One of the most popular and arguably most beautiful regions of France, Provence is a heady blend of picture-perfect villages, romantic lavender fields, picturesque waterways, characterful cities, mouth watering cuisine, breathtaking canyons and secluded lagoons.
A geographical highlight is the Gorges du Verdon, a spectacular 600-metre deep canyon which carves a 25km path through an epic limestone plateau. From exhilarating hiking trails to equally heart-stopping drives, the gorges can be explored in several ways, including cruising along the river below in a kayak or canoe. As if the natural landscape weren’t impressive enough, the bird watching here is unparalleled, with species including vultures, eagles and other majestic birds of prey.
In contrast to the dizzying heights of the Verdon are the 900km² of river delta which form the Carmargue region. Encompassing red salt lagoons populated by flocks of vibrant pink flamingos, herds of wild white horses, peaceful rice paddies and the ranches of the ‘Gardien’ cowboys where they raise their bulls, it is an area like no other in Europe. Explore on horse-back, hover craft, quad bike or by helicopter and make once-in-a-lifetime memories.
A description of Provence would be incomplete without a mention of the glorious lavender fields which are synonymous with the region. Cultivated to produce aromatherapy oils, soaps, lotions and more, the fragrant purple plant blooms in abundance in the summer.
Besides its natural wonders, Provence boasts an array of enticing villages, towns and cities. Dine on delicious bouillabaisse (fish stew) in the cosmopolitan port city of Marseille, wander along the shady boulevards of Aix-en-Provence, follow the trail of Vincent Van Gogh in UNESCO World Heritage site Arles and take in the awe-inspiring Palaid des Papes in arty Avignon. For a more peaceful and slow-paced atmosphere, head for the traditional Provençal hilltop villages of Gordes and Roussillon, or wander the tiny streets of Pezenas, Uzès and Lourmarin to name but a few.
The coast is enduringly popular, including the cliffs and coves of Calanques and the glamourous favourites of the rich and famous: St. Tropez, Cannes and Cap Ferrat. A day at the seaside is a must, if only to ogle the ostentatious super-yachts bobbing in the harbours of these a-list resorts!