Choosing to visit Provence is a fantastic idea. After all, it has long been a treasured destination for its beauty, its history, its bountiful blend of cultures, and its ideal weather. Wine, food, nature, gardens, scenery…it seems to have it all! As a client of Isle Blue, you get to enjoy the many splendors of Provence from your private villa, but we encourage you to spend even one day exploring the treasures that are contained in almost every valley, village or region.
While many say they feel almost overwhelmed by the options, we are happy to provide you with some unique ideas, focusing on some of the towns and districts that offer the most appeal to luxury travelers from all parts of the globe.
Called the most Provencal of all of the towns of Provence, it is still home to bullfighting, a Roman theater, a large cathedral, and the famous Café de Nuit (painted by Van Gogh). You can visit Place Lamartine, where Van Gogh lived and see for yourself the setting from which the painting “Starry Night” was created.
It is impossible to avoid enchantment with any city that you must enter through a medieval gated wall. This is a major cultural center, and yet it was also where the popes of the 1300s sought refuge, and built an impressive palace. A park behind the palace features a gentle hike that gives you one of the finest views of the Pont d’Avignon bridge, sparing you the need to fight with tourists to get near to it. The artisan district near Rue de la Republique is incredibly appealing, and the Place de L’Horloge is ideal for café dining and people watching.
A place of marshes and many birds, it features the Domaine de Mejanes farmstead and is close to the lovely Les Saintes Maries de la Mer resort along the sea. Those who want to see the expanse of this region will want to go to Piemancon beach, which is broad, open and usually quite empty – though beautiful.
This district is much less tourist-oriented than others, and it is a place where true wilderness exists. The pine forests of Brignoles and Lorgues are intriguing, and offer truly scenic driving and hiking. Nearby to Lourgues is Thoronet Abbey, and those who enjoy wine will want to sample the vintages in this area, especially the Chateau St. Roseline of Les Arcs. As you head north, you encounter improbably placed villages among the cliffs, such as Bargemon and Chateaudouble as well as Tourtour. Fine dining and celebrity sightings are not unheard in these out of the way spots, and a single day of driving will allow you to take in huge swaths of this area.
Europe’s Grand Canyon
Verdon Gorges is in the Haut Var district, but deserves a day all to itself. Only 15 miles in length, it is perfect for hiking or cycling. Pack a picnic and spend a day just marveling at the beauty. Don’t forget the camera for this trip.
Further destinations include the Pays Dignois district where Dignes Les Bain is found, the Valensole Plateau famous for its endless fields of lavender, Mont Ventoux for the cycling fans, and of course Aix en Provence. This city is another that requires a full day or more, and is best enjoyed on foot. Cours Mirabeau is a must see, and the entire town is packed with wonderful cafes, sites, and so much more.
Days spent wandering the grounds of your villa or cycling to the nearby towns is a splendid way to enjoy a holiday, but don’t forget to book a day of travel into the towns or districts mentioned here. Your Isle Blue concierge is happy to help you with your plans and can even offer helpful suggestions!