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.
Joël Durand's chocolate flavors swing from the herbal (thyme, rosemary) to the floral (violet, jasmine). Sweetening his international reputation are handcrafted caramel lollipops and edgy jams made with star anise and Corsican citrons.
Arnaud Maurières and Eric Ossart's enthralling one-of-a-kind garden, Le Jardin de l'Alchimiste, showcases the sorcerous power of plants and the sometimes spooky medieval art of alchemy.
A tantalizing array of stalls selling everything from olives and spices to fabrics, shawls, and tablecloths. Be sure to stop by the master chocolatier Joël Durand, who flavors his exquisite chocolates with flowers and herbs.
To purchase the lusty red that Dominique Hauvette turns out under the Baux de Provence appellation at Domaine Hauvette, you'll need an appointment—if you can snag one. The proto–micro estate occupies just 35 acres at the foot of the lunar Alpilles mountains.
Exotic bamboo gardens in Anduze.
With art scholar Marie-Charlotte Bouton as your guide, tour St.-Paul-de-Mausole, the hospital where Van Gogh painted 140 works. At the Château Montfaucon, vintner-owner Rodolphe de Pins shares secrets from the property's wine caves.
Producer of both olive oil and wine.
The Château produces some of the region's finest olive oils—fruity, rich
blends with remarkably low acidity. After a brief tour of the property,
guests take seats in an upstairs salon for a tasting led by Jean-René