Provence in the south of France puts on quite a show in the springtime. Just uttering the phrase “spring in Provence” conjures up images of fragrant lavender fields, open-air markets, a leisurely outdoor café culture and that incredible, legendary light that still draws artists to the region. Provence is such an iconic destination for celebrating spring that the famed recording star Celine Dion named her new fragrance Spring in Provence after the season.
The Beauty of the Countryside
Visiting Provence in the spring means appreciating the awesome natural beauty of the countryside. You have only to visualize the art of famous Impressionist painters like Monet, Van Gogh and Cezanne to realize that flowers are everywhere, helped by a sunny skies and a favorable Mediterranean climate. You will see field after field of purple lavender, the preferred aroma for sachets and perfumes made in Provence. Hyacinth planted from bulbs is also prevalent, along with twisted vines of wisteria and bright red poppies. Bicycle down winding roads under azure blue skies and pass ancient olive groves and scenic vineyards to complete the picture of a classic Provencal landscape in spring.
A truly stunning sight in Provence are the flowering fruit and nut trees from the cherry blossoms that extend to the horizon to the magnificent but ephemeral almond blossoms. In May, the purple carpets of lavender come to life to welcome the summer.
Do as the Locals Do
Put on a long sweater and a scarf and join local residents at a bistro or café, where the arrival of spring seems to put everyone in a good mood. Be sure to ask for a table dehors (ouside) to enjoy the pleasant weather. Order a salad, some wonderful French bread and a glass of local Cotes de Provence rose wine. Visit an open air market bursting with produce like artichokes and asparagus, crusty baguettes and huge wheels of cheese, and pick up some Herbs de Provence for cooking. Spring is a favorite time of the year for art fairs, festivals and local celebrations, like wool festivals, flower festivals and olive oil festivals. Pack up a picnic lunch with some homemade quiche and find a scenic spot to create a wonderful memory of your time in Provence.