holidays in provence




france at your fingertips - paris provence

welcome to PROVENCE

about provence

Provence is the most popular French regional destination for tourists, with its dry sun-filled summers and mild winters. Dating back to the time of the Celts, Greeks and Romans Provence is steeped in history. In 1309 the Papacy relocated to Avignon, the magnificent walled city and you can visit the Papal Palace today. At the end of the French Revolution, many craft shops begin to flourish, such as Perfume in Grasse, olive oil and textiles in Aix-en-Provence and pottery in Marseilles. Provence has retained its traditional rural values and cultures whilst enjoying prosperity since the 19th Century. Provence is a a pot-pourri of dramatic features: majestic Rhone River, dramatic rocky coastline, mountains and green valleys of limestone soils - large oak trees abound with lavender, sage, rosemary and thyme growing wild. Experience the environs of famous writers (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Somerset Maughan and of course, Peter Mayle) and world-renown artists Cezanne, van Gogh, Renoir, Matisse, Monet, Picasso and many others. See the locations of movies A Good Year and Jean de Florette. Taste the local delicacies - aioli, olives, ratatouille, tapenade, bouillabaisse, fish and pastis (anise flavoured liqueur) and play a game of boules whilst sipping a local wine! After exploring Avignon, discover the many unique villages …Gordes, Menerbes, La Coste, Bonnieux, Oppe de le Vieux just to name a few. Experience Provence for yourself. Click here to select a tour


FAMOUS SITES OF PROVENCE


Orange



Orange

Roman Orange was founded in 35BC. It was the capital of northern Provence and was considered to be a miniature Rome. The town is renowned for its Roman architecture, and its Roman theatre. Orange's Théâtre antic Theatre is described as the most impressive in Europe. The fine Triumphal Arch of Orange is remarkable. The arch, theatre, and surroundings were listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981.

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Chateauneuf-du-Pape



Chateauneuf du Pape

A well-known Rhone wine region by wine lovers around the world, this region covers more than 3,200 hectacres and produces over 110,000 hectolitres of wine per year. Chateauneuf du Pape translates to ‘The Pope’s New Castle’ and the region is entirely entwined with papal history from 1308. Lovers of Burgundy wines, the consecutive popes of the era promoted wine-growing around Avignon (near the Pope’s Palace). The unique combination of sandy, rocky limestone soil, long dry summers with long hot daylight hours and the mistral wind contributed to magnificent grape producing conditions. Wines produced in this region are typically high in alcohol (13-15%), are predominantly red in variety and age superbly. A wine lover’s delight.

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L'ise-sur-La-Sorgue.



L’Isle Sur La Sorgue

The small town is famous for its many antique shops and hosts antique markets most Sundays. It has many waterside cafés and restaurants, all within walking distance of each other. Its many attractive water wheels throughout the town are still in working order. Originally known as "Insula", the town officially adopted the name of "L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue" on 18 August 1890, taking the latter part of its name from the river Sorgue, to which it owed much. As early as the 12th century, the river served defensively as a moat around ramparts which surrounded the town until 1795. The river also served as a source of food and industry: fishing and artisan mills for oil, wheat, silk, paper, woolenry, rugs and dyeing. A busy commerce developed until there were two annual fairs and two weekly markets.

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Roussillon.



Roussillon

Roussillon is an extremely picturesque village with red rocks, red stone buildings and red tile roofs, set in a deep green pine forest on bright red-ochre hills. The village has spectacular old buildings and narrow medieval cobble-stoned streets to wander through at your leisure. Roussillon is a unique tourist destination.

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Les Baux-de-Provence.



Les Baux de Provence

In a spectacular position in the Alpilles mountains, Les Baux de Provence is set atop a rocky outcrop crowned with a ruined castle overlooking the plains of the south. Its name refers to its site ‘baou’ meaning rocky spur. The village was named after the bauxite was discovered there in 1821. Les Baux de Provence has been dated back to 6000BC because of its defensive possibilities and was used as a fort through the ages. The castle was demolished in 1632 as a result of an unsuccessful protestant uprising against the powerful Cardinal Richelieu. It is now given over to tourism.

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Gordes



Gordes

Located 38 kilometres from Avignon, Gordes is a beautiful hillside village on a giant calcareous rock which dominates the valley. Gordes was occupied in early history by the Roman Empire, the Benedictine and Cistercian monks in the Middle Ages and became a French royal provence in the Renaissance. Like Lacoste, during World War 2 Gordes was an active French Resistance stronghold. This picturesque hillside village is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and almond trees and its main sites are the castle, cellars, abbey, village centre and outlying dry stone huts at the Village des Bories. Site of a number of films set in Provence, in particular, A Good Life with Russell Crowe.

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Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.



Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

Considered to have the most important Roman excavations in France at Glanum, St. Rémy de Provence was also the birthplace of Nostradamas and Vincent van Gogh was treated at the Monastry St. Paul de Mausole psychiatric centre. A visit to his room, the courtyard and gardens is quite evocative. ‘The Starry Night’, ‘The Irises’, ‘Hospital at San Remy’, ‘Olive Trees’ and many still lifes, portraits of the staff and patients were also painted during his stay there.

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Arles.



Arles

Although World Heritage Site listed for its fabulous Roman monuments (the amphitheatre, triumphal arch, roman circus and theatre), mills and aquaducts, Arles is most famous for its most famous resident, the post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh who lived, painted and cut off his ear in Arles in 1888-1889, producing over 300 paintings and drawings in his time there. Van Gogh was fascinated by the Provencal landscapes and light – some of his notable are ‘The Night Café’, ‘The Yellow House’, and ‘Starry Night Over The Rhone’ and many others were painted in Arles. N.B: market in Arles on Saturday some of his notable are ‘The Night Café’, ‘The Yellow House’, and ‘Starry Night Over The Rhone’ and many others were painted in Arles. N.B: market in Arles on Saturday.

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Nimes.



Nimes

A popular tourist destination, Nimes is rich in history, built in 118BC by the Romans as a way to connect Italy to Spain. Over the centuries various emperors endowed the city with baths, aquaduct, amphitheatre, basilicia, gymnasium and even a circus. The amphitheatre is still used for bull fighting and concerts today. In the 18th Century the Gardens of Fountains were built around the Roma ruins and were fed by waters from the Pont du Gard. Superb tree-lined boulevards trace the foundations of its former city walls. Nimes is also known for its manufacture of denim, which derives its name from the city. A superb glimpse of life in the City of Baths.

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Pont du gard.



Pont du Gard

A UNESCO world heritage site, the Pont du Gard is a superb example of an ancient Roman aquaduct bridge which crossed the Gard River. It connected running water from Uzès to Nimes over 50 kilometres. Constructed by the Romans in 1st Century AD it is the second highest of all Roman aquaduct bridges and is indicative of the great precision Roman engineers achieved with simple technology. It is deemed on of France’s greatest tourist attractions.

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Uzès.



Uzès

This stunning limestone town lies at the source of the Eure River, from where a Roman aquaduct was in built in the 1st Century AD to supply water to Nimes. By the 15th Cenury it had became known as a extremely civilised and urbane society and was a major cloth manufacturing centre. After the French Royal Family, the Dukes of Uzès held the premier title in peerage of France. Uzès is now famous for its magnificent plane tree lined, limestone arched town square, markets, chapel, feudal towers and cathedral with traces of its city walls as a circuit of boulevards.

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