Provence, France is a beautiful place to visit. Whenever you hear people talk about the “South of France” this is part of what they are talking about. The region is known for purple lavender fields, small sleepy hilltop villages, great Provencal cooking, and ancient, narrow winding streets traced over stunning views of the Mediterranean coast. Here are five perfect spots for you to visit to make the most of your trip to France.
Avignon – This charming city in Provence is full of bustling streets and squares. It will remind you of that iconic scene of Belle in the market in Beauty and the Beast. The Rhone river runs through Avignon, which makes for gorgeous views, nice parks, and romantic walkways. Once the home of the Vatican, you will be impressed with the Gothic style of the Pope’s Palace. You will also want to see the Pont d’Avignon, a bridge that was built around 1180, famously destroyed in the Crusades, rebuilt only to fall again from the flood surges of the river. There are four remaining arches of this World Heritage Site.
Les Beaux de Provence – This small village lies in the Alpilles mountain range on a rocky outcrop where you can see spectacular views of the surrounding valley. The castle that was once there now lies in ruins, but clearly shows this was an important historical location. If you go here, you can see demonstrations of siege engines and catapults as well as a multimedia art museum, l’Images de Cathedrale, that was once a bauxite mine.
Gordes – Another small village that is perched atop a cliff is a delightful place with more of a Mediterranean type climate and feel. The relaxed pace of life makes for a wonderful leisurely vacation site. Spend a few hours enjoying a fabulous meal, watching sunsets over the lavender fields, or wandering the winding streets looking at the dry stone huts with terracotta roofs. Don’t forget your list of summer reading books to enjoy reading while taking in the gorgeous Mediterranea view
L’Isle sur la Sorgue – Once know as a fishing village, this city on the river Sorgue is one of the prettiest you will ever see. It is famous for its many antique shops, Sunday antique markets, and an antique fair two times per year (Easter and August 15th). Be sure to tour the magnificent mansions that were once owned by the paper and silk merchants, but have transformed into art galleries.
St-Remy-de-Provence – Known as the birthplace of Nostradamus and the city where Vincent van Gogh painted The Starry Night, this is a city you won’t want to miss. Check out the large market held in the town center every Saturday morning, and the monastery where van Gogh stayed when he finished The Starry Night.