If you are planning a trip to France I highly suggest to include the South of France in your itinerary. You will spend a week visiting quaint villages, marvellous lavender fields and chilling in the luxurious French Riviera.
Provence is a region in southeastern France close to Italy and its landscapes and its towns stole my heart twice.
The best period to visit Provence is from June to July due to bloom of lavender.
In this guide I would like to recommend some spots or cities to see or visit in Early Spring or Summer, based on my personal experience. You will need 7 days, more or less, but you can extend this to 14 days.
The region has two of the busiest airports in France: Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, and Marseille Provence Airport.
If you plan to reach Provence by plane, the principal airports are Nice or Marseille.
Nice is a beautiful town, its county is called also the French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur) and different activities can be done.
First of all, a walking through the cobblestone and narrow street of the Old Town. You will find photo-worthy spots quite everywhere.
The most emblematic street in Nice is Promenade des Anglais: a pedestrian area that follows the sea filled with Palm Trees, colorful gardens and graced by historical buildings.
Marseille is a port city in Southern France and it has its own airport so you can decide to arrive here to visit Provence.
It’s the second largest city in France and it’s probably the most multicultural city in the Mediterranean Sea.
Its heart is the Old Port and here you can see different historical-interest monuments such as the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. From here, you can also take a boat tour to the Calanques.
The Calanques massif is the 10th National Park in France and a wonder of nature located between Marseille and Cassis, rich in flora and fauna. This exceptional and unique landscape is a must-see in Marseille.
Boating in the Calanques is a great way to discover the massif and the islands between Marseille and Cassis but the best way is with your hiking boots.
Cassis is no longer a hidden gem in Provence since it’s now very popular.
Despite its fame, it has maintained its spirit being a fishing village with pastel-colored facades along the port.
Worth a visit!
Gordes is in my opinion the most idyllic village in Provence.
Located on a cliff, this charming city is dominated by a fortress and its narrow but rich in green alleys are very pretty.
It can be considered as a perfect location to escape from the city, in fact it’s very popular among the celebreities.
Abbaye de Senanque
Abbaye de Senanque is a photogenic 12th-century Romanesque abbey located just 4 km north of Gordes.
It’s became very popular due to its lavender fields (in full bloom late June through August).
In fact, lavender is the soul of Provence, and these lavender fields are famous worldwide.
Monks still live here and produce honey and liquers. I recommend to come here at dawn in order to get a good photo with amazing tones!
Classified as one of the most beautiful villages of France, Roussillon is perched on a hill and from here you can enjoy different views of the surrounding National Park du Luberon. It’s not that big but each street is photo-worthy.
In addition to this, this town is famous for its ochre deposits found in the clay surrounding the village. Ochres are pigments ranging from yellow and orange to red. This color seems to be found also in the walls of the house of the city.
One of the ochre quarries can be visited via “Sentier des ocres” that surrounds the village and it’s a very easy trail also for children.
The Huge and imposing red cliffs can also be found in the Provencal Colorado (called like this because of its similarity to the American area of occurrence of this colourful rock).
This is a former ochre quarry located amoung Luberon mountains and close to Roussilon and is worth a visit because it is more “wild” and less visited by tourists than the “Sentier des Ocres”.
In Aix, you can stroll along the Cours Mirabeau, considered the heart of the city, to enjoy a trip back in time. The old town is a very pleasant zone full in cafes, restaurants and shops.
Aix can be a good place to visit the neighborhood since it’s just 2 hours drive from Nice and 30 minutes from Marseille.
Just 30 minutes from Nice is Monaco.
The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign state, surrounded on three sides by France and just few kilometers from the Italian Riviera and it’s famous world wide.
Even though it’s a short drive I recommend making a couple of stops in the beautiful nearby towns of Eze, Cannes, Antibes, Menton and Villefranche-sur-mer.
I’ll talk about this in a different article, coming soon!