10 Reasons Provence is a History Enthusiast’s Dream Destination

Provence, located in the southeastern part of France along the Mediterranean coast, boasts a rich and diverse history that spans thousands of years. Its strategic location and fertile land have made it a coveted territory for various ancient civilizations, each of which left its mark on the region’s culture, architecture, and traditions.

Ancient civilizations and their influence

The history of Provence can be traced back to the ancient Ligurians, a prehistoric people who inhabited the region as early as 3000 BCE. They were followed by the Phoenicians, who established the first trading post in present-day Marseille around 600 BCE. The Greeks arrived shortly after and founded several colonies, including the city of Massalia (now Marseille) and Glanum. The Greek influence on Provence is still evident today in the region’s architecture, art, and culinary traditions.

The Roman period

Provence became a part of the Roman Empire in the 2nd century BCE, following the defeat of the local Celtic tribes. The Romans left a lasting impact on the region, constructing impressive monuments, cities, and infrastructure that still stand today. Examples of Roman architecture can be found throughout Provence, such as the Pont du Gard Aqueduct, the Amphitheatre of Arles, and the Triumphal Arch of Orange.

Medieval times and the Renaissance

Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Provence experienced a period of political instability and was ruled by various powers, including the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Lombards.

In the 10th century, Provence became a part of the Holy Roman Empire and later the Kingdom of France. During the medieval period, the region witnessed the construction of impressive castles, fortresses, and villages, which served as centers of trade, defense, and religious life.

The Renaissance brought a renewed interest in art, science, and learning, and Provence flourished as a cultural center.

Modern-day Provence

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Provence continued to evolve and develop, with the growth of industry, tourism, and agriculture. The region’s stunning landscapes and rich history attracted artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne, whose works immortalized the beauty of the region.

Today, Provence is a popular tourist destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Table of Contents

  1. Roman Architecture in Provence
    • The Amphitheatre of Arles
    • The Pont du Gard Aqueduct
    • The Triumphal Arch of Orange
    • The Village of Vaison-la-Romaine near Mount Ventoux
  2. Medieval Villages and Castles
    • Les Baux-de-Provence: A rocky fortress
    • Gordes: A hilltop gem
    • Château de Tarascon: A medieval marvel
    • The Perched Village of Bonnieux
    • The Fortified Village of Ménerbes
  3. World-Class Museums
    • Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence
    • Musée de l’Arles et de la Provence Antique
    • Museums in Avignon: Calvet, Petit Palais and Angladon
  4. UNESCO World Heritage Sites
    • Historic Centre of Avignon
    • Roman and Romanesque Monuments of Arles
    • The Village of Goult
    • The Village of Lourmarin
  5. Lavender Fields and Ancient Monasteries
    • Senanque Abbey
    • The Lavender Fields near Sault at the Base of Mount Ventoux
    • The Valensole Plateau: A purple paradise
  6. Artistic Legacy and Inspiration
    • Van Gogh’s Provence: Following in his footsteps
    • Cézanne’s Aix-en-Provence: Art in the landscape
    • The Ochre Trail in Roussillon
  7. Provençal Cuisine and Culinary Traditions
  8. Ancient Ruins and Archaeological Sites
    • The Ancient Greek city of Glanum
    • The Roman ruins of Vaison-la-Romaine
    • The Archaeological Site of Puymin in Vaison-la-Romaine, near Mount Ventoux
  9. Historic Wine Regions and Vineyards
    • Châteauneuf-du-Pape: A wine lover’s paradise
    • Les Baux-de-Provence Wine Region in the Alpilles
    • The new comer: Ventoux
  10. Local Festivals and Historical Events
    • The Fête des Gardians in Arles
    • The Cherry Festival in Venasque, near the Luberon
    • The International Festival of Lyric Art in Aix-en-Provence
  11. Tips for planning your trip to Provence

Reason 1: Roman Architecture in Provence

Provence boasts an incredible array of well-preserved Roman architectural wonders, transporting history enthusiasts back in time to an era of imperial grandeur. Some of the most iconic and awe-inspiring structures include the Amphitheatre of Arles, the Pont du Gard Aqueduct, and the Triumphal Arch of Orange.

The Amphitheatre of Arles

Distance from our B&B: 65 km (1 hour drive).

Aerial view of the Amphitheatre of Arles
Photo by Lucas Miguel

Constructed during the 1st century AD, the Amphitheatre of Arles is a prime example of Roman engineering and architectural prowess. With a seating capacity of over 20,000 spectators, the amphitheater once played host to enthralling gladiator battles and chariot races.

Today, visitors can walk through the ancient corridors and marvel at the elliptical design of the amphitheater, which continues to serve as a venue for concerts, theatrical performances, and bullfights.

The Pont du Gard Aqueduct

Distance from our B&B: 57 km (1 hour drive).

The Pont du Gard Aqueduct is a true testament to the Romans’ mastery of engineering and their ability to harmoniously blend form and function. This majestic three-tiered aqueduct, built around 19 BC, was once part of a vast water transportation system that stretched for nearly 50 kilometers (31 miles).

Visitors can stroll along the banks of the Gardon River and admire the colossal limestone structure, which stands as a remarkable feat of Roman ingenuity.

The Triumphal Arch of Orange

Distance from our B&B: 35 km (40 min drive).

Erected between 10 BC and 25 AD, the Triumphal Arch of Orange commemorates the victories of the Roman military and the establishment of the Pax Romana, a period of relative peace and stability throughout the empire. The arch is adorned with intricate reliefs depicting scenes of Roman conquests, naval battles, and the submission of defeated enemies.

Set against the backdrop of the vibrant Provençal countryside, the Triumphal Arch of Orange is an enduring symbol of the region’s ancient past and a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

The Village of Vaison-la-Romaine near Mount Ventoux

Distance from our B&B: 35 km (40 min drive).

Vaison-la-Romaine is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, located near the impressive Mount Ventoux. This village offers a unique opportunity to explore an extensive Roman archaeological site, including a well-preserved Roman theater, ancient streets, and a collection of impressive mosaics.

Reason 2: Medieval Villages and Castles

Provence is home to numerous enchanting medieval villages and castles that whisk visitors away to a time of knights, chivalry, and fortresses. Among these are the remarkable Les Baux-de-Provence, the picturesque Gordes, and the impressive Château de Tarascon.

Les Baux-de-Provence: A rocky fortress

Distance from our B&B: 55 km (1 hour drive).

Perched on a dramatic limestone outcrop, Les Baux-de-Provence offers an unforgettable journey into the Middle Ages. The village’s narrow, cobblestone streets are lined with charming stone houses, artisan shops, and quaint cafes, inviting visitors to explore at a leisurely pace.

At the summit of the village, the ruins of the fortified Château des Baux stand proudly, offering panoramic views of the surrounding Alpilles mountain range and the lush Provençal countryside.

Gordes: A hilltop gem

Distance from our B&B: 20 km (25 min drive).

View of Gordes village

Gordes is a captivating medieval village nestled on a hilltop in the heart of the Luberon region. Its honey-colored stone buildings, narrow alleyways, and fortified castle create an atmosphere of timeless beauty.

Visitors can stroll through the village’s labyrinthine streets, visit the imposing Château de Gordes, and enjoy breathtaking views of the verdant valleys below. Gordes also hosts a vibrant weekly market, where locals and tourists alike can discover the region’s finest produce and handcrafted goods.

Château de Tarascon: A medieval marvel

Distance from our B&B: 55 km (1 hour drive).

Château de Tarascon
Photo by Susan Jones

Situated on the banks of the Rhône River, the Château de Tarascon is a well-preserved medieval fortress that boasts a rich history dating back to the 15th century. The castle was built by the Counts of Provence to defend the region against invasion and served as a royal residence during the Renaissance.

Visitors can explore the castle’s towers, ramparts, and inner courtyards, and admire the intricate frescoes that adorn its walls. The Château de Tarascon also hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts.

The Perched Village of Bonnieux in Luberon

Distance from our B&B: 35 km (40 min drive).

Bonnieux is a picturesque village perched atop a hill in the Luberon. Its narrow streets, ancient buildings, and stunning views make it an unmissable destination. The village boasts several historical sites, such as the 12th-century church of Vieille Eglise, which offers panoramic views of the valley. Wander through the charming streets lined with medieval houses, and visit the Cedar Forest, a beautiful natural area established by Napoleon III.

The Fortified Village of Ménerbes in the Luberon

Distance from our B&B: 30 km (35 min drive).

Ménerbes is another beautiful hilltop village in the Luberon, known for its fortified walls and rich history. This charming village was once a stronghold during the Wars of Religion and has been home to several famous artists, including Picasso. Explore its cobbled streets, admire the 16th-century fortress, and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Reason 3: World-Class Museums

Provence boasts a variety of world-class museums that cater to the interests of history enthusiasts and art lovers alike. Some of the most notable institutions include the Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence, the Musée de l’Arles et de la Provence Antique, and the Musée Matisse in Nice.

Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence

Distance from our B&B: 85 km (1 hour drive).

Housed in a historic 17th-century building, the Musée Granet features an extensive collection of over 12,000 artworks, ranging from ancient archaeological artifacts to modern masterpieces. The museum’s impressive selection includes works by renowned artists such as Cézanne, Picasso, and Rembrandt.

Temporary exhibitions showcase the talent of both local and international artists, ensuring a fresh and engaging experience for visitors.

Musée de l’Arles et de la Provence Antique

Distance from our B&B: 74 km (1 hour drive).

Located in the heart of Arles, the Musée de l’Arles et de la Provence Antique offers a fascinating journey through the region’s ancient history. The museum’s collection features a vast array of artifacts, including Roman mosaics, statues, and funerary objects, as well as exhibits dedicated to the region’s Celtic and Etruscan past.

Interactive displays and engaging multimedia presentations provide an immersive and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Museums in Avignon: Calvet, Petit Palais and Angladon

Distance from our B&B: 32 km (33 min drive).

The Calvet Museum exhibits in a beautiful 11th century mansion paintings, sculptures and art objects from the 15th to the 20th century but also an interesting Egyptian collection, Asian and Islamic art. Gericault, Claudel, Manet, Sisley and Vlaminck are some of the many artists presented at the Calvet museum.

The Campana collection in Petit Palais museum, with more than 300 works, offers visitors a wonderful discovery of Italian painting and its evolution, from 13th century works subject to Byzantine influences to the Florentine pictorial revolution and its influence: a true panorama of Italian painting. both through some of the most famous names of this period (Botticelli, Carpaccio) and many masters and workshops from almost all regions of the peninsula. But the Petit Palais is also a museum of medieval art from Avignon and Provence and presents a particularly rich set of funerary sculptures from the 14th century, including the impressive tomb of Cardinal Jean de Lagrange, as well as paintings from what was in the 15th century. century one of the most innovative pictorial centers in France, the School of Avignon: it is all the richness of the artistic center of Avignon from the 14th and then the 15th century which is unveiled.

Installed in the former palace of the archbishops whose construction began at the beginning of the 14th century when the papacy moved to Avignon, the Petit Palais museum enjoys a prestigious location on the Place du Palais des Papes, in the heart of the perimeter of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to this exceptional location and the quality of its collections, the Petit Palais Museum can be proud to be one of the great European museums of the Middle Ages.

Angladon museum. This house-museum presents the collection of Jacques Doucet: works by Degas, Cézanne, Modigliani, Sisley, Van Gogh and even Picasso. There are also period furniture and objects and some superb rooms, such as the Renaissance salon or the Far East cabinet.

Reason 4: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Provence is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which are recognized for their outstanding universal value and historical significance. These sites offer a unique opportunity for history enthusiasts to explore some of the most remarkable cultural and architectural landmarks in the region.

Historic Centre of Avignon

Distance from our B&B: 32 km (30 min drive).

Avignon Bridge
Photo by Chelsea Essig

The historic centre of Avignon, known as the “City of Popes,” is a treasure trove of architectural and artistic masterpieces. From 1309 to 1377, Avignon was the seat of the papacy, and its influence as a religious, political, and cultural center is evident in its well-preserved monuments.

Notable sites include the Palais des Papes, the largest Gothic palace in Europe, and the iconic Pont d’Avignon, which spans the Rhône River. Visitors can also explore the city’s narrow streets, charming squares, and numerous churches and chapels that reflect Avignon’s rich history.

Roman and Romanesque Monuments of Arles

Distance from our B&B: 70 km (1 hour drive).

Arles is renowned for its impressive collection of Roman and Romanesque monuments, which stand as a testament to the city’s ancient past and its importance as a crossroads of Mediterranean civilizations.

Notable sites include the aforementioned Amphitheatre of Arles, the Roman Theatre, and the Alyscamps, a Roman necropolis. The city’s Romanesque architecture is exemplified by the Church of Saint Trophime, which features a magnificent carved portal and a serene cloister.

The Village of Goult in the Luberon

Distance from our B&B: 30 km (35 min drive).

Goult, a hidden gem in the Luberon, boasts charming streets and beautiful architecture. Although not a UNESCO site, its historic charm makes it a worthwhile visit while exploring the region.

The Village of Lourmarin in the Luberon

Distance from our B&B: 50 km (55 min drive).

Lourmarin, nestled in the heart of the Luberon, is a picturesque village with a rich historical heritage. While not a UNESCO site, its winding streets, beautiful fountains, and charming architecture make it an ideal complement to your UNESCO explorations. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the 15th-century Château de Lourmarin, a stunning example of Renaissance architecture, and the final resting place of French author Albert Camus.

Reason 5: Lavender Fields and Ancient Monasteries

Provence’s iconic lavender fields and ancient monasteries offer a serene escape from the bustling cities and tourist attractions. These picturesque landscapes are steeped in history and provide a peaceful setting for contemplation and relaxation.

Senanque Abbey: A serene retreat

Distance from our B&B: 22 km (30 min drive).

Abbey de Senanque, Gordes, France
Abbey de Senanque, Gordes, France” by amycgx

Nestled in a verdant valley near the village of Gordes, Senanque Abbey is a 12th-century Cistercian monastery surrounded by fragrant lavender fields. The abbey’s austere Romanesque architecture and tranquil atmosphere offer a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the simplicity and spirituality of monastic life.

Guided tours provide insight into the abbey’s rich history and its continuing role as a working monastery. During the summer months, the blooming lavender fields create a stunning backdrop for this ancient monument.

The Lavender Fields near Sault at the Base of Mount Ventoux

Distance from our B&B: 40 km (40 min drive).

The area surrounding Sault, at the base of Mount Ventoux, offers magnificent lavender fields during the blooming season. These fields create a breathtaking landscape with their vibrant colors and intoxicating fragrance. Visit the nearby Lavender Museum to learn about the cultivation, distillation, and uses of this iconic Provençal flower. Enjoy a guided tour, participate in a workshop, or take home some lavender-infused products as a memento of your visit.

The Valensole Plateau: A purple paradise

Distance from our B&B: 95 km (1,5 hours drive).

Photo of Lavender at the Valensole Plateau in Provence, France
Photo by Simon Spring

The Valensole Plateau is one of Provence’s most iconic landscapes, with its rolling hills blanketed in vibrant lavender fields. This vast expanse is home to numerous ancient monasteries and chapels that have stood the test of time, offering a harmonious blend of natural beauty and historical significance.

Visitors can explore these sacred sites, take guided tours of local lavender farms, and indulge in the region’s fragrant lavender products. The Valensole Plateau is an essential stop on any history enthusiast’s Provence itinerary, providing a captivating and sensory experience that will leave a lasting impression.

Reason 6: Artistic Legacy and Inspiration

Provence has long been a source of inspiration for artists, who have been captivated by its vibrant colors, stunning landscapes, and unique light. The region’s artistic legacy is particularly evident in the lives and works of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne, who both left an indelible mark on the history of art.

Van Gogh’s Provence: Following in his footsteps

Cafe Van Gogh during daytime
Photo by Frank Eiffert

Vincent van Gogh’s time in Provence, specifically in Arles and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, was a prolific period in his career. The vivid colors, diverse landscapes, and local culture provided the perfect canvas for his artistic expression.

Today, visitors can retrace Van Gogh’s footsteps by visiting the locations that inspired some of his most iconic paintings, such as “Starry Night” and “Café Terrace at Night.” The Van Gogh walking tour in Arles and the Van Gogh Trail in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence offer a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the artist’s world and to see the landscapes that shaped his vision.

Cézanne’s Aix-en-Provence: Art in the landscape

Landscape of Aix en provence by Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne. Landscape of Aix en provence. (Collection Chtchoukine. Moscou. Musée Pouchkine. Exposition” by jean louis mazieres

Paul Cézanne, a native of Aix-en-Provence, was deeply inspired by the region’s landscapes, particularly Mont Sainte-Victoire, which he painted numerous times throughout his life.

Visitors can explore Cézanne’s studio, the Atelier de Cézanne, where he created many of his masterpieces, and discover the locations that inspired his work. A guided walk through Aix-en-Provence reveals the city’s artistic heritage and its influence on Cézanne’s artistic development.

The nearby Bibémus Quarries, where Cézanne painted several of his iconic Mont Sainte-Victoire landscapes, offer a glimpse into the artist’s creative process and his profound connection to the region.

The Ochre Trail in Roussillon, Luberon

Distance from our B&B: 30 km (40 min drive).

Roussillon - Le Sentier des Ocres
Roussillon – Le Sentier des Ocres 05” by European Roads

The Ochre Trail (Le Sentier des Ocres) in Roussillon is a stunning natural site in the Luberon, offering an extraordinary landscape of vibrant ochre cliffs. The trail meanders through a former ochre quarry, showcasing the fascinating geological formations and the rich palette of colors. This unique site has inspired countless artists over the centuries, and visitors can explore the village of Roussillon to discover local art galleries, workshops, and exhibitions.

Reason 7: Provençal Cuisine and Culinary Traditions

The flavors and culinary traditions of Provence are deeply rooted in the region’s history, with influences from neighboring Mediterranean countries, local agriculture, and the native herbs and spices. Sampling Provençal cuisine is an essential part of any visit to the region, offering a taste of its rich culture and heritage.

The history of Provençal cuisine

Provençal cuisine is characterized by its fresh, locally sourced ingredients, simple yet flavorful preparations, and the abundant use of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and lavender. The region’s culinary traditions have been shaped by its diverse history, which includes Greek, Roman, and Moorish influences. Olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes serve as the foundation of many Provençal dishes, while fresh seafood and seasonal produce reflect the region’s coastal location and fertile soil.

Local Market in St-Rémy-de-Provence, Alpilles

Distance from our B&B: 45 km (45 min drive).

Experience the flavors of Provence by visiting the local market in St-Rémy-de-Provence, nestled in the Alpilles. This bustling market offers a wide array of fresh produce, local specialties, and Provençal delicacies. Sample artisanal cheeses, olives, and pastries while browsing the vibrant stalls.

Sampling traditional dishes in historic settings

A plate of ratatouille
Photo by amirali mirhashemian

From bustling markets and street-side cafes to centuries-old restaurants and farm-to-table establishments, there are countless opportunities to sample traditional Provençal cuisine in settings that evoke the region’s rich history.

Must-try dishes include bouillabaisse, a fragrant fish stew; ratatouille, a vegetable medley featuring eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers; and tapenade, a flavorful olive and caper spread.

Pair your meal with a glass of local rosé wine, and savor the taste of Provence’s culinary traditions as you immerse yourself in its historic atmosphere.

Reason 8: Ancient Ruins and Archaeological Sites

Provence is home to numerous ancient ruins and archaeological sites that showcase the region’s rich history and the civilizations that once thrived there. Exploring these sites offers a unique opportunity to delve into the past and discover the stories behind the stones.

The Ancient Greek city of Glanum

Distance from our B&B: 46 km (45 min drive).

The Mausoleum of the Julii and Triumphal Arch, Glanum, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
The Mausoleum of the Julii and Triumphal Arch, Glanum” by Following Hadrian

Located near the picturesque town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Glanum is an ancient Greek city founded in the 3rd century BCE. This archaeological site features well-preserved ruins, including a monumental arch, a basilica, and several temples. Glanum provides a fascinating insight into the daily life, religion, and architecture of the ancient Greeks and Romans who once inhabited the region.

Visitors can wander the site, take a guided tour, or explore the adjacent archaeological museum to learn more about the history of Glanum and its inhabitants.

The Roman ruins of Vaison-la-Romaine

Distance from our B&B: 34 km (40 min drive).

The charming town of Vaison-la-Romaine is home to an impressive collection of Roman ruins that date back to the 1st century BCE. Visitors can explore the remains of an ancient Roman theater, baths, villas, and shops, as well as a well-preserved Roman bridge that still spans the Ouvèze River.

The archaeological museum in Vaison-la-Romaine houses an extensive collection of artifacts and offers a detailed glimpse into the lives of the town’s Roman inhabitants.

The Archaeological Site of Puymin in Vaison-la-Romaine, near Mount Ventoux

Distance from our B&B: 35 km (40 min drive).

The archaeological site of Puymin, located in Vaison-la-Romaine near Mount Ventoux, offers a fascinating look into the Roman era. Explore the well-preserved ruins of a Roman villa, complete with mosaics and sculptures, and wander through the remnants of an ancient Roman theater. The site also features a museum displaying artifacts found during excavations, providing a deeper understanding of the daily life and customs of the Roman period.

Reason 9: Historic Wine Regions and Vineyards

Provence is known for its world-class wine regions and vineyards, which have been producing exceptional wines for centuries. Wine enthusiasts can explore these historic wine-producing areas and learn about the region’s winemaking traditions and techniques.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape: A wine lover’s paradise

Distance from our B&B: 27 km (30 min drive).

Photo by Larry from Charlottetown, PEI, Canada

The renowned wine region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, located near Avignon, is a must-visit destination for wine lovers. Known for its rich, full-bodied red wines, this historic appellation boasts over 3,200 hectares of vineyards and a history dating back to the 14th century, when it was the preferred wine of the papacy during their residence in Avignon.

Visitors can take guided tours of the vineyards (please contact us, we can recommend you some professionals), enjoy wine tastings at local cellars, and explore the charming village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which features a medieval castle with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Les Baux-de-Provence Wine Region in the Alpilles

The Les Baux-de-Provence wine region, located in the heart of the Alpilles, is known for its exceptional wines and stunning landscapes. Visit renowned wineries such as Domaine de Trévallon and Mas de la Dame, where you can sample organic and biodynamic wines while learning about the winemaking process and the region’s unique terroir. The picturesque surroundings and exquisite wines make for an unforgettable experience in Provence.

The new comer: Ventoux

Distance from our B&B: 5 km (5 min drive).

This appellation is an upcoming one as several winemakers realised the potential of this region, and are now producing excellent wines, able to compete with Châteauneuf or Gigondas. Best are the ones on the hills (benefiting from cool nights), and these great wineries offer great value for money wines since the Appellation is not the most reputed one. To name a few to fill up your trunk: Chateau Unang, Domaine du Tix, Domaine Fondrèche, Domaine Martinelle, Clos de Trias…

The history of winemaking in Provence

Winemaking in Provence dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who introduced viticulture to the region over 2,500 years ago. Over the centuries, Provence has developed a reputation for its diverse and high-quality wines, including its famous rosés.

Wine enthusiasts can explore the region’s many vineyards and wineries, learn about traditional and modern winemaking techniques, and sample a wide range of varietals and blends that reflect Provence’s unique terroir and winemaking heritage.

Reason 10: Local Festivals and Historical Events

Provence is renowned for its lively local festivals and historical events, which celebrate the region’s rich culture, traditions, and heritage. These events provide a unique opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the local atmosphere and experience Provence’s festive spirit.

The Fête des Gardians in Arles

Distance from our B&B: 70 km (1 hour drive).

The Fête des Gardians, held annually on May 1st in Arles, is a colorful celebration of the region’s traditional horsemen, known as “gardians.” The festivities include a procession of horse-drawn carriages, folk dancing, traditional music, and bull-running events.

Visitors can join in the celebration, enjoy the lively atmosphere, and learn about the important role that the gardians play in preserving the region’s cultural heritage and traditions.

The Cherry Festival in Venasque, near the Luberon

Distance from our B&B: 6 km (10 min drive).

The Cherry Festival in Venasque, a charming village near the Luberon, is an annual event that celebrates the region’s bountiful cherry harvest. The festival features a lively market, where you can taste various cherry-based products, attend cooking demonstrations, and participate in cherry-picking activities.

The International Festival of Lyric Art in Aix-en-Provence

Distance from our B&B: 85 km (1 hour drive).

Held each summer in the picturesque city of Aix-en-Provence, the International Festival of Lyric Art is a renowned event that showcases world-class opera and classical music performances. The festival, which was founded in 1948, attracts some of the world’s most talented musicians, singers, and conductors, and takes place in various historic venues throughout the city, such as the Grand Théâtre de Provence and the open-air Théâtre de l’Archevêché.

Attending the International Festival of Lyric Art offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy exceptional music in stunning settings while experiencing the vibrant cultural life of Aix-en-Provence.

Making the Most of Your Historic Journey in Provence

To make the most of your historic journey, be sure to plan your trip carefully, taking into account the season, local events, and the specific sites and attractions that interest you most.

Tips for planning your trip to Provence

For all below points, please do not hesitate to email us (contact@bastide-saint-didier.com) so we can recommend you what is best according to your travel period, length of your stay and your expectations. We would be more than happy to help you through this planning.

  1. Research the best time to visit:
    The ideal time to visit Provence depends on your interests and preferences. While summer offers warm weather and a lively atmosphere, it can also be crowded and expensive. Spring and fall provide milder temperatures and fewer crowds, making it an ideal time to explore the region’s historical sites and natural beauty.
  2. Prioritize your interests:
    With so much to see and do in Provence, it’s essential to prioritize your interests and plan your itinerary accordingly. Determine which historical sites, museums, and attractions are most important to you, and create a schedule that allows ample time to explore each location.
  3. Book accommodations in advance:
    Provence is a popular tourist destination, so it’s essential to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Consider staying at charming B&Bs in off-the-beaten-path towns and villages, which offer several advantages:  
    • Authentic experience: Staying in smaller towns and villages allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and truly experience the Provençal way of life.
    • Peaceful surroundings: By choosing accommodations in lesser-known towns and villages, you can escape the hustle and bustle of the more popular tourist destinations, providing a more peaceful and relaxing atmosphere to unwind after a day of exploration.
    • Personalized service: B&Bs in smaller communities often offer a more personalized and intimate experience, with attentive hosts who can provide insider tips and recommendations on the best sites, activities, and restaurants in the area.
    • Cost-effective option: Staying in off-the-beaten-path locations can often be more affordable than accommodations in larger cities, allowing you to save money while still enjoying the beauty and history of Provence.
    • Easy access to surrounding attractions: Many lesser-known towns and villages in Provence are conveniently located near major historical sites and attractions, allowing you to easily explore the region while enjoying the charm of a smaller community.
  4. Consider guided tours:
    Guided tours can offer valuable insight into the region’s history and culture, and help you make the most of your time in Provence. Many historical sites, museums, and attractions offer guided tours or audio guides, which can enhance your understanding and appreciation of the region’s rich heritage.
  5. Learn basic French:
    While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, learning some basic French phrases can greatly enhance your experience in Provence. Not only will it help you communicate with locals and navigate the region, but it will also demonstrate your respect for the local culture and traditions.
  6. Rent a car:
    To make the most of your visit to Provence, consider renting a car. This will allow you to easily explore the many historical sites, villages, and attractions scattered throughout the region, as well as enjoy the scenic drives and stunning landscapes that Provence has to offer.
  7. Be prepared for varied weather:
    While Provence is known for its sunny climate, the weather can be unpredictable, especially in the mountains and during the shoulder seasons. Be prepared for sudden changes in weather by packing layers, rain gear, and appropriate footwear.
  8. Embrace local customs and traditions:
    Provence has a rich history and distinct regional culture that is best appreciated when you immerse yourself in the local customs and traditions. Take part in local festivals, dine at traditional restaurants, and explore the region’s vibrant markets to truly experience the unique charm of Provence.
  9. Allocate time for relaxation:
    While it’s important to make the most of your time in Provence, don’t forget to allocate some time for relaxation and leisure. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through a medieval village, sip a glass of local wine at a vineyard, or simply bask in the beauty of the region’s landscapes. These moments of tranquility will provide lasting memories and a true appreciation for the enchanting region of Provence.
  10. Learn about the region’s history before your trip:
    To fully appreciate the historical sites and attractions you’ll be visiting, take the time to learn about Provence’s history before your trip. This will not only enrich your experience but also provide you with a deeper understanding of the region’s fascinating past and its enduring cultural heritage.

By exploring Provence’s historic sites, savoring its culinary delights, and participating in local festivals, you’ll discover why this enchanting region is a dream destination for history enthusiasts.