Provence is home to 6 Regional Natural Parks in the Camargue, Baronnies Provençales, Alpilles, Luberon, Sainte-Baume and Verdon, reflecting the vast touristic diversity of Provence. Recognized for their rich natural, cultural, agricultural or architectural heritage, Regional Natural Parks are committed to both conservation and sustainable economic and social development.
Camargue Regional Natural Park
Unique in France, the wild Camargue, born out of a marriage of the Mediterranean Sea and Rhône River, benefits from international renown. It is considered as wild, but its environment is actually supported by the hand of man. Thanks to smart water management, wetlands, rice fields, marshes and grazing land live happily side by side here. Camargue is also a wonderful place to observe flora and fauna (lien vers page interne), passionately preserved by the nature reserve. Deeply attached to its time-honoured traditions, Camargue offers a plethora of attractions, including birding, horse riding, tours of the local ranches and succulent local cuisine, to name but a few!
Alpilles Regional Natural Park
Local culture and landscapes form a single entity here. The Alpilles – one of the keystone areas of Provence – offers a rare diversity of natural scenery, ranging from ragged peaks to cliffs, valleys, foothills and plains. Its inhabitants are deeply attached to Provencal traditions which set the pace for village life throughout the year. The mountain range also benefits from a beautifully-preserved built heritage dating back to Roman and medieval times, including many remains and archaeological sites such as Glanum. Make the most of your stay to stop off at the local vineyards and savour the Alpilles’ highly-reputed olive oil.
Luberon Regional Natural Park
The Luberon is truly an emblem of Provence. Boasting a remarkable natural and architectural heritage, this area is a hub of green and cultural tourism. Protected by the Massif Luberon to the North and Durance river to the South, the Luberon Nature Reserve offers endless touring possibilities. From the hilltop villages of Gordes, Lacoste and Ménerbes to farm markets, the flamboyant ochre rocks of Roussillon and an exceptional geological legacy, it is a paradise for nature lovers.
Verdon Regional Natural Park
From torrents and waterfalls gushing down from the mountains to vast, quiet reservoirs, the Verdon Regional Nature Reserve is a haven of turquoise waters. The gripping beauty of its landscapes is best appreciated in spring or autumn. A genuinely jaw-dropping sight, the Verdon’s strikingly-contrasted landscapes never cease to astonish. The forces of nature and hand of man have carved these landscapes since Prehistoric times. Marrying Alpine and Mediterranean influences, the Verdon Nature Reserve is also a treasure trove of flora and fauna. In addition to the magnificent Verdon Canyon, take time to discover the area’s many other riches: the River Artuby, Valensole Plateau and picturesque basses gorges (lower gorge). Simply unforgettable.
Sainte-Baume Regional Natural Park
The Sainte-Baume mountain range is first and foremost a Provencal place of pilgrimage and the cradle of a Christian sanctuary erected in honour of Saint Mary Magdalene. But the site has a lot more to offer too: a genuine oasis in Provence, its scenery is simply breathtaking. On the surface, forests, rivers and mountains offer a succession of preserved natural environments, fertile agricultural areas and sports & leisure sites, generating spinoffs for the local economy. Underground, water has given birth to a remarkable geological legacy: a maze of caves, sinkholes, grottos and subterranean rivers. This little-known area of lower Provence promises to astonish.
Baronnies Provençales Regional Natural Park
Spanning the Drôme and Hautes-Alpes areas, this striking regional nature reserve offers all the beauty of Provence combined with the pure air of the mountains. It is a genuine ode to the senses, a place where sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch are sharpened. Follow in the footsteps of your guide to observe the fascinating local flora and fauna, and contemplate the starry night skies. Don’t miss the fragrant, medicinal and aromatic plants that are the signature of this magnificent area. Last but not least, seasoned aerial sports devotees benefit from ideal areological conditions. The Baronnies Provençales park offers a unique voyage of the senses.
BEACHES AND SWIMMING IN PROVENCE
With its picturesque coves and its rocky or sandy beaches, the Mediterranean coastline is a sure thing for swimming. But to track down the unexpected spots, don't think twice about heading into the hinterland to the lakes and rivers. Provence holds many surprises for swimmers!