Local Provence: Where To Stay, Eat, & Visit
by Wolf & Badger
Oui, c’est magnifique! Provence & the Cote d’Azur embody the glitz & glam of la vie en rose. Pristine blue waters meet diverse landscapes; countless vineyards meet Provençal towns. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in a Woody Allen movie on a trip to this part of the world.
Although you’ll probably want to spend a few weeks here, a 3-5 day trip also suffices to explore some villages & drink in the sun-drenched landscapes (not to mention the exceptional rosé). In conjunction with our Mediterranean-inspired edit, here are just some of the wonders this region has to offer.
Provence isn’t the vastest of regions, so it's totally possible to choose a base for your stay to day trip around. Depending how far afield you’re exploring, as well as what time of year it is, a car allows the best flexibility, although cycling is entirely doable too. The fortified city of Avignon makes a great base, as well as the countless surrounding Provencal villages if you prefer somewhere a bit more off the beaten track.
Check out the Pont Du Gard Aqueduct, just a half hour drive from Avignon. Built in the 1st century AD, the Pont de Gard is one of the best preserved Roman constructions on earth & it’s also a UNESCO world heritage site.
Other recommended things to consider for any itinerary include Gorges du Verdon with its turquoise green waters, white water rafting and hiking. Catch a sunset in Sault, an insane caricature of a Provencal town; another well-known hilltop village is Gordes (don’t miss the farmer’s market every Tuesday morning around the foot of the castle). Roussillon is another charming town, full of red-clad buildings, where you can walk the ochre trail, a stunning nature trail through natural red quarries and cliffs.
Saint Remy de Provence, a 30 minute drive from Avignon, rests at the feet of the Massif des Alpilles. They receive over 300 days a year of sunshine, and it’s full of private mansions from the Renaissance, museums, chapels, art galleries & homeware boutiques. Visit the Monastery of Saint-Paul de Mausolé, where Vincent Van Gogh painted 150 of his most well-known works.
It’s also well worth a saunter over to Eygalieres, a small village close to Saint Remy de Provence. The village is surrounded by the superb landscapes of the Alpilles, with olive groves, green valleys and vine fields, and you can find a few buzzy restaurants or cafes for an aperitif with a long, slow lunch. On Friday mornings, Eygalières comes alive thanks to the Provençal market: you can find all the local products there from sun-kissed fruits and vegetables, cheeses, oil & honey. If touring around on bicycles, you’ll breath in the heady scents of pine trees and wild herbs, all to the backdrop of the singing cicadas.
We won’t delve into the Côte d’Azur, less than a 3 hour drive from Avignon, but if you’re looking for glamour, stunning coastlines & sun-soaked days by the sea, the French Riviera is where it’s at. Antibes, Nice, Cannes & St. Tropez are some of the more popular spots. The lesser visited Cassis makes a great option too, famous for its cliffs (falaises) and the sheltered inlets with crystal clear waters called calanques. Wolf & Badger beachwear highly recommended.
In terms of when to go, May, June or September avoid peak summer season & scorching temperatures. If you’re intrigued by the lavender fields of Provence (Plateau de Valensole being one of the more infamous), June or July are best. There are sunflower fields aplenty too!
Whether you're headed to the glitz and glamour of the Cote D'Azur, the rolling hills of tranquil lavender fields, or immersing yourself in the old stone village towns, you'll find some of the coolest hotels and home stays in any part of Provence. La Bastide de Marie is one of Provence's hidden boutique hotel gems, perfectly placed in the Luberon countryside. It's a picture perfect representation of the region with its' quintessential castle style, and each room is unique - from rooms that feel as if you're in an underground cave, to marvelously tiled bathrooms and unique artwork. @labastidemarie
You'll be able to find magnificent food across the region, think quaint family owned restaurants you just happen to stumble upon walking along a cobblestone path - but in case you need a recommendation, Restaurant Phillip is in Fontaine de Vaucluse, and a place that tourists and locals alike rave about. Serving classic french fare, enjoy your meal while overlooking the River Sorgue, because a meal tastes better with a view.
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