1 Everyone you know has been there, and its getting embarrassing
Yes….it really is that nice. Some famous places and things just don’t live up to expectations like the Champs des Elysees & Times Square (too tripisty, too commercial and too crowded) or the Mona Lisa, too small and impossible to get close enough to actually see it – but Provence will not let you down. It’s dreamy.
Did you know that you can hunt both summer and winter truffles in Provence? Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, truffles are found using well-trained dogs because the pigs tend to eat the truffles. At least one of two types of trees (oak or hazelnut) must be present to make them grow in France. The darker winter truffle is the expensive one that has gained the most fame, but I actually prefer the somewhat more mild, more caramel-y colored summer truffle which is more subtle in taste and in my opinion more enjoyable.
Right after the Marche aux Puces St. Ouen north of Paris, Isle Sur la Sorgue is the second most famous antique shopping spot in France. Here you can find everything from bargain vintage French barware to exquisite and expensive original Louis XVI antiques. I’ve bought a lot here and I always show my trip groups this antiques market and we often stay near this charming village encircled by a river.
4 Rosé Wine
The mark of summer is a long rosé-fuelled lunch. Because it stays warm in the south of France from April to November most of the world’s best rosé wine is made here. Oh and Brad Pitt’s chateau makes some of the best of it.
5 Hilltop Towns
The fortress towns of the Luberon and Provence such as Gordes, Rousillon, St. Remy and Menerbes are outrageously beautiful. Peter Mayle wrote a book (My Year in Provence) about fixing up his home in Menerbes, which made the region even more famous back in the 90’s.
These were fortress towns built to protect against invaders some of which date back 1000 years and you won’t tire of walking around them.
6 The Romans
Those Romans really got around. Its hard to imagine that some 2000 years ago the Romans had already made it up to this sunny, arid region where they built an amphitheater in Nimes as well as a temple, an impressive and enormous bridge called the Pont du Gard (pictured above) which acted as an aqueduct. They also got around to building as a second amphitheater in Arles. Exquisite evidence of Roman civilization is literally littered all over the Languedoc and Provence.
Lavender, lavender and did I mention the lavender? The fields of sweet-smelling lavender blooms in Provence during July and August. If you want to see the sunflowers at the same time then you’ll hit the Luberon, the Var and Provence during the warmest days of summer in July and August.