Cities and Villages in Provence
The heart of Provence beats in Bouches-du-Rhône, where the river meets the Mediterranean Sea.
The area, tucked between the sea and the mountains, boasts festivals and rich heritage, both natural and cultural, which attract visitors from around the world. This exceptional territory is distinguished by its strong character and remarkable diversity.
Marseille is the second largest city in France, and is also the oldest, boasting traces of urban life dating back 2600 years.
Marseille is classified among France’s Cities of Art and History, and is a place where tradition and modernity come together.
The city is brimming with monuments, sites and museums of all kinds. Notre Dame de la Garde Church overlooks the city, and is affectionately known by residents as Bonne Mère (Good Mother). Its ornate Neo-Byzantine style has become iconic of Marseille.
Marseille invites you to descend the famous Canebière, to stroll leisurely through the Old Port and the fish market, and to board the city’s famous ferryboat.
The capital of soap making and the cradle of the art of crèche-making, Marseille is likewise a gastronomic hot spot: its pastis and Bouillabaisse are known and celebrated around the world.
All year long, Marseilles puts on spectacular festivities and events: the Chandeleur (Candlemas), the Carnaval, the Foire à l’Ail et aux Taraïettes (Garlic and Taraïettes -toy pottery- Fair), the Saint Eloi celebration, jousting competitions in l’Estaque, la Fête du Vent (Wind Festival), la Foire aux Santons (Crèche Fair)…
Those who love arts and popular traditions will surely be delighted by a visit to the Musée du Terroir Marseillais (Museum of the Land of Marseilles) of Château-Gombert.
Near the city center is the Vallon des Auffes, a famous heritage site whose reputation is second to none. This small, brightly colored fishing port is situated in the 7th arrondissement of Marseille, only a few kilometers from the Old Port.
Marseille is also a land of sport, and is particularly famous for its soccer team Olympique de Marseille. As the city faces the sea, is also offers a wide range of water sports: snorkeling, kayaking, diving, sailing… Each year the city hosts a unique sporting event called le mondial de pétanque (the World of Pétanque), which celebrates the best in a ball sport similar to bocci.
Aix en Provence
Classified among France’s Cities of Art and History, known for the fantastic lifestyle and well being of its inhabitants, Aix en Provence benefits from an unusually rich cultural and natural heritage.
An example of the Mediterranean art de vivre (the art of living), Aix en Provence has beautiful, narrow streets made for strolling, and its many culinary specialties are just waiting to be discovered.
The city is lively and fun, and a favorite among students, who party in Aix en Provence’s trendy districts.
The painter Cézanne immortalized the lights and angles of Saint Victoire, the famous mountain that overlooks the city. A walking route allows you to follow in the steps of the legendary artist. All you need to do is follow the letter “C” marked throughout the city’s streets!
At the heart of Provence, the people celebrate a characteristically Provençal art de vivre.
Discover Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, and admire its magnificent landscapes, including the “Regional Natural Park of the Alpilles,” nestled as the foot of the city.
You’ll soon come to understand why so many key figures have become attached to this magical town, where the sun shines more than 300 days a year!
Les Baux de Provence
One of the most beautiful villages in France…
A major site in the region, Les Baux de Provence is known worldwide for the remarkable mix of Medieval and Renaissance heritage one finds here. The exceptional wealth of culture and hospitality has made Les Baux de Provence the Phare de la Provence, the beacon of the region.
Spectacular scenery bears witness to the rich history of the area. The village perpetuates age-old traditions and houses the art of the men who came here to settle. The town hosts prestigious events to celebrate its heritage.
This place, so rich with history, offers many temptations to visitors. The tradition of hospitality is greater than ever thanks to the community’s restaurants and sumptuous hotels. The name Les Baux de Provence is itself a symbol of quality: of warm wines born of rock and sun, and fruity, fervent olive oils.
Le Massif des Calanques of Cassis, a mountainous massif stretching over 20 kilometers, astonishes visitors with the magic and beauty of its untouched environment and abundant wildlife.
The area is suitable for hiking and kayaking, and promises unforgettable adventures. The ideal starting point for your discovery of the area’s coves is the city of Cassis, only 30 minutes from the center of Marseille.
The tiny fishing village of Cassis, tucked between two exceptional natural sites (the famous Massif des Calanques and magestic Cap Canaille), offers visitors the very best of both Provence and the Mediterranean Sea.
Arles is registered among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
The city has long been a cultural crossroads, and has thus developed a rich heritage. The painter Vincent Van Gogh spent several years here, and immortalized the landscape of the region in his works.
Today, Arles remains a center for the development of the arts, and is home to Rencontres d’Arles, an international photography festival that brings together amateurs and professionals from around the world..
Hilltop villages, wild Camargue landscapes, Romanesque cities, lavender lush on the plateaus of the Vaucluse, lace reliefs in Montmirail and Mont Ventoux…
Since 1947, Avignon has hosted the largest theater festival in Europe each year in July. For more than 15 days, the city boasts a large open-air stage to showcase famous entertainers and up-and-coming artists.
You’ll surely bump into a few here and there: on street corners, in the theaters of the old city, and in the Cité des Papes (City of the Popes).
Châteauneuf du Pape
Between Avignon and Orange, Chateauneuf-du-Pape rests at the foot of the ruins of its ancient fortress. Overlooking the Plain of Comtat, with its 3000 acres of vines, the village is almost entirely dedicated to the much-celebrated wine Châteauneuf du Pape of the equally famous Côtes du Rhône appellation.
Jewel of Provence Romaine as its name suggests, Vaison la Romaine is part of the must-see sites of Haut Vaucluse. The river Ouvèze runs through this city of great archaeological interest.
On the right bank one finds two areas: the ancient Roman colony site and modern Vaison. Archaeological excavations have revealed the luxurious, immense, and elaborately decorated homes of the Gallo-Romans.
The homes feature exquisite mosaic floors, inlaid marble detailing, statues, pools, atriums, and private baths…
Valréas is the capital of the Enclave des papes (Enclave of the Popes) area. This tiny community is found in the department (administrative region) of Drôme, but belongs also to the department of Vaucluse…
Situated on the left bank of the Coronne River, Valréas is a center of agricultural, economic, and touristic importance.
Classified among France’s Green Holiday destinations, the city stretches toward a plain full of reputable vineyards. The area’s rich heritage makes for a fascinating visit!
The 13th century tower of Château Ripert and the imposing 12th century Roman church Notre Dame de Nazareth overlook the city of Valréas. You can also visit Simiane castle, which today houses the town hall.
Le Gard neighbors the departments of Hérault and Aveyron (to the west), Lozère (to the northwest), Vaucluse (to the northeast), and Bouches-du-Rhônes (to the southeast).
Its area is 5,853 km². Nearly half of its territory is forested, a third is devoted to agriculture, and the remaining portion is urban space.
Le Gard enjoys a lovely Mediterranean climate, including on average 259 day of sun each year. Winters are mild and summers are hot and dry.
With nearly 150,000 inhabitants and a territory of 16,150 hectares, Nîmes is the 20th largest city in France. Its rich heritage has earned Nîmes the honor of the title “City of Art and History.”
“Oxygenated”by 409 hectares of public green space and 1200 hectares of carefully-maintained forest, the city has been honored with “3 flowers” from the organization Villes et villages fleuris (Cities and Towns in Bloom). Nîmes is also a WHO-designated Health City, and a UNICEF Child Friendly City.
Sunny, with a gentle yet passionate lifestyle, Nîmes celebrates a rich past and is at the same time resolutely contemporary.
Its Roman monuments, for their majesty and the exceptional quality of their conservation, have contributed significantly to forging Nîmes’ identity.
Labelled as a City of Art and History, Nîmes is presently working on the design of a grand Roman Museum. Proud of its history, heritage and remarkable monuments, Nîmes ardently stands up to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Arena of Nîmes is the best-preserved amphitheater of the Roman period. Visit this impressive monument, which dates back 2000 years.
Famous for its antique theater and its arc de triomphe (triumphal arch) dating from the 1st century, Orange is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
History and culture mingle magically in this medieval city, where each year its citizens host the famed lyrical festival Chorégies.
Nearby, you can visit the magnificent Pont du Gard beside Remoulins, the most famous Roman aqueduct in Europe. Constructed on three levels, the Pont du Gard is registered on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage Site list. Sound and light shows are regularly presented there in the summer.
Take advantage of your visit to the area, and stop by Chateauneuf-du-Pape (10 km from Orange), celebrated around the world for its fine wines. Numerous producers will be happy to open their doors to you for a tasting and a short lesson in the art of their trade…
Adorned with indisputable heritage assets, particularly in its protected sector, this architectural jewel has recently been honored with official designation as one of France’s “Cities of Art and History.”
Let Uzès, the “First Duchy of France” seduce you with its characteristic charm and astounding authenticity.
Take advantage of your stay to appreciate the unique ambiance that reigns in its medieval streets and secret gardens. Discover the amazing history of the Château Ducal (Ducal Castle) and Renaissance-era mansions.
To complement your stroll, enjoy the elegance of Uzès’ shady squares and the freshness of its ancient fountains.