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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

Marseille Cruise Port (Terminal Croisières Marseille)

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

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

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

Palais Longchamp

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

Pont du Gard

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


Renowned for its full-bodied reds, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of the breakout stars of the Rhône Valley wine region and a firm favorite among wine lovers. The hilltop village is undeniably picturesque, with its imposing castle, atmospheric medieval streets, and magnificent views over the vineyards below.More

Cézanne's Studio (Atelier Cézanne)

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

Cours Mirabeau

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

Valensole Plateau (Plateau De Valensole)

The Valensole Plateau (Plateau De Valensole) embodies the quintessential image of Provencal summer, with vibrant purple lavender fields, sunflower-filled valleys, and peaceful hilltop villages. Photo-worthy vistas extend in all directions, and the village of Valensole houses shops selling flowers, perfumes, oils, and other lavender-derived products.More

Calanques National Park (Parc National des Calanques)

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


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

Sainte-Victoire Mountain (Montagne Sainte-Victoire)

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


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

Palais du Pharo

The Palais du Pharo in Marseille was built for Napoleon III and was once home to the city’s medical school. The palace is now used for municipal events and conferences and is famous for great views over the Mediterranean Sea from the palace gardens.More

Senanque Abbey (Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque)

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

St. Benezet Bridge (Pont d'Avignon)

The Saint Benezet Bridge, better known as the Pont d’Avignon is Avignon’s most famous landmark, immortalized in the popular French children’s song. Only a small section of the original bridge across the Rhone river remains.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 Provence

How to Spend 3 Days in Provence

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Recent reviews from experiences in Provence

What a wonderful small villages in Provence
Jaeho_B, Dec 2022
Half-Day Baux de Provence and Luberon Tour from Avignon
Want to visit again and stay longer than before.
Good introduction to Provence in comfort!
siubobo95, Oct 2022
Provence Highlights Full-Day Tour from Avignon
The tour guide Anna gave lots of information about Provence but she tends to speak so fast that even though her English was good, it was difficult for us to retain.
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.
Great Experience
Timo_S, Aug 2022
Lavender Tour Sault from Marseille
We were lucky to see the fields before they got harvested.
Great guide
Maria_K, Jul 2022
Provence in a Day Trip from Aix
Got to see and learn lots!
Provence in a Day Tour from Marseille
KBrett_R, Jul 2022
A Day in Provence Small Group Tour from Marseille
It was great to see the medieval towns outside of Marseille.
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.
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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All about Provence

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People Also Ask

What is Provence, France known for?

The region of Provence is known for its scenery and soft light, both of which have attracted creative souls (such as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne) to its towns for centuries. Provence is also famous for its wine and for the lavender fields that spring into fragrant bloom each summer.

What is the most beautiful place in Provence?

This depends on the season. During lavender season, the Valensole Plateau offers striking purple beauty. At other times, Calanques National Park is the place to go for the rugged splendor of wild coastal cliffs and bays, while the town of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is beloved for its dramatic perch on the limestone mountains.

Is Provence, France worth visiting?

Absolutely. A visit to this diverse region full of lavender fields, gorgeous villages, and art history would be a highlight of any trip. Provence is also home to the French Riviera, the stretch of coast known for its seaside villages and famous coastal cities like Nice, Cannes, and St-Tropez.

What is the best time of year to visit Provence?

There’s not really a bad time to visit; the region is sunny all year round. If you want to see the lavender in bloom and bask on the beaches, summer is the time to go. Otherwise, visit in spring or fall for warm weather with fewer crowds.

How many days do you need in Provence?

Provence is a region, not a city, so it’s difficult to say. If you make Provence the sole focus of your trip and plan stays in different towns, beach fun, and forays inland to learn about the region’s Roman heritage, there’s enough to keep you busy for two weeks—or longer.

What is the meaning of Provence?

The region’s name can be traced to the Roman era, when it was known as Provincia Romana or the Roman Province. That name likely evolved over the centuries; there’s little evidence to suggest that the word ever had other meanings.


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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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