Our weekend getaway has made me fall in love with Provence, giving me a desire to visit this region again. For those of you who wish to visit this wonderful part of France, these are my 10 essential travel tips.
1- Choose to visit during the last week of June. Why? Because you avoid the abundance of tourists, prices for accommodations are significantly cheaper, and at this time of the year the lavender fields are already in bloom.
2- Rent a convertible! For 20 euros more per day we got ourselves a convertible Fiat 500. I could not imagine a place more perfect for it then Provence, driving with the top down on the narrow roads, enjoying the fabulous weather and smelling the lavender fields. We were very lucky as our rental company had just received one while we were checking in…I would suggest booking it in advance though.
3- Stay in a holiday house. This made our stay feel like we never left home as we got to stick to our daily routine. We had a fully equipped kitchen where we made our breakfast pretty much everyday, prepared snacks for the day, and even in the evening when we felt like having something at our house, we could.
4- Have a picnic or many. When I think of France, I imagine relaxing in a beautiful location, eating baguette sandwiches, plenty of cheese and fruits. I got a woven basket with a cooler compartment where we kept lots of goodies for the day. The first day of our vacation we stopped at a supermarket got plenty of food and bought fresh fruits at markets daily!
5- Visit many small towns. My favotires during our mini getaway were Gordes, Avignon, Sault and Menerbes, but I must admit that I left wishing to see many more.
6- Head to the beach! I mean it is the South of France at the end of the day, and the beaches there are just fabulous. We chose to see Cassis. This town is absolutely stunning, covered with wineries and charming streets. What hit the spot for us was Calanque d’En-Vau, a hidden beach only accessible by a 2 hours hike (each way.)
7- Visit a lavender field. Valensole is so famous for its lavender fields, and rightfully so as this part of Provence is booming with endless fields.
A driving route I suggest is from Sault along Montbrun-les-Bains and finally reaching Ferrassieres (this will make sense on the map.) The scenery along the drive is beautiful, full of lavender fields everywhere we looked.
Senanque Abbey is another must. This monestery in the town of Gordes has a beautiful lavender field, I highly recommend arriving early in the morning before the tour busses.
8- Shop at one of local market. Just about every village in Provence has a weekly market. On Wednesday the town of Sault has its market day were we bought natural soaps and plenty of lavender to take home! There are so many things to buy by local producers, plenty of vegetables, fruits, jams, honey and even prepared food.
9- Sample the local wines! This region is famous for its rose wine and full bodied red.
10- Eat a Michelin rated meal. La Mirande in Avignon was were we chose to have dinner on our last night. We had a 7 course menu cooked with the freshest ingredients, the dishes had such an amazing combination of flavours and beautifully presented. We loved this place so much that we chose to have breakfast there the very next day.
If you have any questions just comment below.