Most people when visiting the South of France will end-up walking the streets of Marseille, Cannes and Nice. But that’s because they don’t know how beautiful one week in Provence can be. Walking along well-travelled roads is not always the best route. Here are suggestions to spend an unforgettable week in the South of France, on roads less traveled.
Visiting France: What You May Need
There are a large variety of regions in France. Visiting Paris, Marseille, Bordeaux or Toulouse will bring you entirely different experiences. But leaving the big cities behind can also be quite nice, when you are touring France. La Provence, in summer time, provides the romanticism and calm only found in movies. The purple of lavender, mixed with the yellow of the sunflowers and the red of the poppies, will seem surreal, especially with the cicadas singing in the background.
To visit France, you may need a visa, according to your citizenship. Since the country is part of the EU, you need to look-up online: “Visa to enter the Schengen zone.” You may also need a health insurance to enter the area. Then, you simply have to visit AXA Schengen at https://www.axa-schengen.com/en/countries-schengen-area. Once you made sure your passport is still valid, get your airline ticket and prepare yourself by reading about the region. But for now, here are suggestions that will make you spent a great week in Provence.
Tour Provence by Car
Before leaving your home, rent a car over the internet. Otherwise, it will cost you much more when you get to the airport. Although there are other ways to visit the region, there is none better. It will give you time to see the sights, but also everything in between (nature, small towns, rivers, etc.). Seven days won’t be so long once you get there, so you need to make the most out of your time. If you spend it all in the car, you’ll have beautiful images to bring back but not so many different experiences. By following the route below, you will gain time and enjoy your trip much more.
Here are a few things you need to know about the drive:
The roads can be quite narrow, so rent a small car (a size sufficient to carry your luggage of course).
Directions are well indicated, but it’s always better to bring your GPS or to rent one at the car rental location.
Whenever you can, choose the roads less followed. You may discover a vineyard, an olive grove or apiculture along the way.
Seven Day Tour
Day 1 – Avignon
Start your tour by booking a room in Avignon. This beautiful town is host every summer to a large theatre festival, well-known around France, which takes place in many different locations, including some outside. There you’ll also need to see the famous Pont d’Avignon, which was in construction for centuries. But the vivacity of the Rhône (river) kept tearing it apart. Today, one part still stands as a tourist attraction. But to see a beautiful bridge, head to the Pont du Gard, 30 minutes away. Settle down nearby to get lunch and a view of the highest Roman aqueduct in the world.
Day 2 – Avignon
Walk the street of this magical town. Start by visiting the Palais des Papes, which is the largest Gothic construction of the middle ages. It was used both as a fortress and a palace. At one point, this papal residence was the seat of Western Christianity, during the 14th century. Once that is done, just stroll around and discover the city at your leisure.
Day 3 – L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue
You can keep your room in Avignon for the most of the week, including when you visit the antique capital of Provence: L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue. If you go there on a Sunday, the market will offer you a variety of local art to choose from and bring back as a souvenir. Otherwise, visit one of the many boutiques where you will also have a great choice.
Day 4 – Les Baux de Provence
This is one of the most beautiful villages in Provence. There you will find the oldest castle left in the region. Although it is falling to ruins, there are still many things left to see inside the fortress walls.
Day 5 – The Villages of the Luberon
You cannot go to Provence without spending at least one day visiting the Luberon villages. There you will be witness to scenery, unique in France. Start by stopping at the Sénanque Abbey, and then just head out, resting wherever you feel it is worth it.
Day 6 – La Camargue
As you are moving south, you may decide to get a hotel room in Aix-en-Provence, where you will end your seven-day tour. Once you dropped your bags, head to La Camargue, the largest river delta in Western Europe, with over 930km of marshes and wetlands.
Day 7 – Nîmes and Aix-en-Provence
Nîmes is a larger city. In fact, spending a full day might be best. You can visit the city, see the many Roman monuments and then head back to Aix-en-Provence, for a last dinner and evening out.