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cs / en
PROVENCE
France

PROVENCE

  • 5 days
  • couples
  • spring, summer, fall

When you say Provence, probably the first thing that comes to mind is lavender. But consider exploring this region in spring or autumn, otherwise you will often be crowded by other tourists. We went on this trip in late March, and it was great. Five days of packed programme await you. You will get to know the beautiful ancient villages and towns, take a peek into the local nature and taste the local gastronomy. If you're craving the scent and colour of lavender, you'll have to travel here in late June and early July, but be prepared to be in the company of many other travellers everywhere at all times. In contrast, in the off-season you can explore all the parts and corners of the region mostly on your own, only ocassionally running into tourists.

4.8 / 5 User reviews
1
Day

City tour of Aix-en-Provence

Arrival in Provence – the town of Aix-en-Provence. Walk along the main avenue Le Cours Mirabeau with its fountains, plane trees and many cafés.

Consider very carefully when to go to Provence. In the summer season and especially when the lavender is in bloom (late June/early July), it is an extremely popular location. Crowds of other tourists can spoil your holiday. We opted for the end of March, and it was great! Most of the tourist businesses were still closed, the parking lots were empty, and we were pretty much alone everywhere. The lavender wasn't blooming, but it was definitely worth the freedom.

Arrival – Marseille Provence Airport is about 30 km from Marseille. There are two airport terminals practically next to each other. Navigation is easy and straightforward. The car rental offices are outside Terminal 1 – you'll find our favourite AVIS there. It's better to rent a smaller car, some of the streets in the cities are quite narrow and it's also better for parking. You won’t drive any great distances, so the quality of the car won't matter that much. If you arrive in the morning or early afternoon, you can go to Marseille first and explore the city. The Cathédrale La Major, the streets of the old town, the harbour, and the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, which towers over the city, are all worth a visit (the quickest way to get there is by taxi).

The option we went for, is to skip the big city of Marseille and go to Aix-en-Provence, which is considered one of the most beautiful cities in France. Walk the boulevard Cours Mirabeau. The artist Paul Cézanne was a local and you will come across his name quite often here; you can even take a tour through the city called “In the steps of Cézanne”. The ideal way to get to know the town is to stop first at the tourist info centre. The route from the airport to the car park closest to the tourist info centre is here. In the late afternoon, transfer to your accommodation in the town of Gordes. It is an ideal base for exploring the centre of Provence.

Accommodation – Great accommodation is at Mas Val-Chênaie Gordes. It's a lovely place with comfortable accommodation, beautiful gardens, and there's an outdoor swimming pool, too. The bonus is easy parking, very nice owners, and absolutely amazing breakfasts. Directions from Aix-en-Provence are here. Book your accommodation for two nights. If, like us, you come here in the off-season, be prepared that finding an open restaurant for dinner is not exactly easy. On the other hand, this is the time of year when all the restaurants frequented by the locals are open, and you won't get stuck in some tourist trap.

Full-day route: airport > Aix-en-Provence > Mas Val-Chênaie Gordes (here).

What will you visit?

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Morning

Marseille Provence Airport

Airport about 30 km from Marseille. There are two terminals – they are close to each other, so it's only about 3 minutes on foot from one to the other. Car rental is in front of Terminal 1.

AVIS

International car rental company with a wide range of services and branches at most airports.

Afternoon

Aix-en-Provence

A beautiful town with large boulevards, ubiquitous plane trees and plenty of greenery. Paul Cézanne was born here and there are many reminders of this in the city. The town is also famous for its markets, especially at weekends.

Aix En Provence Tourist Office

They will be happy to advise you on a city tour. The staff is very nice. Definitely a good place to start your city tour.

0,25-0,5 hours
Evening

Mas Val-Chênaie Gordes

Really great accommodation. Beautiful garden with seating area and swimming pool. Several types of well-equipped rooms. Easy parking in the garden. Very good breakfast made with local products. Extremely friendly hosts. The location is perfect for exploring Provence.

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