54 Reasons to visit Provence

Provence is certainly one of the most visited regions of France. It is easy to figure out why if you look at pictures, videos or if you experience the region by yourself. It offers unlimited things to do and the attractions are varied, from the luxurious city of Monte Carlo and Saint-Tropez to adrenaline loaded canoe tours and to peaceful medieval cities, unending purple fields of lavender and quality food, olive oil and wine. If you are thinking about taking a trip to Provence, take a look at the list below. Take a look at the list below and plan your holiday wisely to be able to see and experience as many attractions that will take your breath away. (I will publish detailed information about the main cities of Provence in separate blog posts, so hit the follow button to be notified when that is published)

  1. To visit the Palace of The Popes (Le Palais des Papes) – one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. In the 14th century, during the Avignon Papacy, the palace was the home of the Popes (as the name points out) and six papal conclaves were held in here. It is were Pope Benedict XII in 1334, Clement VI in 1342, Innocent VI in 1352, Urban V in 1362, Gregory XI in 1370 and Antipope Benedict XIII in 139 were elected.
  2. To see the Saint-Benezet Bridge  – which was built over the Rhône, between 1177 and 1185 to connect Villeneuve-lès-Avignon with Avignon. fhd0088
  3. To visit Fort Saint-Andre – it was built in the tenth century and it overlooks the Rhône Valley. It was initially a Benedictine Abbey, but because of its strategic location it was turned into a fortress for protection against enemies but also as a symbol for the power of the Kingdom of France.
  4. To visit the Pierre-de-Luxembourg Museum – and to have a look at some of Provence’s masterpieces.
  5. To visit the Philippe Bel Tower – the 14th century tower will give you a great view of Avignon.
  6. To visi the Notre-Dame Collegiate Church and Cloister – a 14th Century church built in Southern Gothic style by Cardinal Arnaud de Via.
  7. To visit the Charteusse – one of the biggest monasteries in France, founded by Pope Innocent VI in the 14th Century.
  8. To visit the Petit Palais Museum – which has an outstanding collection of Provencal and Italian paintings which date from the 13th and early 16th Centuries and a collection of Romanesque and Gothic Avignon sculptures.
  9. To visit the Calvet Museum – for its collection of 15th to 20th Century fine arts collection.
  10. To visit the Archaeology Museum – and look at Greek, Roman, Celtic and Gallo Roman sculptures.
  11. To visit the Palace of Roure – and learned about the history, traditions and cultural aspects of Provence.
  12. To visit the Lambert Collection – if you are a fan of modern art.
  13. To visit the Angladon Museum – and see some of Van Gogh and Picasso’s masterpieces.
  14. To visit the Louis Vouland Museum – and admire a rich collection of decorative arts of the 17th and 18th Centuries.
  15. To go on a river cruise on the Rhone http://www.mireio.net
  16. To take part in Epicurium – to discover the adventure of a plant and how it gets from a seed to your plate.
  17. To experience the Camargue Autrement – a four wheel drive on the road of senses to discover the country side.
  18. To visit the Seaquarium – the giant aquarium where you can take a walk though the shark tunnel and see Mediterranean and tropical marine life swimming above your head.
  19. To visit Chateau des Baux – the castles give you a nice view over the Baux Valley which is rich in vineyards and olive trees, a symbol for the Provence region. In Spring and summer the castle hosts workshops and guided tours which teach you about the life of the Provencal women from the Middle Ages.
  20. To visit the St-Roman Troglodytic Abbey – the remains of monastery excavated in the 5th century by hermits and monks.
  21. To see the Arenes de Nimes – take a walk back in time in the world’s best preserved Roman Amphitheater.
  22. To see the Pont du Gard – the world’s tallest Roman Bridge and Aqueduct.
  23. To visit the Crocodile Farm – how often to you get to touch a two year old crocodile and see 400 rare reptiles? That’s right, not to often. That’s why the crocodile farm is not to be missed.
  24. To visit the Chateau de Grignan – even though it was almost entirely destroyed during the French Revolution, Marie de la Fontaine purchased in in the 19th century and brought it to the castle we see today.
  25. To visit the Suze-La-Rousse – a medieval fortress which now lays in the heart of a prestigious vineyard.
  26. To visit the Montelimar Castle – which is now a center for contemporary and modern art.
  27. To visit Vaison-la-Romaine – France’s most important, public, archaeological site which lets you explore a Gallo-Roman town.
  28. To  visit the best preserved Roman Theater in Europe and the Musee d’Orange enjoy an audio guided tour and explore the Art and History Museum while the children can have fun with the children’s guide to the Romans.
  29. To go on a wine tasting (or more).
  30. To see the Grottoes of Thouzon – take a walk in the underground mineral world and see some of the hidden splendors of our planet.
  31. To visit the Museum of the Tire-Bouchon – the name says it all.
  32. To visit the Home of Truffles and Wine – to learn about the Provencal treasure, the black truffle and learn about the AOC wines produced in this area: Luberon, Ventoux and Pierrevert.
  33. To visit the Chateau de la Barben – the oldest castle of the region.
  34. To visit the Museum of Lavender –  in a one hour guide tour you will learn everything you need to know about lavender and about obtaining lavender products.
  35. To see the Ardeche Canyon – the most spectacular canyon in Europe and it is also considered to be the most spectacular canyon in the world after the Great Canyon (USA).
  36. To admire Prehistoric art – in The Chauvet Cave at Vallon-Pont-d’Arc (Ardeche)
  37. To see Le Pont d’Arc – the symbol of the Ardeche, a 54 arch which was sculpted by the river straight through the mountain.
  38. To swim in the Ardeche River – right next to the Pont d’Arc there is a beach and you can swim and relax in the river.FHD0003.JPG
  39. Canoeing on the Ardeche River – what better way of admiring the canyon than canoeing through it. The river is not too fast, so its safe even for children as long as they go with an adult -> find our more here.
  40. To go to a lavender festival – in Vers Sault
  41. To visit some of the most beautiful cities in the world: Vaison-la-Romaine, Grignan, Valreas, La Gard Delimar, Montelimar and Poet Laval.
  42. To go to a weekly fresh food market – in Nyon and buy truffle sauce, traditional sausages and ravioli with anything you could imagine but I absolutely recommend ravioli with truffles.
  43. To drive to the top of Ventoux Mountain – one of the most spectacular routes of the Tour of France (by bike). Imaging climbing this by bike! My feet hurt only at the though of it. IMG_5876.JPG
  44. To visit a nougat factory: Arnauld Soubeyran, L’Artisan Nougatier, Chabert et Guillot au Sud, Chabert et Guillot Gare, Le Chaudron d’Or, Delavant, Diane de Poytiers, Doulce France, Gerbe d’Or, Les 3 abeilles or Suprem’Nougat.
  45. To visit The Chateau des Adhemar, a medieval castle which was converted into a Renaissance style chateau. It is located on top of a hill in the centre of Montelimar, a village located in the Drome provencale area.
  46. To visit the Tropical Aquarium – and see a collection of exotic marine creatures.
  47. To visit the Acro’Parc of Adventure – for those who are looking for adrenaline. You get to walk through rivers and climb  mountains.
  48. The Museum of Silk – to discover the secrets of silk fabrication and to learn about the history of this fabric.
  49. To see spectacular caves: Grotte de la Luire, La grotte de la Cocaliere or Grotte de Thais.
  50. To visit the Memorial of Resistance and the Museum of Resistance.
  51. To visit the International Museum of the Shoe – take a walk down history lane and see what others wore to conquer the world. You can do almost anything if you are wearing the appropriate pair of shoes, right?
  52. The Ideal Palace of Ferdinand Cheval – who spent 30 years of his life building the ideal palace.
  53. To experience the Spanish and Portuguese influence- in Saintes-Maries de la Mer through meals and drinks.
  54. To go to a Lama Farm – and walk among the friendly and furry animals.

Take into consideration that Provence is quite an expensive area. This is why it is important to save as much as possible on the things you can. Almost all bigger villages have a tourism office where you can ask for a booklet called Pass Provence which gives you free entries or discounts to some of the most popular touristic attractions of Provence. Alternatively, search for deals here. Take a look at my blog post: Afford to travel in an expensive area for tips on how to find nice accommodation for affordable prices and how to afford to stay there for a week or two without coming back broke.

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Cover Photo: photo credit: User:Colin/source: Flick/Creative Commons (Commercial use and mods allowed/full licence here.

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