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Provence off the beaten track

A guide to little known sights away from the tourist trail

Provence is one of the most popular holiday regions in the south of France. It covers a large area, from the Alps right down to the Mediterranean Sea. It’s known for its beautiful weather, lavender, wine and food. It’s a wonderful region to explore by bicycle or on foot, and it was one of Van Gogh’s favourite areas – he spent a lot of time in the region painting the countryside. It’s an area steeped in history, culture and language, it’s top of the list for some in the Belle France office, that’s for sure!

It’s also home to the French Riviera, sun, sand and the rich and famous with their yachts, so if you want to do a bit of celeb spotting, then Nice, Cannes or St Tropez will be the place for you. 

You’ll more than likely want to stop off at the beautiful city of Marseilles, it is the second largest city in France after all. Or if you are a cycling fan, then you may want to take time to visit the giant of the Tour de France – Mont Ventoux, which reaches almost 2,000 metres above sea level.

All of that aside, we want to share a couple of golden nuggets that aren’t often talked about, so if you want to explore Provence away from the hustle and bustle, how about these couple of stops?

History

Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard

First up is the magnificent Pont du Gard. It’s an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon river, and it’s so spectacular and of historical importance that it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. The structure itself is extremely impressive with its three tiers of arches, and the nearby town of Collias is a beautiful example of a small picturesque French town. It’s popular with kayakers and canoeists who paddle through the gorges.

We’ve include this wonderful stop on our Provence Prestige en Vélo and Prestige à Pied itineraries.

Second on our recommendations list would be a day trip to the limestone outcrops of Les Alpilles. It’s an area that represents what you would think of as traditional Provence, untouched traditions and natural environment, making it a magical place to visit. The mountains are covered with pine and oak forests, and standing at the top of them, you can see for miles, stunning panoramas filled with olive trees and traditional farmhouses.

It really is a day trip worth doing to get as close to the traditional ‘old’ Provence, it’s like you have been whisked away and have travelled back years.

If this sounds like a trip you’d like to do, this is included on our Van Gogh’s Provence walking tour.

So if that’s persuaded you to give Provence a go, then please get in touch with us to have a chat and let us know what you’d like to do. Provence is huge, after all, so there is plenty to see and do, and we can tailor your trip to suit your needs and wants. Our team are all regular visitors to the region, and they know all the great places to visit, eat, drink and stay so call us on +44 (0)1580 849 236, or send us an email.

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