Contrary to popular belief there is more to France than just the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Versailles. Other areas of France have just as much culture and history to offer as fair Pari. One of the most beautiful, rustic, and well preserved areas of France is Provence. And we’re going to show you 10 things to do in Provence, France.
This is a guest post by Jackdaw Journeys
Where is Provence France?
Provence is located in the southeast of France and borders the Mediterranean Sea. Some call Provence the Tuscany of France, while others call Tuscany the Provence of Italy. Either way, Provence is not a place you will want to miss.
At Jackdaw Journeys we offer a glimpse into authentic Provence. Our 8 day tours max out at 10 guests making each experience intimate and personalized. Our tours are specifically created for those that want to immerse themselves in the French culture. Tour days are filled with cooking classes, markets trips, and exploring the beautiful sites of Provence. The days are full, but we leave room for relaxation too! Not sure a trip to Provence is for you? To persuade you to add Provence to your bucket list, we’ve come up with 10 things to do in Provence that are sure to get you to book that trip!
Here are the Best Places to Visit in Provence
Visit the many fountains of Aix-en-Provence.
Fountains? Yes. They’re all unique and beautiful in there own way. Just like no historic church is alike, no Aix-en-Provence fountain is alike either. Some say there are over a thousand fountains scattered throughout the city. Here are 5 not to be missed.
Fountaine des Quatre Dauphins built in 1667.
Fountaine des Neuf-Canons built in 1691.
Fountaine de la Rotonde built in 1860
Fountaine Moussue built in 1666
Fountaine d’Eau Chaude built in 1667
Perch yourself in a chair.
While in Aix-en-Provence on the Cours Mirabeau take a seat for people and dog watching. For a café with history, head to Les Deux Garcons at the eastern end of the Cours. This famous café was a favorite stop for Cezanne. His Dad’s hat shop was next door at number 55.
Visit the famous Calanques National Park
Make a visit to this wonder by boat (taken out of Cassis) or by foot. These natural steep-walled inlets formed millions of years ago are developed out of limestone and dolomite and are explored along the Mediterranean coast from Cassis to Marseille.
Make a short stop at Saint-Paul-de-Vence to see one of the oldest Medieval villages along the French Riviera. Art in Saint Paul has always been the dominant commercial activity. While in town, don’t forget to visit the burial place of the Russian-born painter, Marc Chagall in the local cemetery.
Private French Cooking Class
Take a private cooking class while in Provence to experience and understand the Mediterranean Cuisine with a French tradition. The ideal cooking class will start out with a tour of a local market in search for the freshest ingredients. You will then take those ingredients back to school where you will prepare a meal and afterwards sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor. A tour with Jackdaw includes two cooking classes with a Michelin-rated chef!
Goat Farm Tour
For a tour off the beaten path, visit a privately owned goat farm. To really appreciate the famous Cheval French Cheeses one should see where and how it is made. There’s nothing like getting up close and meeting the goats that provide the milk for the cheese you are taking home.
Visit the famous port city of Sanary-sur-Mer on Wednesdays. This commune in the Var department of Provence is famous for its Grand Marche (market) and was recently voted the number one market in Provence. Always, always arrive early, around eight o’clock for the best selections of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, fish, poultry, spices, tableware, clothing, leather goods, jewelry and much more. Don’t forget to pick up foods for a quick lunch along the water. The sun is always shining!
Do some Light Reading
Before leaving for your trip to Provence, I suggest you take the time to read Peter Mayle’s book, “A Year in Provence.” This informative hilarious read gives you a true insight into what it really is like to live in Provence. You will experience Provence’s seasons, her food, her customs and of course her people. Who knows, you may even be able to track down some of the locations Mayle writes about in his book and experience them for yourself.
French Antique Shopping
If you are looking for French antiques, you MUST visit L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on a Sunday morning, year round. This village, near Avignon, is home to more than 300 outlets that sell antiques, glassware, china, linens, furniture, artwork and just about anything else you might be looking for. Prices range from a few Euros to thousands of Euros for the finer antiques. Oh, and did I mention the food market not to be missed? Arrive early. Parking can be difficult.
Sunset or Sunrise on the French Riviera
Last but not least, take the time to spend one early morning or late afternoon on a beach of the French Riviera. The beautiful sparkling sea and the rocky sandy beaches with the pristine weather are not to be missed. I promise you won’t forget that sunrise or sunset and it will become your best souvenir.
If you are looking for more insight into traveling Provence, you can head over to Jackdaw Journeys and get in touch with us! Our intimate tours, created for groups up to 10, aren’t just about seeing a new region, or experiencing the culture firsthand, it’s about taking a break from your day-to-day life to unwind and nurture your soul. Our tours run in May and October, but we also offer custom tours which can be planned anytime of the year. Provence is truly a magical place and one we have grown to adore. We hope it will be a special place to dream about for you and one day – hopefully – visit as well.
We’re always on Instagram too sharing tidbits of our latest explorations to Provence. We’d love if you’d stop in and say hello!