Best Places to Visit in Provence France

Cote d’Azur shorelines and hidden swimming holes make Provence an unforgettable travel destination.

Take in its picturesque natural scenery by walking one of many coastal trails or head inland for breathtaking landscapes that inspired famous artists like Van Gogh.

1. Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence may not boast major tourist draws, but its charming pedestrian streets and squares make for postcard-worthy scenes at every turn. One popular and captivating pedestrian street and square is Cours Mirabeau: its graceful avenue shaded by plane trees lined with cafes, restaurants and boutiques is truly the heart of Aix. Beginning your sightseeing here will ensure an enjoyable visit.

Head for St-Sauveur Cathedral, an ancient Roman Catholic structure dating back to 15th and 16th century relics, as it offers great people watching opportunities. Additionally, this area boasts some of Provence’s most fashionable stores such as Hermes and Sonia Rykiel as well as trendy ones such as Zadig et Voltaire and Comptoir des Cotonniers – perfect spots for shopping!

One of the top activities in Aix-en-Provence is strolling its markets. These provide an incredible way to both indulge your senses and learn about local culture – especially with a guided market tour, which gives visitors access to delicious regional fare while being provided an informative explanation from an expert guide.

Visit Paul Cezanne’s studio museum and experience its real tools and furniture from when he worked there; this will allow visitors to learn more about this Impressionist painter as well as how Provence influenced his work.

Ansouis is listed among France’s Most Beautiful Villages; this small country town features charming ancient streets and ornate 17th-century houses as well as a 13th-century church on a picturesque hilltop location with breathtaking views from above.

2. Gordes

Gordes, perched atop a hill in Provence France’s Vaucluse Mountains, is one of its most beloved tourist spots. Famous for its stone houses, flower-lined alleyways and elegant covered walkways known as arcades – visitors will also find plenty of restaurants and cafes offering local Cotes du Rhone wines, cheeses and other regional specialities in its center village.

Gordes’ star attraction is its charming weekly market on Tuesday mornings – one of Provence’s best markets featuring dozens of stalls offering fresh produce, wooden and woven handcrafted goods, clothing, fresh ingredients and local art. Cash only is accepted here so be sure to bring along enough money if planning on visiting as souvenir hunting may become quite enjoyable here.

Gordes offers other notable attractions, including the Village des Bories – an unusual stone-walled settlement built during the 17th century as its population increased and there wasn’t enough space in traditional buildings for everyone living in town. This village stands as an example of ancestral art of building; today, it remains one of the world’s most remarkable human settlements.

Gordes offers many must-see activities, with visiting its grandiose chateau looming high above town being among them. Boasting stunning Renaissance architecture and housing an extensive collection of works by Victor Vasarely and contemporary Flemish artist Pol Mara among them, visiting this landmark castle is another must.

Exploring Gordes’ charming streets can be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience, full of delightful surprises around every turn. The narrow roads are easy to navigate and may lead you to find delightful cafes or shops, ancient gateways or breathtaking vistas tucked into every corner.

3. Arles

Arles, one of Provence’s most fascinating towns, is both an artist’s haven and photographer’s paradise. Rencontres de la Photographie draws tens of thousands of photographers each year to this scenic city. Luma Arles by world renowned architect Frank Gehry stands out as a game changing attraction. Intended to resemble Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting it captivates visitors around the globe.

UNESCO listed Roman Theater is another must see attraction, having first been constructed in the 1st century BCE to seat 10,000 people and boasting incredible acoustics. You can take a tour of its archaeological site, as well as remnants from Roman baths such as Caldarium (hot pool) and Tepidarium (warm air room).

Arles is located near the Camargue, an expansive natural park and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve consisting of wetlands, salt flats, and other forms of landscape that offers opportunities to see flamingos, wild horses, flamingos, and much more. You may also want to pay a visit to Montjamour Abbey; Vincent van Gogh once visited Montjamour Abbey where the views over Camargue plains inspired his art work.

Arles offers many events throughout the year to enjoy including photo festivals, theatre, dance and music performances, book festivals at Bibliotheque Nationale (held every June), wine tastings and gastronomic festivals held during August; Rhone-Alpes-Cote d’Azur Film Festival takes place in September;

4. Cassis

Cassis is an idyllic fishing village boasting turquoise waters, striking seaside cliffs and sunny days. Cassis’ bustling port and old castle are popular tourist draws; in addition to shopping there’s hiking and boating at nearby Calanques National Park – as well as plenty more activities!

Cassis is best experienced between May and October when temperatures are comfortable without becoming oppressive and crowds have subsided. Be mindful that due to fire risks, Cassis’ iconic coastal cliffs will be closed from June until September; therefore if beach time is something you want, please plan ahead accordingly.

At the heart of the town is its port, where traditional sailboats line the water’s edge and cafe terraces overflow onto pavements. Multiple restaurants and bars serve local specialities such as Chez Gilbert’s Bouillabaisse; you can take a stroll along its jetty to reach its castle (sometimes illuminated at night), as well as enjoying stunning views from a hilltop viewpoint accessible via steep staircase.

Cassis offers plenty to see and do – stroll its streets and admire its charming shop window displays for beautiful woven basket bags and hats, clothing, Marseille soap and fragrant pastel-coloured soaps are just some of the items on display here. Spend an afternoon at Savonnerie de Cassis artisan soap-makers where free tours will give you insight into soap-making before teaching you how to create your own product!

Travel west from Cassis along the Route des Cretes for one of the most picturesque drives in southern Provence. Enjoy breathtaking views of rocky cliffs, turquoise sea and La Ciotat village below as you drive.

5. Gorges du Verdon

Gorges du Verdon is one of Provence’s most stunning spots and a UNESCO-protected area, boasting incredible natural beauty. Boasting an enormous canyon encased by mountains, you will discover lush forests and meadows, crystal-clear lakes backed by cliffs, wild animals such as eagles and boars among many other treats!

Visit the Gorge from the French Riviera as part of a day trip or lavender fields tour; however, spending several days here would be worthwhile. Enjoy hiking trails, beaches while playing slot games on the internet via Yoakim Bridge and charming villages; water sports like kayaking; mountain biking; and rafting are available too.

At the heart of it all lies a stunning gorge – one that was designated by UNESCO as World Heritage. You can explore it by car or bicycle along La Route des Cretes, taking time to marvel at breathtaking vistas, wander through medieval towns and gaze upon its blue waters.

For an unforgettable adventure, try bungee jumping off Pont de l’Artuby bridge – it boasts the highest jump in Europe! Plus, its beautiful surroundings will certainly take your breath away!

People seeking a relaxing vacation may enjoy exploring the villages surrounding the gorge, such as Bauduen-sur-Verdon and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie which have earned recognition on France’s Most Beautiful Villages list. Climb up its tower for stunning views across canyon and lake; alternatively try one of the charming hotels or gites scattered throughout this charming region.