TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN PROVENCE
After a short break and travel limitations as a result of Covid-19, we are back! Today, I have the pleasure to publish a Guest Blog Post by Jean-François, a professional tour operator & tour guide, as well as passionate photographer (hence his photos are better than mine!). Let’s get started:
Provence bursts with conviviality, warm atmosphere, exceptional weather and light, amazing colors and perfumes, rich art and history, typical “cafés” under old plate trees, olive trees, breathtaking views, excellent fine cuisine, olive oil, herbs, wine (the best Rosé wine in France)… From the Roman time to the more recent opulence of the Belle Epoque and the glamorous places beloved of the jet set to ultimate luxury.
1. THE LAVENDER FIELDS
From mid-June to mid-July lavender in full bloom is a fantastic natural show. Such a mix of beautiful colors, incredible perfume between the blue sky and the endless purple fields. It’s also the time of the year of sunflowers and poppies.
Lavender fields make a spectacular setting where you’ll take amazing pictures. It’ll go beyond your imagination. The old village of Sault is worth a visit. If you do it with Jeff, he’ll take you off the beaten path to hidden fields and you’ll have lunch at someone’s home. Very few tourists can do this and, therefore, we’re excited to partner with Jeff to offer this to you as well. You may get a discount too, just let us know directly! To be sure, please plan at least 2 days.
2. SUNSET, SUNRISE AT THE TOP OF MONT VENTOUX
Mont Ventoux is the highest pick of Provence (1911m, 5790ft). It became very famous with the Tour de France where racers climbed it many times, very tough climb!
The light up there is just unbelievable and it’s so peaceful ! A unique moment you’ll never forget. It can be conbined with the Lavender fields which are not too far.
3. ON VAN GOGH’S FOOTSTEPS
Van Gogh spent many years in Provence in the 1880’s. Follow him from Saint Rémy to Arles and don’t miss the Monastère Saint-Paul de Maussole in Saint Rémy where he stayed. We recommend to stay at « Le Mas des Tourterelles ».
The Dutch master created hundreds of vivid, powerful landscapes and self-portratis during his few years in Provence. He invented a new passion for yellow, his favorite colour. Remember his famous sun flower paintings.
4. STAY AT HOTEL « LA MIRANDE » IN AVIGNON
Hotel La Mirande is famous for its delightful and authentic interiors. No expenses were spared to carefully restore what had survived from the past and to replenish, where necessary, the features of the age of enlightenment for the revival of a nobleman’s townhouse in the 18th century. In a brilliant endeavour, a secret private place was converted into a luxurious 5-star hotel without intruding on the soul of the building.
La Mirande is entertaining by offering two completely different dining experiences, either up-stairs in its excellent gourmet restaurant or downstairs in the old kitchen, where guests share a large table and dinner is prepared on the old wood burning cast iron range as it was in use in the 19th century.
This 5-star hotel offers a unique 18th century ultimate luxury, right in the center of Avignon near the famous Pope Palace.
5. PONT DU GARD
This 3-level Roman bridge is unique in the world and quite impressive, it’s 49m high (160ft). It’s a clear testimony of the Roman empire greatness. The top tier was par of an aqueduc that supplied Nimes with water for up to 500 years.
Build with stone blocks without mortar, the bridge is 275m Long ( 900 ft). It’s an amazing and enormous work of engineering. You can also do kayaking on the river below.
6. CARRIERE DES LUMIÈRES – LIGHT & MUSIC SHOW IN A QUARRY
A fantastic, spectacular light (laser) and music show inside a former quarry in Les Baux. You won’t believe your eyes when inside this huge quarry. It’s like entering a dream but it’s real. You walk around and see a laser show on the walls. This year (2020) the theme is Dali, it changes every year. Unbelievable experience ! https://www.carrieres-lumieres.com/en/home
7. COOKING COURSE WITH A LOCAL FAMOUS CHEF
Located in Saintes Maries de la Mer in Camargue, Roger Merlin welcomes you to cook the most amazing meal and share it with your friends. A superb opportunity to try many specialités from Provence, organic fresh food.
A delicious experience ! You can also stay there in a private apartment or just have lunch without cooking.
8. WINE TASTING
Provence is well known for delicious wines especially Rosé, the best in France. We’ve been making wine here for 2500 years (since the Greeks).
From Chateauneuf du Pape to the Mediteranean coast you will taste amazing wines and visit beautiful Chateaux. If you do it with us, we’ll take you to the best Chateaux + a very nice lunch in a Middle Ages winery.
9. STREET MARKET IN AIX EN PROVENCE
Everyday except Mondays, the best day is Friday. The whole old city with stalls (fruits, veg, flowers, honey, herbs…), a paradise of colors, fragrances, tastes. Just walk around and enjoy!
Aix is also the city of famous Paul Cézanne where he, among other sceneries, painted the Saine Victoire (a mountain above Aix). It’s the city of very nice fountains too.
We recommend lunch at « Les Caves Henri IV ».
10. THE CALANQUES IN CASSIS
Where the water is so blue and the spectacular cliffs so high. Take a public boat in Cassis and explore up to 9 Calanques (like a Fjord). Do not miss the panoramic road above the sea and walk on top of some cliffs, quite impressive brathtaking views. Street market on Fridays.
I recommend to eat the famous Boullabaisse at « La Grotte » on the port of Cassis with excellent local white wine.
So here you have it – Top 10 for Provence from the local expert – Jeff. I’ve been extremely impressed with Jeff’s business and so I am helping him pro-bono with marketing strategy to get the word out. The world deserves to know about him. He has numerous clients during the high-season, but there is still some space. We are discussing other opportunities as well, so feel free to reach out to me or him directly to discuss, whether you’re thinking a company off-site, luxury private tour or anything along these lines.
Most of all, have a look at Jeff’s website: www.provencesightseeing.fr
We may be updating it soon, we please share your feedback with us too 🙂
Now, let’s get back to supporting the economy and get flying again!
All the very best,
MJ & Jeff