Join our newsletter subscriber list to receive a “taste of Provence” twice a month. When you sign-up you receive a free copy of our latest seasonal menu for some culinary inspiration. Our newsletters highlight articles from these categories – Explore, Taste, Stay and Inspire.
Explore – Boutique Travel – There is nothing better than credible local knowledge when you travel. Our articles feature road trip itineraries, top reasons to visit a location, insider’s travel tips and recommended small-group tours.
Taste – Food & Beverage – You love food and wine, but you don’t want to waste your hard-earned money on mediocre culinary experiences. Enjoy the mouth-watering archive of posts on feature restaurants, chef profiles, artisan food products, cooking schools, wine tours and culinary adventures in the region.
Stay – Accommodation & Real Estate – At Perfectly Provence, we feature specific private properties, luxury hotels, self-catered rentals and other accommodation options in the region. Nothing will turn a holiday sour faster than poor accommodation.
Inspire – Lifestyle & Culture – Provence has inspired famous artists, incredible architecture and quality craftsmanship. You are in the right place for information on artists, art galleries and museums, cultural experiences, home décor, interior design, artisan craft, and photography in the region.
Please follow the links below to the newsletter archives by month, and feel free to download or share with a friend. If you are already a Perfectly Provence newsletter subscriber, thank you!
Visiting the A-List in Provence Côte d’Azur – Our Canadian readers are celebrating a long weekend of getting-ready-for-summer chores – docks, decks, boats, screen windows, etc. To prove that everything is better in France, there are two long weekends in a row, with Ascension Day on May 26th and Whit Monday on June 6th. So, what would you do with all that time to explore? Start with the A-list!
May Flowers in the South of France – Whether, as the saying goes, it is a result of April showers or simply Mother Nature’s natural cycle, this month is the time for flowers in Provence and along the Côte d’Azur. Sure, the lavender fields in July are spectacular, and the sunflowers are enough to stop you in your tracks. However, it is the poppies that provide artistic inspiration and frustration. Unfortunately, poppies, for me anyway, are impossible to photograph, never appearing as beautiful in a digital format.
Where to Stay in Provence Côte d’Azur Issue #4 – Planning for summer. Summer might be two months away, but I am already dreaming of an aqua pool. While it’s hard to leave the poolside, there are several exhibits and shows worth seeing this year.
Fishing for Fun in Provence: Last week (April 1st) or le premier avril, as in other countries, is a day where it’s ok to have a bit of fun at someone else’s expense and call them a poisson d’avril. The exact origins of the tradition, which includes taping a cut-out of a fish to another’s back, are a little murky, but it’s a day to cast your “net” and have some fun.
The Times They Are a-Changin’ in Provence: The title is a tribute to Bob Dylan’s 1964 studio album, his third. However, in this case, it refers to changing seasons in Provence. In the northern hemisphere, the official start of spring is on March 20th, and we have a new menu to celebrate this time of renewal. We were thrilled when Cassandra Anderton, a Vancouver-based media personality and food lover, agreed to curate our 2022 Spring Dinner Menu.
Never a Dull Moment on the French Riviera: The French Riviera is quieter this week after the Carnaval de Nice and Fête du Citron® in Menton. In Nice, thousands of onlookers watched the floats in Corsi Carnavalesque and the Battle of the Flowers. While down the coast in Menton, the 88th Lemon Festival turned Biovès Gardens into a citrus sculpture park.
East, West, North, South = Provence: Arles was a significant Roman settlement, one of the empire’s most important cities outside Rome. On the banks of the fast-flowing Rhône River, the Romans built an arena, theatre, baths, and the necropolis of Alyscamps. However, probably most critically, there was highly organized trade along the river. We share some of the many reasons to visit Arles.
Red Roses and Valentines Gifts from Provence: February feels hopeful with slightly longer days and the early signs of spring’s arrival in Provence. Even if you can see your breath in the air, one good indication of warmer days ahead is when the first bunches of sunny yellow mimosa appear in the local market. Take a walk in the Provencal countryside, and you will see signs of nature’s renewal with the delicate white-pink almond blossoms.
Where to Stay in Provence Côte d’Azur – Issue #3: For as long as I can remember, just starting to plan a trip is a quick fix for raising the spirits. Choosing suitable accommodation can make or break a holiday. In this newsletter, we bring you some of our curated collection for dreamy places to stay in Provence and the Côté d’Azur.
Happy New Year from Provence: While we don’t know what the year will bring, we are starting 2022 on the right foot with a winter menu curated by Acquiesce Wines. The menu designed for cosy evenings with friends includes wine pairings. Acquiesce Wines has offered two gift sets of these wines to our newsletter subscribers. If you live in the United States, enter the giveaway by sharing this newsletter with a friend and let us know that you did so here.
Happy Holidays from Provence: The holiday season celebrates food, family, and saints. One of the traditions starts on December 4th, the Feast of Saint Barbara, when small packets of wheat are “planted” and covered with damp cotton. The sprouted wheat then appears on the Christmas dinner tables decorated with three white linens.
All I want for Christmas is Provence: We recently published a gift guide that includes some of our favourite creators and boutiques. Since this is the first time that we have created the list, we welcome your feedback.
November Colours in the South – Even in the South of France, the weather is noticeably cooler by November. Although, on the French Riviera, brave swimmers still venture into the water for their ritual exercise. In the countryside, it takes a while for the fog layer to burn off in the mornings. However, once the blue sky appears, the conditions are perfect for long walks.
Walking Holidays in Provence – Under sunny skies, this time of year is excellent for walking in the South of France. The articles below provide ideas for a balance of culture and exercise. Suppose you are up for a vertical challenge, then hike to the highest point in the Alpilles, the Tour des Opies at 496m. Or, for a more leisurely and scenic walk, discover the old customs footpath Sentier du littoral near Saint-Raphaël.
South of France Wild, Cool and Wonderful – A wise friend and painter once described the weather in Provence as wild and untamed. He was right! Autumn can arrive with little warning. One day you are enjoying lunch on a sunny terrace enjoying the warmth, and the next day you are bracing against a bitter mistral wind.
Fall in Love with Provence – Early fall in Provence can be gentle with foggy mornings and bright days. Or the season arrives abruptly swept in by a cold mistral wind. With a diminished fire risk, hiking is generally terrific. At this time of the year, evening materializes rapidly, and the sun’s departing rays bath the region in a filtered pink glow—the painter’s light. It’s time for a fall weather menu!
The Var: There is so much to Explore – Provence’s Var is vast (6,032 km2) comprising coastline, islands, alpine foothills, lakes, rivers and lots of forests. Dotted by vineyards, olive groves and umbrella pines, the Var is an everchanging natural canvas. All that before Cistercian abbeys, grottos, and secret swimming holes.
A Provencal Recipe for Success – Planning a trip to Provence begins with deciding what kind of holiday you want. There are plenty of options for small-group tours, self-catered holiday homes, and local tour guides. Our advice is to pick an option that suits your energy level provides the right balance of cultural interest, culinary adventures, and downtime. Our partners are booking their 2022 tours now.
Where to Stay in Provence Côte d’Azur – Issue #2 – Whether you are in Provence, New York City or California, you are probably hoping for something other than hot August nights. Since it’s never too early (or too late) to plan a trip somewhere, let’s talk about Provence’s magical autumn. Fall in love with Provence…
Cool Ideas for Summer Living. When it’s hot in Provence and along the Côte d’Azur, lounging by the pool is tempting. Although it can be hard to get motivated, don’t let summer slip away without a dose of culture. The museums re-opened in May with new exhibitions.
School’s Out and Lavender’s In. In “normal” times (and let’s hope they are back), July is the official start of the summer holidays in France as schools are on a two-month break and the festivals get underway. If you are in Provence, make sure to head to the lavender fields for a sensory immersion.
Summer in Provence en plein air! Whether you are looking for a seat on a restaurant terrace or a place to put your beach towel, summer is always the high season in Provence. Many of the regular summer festivals are returning this year, with the necessary restrictions. Please look at our list of seasonal activities and festivals here.
Nothing to Wine About (or is There)? Although we could all complain about travel and other restrictions, it’s time to focus on wine (don’t tell your doctor). Grape growers and winemakers in France, including Provence, have something to moan about after a harsh late-season frost that could have a catastrophic impact on 2021 vintages.
The Beautiful Blue Waters of Southern France – The French Riviera runs from Cassis (although some suggest Toulon) to the Italian border, passing through famous cities such as Saint Tropez, Cannes, Antibes, Nice, Monaco and finally Menton. Since 1860, Côte d’Azur is what the French call this stretch of the azure coastline.
Avignon: Provence’s Papal City – Sitting on the Rhône River banks, Avignon is a sprawling city known for its art festivals and the impressive Palais des Papes. Previously, crossing the Rhône was difficult and a wooden bridge was built in 1177-85. Damaged by floodwaters, the Pont d’Avignon was rebuilt and finally abandoned in the middle of the 17th century. Between 1309 and 1376, seven popes resided in Avignon, not Rome. Part of the Kingdom of Arles, Avignon was an influential centre with a population of artists, architects, clergy, and financiers.
Looking at History in the South of France – Every town in Provence has a story. Spend time discovering the history and the people who live there. The perched stone villages make attractive backdrops for holiday photos, but these towns were elevated and protected by fortified stone walls for a reason. Contact local tourism offices and historical societies for guided (or self-guided) tours to understand Provence’s past better.
Where to Stay in Provence & Côte d’Azur – Issue #1 – Many of our readers ask us for advice on where to stay in the region. In response, we have added this dedicated “Where to Stay” newsletter to our regular mailings, which we plan to publish 2-3 times per year.
The travel restrictions in the last 12+ months are fueling our desire to pack our bags. Whether you plan a trip for this year or 2022, it’s never too early to start looking. We understand that holiday planning is not for the faint of heart, and finding suitable accommodation is often at the top of the list. Spending your precious vacation time with family or friends requires a balance between activity, sightseeing, and downtime that suits everyone’s tastes.
Spring Flavours and Escapades – It’s Easter weekend, and what better time to dream of escapism and travel. Lisa Baker Morgan did just that -this mother, lawyer, chef, and author realized her dream of living part-time in Paris. She also curated our 2021 Spring Menu bringing together three recipes that celebrate the season, including the flavours of fresh asparagus, morels and strawberries.
Contemporary Contrasts in Provence Côte d’Azur – Images of Provence often feature ancient villages with stone buildings, bright shutters and barrel tile roofs. Postcards from the French Riviera include Belle Époque hotels, beach scenes, and glorious views.
Spring is in the Air in the South of France – After the snow in January, it’s almost springtime in Provence and certainly feels that way along the Côte d’Azur. For a beautiful, yellow-hued outing, head to the coast to see the Mimosas in bloom.
Following Provence’s Sorgue River – Today, the Sorgue is a shallow meandering river, making it difficult, if not impossible, to imagine a time when this town was an island. During the Middle Ages, the town’s inhabitants depended on the river for nourishment (fishing) and commercial production.
Roses are red and so is the wine 🌹🍷 – Treat your Valentine to a festive cocktail or don your apron and create one of these Valentine’s Day menus. Join an online cooking class and improve your culinary skills. There are plenty of artisanal chocolate makers throughout the region, from Avignon to Isle sur la Sorgue to Nice. Do you have a favourite chocolatier?
Bright Changes on the Horizon – While we can’t predict the future, we do know that the almond trees will soon begin to flower in Provence. You need to look carefully, but there are often tiny buds on the almond trees by the end of January. For those lucky enough to live along the Côte d’Azur, the mimosas display their yellow blooms until the end of March.
Happy New Year from the South of France! – Did anyone else breathe a sigh of relief that 2020 is over? Although the last year was a journey that none of us want to repeat, there are some benefits to sticking close to home. But now that we have clean closets and organized our spice drawer, we are itching to continue discovering Provence and the Côte d’Azur. Let’s face it; armchair travel never replaces the real thing. Booking the right accommodation should be at the top of your planning list.
December 24 – Happy Holidays from Provence: On Christmas Eve in Provence, dinner tables will be covered with three layers of white cloth representing the holy trinity. The rest of the art de la table is up to individual tastes. Most table settings include the sprouted wheat planted on the Feast of Saint Barbara (Dec 4th) and carafes of sweet wine (vin cuit) from the fall harvest.
December 4 – Vin Chaud and Holiday Traditions 🍷: Almost a year ago, we turned the calendar to a new decade, a leap year, and an Olympic year…2020 will be a year to remember. However, December arrives like a sturdy bookend, delivering annual festive traditions that endure the test of time regardless of climate, politics and viruses.
November 20 – Black Truffles = Culinary Diamonds 💍 – November is not my favourite month, or at least it wasn’t until we understood that it marks the start of the black truffle (Tuber Melanosporuma) season. From November through March, those who know where to look for these lumps of black culinary gold keep the potential locations a closely guarded secret.
November 6 – November Traditions in Provence – In Provence, like many places, November means cold mornings and early sunsets. The La Toussaint holidays are over, and France is in lockdown for a month. So, let’s dream of events that might have been…
October 23 -Fall-ing for Provence 🍂🍁🌾 – Fall harvests in Provence are an excuse for food-themed festivals celebrating local produce: courge (squash), olives, mushrooms and more. Local menus change in tandem with shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures. Gone are the summertime salads and gazpachos.
October 2 – New Horizons in Provence. Sometimes during the hectic days of back-to-school, our focus on well-being and fitness moves off the priority list. To make sure your health stays top of mind, we have teamed up with Audrey Archambault and Rose et Marius for unique wellness packages for three (3) lucky winners. Please read the details here. Newsletter subscribers are automatically entered in the draw.
September 4 – The Long French Drive at Summer’s End. France has a colour-coded classification system to indicate the volume of traffic on the highways. There is even a handy – Traffic Forecast – tool on the (autoroutes.fr) website for trip planning. Suddenly the summer holidays are over.
Sept 18 – Soak Up Some French Heritage This Weekend. The Journées du Patrimoine normally takes place this weekend throughout France. It’s a chance to enjoy the chance to explore public buildings, private spaces and national history.
August 21 – Exploring Provencal Ingredients – Planning a trip to Provence begins with deciding what kind of holiday you want. There are plenty of options for small-group tours, self-catered holiday homes, and local tour guides. Our advice is to pick an option that suits your energy level provides the right balance of cultural interest, culinary adventures, and downtime.
August 7 – Lazy Summer Days in Provence – Whether you live in the South of France or hope to visit soon, summer days are designed for reading books that transport you to another place. The titles on our Provencal Reading List cover various genres, including biographies, love stories, memoirs and mysteries. There are even books for kids of all ages. Enjoy the stories.
July 24 – Cool Summer Lifestyle in Provence – Provence is hot at this time of the year, and the pool is calling your name. Although it can be hard to get motivated to do much during the day, don’t let summer slip away without a dose of culture and exercise.
July 3 – Holidays in Provence and School’s Out for Real – The French schools are now officially on a two-month break. In a year where entire families were confined to their homes juggling online assignments and work, these summer holidays are particularly welcome. With the hospitality industry operating at limited capacity, not surprisingly, self-catered accommodation – apartments, camping, cottages (gîtes) and villas – are in high demand this year.
June 19 – The Sounds of summer in Provence – With hot weather, the cicada song marks the summer months in Provence. By the thousands, cicadas emerge from their underground slumber and camouflage in the trees. You either love or loath these insects whose music straddles the daylight and evening hours. If you are lucky enough to have a frog living nearby, they assume the role of the nighttime concert and good luck sleeping.
June 5 – June Emerges Slowly in Provence – Slowly, perhaps with much caution, we are all emerging from the shell shock of the first five months of 2020. After being told to shelter-in-place, and several other terms we had never heard of the restrictions have eased slightly. Since none of us know the answer to what next, this newsletter is focused on what if inspiration.
May 1 – May Flowers in Provence – In France, May 1st is the Fête du Travail (Labour Day) and what a difference a year makes! Twelve months ago, I suggested that the four public holidays, in the next month, were a terrific excuse for road trips. Sadly, this year has delivered a completely different reality around the globe. The restrictions are inconvenient, but the incredible dedication of first responders, medical teams, researchers and leaders is inspiring.
May 15 – Bring Provence a Bit Closer to Home – We entertain a lot, or should I say we used to. Now, our entertaining reality includes Zoom and Houseparty for virtual cocktail parties. However, on the bright side, there are far fewer dishes to clean. Although we miss having guests around our table, we have traded homemade bread and delicious leftovers with neighbours.
April 3 – Images of Spring in Provence – Whether you live in Provence or plan on visiting, enjoy the bounty of local produce in peak season. Perhaps Easter weekend is the time to discover the Mediterranean spice road and our new spring menu curated by David Scott Allen of Cocoa & Lavender.
April 17 – Provence Captured in Images – Every town in Provence has a story. Spend time to discovering the history and the people who live there. The perched stone villages make attractive backdrops for holiday photos, but these towns were elevated and protected by fortified walls for a reason. To “dive” deeper into the history, local tourism offices, guided walking tours and historical societies are terrific resources.
March 3 – Art without the Crowds – Take advantage of a “slower” time of the year to visit the museums and art galleries in the region. Before the big crowds arrive, visit the new multimedia show at Carrières de Lumières, in Les Baux de Provence.
March 20 – Made in Provence by Artisans – The good news is there is a deep culture of quality craftsmanship and artistic talent in Provence. They sell their wares at local markets, in small boutiques and online. If you are in Provence at the moment, look for flyers for local ceramics fairs and marchés artisanal.
February 6 – Pink Drinks and Yellow Flowers -Head to the Côte Bleue seaside town of Carry-le-Rouet for the annual sea urchin festival – les Oursinades. This festival surrounding the “sea chestnut” runs every weekend in February. Take a drive along the French Riviera to see “la Route du Mimosa” a 130 km of golden flowers from Bormes-les-mimosa to the perfume capital of Grasse.
February 20 – No February Blues in Provence – Mid-February is the time for skiing (and a few crowds) in France. However, in Provence, there are other things on the agenda with early signs of spring on the horizon and plenty of family-friendly festivals.
January 9 – Wishing you a Happy New Year – After all the holiday celebrations, what better time than January to take a look at wellness options (spas, yoga, organic food and retreats) in Provence? Whether you are looking for an in-home massage, a wellness retreat or an indulgent day-spa experience, here is our guide to the top spa experiences in the region.
January 23 – New Energy in Provence – You need to look carefully, but there are often tiny buds on the almond trees by the end of January. The hardy almond tree is the first tree to flower, but when exactly depends on Mother Nature’s whim. January is a great time to re-charge for the year ahead, maybe it’s planning your summer vacation, or booking a therapeutic energy session. We’ve collected a few ideas.