It’s always sunny in Provence’s towns – and the sun shines in the hearts of the local inhabitants too. Head out to discover Provence’s most beautiful towns and you’ll understand why our lifestyle is envied throughout the world!
The beating heart of Provence, Aix-en-Provence is acclaimed worldwide for its exciting cultural life. Head to the historic quarter to admire Aix’s architectural riches, including the famous Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur – a genuine jewel! As you roam the old quarter’s pretty paved streets, you could easily believe you’re back in medieval times. Don’t leave Aix-en-Provence without a stop-off at Cézanne’s studio: an inspiring site sure to spark your artistic side. Book a guided tour to learn all about the artist’s secret life and his undying love for Provence.
A cultural destination par excellence, Marseille is home to a thousand and one treasures that make this port a truly fabulous experience. If you want to feel the Mistral wind and sea spray, head to the Vieux-Port, one of the emblems of the city. And why not treat yourself to some fresh fish straight off the boats while you’re there? Next, it’s time to visit the Mucem museum dedicated to the Mediterranean – contemporary architecture fans will love its design. For a full immersion in Marseille, nothing beats the Panier quarter, the city’s oldest quarter where you can admire the local street art. Next, stop off at the Friche la Belle de Mai or on Cours d’Estienne d’Orves to enjoy a welcome coffee on a pretty café terrace. And don’t hesitate to push open the doors to the local boutiques – Marseille is a shopper’s paradise!
City of Popes
When you arrive in Avignon, your first stop will obviously be the Pont d’Avignon! Next, head to the Palais des Papes spanning an impressive 15,000 square metres. If you’re visiting in summer, the fabulous Avignon Festival offers a packed programme every evening. Simply magical! You can leave your car in the car park: Avignon is a mainly pedestrian town. Enjoy wandering around the historic quarter, where you’ll come across the gorgeous Rue des Teinturiers, with its old paving stones and water mills.
Stopping off in the Camargue? Treat yourself to an urban escapade in the pretty town of Arles. Boasting an immensely rich heritage, the town overflows with Roman remains. Don’t miss the must-do Amphitheatre, the pride of the town’s inhabitants – the lookout towers offer breathtaking panoramic views. Vincent Van Gogh‘s spiritual home Arles is also home to the Van Gogh Foundation dedicated to the undisputed master of Impressionism, and Fondation Luma, a temple of contemporary art.
A charming little port
The shining star of Provence, Saint-Tropez has nonetheless maintained all of its original charm. Brought to fame by Brigitte Bardot and the movie stars of the Fifties, the stylish local beaches promise golden sands and azure Mediterranean waters. But Saint-Tropez isn’t just a seaside resort, it’s also a history-packed town: the Citadel, built in the 17th century, is now home to a museum retracing the town’s maritime past. Before leaving, treat yourself to a slice of must-taste Tarte Tropézienne – “often imitated but never equalled”!
The town of fountains
Nestling at the foot of Mount Faron and famed for its 203 fountains, Toulon is an adorable town perfect for a relaxing stroll at the casual pace of Provence. You’ll love strolling among the magnificent market stalls piled high with olives, lavender and Herbes de Provence on Cours Lafayette. Next, head to the beaches to enjoy an improvised picnic on the sand, with the azure Mediterranean waters as your backdrop.
Land of 7,000 palm trees
Explore the historic quarter of Hyères set on the heights of the town and enjoy a delve into the medieval past of this town of 7,000 palm trees. Walk under the arch on the ancient ramparts before tackling the challenging climb up to the ancient Château de Hyères. The panoramic view over the Bay of Hyères from the summit is a prize you won’t want to miss.
Capital of the Santon
Welcome to Aubagne, capital of Provence’s famous santon figurines and so much more! This is the perfect choice if you want to slip under the skin of Provence’s most famous writer and director Marcel Pagnol. His childhood home is located at 16 Cours Barthélémy. Looking for some authentic souvenirs to take back home? Push open the doors to a local santon figurine maker – these little, hand-painted clay characters are a must for your Christmas nativity scene. In summer, take to the heights at the treetop Bar Dans les Arbres, an ideal venue for savouring a cocktail in an intimate, woodsy atmosphere!
And the Calanques fjords
This adorable little fishing port is another memorable must during your stay. As local-born poet Frédéric Mistral once said, “he who has seen Paris but not Cassis can say they have seen nothing.” Once you see it for yourself, you’ll understand why! Colourful fishermen’s houses light up the streets, while just down the road, the stunning Calanques await you, including the most beautiful of them all: Calanque d’En Vau. Cassis truly is an awe-inspiring experience.
Between the Verdon & Luberon
Set between the Parc Naturels Régionaux of the Verdon and Luberon, Manosque is the departure point for many walks and hikes. Take time to roam the town’s pretty streets and stop off at 14 Rue Grande, where Jean Giono was born. If you want to learn more about this famous French author, head to Paraïs, where he lived with his family for 40 years and wrote virtually all of his works.
PROVENCE'S MOST INSPIRING VILLAGES
They have fired up the imagination of painters the world over, dazzled by their colours, scenery and quality of light. Many authors have set up home here, too. Discover Provence's most inspiring villages!