72 Hours in the Provence

By Catherine Mertens

The Provence is one of France’s most famous regions, and for good reason. The countryside is stunningly beautiful, from the shores of the Mediterranean to the endless lavender fields; and the cities are fascinating, filled with culture and history, and all worth a visit. If you’re looking for a relaxed beach holiday, filled with water sports, sun, and incredible food, this region is perfect for you! If you’d prefer to visit important historic sites, learning about local culture and discovering local jewels such as St Paul de Vence, this region is not to be missed. Here are our favourite spots, our best recommendations, which will make your holiday in the Provence one you’ll never forget.

Nice

Provence

Nice is a very popular holiday destination, and it’s not difficult to see why. Close to the mountains, with stunning beaches, awesome food, welcoming locals and amazing nightlife, this city has it all! If you’re looking for a day of sun, sea and fun, then look no further, Nice has everything you’re looking for.

Monaco

If you fancy a day among the rich and lazy, Monaco is the city for you! Just a 20-minute train-ride from Nice, it has awesome architecture, amazing casinos, car races, beaches, palaces, etc. Despite being one of the smallest countries in the world, they have their own monarchy, so see if you can spot a real prince or princess on your walk around the city.

Provence

Mont Ventoux

Provence

For those of you who prefer a day spent outdoors, as well as a little challenge – why not cycle of hike up the Mont Ventoux? A popular destination within Provence for cyclists, it offers a rather important challenge. On foot, the climb isn’t as difficult, but make sure you’re reasonably fit before attempting the summit. The views are reward enough for anyone who makes it – the highest peak of the Provence offers views over the stunning countryside, dotted with quaint villages, and you might even get a glimpse of the Mediterranean. Make sure you bring a wind-proof jacket –the summit is as windy as its name suggests!

Avignon, the Papal City

If you’re even slightly interested in history, this is the city for you. During the 68 years of the Avignon Papacy (1309-1377), Avignon was one of the three centres of religious power. In 1348, Pope Clement VI bought the city, and it remained under Papal control until the French Revolution when it officially became a part of France again. The historic centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and the Palais des Papes attracts tourists from all over the world. Make sure you visit the Papal Palace as well as the cathedral and, of course, the famous Avignon bridge. Any French child will know the song “Sur le pont d’Avignon”, a song about a dance performed on the famous bridge, so don’t be surprised to see people singing and dancing on it!

Provence

Village Tour

Provence

A more off the beaten track option is to spend a day driving from village to village, starting in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and try one of the best wines in France. Continue to Orange, and old Roman town or Vaison-la-Romaine with its clifftop castle. Head to Beaumes-de-Venise for amazing sweet wine and end in Pernes-les-Fontaines, a quaint medieval town. Carpentras, Roussillon, Seguret, and many others are also worth visiting.

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