Any visit to Provence is going to have a distinct air of romance. With the gorgeous scenery, the French cuisine, the charming villages and the seemingly endless glasses of wine, it is the ultimate romantic’s destination. However, you can make that even more romantic when you ensure your itinerary features some out of the way spots noted for their charm, privacy and idyllic settings perfect for the honeymooning couple or pair on a romantic retreat.
Below is a day trip idea that can get you out of your perfect and private villa and into the countryside where the views, food and people will make it an unforgettable holiday.
Let’s start in iconic Aix-en-Provence.
Your day should start with a meal in what is typically described as the finest hotel in the city – Villa Gallici. The immense and opulent breakfasts are unforgettable, featuring pain au chocolat, fresh croissants, local jam, fresh yogurt, and unforgettable mocha coffee all served up on the hotel’s charming china.
After dining, make your way to Cours Mirabeau and decide which of the fountains or squares is your favorite. If you are wise enough to visit on a Saturday, you also get to savor what is easily one of the finest market days in Europe, and if it also happens to be October, the harvest festival will have you wishing you could pack up and relocate to the town!
As you make your way along the cours, be sure to pop into Confiserie du Roy Rene in order to grab what is unarguably one of the best souvenirs – the calisson candies made of almonds and remarkably delicious. Once you reach the Hotel de Ville, you will encounter charming shaded streets planted in the time of Napoleon and if you are here on market day (and you MUST try to make this happen), it is also the place to purchase bunches of lavender.
Make your way back up the cours and pay a visit to one of the man cafes to enjoy an espresso before making your way to the rue Quatre Septembre and paying a visit to the Musee Granet to take in its amazing collection.
Another trip might be to charming Cassis, what many say is the most underrated and charming of the region’s seaside towns. This is an actual working harbor and the perfect destination for an unforgettable stroll along the promenade before an equally unforgettable lunch. If you have time, book a motorboat tour of the nearby coves, but make sure to return for your lunch. A local favorite is Nino at Quai Jean Jacques Barthelemy, and here you should order only one thing – their famous bouillabaisse.
As you head out of town, be sure to take the winding and jaw-dropping Route des Cretes that leads to the amazing terraced fields and panoramic views above town.
Of course, you may want to see more than just a quaint village or town during your day of Provence exploration. If that is the case, an ideal route would begin Aix-en-Provence and head to Forcalquier and into the Luberon Mountain area. This path takes you through gorgeous forests and rolling landscapes. If it is market day (Monday), you will want to enjoy some time savoring the local fare before driving to Mane where you will most certainly want to stop into the world-famous L’Occitane spa and book a visit or simply sample their wares in the factory shop on the premises.
If you wish to continue on, take N100 to Avignon and enjoy the views of the Papal Palace. You may want to even make this town and location a full day trip on its own. You can explore the neighboring villages and savor amazing cuisine at some of the many smaller restaurants dotting the area. Of course, the famous La Mirande is here, and could make the perfect finishing destination as it is a 700 year old building that also houses a world class restaurant.
This is but one list of stops that could offer you and your partner an unforgettable day in Provence. The winding roads beckon, so be sure you explore even the closest towns outside of your charming villa.