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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 10 attractions in Provence

#1
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
#2
Quarries of Lights (Carrières de Lumières)

Quarries of Lights (Carrières de Lumières)

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Located near the medieval village of Les Baux de Provence, the Quarries of Lights (Carrières de Lumières) is a multimedia art show projected onto massive limestone walls of a former quarry. Accompanied by music, this 40-minute light show mainly features works by famous artists.More
#3
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
#4
Vallon des Auffes

Vallon des Auffes

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With its charming jumble of fishing boats and fishermen’s cabins clustered around the small harbor, and framed by the arches of a stone-brick bridge; visiting Vallon des Auffes feels like stepping back in time. Located along the Marseille Corniche, the historic port village is a world away from the bustling city and makes a tranquil detour for those traveling along the coastal road.Despite its diminutive size, Vallon des Auffes punches well above its weight when it comes to gastronomy and its handful of waterfront restaurants are well known for serving delicious fresh fish and seafood. Top restaurants include Chez Fonfon, L’Epuisette and Chez Jeannot, while the most celebrated dish is Provencal specialty bouillabaisse.More
#5
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
#6
Palais du Pharo

Palais du Pharo

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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
#7
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
#8
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
#9
Calanque de Sormiou

Calanque de Sormiou

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The calanques are narrow and steep inlets along the limestone coast of southern France, the most impressive ones being located along the little stretch of coastline between Marseilles and Cassis. They are romantic, wild and, being surrounded by huge cliffs, often protrude fjord-like into the landscape. While many calanques require hours of hiking or kayaking to reach, the Calanque de Sormiou is more easily accessible and still provides a true visual spectacle for visitors.After a 15 minute drive or 45 minute walk from the main road down the hills, a sandy beach awaits next to the bright blue Mediterranean water. A couple weekend homes dot the landscape and then there is Le Château, the modest but immensely popular bouillabaisse restaurant that requires a phone reservation well ahead of time to snag a seat.As sparse as the landscape might appear, Sormiou actually serves as a habitat for a rich flora and fauna. Over 900 plants grow here and birdwatchers will find many rare birds nesting in the steep cliffs. Swimming and sunbathing is popular, but the area is also crossed by numerous hiking trails, some more demanding than others, and the little bay is also a popular destination for visitors arriving by boat.More
#10
Fountain of Vaucluse (Fontaine-de-Vaucluse)

Fountain of Vaucluse (Fontaine-de-Vaucluse)

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Set in the Luberon region of Provence, Fountain of Vaucluse (Fontaine-de-Vaucluse) is a small village famous for its hidden spring. The “fountain” feeds the Sorgue River and is a bit of a mystery, as the source of this underground spring is unknown. The Sorgue River is so crystal clear it appears emerald and is the area’s main attraction.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

Top activities in Provence

Brunch Calanques Day Cruise

Brunch Calanques Day Cruise

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From
US$91.55
Half day private tour for 2-3 person

Half day private tour for 2-3 person

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From
US$385.06
per group

Recent reviews from experiences in Provence

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Merci beaucoup, Gordana!
Michael_W, Feb 2020
Nimes, Uzes & Pont du Gard Small Group Half-Day Tour from Avignon
The tour was well paced and we were able to see many highlights of the region without feeling rushed or that we were skipping anything.
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Great tour!
Navigator657553, Oct 2019
Luberon Villages Half-Day Tour from Aix-en-Provence
This is a great way to see many beautiful and historic areas of Provence.
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The right way to see Provence
LynetteH2254, Sep 2019
Luberon, Roussillon & Gordes Half-Day Tour from Avignon
What a wonderful way to see a bit of Provence.
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Fun and full day in Provence!
tapsnilloc, Jul 2019
Provence Highlights Full-Day Tour from Avignon
Definitely recommend for those who only have a day to see Provence and don’t want to drive.
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Great tour
Q8096IJjohnp, May 2019
Marseille Shore Excursion: Private Tour of Aix-en-Provence and Cassis
Our guide was extremely knowledgeable, spoke great English, and very flexible.
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So fun!
Adventure48569903543, May 2019
Marseille Shore Excursion: Half Day Tour of Marseille by Electric Bike
We got to see so many sights and view this gorgeous provence with time to spare to explore on our own.
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Full day tour of Provence
fussy33, Jun 2018
Provence Highlights Full-Day Tour from Avignon
We saw lavender feilds, beautiful springs, picturesque villages and towns and numerous photo opportunities.
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A very full day! The only Wish we...
Christian B, Oct 2017
Avignon, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Les Baux de Provence Tour from Marseille
The only Wish we had had more time in Avignon, a city WAY too big to visit in 90 minutes!!
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We had a great time. Moustiers...
birdmoore, Apr 2018
Verdon Gorge and Moustiers Ste-Marie Tour from Aix-en-Provence
If you'd like a getaway day to see the countryside and mountains of provence, this tour is the perfect choice.
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Remi did a splendid job as our...
Natalie M, Aug 2017
Provence Lavender Small Group Half-Day Trip
Great way to see Provence in 5 hours.
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Again great half-day tour to see...
Monika J, Mar 2018
Aix en Provence and Cassis Small Group Tour from Marseille
Again great half-day tour to see Aix-en-Provence and beautiful Cassis.
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I LOVED this tour! It was amazing to...
Alissa B, Jul 2017
Provence Lavender Small Group Half-Day Trip
It was amazing to see the lavender fields in their glory.
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The tour was good! However the tour...
sanjaydeshmukh, Oct 2017
Marseille Shore Excursion: Aix-en-Provence Tour from Marseille
Other than Cezanne, there is not much to see in Provence...
star-5
A great way to see the highlights of...
Brian M, Oct 2017
Full Day Best of Provence Tour from Avignon
A great way to see the highlights of Provence...
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The driver, Bruno, was fantastic...
Tom, Sep 2017
5-Hour Private Sightseeing Tour of the Provence from Marseille in Luxury Car
On time, courteous, friendly, excellent English.
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We had a great time on this tour. It...
Shivani G, Jun 2016
Luberon Villages Day Trip from Aix-en-Provence
Lovey way to see Provence in a day!
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The tour was amazing. It was truly...
Eric D, Jul 2016
Luberon Villages Day Trip from Aix-en-Provence
It was truly wonderful being able to see all the villages without having to rent a car.
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Good day trip! Pleasant guide and...
Joon S, Jul 2016
Van Gogh in Provence Small-Group Day Trip from Avignon
Pleasant guide and nice way to see other cities of the Provence area, while learning a little about Van Gogh's time there.
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Mathew was great! We were the only 2...
Nora C, Jun 2016
Provence Small-Group Sightseeing Tour: Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Cassis
I would highly recommend this is you want to see Aix-en-Provence and Cassis.
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Tour guide Fred was great...
Graham K, Sep 2016
Provence Small-Group Sightseeing Tour: Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Cassis
The boat trip to see some of the Calanques was not so great, but was only 45 minutes of the day.

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