Provence is impossibly romantic, a place where all the cliches ring true. It's a large region and covers everything the romantic could want: a sparkling Mediterranean coast; tiny fortified villages perched on hilltops that catch your eye; olive groves; lavender fields and some of the most beautiful towns where fountains keep the hot sun at bay.
Provence became the Impressionist painters' favorite place while today photographers vie with each other for the most beautiful images.
Image of Lavender Field in Provence
Provence is a blend of mountains and seaside, charming villages and bustling cities, fine cuisine and stunning art.
This image of a field of lavender is in Provence. One of the most famous places for seeing lavender is in front of the Abbaye de Sénanque in the Vaucluse, one of the great French Cistercian abbeys of France. It's near the charming village of Gordes and is still functioning as an abbey.
Aix-en-Provence is a lovely southern France city filled with leafy squares where fountains cool down the hot summer sun. It's easy to get to from Paris or from the UK. This is the city where Paul Cezanne was born, and where he continued to live and paint throughout his life. Visit the city and you can see why it's attracted artists, writers, and visitors after the good life of southern France.
Cours Selaya in Nice
Image of the Cours Selaya in Nice, home to the popular Flower Market. This is a bustling thoroughfare lined with shops, cafés and boutiques in Old Nice (Vieux Nice). It's one of the top attractions of Nice.
Get here early in the morning for a coffee in the square, and perhaps meet up with Rosa Jackson for a tour of the market to buy produce to cook at one of her excellent cookery lessons.
Col de Lautaret pass in the Hautes Alpes (High Alps).
The Col de Lautaret pass in the Hautes Alpes (High Alps). Marking the boundary between the river valleys of the Romanche and the Guisane, it was for centuries the main route between Grenoble and Briançon. Bordering Italy, it's both a summer and winter destination.
The Col is particularly loved by cyclists and has featured in the Tour de France, 40 times since 1947, the most recent being in 2014.
Avignon's Palais des Papes
The Palais des Papes in Avignon is one of the treasures of the south of France. Both fortress and palace, it was the home of the Popes who had defected from Rome in the Middle Ages. It's at the heart of Avignon, a superb city to visit.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Antiques Market
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a delightful small town in the Vaucluse, particularly popular with antique hunters. It's full of small, and large, shops selling antiques, has a weekly fair and two major antique fairs at Easter and in August.
Hilltop village of Seillans in the Var
Seillans is a delightful village in Provence, its warm stone buildings seeming to tumble down the hillside. In the summer there's a wonderful, intimate music festival which combines good classical music with open-air dining.
Seillans is one of the most delightful fortified hilltop villages in the Var.
Menton on the Cote d'Azur
Menton is a pretty town, known for its flowers and its rather odd and definitely different annual citrus festival which takes over the town with floats made out of oranges and lemons, market stalls and gardens open to the public.
The Gorges du Verdon
The fabulous Gorges of the Verdon is France's answer to the Grand Canyon. Not so spectacular, but the twisting river valley way below you offers one of the most spectacular and photogenic road trips in the south of France.
Glitzy St. Tropez
Ever since Brigitte Bardot turned St. Tropez into a glitzy destination, this once tiny fishing port has been a major destination. If you can, go out of season when the streets are quiet and the bars and restaurants less crowded. You'll discover that St. Tropez is a surprisingly quaint village and well worth a visit.