Holidaying in Provence: 4 Places You Need to See
Known for its stunning landscapes and rolling vineyards, Provence is one of southern France’s most popular places to visit. The region offers a range of delights, but it can be difficult to pack everything within one holiday. We’ve compiled some of the best places in Provence, the region’s attractions you must see.
1. Sénanque Abbey and the Lavender Fields
Situated outside the village of Gordes, the Cistercian Sénanque Abbey (Notre Dame de Sénanque) dates back to the 1100s and is beautifully complimented by the picturesque lavender fields surrounding it. The abbey is a perfect example of Romanesque architecture, and the monks make a living from farming lavender plants and keeping honeybees. It’s advisable to take a tour – most abbey tours also incorporate the fields, which are something to behold. The best time to go is between June and August when the lavender plants bloom.
Notre-Dame de Sénanque abbaye (website)
Book your visit online in advance.
While near Gordes, visit the Lavender Museum, where you can learn about Provence’s famous export.
Musée de la Lavande Luberon
276 Rte de Gordes,
Guided visits and workshops are offered all year.
2. The Roman Ruins
The Roman Ruins of Cimiez are a must-see and can be found in the city of Nice. Dating back to the third century, the ruins are the remains of the Ancient Roman city of Cemenelum. The city was once the capital of the Ancient Roman province of Alpes Maritimes, founded by Nero in AD 63. During the Roman Empire, Cemenelum was the chief rival of Nice and remained so until the Lombard invasions. Today, the city’s ruins are well preserved and include the remains of Roman baths and a small amphitheatre where games were held. While visiting the ruins, it’s worth headlining into the Archaeology Museum of Nice-Cimez, located on the site. This small museum includes ancient statues, Roman coins, and other fascinating archaeological finds.
3. Verdon Gorge
This spectacular gorge is Europe’s largest canyon and is popular with sightseers and adventure-seekers alike. Verdon Gorge is a river canyon located in Verdon Regional National Park and offers the most striking and breathtaking views with its dramatic limestone cliffs and turquoise waters. Pathways include the Blanc-Martel Trail, a stunning hike which ends at the Point Sublime lookout. At some points, the canyon gets to depths of more than 700 metres, so it should be no surprise that the gorge is a top spot for climbers.
Gorges du Verdon is something to see, with more than 1,500 climbing routes and spectacular views of the crystal blue river and white-water rapids. As well as climbing, the gorge is known for kayaking, mountain biking, river rafting, and other adventure sports. However, whether you’re planning on going extreme rock climbing or merely just taking in the views on a long walk, we’d strongly advise that you have decent travel insurance beforehand. Sites like staysure.co.uk will cover you for any medical expenses and also offers a host of other perks, so go do some research before your trip.
4. Pope’s Palace in Avignon
The Palais des Papes – or Pope’s Palace – is a stunning example of medieval Gothic architecture. Situated in the ancient city of Avignon, the palace was the seat of Western Christianity during the 14th century. Several popes added to the existing building over the following 100 years to eventually construct what would become Europe’s largest Gothic monastery. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, this marvellous structure is something to behold. Visitors can browse more than 20 rooms, including the apartments of Pope Clement IV, which display the extravagant frescoes of Matteo Giovanetti.
Provence is a stunning region, and it’s easy to understand why it’s so popular with visitors. While visiting Provence, we recommend you see these unique places.