide deltas and rural scenery where cowboys on white horses roam. Meandering canals dotted with historic villages. Rivers that open out on enchanting Mediterranean vistas. Uncover some of the southern France’s best-kept secrets on this cruise into the heart of Provence.
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