Provence

Things to do in Provence

While its idyllic landscapes are enough to attract attention, Provence is full of little details that are worth a closer look. Urban centers like Marseille and Aix-en-Provence offer a look at modern life, but many of Travel + Leisure's favorite things to do in Provence cater to history lovers. Explore the Roman ruins in the village of Saint-Remy-de-Provence, or marvel at Pont du Gard, the region’s iconic Roman aqueduct. Spanish-style bullfights are now held in Arles’ ancient arena, which once hosted gladiator fights in Roman times.

Travelers wondering what to do in Provence can also plan to visit one of the medieval stone villages that dot the Provencal countryside. Places like Les Baux and Moustiers Sainte Marie have retained their original character for centuries. Similarly, a stop into Avignon wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the Gothic-style Palais des Papes, the former home of popes in the 14th century, and a glance at its storied bridge, the Pont D’Avignon.

The list of things to do in Provence wouldn’t be complete without a look into the life of Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne. Tours are available to lead you to the artist’s favorite haunts and to his Aix-en-Provence studio. Then, take a look at his finished masterpieces at the Museum of Classic Art in Mougins or the Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton. The possibilities of what to do in Provence are endless.

Carole, the gregarious chef and owner of the Good News Café in Woodbury, Connecticut, and her French husband, publisher Bernard Jarrier, host groups of 8 to 10 adventurous foodies several times a year at their home in the sleepy Provençal town of Montfrin

Cooking classes at La Pitchoune, the former home of Julia Child, taught by Kathie Alex.

An 11-day wine-cruise itinerary winds along the Rhône River, stopping at the medieval Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the oldest domaines in Provence.

But for a true understanding of Frédéric Mistral—whose signal work, Mireille, has all the grandeur of a Greek tragedy—visit his home, Le Musée Frédéric Mistral, which is just as he left it at his death in 1914 at age 84.

As producers of an A.O.C. Vallée des Baux de Provence oil, the 18th-century Château d'Estoublon is required to press its olives within three days of harvesting to prevent fermentation. Instead, it does this rule one better by pressing the fruit inside of 24 hours.