Regional Information Provence

Bouches-du-Rhone, Vaucluse, Var, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence

With many of the most beautiful places to visit in France, Provence has scenery and activities to satisfy the most discerning visitor.

With the dramatic mountains of the Alps, unspoiled medieval villages clustered among the olive groves and many other highlights there is an enormous choice of things to enjoy - or you can just relax on the famous French Riviera beaches!

The Bouches-du-Rhone Department

The Bouches-du-Rhone department is to the south-west of Provence and offers a very diverse landscape from the protected marshy landscapes of the Camargue region, best known for its wildlife and stunning white Camargue horses, to the dramatic coast east of Marseille which includes the white cliffs of the Calanques near Cassis and the Route des Crêtes which follows the coast along the top of some of the highest sea cliffs in France.

Important towns in Bouches-du-Rhone include Arles, the historic city that preserves important Roman monuments and home to Van Gogh, the city of Marseille, and several other smaller market towns, each with a distinctive Provençal feel. One of the loveliest and liveliest towns you will find anywhere is Aix-en-Provence, with its long boulevards and tall palm trees that line the pavements. Every evening the streets are crammed with restaurant tables as the whole town appears to dine out! Hardly surprising as the menus are so enticing and fresh local produce so abundant.

Var Department

The Var department of France is the central-southern region of Provence, situated along the French Riviera between Bandol and Saint-Raphaël. Although the coast attracts the most visitors don't overlook the chance to explore the lovely countryside, scenery, mountains and forests, just a short distance away! As you leave the Var department and head towards the east and the Alpes-Maritimes department, the coast road south of the Massif d'Esterel is one of the most beautiful driving roads in France.

Towards the east of the Var department, the picturesque and lively town of Saint Tropez will be a highlight of your visit to the coast and a town that will exceed your expectations. The region around Saint-Tropez also has many interesting sights. Among others be sure to visit sunny Sainte-Maxime and also Port Grimaud. Beautiful medieval villages such as Gassin, Ramatuelle and La Croix-Valmer can be found just a few kilometres inland from Saint Tropez and are the perfect contrast to the heady riviera resorts.

On the coast in the western Var and close to the popular coastal resorts of Sanary-sur-Mer and Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, we recommend a visit to the vineyards around Bandol.

Vaucluse Department

The Vaucluse department of Provence is the ideal destination if you enjoy visiting traditional Provençal villages perched on craggy hilltops and important historical sites set within impressive natural scenery. Among the popular highlights are the lovely villages in the Luberon region to the south, the lavender fields of the Drome-Provencal to the east, the towns of Avignon and Orange to the west, and Mont Ventoux to the north.

The villages in and around the Luberon Regional Natural Park attract visitors from all over the world, due to their unspoiled traditional character and the stunning landscapes.

Luberon has a plethora of hilltop villages across the region including several that are classified as 'most beautiful villages of France' each with their own special attraction and characteristics. Among those to visit is Fontaine de Vaucluse, where you can see the source of the River Sourge, and the perched villages of Gordes and Roussillon. Other pretty villages of particular interest in the 'petit Luberon' include Bonnieux and Lacoste which features the famous château belonging to the Marquis de Sade.