France’s impossibly scenic southeastern region is filled with lavender fields, Roman ruins, sleepy villages, storied second cities, salt marshes and countless bucolic vistas— travel to Provence means endless photo ops. Not surprisingly, its beauty has inspired a number of artists, from Cézanne and Van Gogh to Picasso. History buffs and sun worshippers alike visit Provence for its famed Riviera, from cinephile paradise Cannes to history-steeped Marseille. Provence travel also boasts some of the country’s best antiquing, wine tasting, and dining—whether at a family-run mas (farmhouse) restaurant, a Michelin-starred temple de haute cuisine, or a DIY picnic crafted from edibles purchased at a local farmers’ market.
Things Not to Miss in Provence
• Strolling through thousands of years of history along Marseille’s Vieux (Old) Port
• Visit the Gothic-style Palais des Papes in Avignon
• Tour the countryside that inspired Impressionist Paul Cézanne, and take a look inside the artist’s Aix-En-Provence studio
• Check out Henri Matisse’s stained glass masterpiece in the Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence
• Visit the ancient Catholic monastery in Verne
• Take a tour of famed architect Le Corbusier’s Cabanon, his self-designed holiday home in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
• Explore Mercantour National Park
When to Go to Provence
Summer is the high season for tourists in Provence, and the combination of hot temperatures and crowds can be uncomfortable. And, while its winters are mild, they can be rainy and windy. Instead, Provence and its Mediterranean climate shine especially bright each spring and fall. Use the T+L Provence travel guide in May and June in time for the Cannes Film Festival and see its iconic sunflower and lavender fields in bloom, or travel in September and October to enjoy warm temperatures, minus the crowds.
Eating some of the finest cuisine in the South of France at Le Clos de la Violette in Aix-en-Provence.
Picking up antiques from the dealers along the Avenue des Quatres Otages in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
Dining with locals on oysters, sea urchin, and white wine from the fishmongers’ stands at the entrance to the Marché à la Brocante in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.