There are few places in the world with as rich of culture, history, or architecture as Provence, France. It has been the home some of France’s greatest artists, scientists, warriors, and philosophers. If you should find yourself one idly looking through some Provence vacation rentals one day, here are a few cities you might consider visiting.
This quiet village is a haven from some of the bigger tourist cities in Provence. The town itself is filled with ornate fountains and medieval walls that have stood for hundreds of years. One of the oldest fountains in France the Arcs de Triomphe is located there. There is also a special place in art history reserved for this town, as Vincent Van Gogh was once treated at a local asylum. During his stay there he produced some of his most famous works including The Starry Night and his Wheat Field series. The town is also the birthplace of the famous philosopher Nostradamus.
2) Village of Les Baux
The stone village of Les Baux is 25km south of Avignon is another must-see for those with an artistic bent. The valley here has inspired poets and artists for centuries and still continues to do so today. It’s believed the village itself was first settled in 6,000 BCE which gives you some idea of just how ancient it is. The inhabitants of this village are known as Baussencs or Baussenques, and it has been named of France’s most beautiful villages,
The town itself was a former small village, but now it’s a favorite of antique lovers everywhere. It’s home to the largest flea market in France and considered the antique capital of France. Even if you aren’t interested in purchasing any antiques, the market would make for a fascinating afternoon just looking and browsing. For those of you who like to cook, there is a fresh market held every Thursday and Friday. Here you can buy the freshest ingredients grown locally, and at a bargain price.
The remote village of Gordes would be a pleasant stay for anyone interested in 18th-century architecture. It has cobbled streets that lead to a 16th-century French chateau. The village itself has been a haven for artists for centuries. One of the biggest attractions is the Pol Mara Museum and a summer music festival that is held every year. If you are looking for a place to get away from other tourists, or maybe just the world then this is the spot.
The town of Uzes is one with a long history, and one of the best places in Provence to really get a sense of medieval life. It’s known as the first duchy of France and has a castle in the center square that a duke still resides in. Also visible throughout the town are well-preserved medieval residences and gardens. There is also one final architectural marvel in the city worth seeing. The Pont du Gard is a massive well-preserved Roman aqueduct. This aqueduct has survived completely intact since the time of the Romans and has been named one of Frances five leading landmarks. The city itself is a bit of a hidden gem as it’s not well known to tourists.
This city of Ménerbes comes with a very long history attached to it, and some rather controversial past residents. The most famous of those being the Marquis de Sade whose “quirks” are so well known that they inspired the word sadism. It wouldn’t be fair though to only think of this lovely city, and it’s connection to such a controversial figure. It’s also renowned for it;s perfectly preserved 18th-century homes, and being the home of many famous artists and writers. Ménerbes also holds a special in the culinary world as it’s famous for producing some of the best wines, and truffles in the entire world.
The city of Porquerolles is located on an island off the coast of Toulon, and it might just be the biggest hidden jewel in Provence. With its crystal clear waters, and great beaches this town remains relatively little known by tourists, and such is quite peaceful. The local ecosystem is so unique that the government of France works hard to keep outside impact to a minimum. Even with that in mind, there are plenty of wonderful things to do there. These include yearly jazz and sailing festivals. The local waters also offer some unique diving opportunities, and a chance to explore an area that not many other divers have ever seen.
With all these unique cities to choose from it might be hard to know where to start. No matter where you choose to stay in Provence you can be assured it will be a trip you will remember for the rest of your life.
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