Wandering around Provence
Whether it’s blissful rest, luxurious relaxation or exhilarating adventure you’re after, you’ll find it in Provence. Peaceful and quaint villages ideally located along the beautiful Mediterranean Sea provide the perfect combination of French charm and pristine beaches that stretch on for miles. Visitors can spend their days lounging in the countryside while dining on delectable authentic fare and sipping on exquisite locally produced wine or cycling along the fantastic coastline. When the sun dips down, the nightlife heats up. It’s the perfect destination for travelers of any genre. And while Provence certainly has its fair share of inviting towns, there are five that top the must visit list for any Provencal trip.
This picturesque little town is so charming that it once captivated the heart of famed artist Vincent Van Gogh, who made Arles his home for many years. But its rich past goes back much further than that. The area is also home to a number of different Ancient Roman and Latin monuments such as the Les Arenes, a huge arena that was constructed during the 1st century and is still used to this day to host bullfighting events. A visit to Arles is like taking a virtual step back in time. Its enchantment and charm will have you longing to come back again and again.
The lovely little town of Rousillon has long been considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in all of France, and for good reason. Its famous colorful cliffs are simply magnificent to behold and the multitude of ochre quarries make it a truly unique and fascinating destination. Ochre, a natural dye that has been used since the prehistoric era, is a prevalent resource in the area and is responsible for the brilliant shades of red, brown and yellow that dots the landscape. Many of the hillside houses found throughout the quaint little town are constructed using the rich substance, creating a truly unique sight and lending to the area’s extraordinary appeal.
Les Baux de Provence
Given its long, rich history, Les Baux is more of a medieval village than a modern town. It seems to have somehow been left back in time, making it particularly charming. In fact, the peaceful little town, lined with rugged cobblestone streets and ancient stone structures, can only be reached on foot. Teeming with historical sites, the town is home to some 22 architectural masterpieces including the famed Château des Baux, a mighty castle that has been inhabited for centuries. Today the chateau is open for visitors to take tours and watch as incredible authentic catapults are fired just as they were during ancient wartime.
La Camargue is unlike any other destination in Provence. In fact, it’s almost like a whole separate country, albeit a tiny one. La Camargue is Western Europe’s largest river delta, covering a vast area of over 930 sq. km. It is surrounded by water, making it technically an island, and is comprised of a number of lagoons that have been cut off from the sea by sandbars. In 1972 the Camargue was designated as a zoological and botanical nature reserve due to its rich natural resources and lush terrain. It is home to some 400 species of birds, including the flamingo, and it even has its own breed of horse, the white Camarguais. It’s an absolutely beautiful place to visit, particularly for nature lovers.
The country of France is certainly famous for its exquisite perfumes, but the town of Grasse is actually considered the world’s capital of perfume. The main ingredient used in the area’s substantial perfume production is Jasmine, which has a rich, warm and inviting scent. So prevalent is this fragrant plant that the area holds an annual festival in its honor, the Fête du Jasmin, celebrated each August since 1946. Festivities include decorated floats being driven down the streets of the town, fireworks, parties, musical entertainment and street performances. Other noteworthy sites in Grasse include the Fragonard Museum and the Church of Placassier.
Of all destinations in the beautiful country of France, Provence is perhaps the most memorable. With peaceful green countryside, charming little ancient villages and some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, there’s truly something for everyone in this one fantastic place. Among the many Provencal towns waiting to be explored and discovered, these five stand out. They provide visitors the perfect combination of history, beauty and uniqueness and embody all of the magic and enchantment that Provence has come to be known for.