We love discovering new places and as we ventured into Provence for the first time last season, we were intrigued to find out more. Provence is a wonderful region with fantastic food and drink, beautiful surroundings and a perfect spot if you fancy a truly French experience.
We got the lowdown from one of the team who knows the area well:
#1 – Avignon
Located to the North of Provence, and just over an hour away from our new campsite Domaine des Iscles, ancient Avignon is a must for first time visitors to Provence. The 800 year old walls encircling the city definitely deserve to be explored, and hark back to Avignon’s past as a papal capital. This is also evident in the magnificent medieval fortress and Palais des Papes (Papal Palace) in the interior of the city. When you’ve had your fill of history, take time to explore the pretty cobbled streets and squares, or visit the renowned food market to sample some local delights. If you are holidaying in July you should definitely make a point of visiting Avignon to experience the famous performing arts festival that takes place at this time every year.
#2 – Les Gorges du Verdon and St Croix Lake
I know we’ve mentioned it in past blogs, but the gorgeous Verdon Gorges and emerald green St Croix Lake are really something to shout about. The immense gorges are often jokingly referred to as Europe’s answer to the Grand Canyon, and after visiting them it’s easy to see why. The 25km stretch carves its way through the Provence countryside offering many activities and spectacular views along the way. No exploration of the gorges would be complete without spending time at St Croix Lake, the biggest of all the lakes the river flows through. Here water sports lovers are spoilt for choice and can try their hand at windsurfing, kayaking and renting pedalos amongst other activities. Two of the new campsites in Provence – Camping le Coteau de la Marine and Domaine du Verdon – have direct access to the Verdon Park and river!
#3 – Nimes
Nimes is a bit more of a drive from most campsites, but definitely makes a worthwhile daytrip from Provence or Languedoc. Those willing to spend a couple of hours in a car will be rewarded when they see Nimes’ stunning amphitheatre that is second only to Rome’s. The town is also home to a 2000 year old Roman temple that will please all history buffs, who may also like to spend time strolling around Jardin de la Fontaine. This garden is free to visit and is home to many Roman monuments and beautiful statues. Nimes is very easy accessed by car, or alternatively by train for those staying near to a train station.
#4 – Sample the local cuisine
Provence really is a foodies dream. The menu here is truly Mediterranean, and you will definitely eat well here. Make sure to pack some loose clothing! Fruit and veg are fresh and tasty, no doubt a result of the almost year-round sunshine. One of the best things to do is stroll around a local market sampling the produce and picking up things for your next meal. The region is also scattered with many olive farms, vineyards and cheese producers who are always more than keen to give you a guided tour. The region is famous for pale rosé wine, and you will see many a local enjoying a chilled glass on a terrace whilst escaping the afternoon sun.
#5 – Take time to explore
One of the best things to do is to simply take time to wander. Provence is home to many pretty towns and villages and it’s not difficult to seek them out. The region can be easily explored by bike or foot and many itineraries will no doubt take you through the beautiful lavender fields and rolling hills that the region is famous for.
Canvas Holidays has three campsites in Provence.