Blessed with so many wonderful sights, sounds and tastes, the regions of Provence is situated in the southern France, bathed by the sun, marked by azure waters of the Mediterranean and sky of cobalt blue, poignant violet lavender fields, sunflower, poppy, olives and lemons.
It sounds like heaven, but there’s one little disadvantage: the only difficulty regarding going to this place is related to the decision of making a trip to Provence and determining where to go and what to see (sic)! Provence draws its fame from the impressionist painters such as Van Gogh and Cézanne, who used the penetrating light and dazzling palette of colors to paint their lively landscapes.
There are many areas in Provence which still bears traces of the past - older men gathered in Marseille playing petanque in the center of the city markets; people clinking glasses of pastis in the shade of the cafes; stalls in markets with seasonal produce from local farms; fresh fish of Marseille brought to market directly from the boats; Roman ruins and medieval villages with cobbled streets.
No wonder that Provence is one of the most popular visiting areas of France. And although you probably get a lifetime to explore the region which is so varied and colorful, you can find below a couple of suggestions of the coolest things you can do and see in Provence. The order is random and there are many things besides that, but we only want to tempt your appetite for traveling.
Visit the Palace of the Popes and the famous Pont d'Avignon (you remember the nursery song, don’t you? ;) ). Nicknamed the "City of the Popes', Avignon is an extremely charming village. The impressive and extremely well preserved architecture makes it not only picturesque, but also full of history. The Palace of the Popes, which was the headquarters which hosted a few popes during the XIV century, boasts with its cavernous rooms, very beautiful outdoor places, being also the largest gothic palace in the world.
Although Avignon is perhaps best known for its famous bridge - Pont St. Benezet or the Pont d'Avignon -, the city is vibrant and has a very active student community, a lot of history, and it also represents a landmark for the commencement of exploration of the entire Provence region.
Another memorable thing to do is take a walk through the Vieux Port of Marseille and eat the specialty of the place known as "bouillabaisse". Marseille, France's second largest city, is not what many people imagine when they think of quiet towns located between fields of lavender. It's big, tough and messy, but do not let the exterior aspects (sometimes daunting) disappoint you.
Visitors must necessarily go to Marseille Vieux Port area of the city, where they will find stalls full of Provencal products, Moroccan markets and a centuries-old fish market with specialties brought directly from the sea. Vieux Port is, in fact, the old port of the city, with good and bad, with the disreputable bars and prostitutes who invite you to the brink exposing their charms, but with great locations nearby, where interesting events often take place. In the surrounding area, called Le Panier, you will find narrow, winding streets and authentic shops. On most of these streets cars are forbidden, being intended solely for shopping, such as Rue St-Feereol.
And the highlight of the travel!
Stop somewhere and get a bowl of hot bouillabaisse, a traditional dish of broiled fish, which contains various types of fish, shellfish and vegetables flavored with herbs and spices such as garlic, orange peel, basil, bay leaves, anise and saffron. This will be one of a kind experience that will transport you in one of marcel Proust’s novels…
Pic8: cypruswalksetc.comPROVENCE – A FRESCO PAINTED BY THE MASTERFUL HANDS OF NATURE AND HISTORY PROVENCE – A FRESCO PAINTED BY THE MASTERFUL HANDS OF NATURE AND HISTORY