10 Things You’ll Love About Provence France — Only Provence
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10 Things You’ll Love About Provence France

The village of Aurel near a lavender field in beautiful Provence, France

We have been planning holidays for foreigners visiting Provence for going on 20 years and doing so has been a true joy, from beginning to end.  In reflecting on all the important elements that have gone into building a luxury villa rental business such as ours, by far the most meaningful part has involved helping people make memories together in such a magical, rich and beautiful part of the world.   The hardest part about writing this blog entry–Top Ten Reasons to Visit Provence was in choosing only ten!  

Here’s what made the top of the list for us…

1. An Ideal Holiday Spot for Multi-generations

More and more, families are cherishing time together across several generations, but it’s not always simple to find a place in the world where there is something for everyone.  Somehow Provence ticks the boxes for all–the younger generations, the not so young, and all in between.  You can fill a morning and early afternoon with markets and historical village explorations, then sit back and enjoy the slower pace of life with lazy lunches and dinners around an extended table of tasty local food (while the kids play in the pool!)– all with the sound of cicadas in the distance.

2. Provencal Cuisine – Good for the body and for the soul…

At its very roots, Provencal cuisine is at its core Mediterranean and “familial”—la cuisine de grand-mère – based on all things grown locally–wild herbs, olive oils, garlic, tomatoes, From the simplest of recipes made from locally grown products offered at small family run restaurants to exquisite cuisine found in the Michelin starred restaurants (and everything in between), Provencal food is both heathy and nurturing.  SO many visitors leave feeling healthier than when they arrived– surely a combination of all of the beautiful, natural ingredients found locally and the savored pace at which they are consumed.

3. Wine

Well this speaks for itself n’est-ce pas?  Around 600 producers (540 individual cellars and 60 co-operative cellars) can been found in Provence alone.  While recent decades have seen the Provencal Rosé rise to fame (well earned as it is the biggest producer of rose in France), but the region has a very long and deep history in wine making as a whole. It was the Greeks who brought vines to the south of Gaul in 5th century BC. Now this lush southern region is renowned for its full-bodied reds, which age well in the cellar and its light, citrusy easy to drink whites.  Free tastings are still offered at my of the region’s local wineries and stopping at any one of them serendipitously is the best way to explore them.  See our list of recommended wineries to try while visiting Provence.

4. Bustling Morning Markets

Provence is almost synonymous to its markets which are filled with all its bounty–cheese, wine, local fruits and vegetables, nougat, honey, olives and tapenade, soap..the list goes on.  Nowadays these transitional markets offer well beyond daily needs, displaying a beautiful range of local artisan products and classic linen clothing.  From the bigger cities of Arles, Aix and Avignon that have big and sprawling markets to the smallest ones held in the main squares of the more hidden villages in the Luberon or Alpilles, daily markets offer the best of what Provence has to offer.  See our list of regional morning markets here.

Market in Aix-en-Provence, France

5. Endless Sunny Blue Skies…

The photographs of Provence say it all– vast never-ending cloudless blue skies. Let’s face it– nobody loves taking a chance on having a rainy holiday.  Provence averages a crazy number of 300 days of sun a year, making booking a holiday here a good “weather bet,” yet also an ideal place to visit in the Spring and Fall when the temperatures are supremely comfortable.  Even for those venturing over for the winter Christmas Truffle markets you are bound to be found sitting at an outdoor cafe with a vin chaud in hand, with the sun warming your face.

6. Stunning Natural Beauty

It’s simply, everywhere.  The entire backdrop to this region is rooted in the earth–everywhere you turn you are either gazing at it, or you are eating or drinking something that is grown from it.  Hilltops vistas give sweeping views onto rolling vineyards, olive groves, fields of poppies, sunflowers. The endless big blue almost forever cloudless sky… Simply put, Provence IS nature.

Pont du Gard with paddle boats is an old Roman aqueduct in Provence, France

7. Ancient History

It would be impossible to separate the distinct culture and traditions of Provence from its complex and dynamic relationship with its ancient rulers. The Greeks brought olive and wine, the Romans aqueducts, bridges and amphitheaters, the Christians built Cathedrals and monasteries– its no wonder Provence has such a rich and interesting past.  At every turn you are looking at the vestiges of significant historical roots, dating back to Neolithic times, making Provence a fascinating place to visit for all ages. 

8. Worldclass Art & Music

Provence has been a magnet to artists since the beginning of its time (Cézanne, Van Gogh and Picasso to name just a few) and its special light has yet to change. The summer months in particular are filled with a whole host of renowned of both art and music festivals, from the larger internationally renowned opera and contemporary art festivals held in Aix or Avignon and to smaller venues held in villages across the region all year long.  Provence is chock a block of art galleries and boutiques showcasing local artisans, making it the perfect place to explore a whole range of creations.

9. All things Active:  Hiking, Biking and much more…

With such stunning countryside alongside fabulous weather most of the year round, Provence has become a very popular place for hikers and cyclists from all over the world.  Provence is known for its well-established trail system, linking the many of the villages together in a logical and breathtaking itinerary.  With electric bikes now readily available, biking has become a very accessible way to take in the countryside. Provence has also recently become a great destination for golfers now offering several world-class golf courses. Read more here about all there is to do hiking, biking or golfing in Provence.

10. Last but not least…it’s beautiful slow pace..

Isn’t this one of the very reasons why we need to get away? To turn down the noise and rush of everyday life. Let’s not forget the holidays where we come home more tired than when we left.  In Provence, good food, wine, rest, walks and culture are all consumed at such a beautiful, natural  rhythm that it feels like time has slowed down enough to appreciate it all.  And isn’t this what it is all about?

For a complete list of all things to see and do in Provence, download our Insider’s Guide to Provence.

Luxury Villa Rentals in Provence, France

As the luxury property rental market has exploded worldwide, renting a luxury villa has become the preferred choice for accommodations in Provence. Only Provence has the largest selection of luxury properties in the region.

Benefits of Luxury Villa Rentals

One of the many benefits of renting a luxury villa is having a genuinely private yet authentic experience in Provence, complete with in-home chef services.

Below are some of the few great benefits of a luxury villa over other traditional accommodation options.

  • Personalized experiences such as private chefs and organized tours and activities;
  • Privacy and exclusivity;
  • A dedicated villa manager and staff;
  • A sense of feeling at home while staying in a private luxury villa;
  • Private luxury villas are ideal for groups of families or friends traveling together.

If you are interested in renting a luxury villa in Provence, reach out to Only Provence or book now.

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Jumping the Picket Fence Light Through the Cracks

Only Provence co-founder Lydia Dean writes about their experiences raising a family, building a business in Provence, and later combining the love of travel with giving back in "Jumping the Picket Fence”. In 2021, she published “Light Through the Cracks,” a continuation of her journey, much of which has been based in Provence. Both books are available Amazon, Amazon.uk, and Amazon.Fr.