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5 Steps to Provence

1. Where to go in Provence?

Provence has many faces, which is the one you are looking for?

The Luberon

The Luberon is an especially beautiful part of Provence, characterised by its hill-top villages amid the vineyards, olive groves and lavender.

Several of the Luberon's signature medieval, perched villages are officially recognised as among the most beautiful in France: Gordes, Menerbes, Roussillon, Lourmarin and Ansouis.

Keywords: villages, vineyards, inspirational

Luberon Hotels & Rental Homes

French Riviera

The honeypots of the Mediterranean coast from St Tropez to Italy, with Cannes, Antibes, Monaco, Menton, Nice, Cap Ferrat, Beausoleil and Eze as some of the highlights.

This is the land of bling and superyachts but also quieter and more modest seaside retreats in between all the glamour.

Keywords: Mediterranean, bling, villas

French Riviera Hotels & Rental Homes

Cote d'Azur

The Cote d'Azur, named for its azure waters, stretches from Marseille in the west to Italy in the east.

It encompasses the playgrounds of the super-wealthy as well as more modest and less developed seaside resorts. There is somewhere on the fabulous Cote d'Azur for every budget.

Keywords: sea, sun, beach

Cote d'Azur Hotels & Rental Homes

Provence Verte

Provence Verte = Green Provence. This is the pine-filled Provence just inland from the sea to the north of St Tropez.

Provence Verte is defined by its beautiful and incidental treasures, little picturesque villages where life moves at a slower pace than on the coast.

Keywords: nature, calm, villages

Provence Verte Hotels & Rental Homes

Cote Bleue

A hidden gem, the Cote Bleue (Blue Coast) lies to the west of Marseille and is made up of little rocky bays, tiny harbours and sandy beaches, an unspoiled haven for hiking, diving and bathing.

The Cote Bleue is known to the people of Marseille seeking a retreat from the city, but not to international visitors.

Keywords: unspoilt, coast, calm

Cote Bleue Hotels & Rental Homes

Gorges du Verdon

The Gorges that are carved out by the turquoise Verdon river are France's mini-Grand Canyon.

The Gorges du Verdon can be explored by car, bike, on foot, in a canoe or even a pedalo. It's a stunning part of the country.

Keywords: dramatic, nature, mountain

Gorges du Verdon Hotels & Rentals


The Bouches-du-Rhone department surrounds Marseille and includes standout highlights like Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Les Baux-de-Provence, the Camargue, St-Remy-de-Provence and Tarascon, as well as Marseille itself.

From France's second city to Roman remains and Van Gogh, to elegant towns and villages, Bouches-du-Rhone packs a lot into a small space.

Keywords: variety, elegance, culture

Bouches-du-Rhone Hotels & Rentals

4. When to go to Provence?

Provence is hot and sunny in summer, with at least a couple of beautiful months either side when the days are warm and the nights are cool. Winters are cold but with many sunny days when you are tempted to have lunch outside. Low humidity means both heat and cold are more bearable.

If you want to lounge by the pool you can do that from June to September.

If you want warm water temps then come in July-August or go somewhere with a heated pool.

For lavender: the lavender blooms from  mid-June to the beginning of August when it is harvested. The best colour saturation for lavender in Provence is in early July. Getting toards August the colour fades in the summer heat.

For hiking and biking you may prefer to avoid July-August when it is too hot in the middle of the day.

For culture: most festivals happen in summer.

Truffle season: November-March

Average Provence temperatures year-round

5. How to get to Provence?

The biggest airport in Provence is Nice, which is at the southeastern end of the region, followed by Marseille in the west.

There are a couple of transatlantic flights to Nice, and one to Marseille, so a popular way to the region is to fly to Paris CDG and then take the TGV fast train down to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence or Marseille, taking a little over 3 hours.

From the UK it is worth considering low-cost flights to airports dotted just outside Provence, at Lyon, Montpellier and Nimes, where flights tend to be cheaper than to Nice and Marseille.

You can also take the train from England to Provence. In summer there is a direct Eurostar train from London, taking 6.5 hours to Avignon and Marseille.

Otherwise you would take the Eurostar from London and change to a TGV train at either Paris or Lille. It is best to do this at Lille as this means a change of platform, whereas in Paris you have to change stations.

The train from London to Provence takes about 5.5 hours plus transfer time from Eurostar to TGV, which is variable depending on connections.

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