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Things to do in Provence

Things to do in  Provence

Welcome to Provence

Provence, in southern France, is technically part of a larger region in the country, maintains much of its historic regional identity. Known for its charming towns and lavender fields, scenes captured by artists like Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne, Matisse, and Renoir, the region – which includes the French Riviera – extends from the Mediterranean Sea up into the Luberon and the Alps, with coastal Marseille as is its largest city. Visitors relax on the beach at seaside resorts like Nice and Cannes (two hours from Marseille), and explore the coastal nature reserve of the Camargue (a little over an hour). Further inland, fountain-filled Aix-en-Provence was once the capital of Provence, while Arles boasts a well-preserved ancient Roman amphitheater. Travelers flock to Avignon's main draw, the papal palace complex, the base of the papacy for most of the 14th century (all about an hour away. Meanwhile, the small towns that dot the countryside demonstrate the region’s wealth of culture and history. Half- and full-day tours brings visitors to one or more that fit their specific interests, from markets to mountain towns. Picturesque Les Baux de Provence offers a glimpse of a medieval village, and can be combined with the nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region tastings. The air around the hilltop town of Grasse smells of lavender, so it makes sense three perfumeries are headquartered there. Pause to cool off in the river running through the Gorges du Verdon, a chance to swim under the Pont du Gard–an ancient Roman aqueduct.

Top 15 attractions in Provence

#1
Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica (La Bonne Mère)

Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica (La Bonne Mère)

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Perched atop the city’s highest hill, the magnificent Notre-Dame de la Garde, which is visible from all over the Marseille, is one of the city’s most striking landmarks. The Romano-Byzantine basilica dates back to the 19th century and is best known for its grand bell tower, which is capped with a gleaming gold statue of the Virgin Mary.More
#2
Marseille Cruise Port (Terminal Croisières Marseille)

Marseille Cruise Port (Terminal Croisières Marseille)

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Marseille is France’s largest and busiest port, welcoming over 1.5 million cruise passengers to its shores each year. As the gateway to Provence and the south of France, Marseille is a popular stop on Europe cruise itineraries, and offers ferry connections to Corsica, Sardinia, Algeria, and Tunisia.More
#3
Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard

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Reaching a height of almost 160 feet (49 meters), the three-tiered Pont du Gard bridge was part of a 31-mile (50-kilometer) Roman aqueduct network that carried water from a source at Eure to bathhouses, fountains, and patrician villas in Nîmes. Constructed in the first century, the ancient engineering marvel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.More
#4
Palais Longchamp

Palais Longchamp

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The grand baroque colonnade and gardens of the Palais Longchamp are home to Marseille’s Natural History Museum and Fine Arts Museum. The imposing buildings and spacious park are popular with tourists and locals alike.More
#5
Calanques National Park (Parc National des Calanques)

Calanques National Park (Parc National des Calanques)

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As Europe's only protected park to contain land, water, and semi-urban areas, Calanques National Park (Parc National des Calanques) is a mecca for outdoor adventurers. Whether you want to snorkel and sail, kayak and climb, or hike and watch out for wildlife, France's answer to the Garden of Eden has it all.More
#6
Cours Mirabeau

Cours Mirabeau

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At the center of picturesque Aix-en-Provence is Cours Mirabeau, a plane tree–shaded avenue lined with chic stores, patisseries, and restaurants. Marked along its length by fountains, this street is the most popular place in town for a pre- or postlunch stroll and a must-visit stop on guided tours of the town.More
#7
Cézanne's Studio (Atelier Cézanne)

Cézanne's Studio (Atelier Cézanne)

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The landscape around Aix-en-Provence was a constant inspiration to artist Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), who was born and raised in the southern French town. Located just outside, Cézanne's Studio (Atelier Cézanne)—the studio where the artist painted some of his most famous works—offers visitors fascinating insight into the life of the postimpressionist artist.More
#8
Roussillon

Roussillon

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While Provence is more a state of mind than a place – you can't actually point to Provence on a map – the hilltop village of Roussillon is exactly what visitors think of when they say they want to visit Provence. Picturesque, compact, colorful and with astounding views of the countryside, this village in the Vaucluse couldn't be more charmingly Provençal if it tried.The almost candy-like colors of the buildings come from the surrounding earth; Roussillon lies on one of the largest ocre deposits in the world and has prehistoric origins. After a stroll around the village, take the Giants' Causeway (Sentier des Ocres), a cliffside trail loop that features the bright orange sands and plenty of forest to explore.More
#9
Camargue

Camargue

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Located in southwest Provence, the Camargue is one of France’s wildest and most scenic landscapes. Protected as a regional natural park, the expanse of wetlands, beaches, salt pans, and rice paddies is known for its herds of white Camargue horses and Camargue bulls, all tended to by localgardians (cowboys).More
#10
Lake of Sainte-Croix (Lac de Sainte-Croix)

Lake of Sainte-Croix (Lac de Sainte-Croix)

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Set between the dramatic landscapes of the Verdon Gorge and the Valensole plateau, the man-madeLake of Sainte-Croix (Lac de Sainte-Croix) is among Provence’s most popular vacation spots. With sandy lakeside beaches, water temperatures rivaling those of the Mediterranean Sea, and fewer crowds than the French Riviera, it’s the ideal summer destination.More
#11
Orange

Orange

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The French town of Orange is a popular destination known not only for its sunny, picturesque charm, but also for its long history. Visit to see it’s impressive Roman architecture, which include some of the world’s most notable examples outside of Rome itself.More
#12
Palace of the Popes (Palais des Papes)

Palace of the Popes (Palais des Papes)

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The largest Gothic palace in the world, Avignon’s Palace of the Popes (Palais des Papes) was home to the heads of the Roman Catholic Church in the 14th century. Visitors can tour the grand rooms, landscaped gardens, and secret passages used by members of the clergy, and see special exhibitions and concerts held at the palace.More
#13
Sainte-Victoire Mountain (Montagne Sainte-Victoire)

Sainte-Victoire Mountain (Montagne Sainte-Victoire)

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Dominating the landscape around Aix-en-Provence, Sainte-Victoire Mountain (Montagne Sainte-Victoire) is a limestone ridge immortalized by Aix-en-Provence painter Paul Cézanne. Whether you bike or hike to the top or just admire the silhouette from afar, its angular profile can be seen for miles around.More
#14
Senanque Abbey (Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque)

Senanque Abbey (Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque)

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The 12th-century Sénanque Abbey outside of Gordes is run by a small community of Cistercian monks who fastidiously grow, harvest and process lavender from the surrounding fields. Come June, thongs of visitors arrive to lay witness to the enormously beautiful and fragrant landscapes and the abbey’s impressive botanical production.More
#15
Lubéron

Lubéron

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Located in the heart of Provence, France’s mountainous Lubéron region is famous for its vibrant purple lavender fields, forested valleys, and ancient hilltop villages such as Saignon, Bonnieux, and Gordes. Walking trails wind through the largely uninhabited region, past hills, woodlands, and fields dusted with wildflowers.More

Trip ideas

How to Visit the Lavender Fields in Provence

How to Visit the Lavender Fields in Provence

How to Spend 3 Days in Avignon

How to Spend 3 Days in Avignon

How to Spend 2 Days in Avignon

How to Spend 2 Days in Avignon

Provence Tours from Marseille

Provence Tours from Marseille

How to Spend 3 Days in Provence

How to Spend 3 Days in Provence

Top activities in Provence

Châteauneuf du Pape Wine Day Tasting Tour including Lunch from Avignon
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Calanques Trilogy Electric Bike Tour from Marseille
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Provence Cru Wine Small-Group Half-Day Tour from Avignon
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Provence Highlights Full-Day Tour from Avignon
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Chateauneuf du Pape wine tour

Chateauneuf du Pape wine tour

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Half-Day Provence Pont du Gard and Wine Tasting Tour from Avignon
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Avignon, Les Baux, St Remy and Arles from MARSEILLE
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Picturesque Luberon - From AIX-EN-PROVENCE
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Private Rhone Valley Wine Tour from Avignon: Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Tavel
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Luberon, Roussillon & Gordes Half-Day Tour from Avignon
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Recent reviews from experiences in Provence

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Lives up to the description, the best of provence in one day!
Carlos_D, Sep 2022
Provence Highlights Full-Day Tour from Avignon
Tour felt a little rushed at bits but it's necessary to see all the stops that we toured.
star-5
Wonderful tour!
Isaac_K, Aug 2022
Provence Highlights Full-Day Tour from Avignon
Very knowledgeable and nice guide and the perfect way to see Provence without a car of your own.
star-5
Great Experience
Timo_S, Aug 2022
Lavender Tour Sault from Marseille
We were lucky to see the fields before they got harvested.
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Great guide
Maria_K, Jul 2022
Provence in a Day Trip from Aix
Got to see and learn lots!
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Provence in a Day Tour from Marseille
KBrett_R, Jul 2022
Provence Marvels Small Group Day Tour with Avignon & Wine Tasting from Marseille
It was great to see the medieval towns outside of Marseille.
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History of Van Gogh in Provence and tour of the villages
Gayle_Y, Jul 2022
History and Van Gogh in Provence from AIX-EN-PROVENCE
It is a lot to see in one day and this guide was able to do it all.
star-5
Great half day tour
Keifer, Jul 2022
Luberon, Roussillon & Gordes Half-Day Tour from Avignon
The tour provided a great opportunity to see some of Provence’s classic towns and, in June and July, the lavender and sunflower fields.
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Wonderful!
Laura_C, Aug 2022
Provence Highlights Full-Day Tour from Avignon
Thoroughly recommend to anyone wishing to see the villages without the stress of driving yourself!
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Lavender fields at its best
SimretSingh_R, Jun 2022
Half-day excursion to the lavender fields from Avignon
We went to see beautiful lavender fields, and made short trips to the beautiful towns of Rousillion and Gorges.
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Great experience
Karin_S, Jun 2022
Perched Villages of the Luberon Day Trip from Marseille
Excellent itinerary that allows you to visit spectacular places of the Provence.
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Amazing trip!
Tracey_N, May 2022
Châteauneuf du Pape Wine Day Tasting Tour including Lunch from Avignon
Highly recommend to all wanting to see this beautiful part of Provence!
star-5
Great Provence trip
Michael_P, Apr 2022
Luberon, Roussillon & Gordes Half-Day Tour from Avignon
Gordana was an excellent vivacious guide, great English skills and driving talent.
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Aix en Provence
Joan_M, Apr 2022
Aix en Provence Tour from Marseille
Our guide Florence was very knowledgeable & helped us a lot to guide us where to visit
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Great day trip, Provence in a nutshell
Ibolya_S, Aug 2022
Provence Marvels Small Group Day Tour with Avignon & Wine Tasting from Marseille
The only thing I would change, is to get more time in Avignon, maybe 3 hours would be enough, because we went to visit the Palais de Papes, we had to buy tickets by ourselves and it took us 1 hour to visit, but you can use 2 hours if you want.
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Too little time in St. Remy and in Les Baux de Provence; Too much time at Pont du Gard.
Miguel_R, Jul 2022
Saint Remy, Les Baux and Pont du Gard Small Group Day Trip
Remy or have time to visit the institution where Van Gogh committed himself or visit the home of Nostradamus .
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Amazing Tour & Tourguide
Lina_K, Jun 2022
Marseille Shore Excursion: Shared Lavender Tour
She explained in English well, gave us more information about Provence, Lavender, immortal flowers, olive etc.
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Great Day Trip
Chris_H, May 2022
Picturesque Luberon - From AIX-EN-PROVENCE
I really enjoyed that day tour and I would recommend to my friends to see the beautiful area near Aix en Provence.
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Beautiful!
Anthony_M, Apr 2022
Luberon Villages Half-Day Tour from Aix-en-Provence
Gregg gave guidance on the best places to see in the villages but his best advice was just to ‘get lost’ in the winding streets amid the amazing scenery.
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Adventurous, fun, beautiful sidecar tour
Maria_S, Mar 2022
Beer and Wine Tour with Tasting in Aix-en-Provence: Half Day
Our host was very sweet and helped with whatever we needed, he also gave great recommendations of what to do in Aix en Provence!
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Great tour
Max_N, Jul 2021
Cotes de Provence Wine Tour from Aix-en-Provence
Although its a bit early in the morning, it frees up your afternoon to visit the town of Aix-en-Provence.
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All about Provence

Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
CEST (UTC +1)
Country Code
+33
Language(s)
French
Frequently Asked Questions