Provence – What To See And How To Get There
If it’s a slower pace of life you’re looking for, then you’re in the right place. Picture; Fields of lavender, sunflowers and olive trees… A Sunday lunch under the shade of plane trees in a village square, a cafe creme at a sidewalk cafe coupled with a stroll through a forest of oak and chestnut trees as a digestive. This is Provence – what to see and how to get there.
This is a region of vast contrasts and connections. Provence hides its complexity under a veil of simple delights. It is home to the red colors of the Esterel mountains, the taste of tapenade, the scent of rosemary, the cadence of the Provencal accent and the mistral, the wind that blows down from the Alps. As such, the activities are as vast, too! Let us help you!
Provence – what to see: Art
From March 1st 2019 to January 5th 2020, the Carrieres de Lumieres, the former stone quarry turned immersive art museum in Les-Baux-de-Provence, hosts an exhibition dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpieces.
Van Gogh’s relationship with Provence was a close one. The painter spent the last couple of years of his life in this French region, soaking in the magnificent light and scenery. He moved from Paris to Arles in 1888, as he believed that “the whole future of new art can be found in the Midi” and was admitted to the asylum in Saint-Remy-de-Provence when his health declined. Both these places inspired some of his most famous paintings and consolidated his unique style. Due to the exhibition’s popularity, we recommend you book in advance on the Carrieres de Lumieres website.
Provence – what to see: The icon of modern Marseille
This stunning museum explores the history, culture, and civilization of the Mediterranean region through anthropological exhibits, rotating art exhibitions and film. The collection sits in a bold, contemporary building designed by Algerian-born, Marseille-educated architect Rudy Ricciotti, and Roland Carta. It is linked by a vertigo-inducing footbridge to the 13th-century Fort St-Jean, from which there are stupendous views of the Vieux Port and the surrounding sea.
Provence – what to see: Castellane
This is a charming town on the edge of the Verdon Gorge. Castellane, Provence is a lovely little town on the banks of the Verdon river is a stopping place on the Napoleon Road (Route Napoleon) surrounded by beautiful, wild mountains. Dominated by the famous rock on which Notre-Dame du Roc chapel stands, the Provencal old town is a maze of picturesque narrow lanes, fortified vestiges like the Tour Pentagonale (five-sided tower) and Porte de l’Horloge (clock gateway), and the beautiful Place Marcel Sauvaire square – the heart of Castellane’s action.
34 Rue Nationale
34 Rue Nationale is a house where Napoleon stopped to lunch on 3 March 1815 on his return from the island of Elba. Open to the public, it is today the Middle Verdon museum of popular arts and traditions.
Notre-Dame du Roc chapel
Walking fans must not miss following the footpath that leads up to Notre-Dame du Roc chapel from behind the church in around 30 minutes. The view from the top over the surrounding countryside is stunning!
Provence – what to see: The Popes’ Palace of Avignon
Listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, the palace is one of the 10 most visited monuments in France. It gets 650,000 visitors per year. A true symbol of the influence of Western Christianity in the 14th century. This 15,000km masterpiece of a monument is the largest medieval fortress and biggest Gothic palace of Europe.
Benedict XII, who built the Old Palace to the east and north. And his successor Clement VI who built the New Palace to the south and west. The tower houses the 11 stories of the Departmental Archives. Its height of 52 meters makes you dizzy. Look up at it from the terrace of the Utopia Manutention Cinema, and you’ll see what we mean!
The Palace organizes cultural events, theme tours, exhibitions and concerts throughout the year. It also houses within its walls the Musee de l’Oeuvre. In summer, a big art exhibition takes up the Great Chapel while the Main Courtyard becomes an open-air theater with shows from the Avignon, Provence Theater Festival created by Jean Vilar in 1947.
Provence – what to see: Avignon, Orange, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Deep dive into rural France and discover Roman heritage among the rolling vineyards. Marvel at the Triumphal Arch and the Roman amphitheater. Travel out through the fertile vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Provence and sample local wines during a tasting session. Admire the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Pont du Gard — a Roman aqueduct. Visit the medieval village of Les Baux de Provence. Perched high in the Alpines mountains, and discover the Provencal villages of Gordes and Roussillon.
How To Get There?
By Train, of course! Rail travel to Provence is provided by mainline trains, including high-speed TGV, south from Paris, via Lyon, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille, then along the Mediterranean coast (not high speed) to Nice, France. You can get your tickets within in minutes from Save A Train
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