Provence is one of the top travel destinations in western Europe. There's a reason that artists are attracted to Provence, the light and colors of Provence will embed themselves into your soul before you even think to leave for home.
And the food, of course, is superb. So is sitting in a tree-shaded cafe with a Pastis.
If you enjoy these picture galleries half as much as I did making them, then my job in Provence has been a successful one. Enjoy our Provence Pictures.
Avignon is considered the capital of the Cotes du Rhone wine region. The main attractions in Avignon are the 14th century Palace of the Popes and the 12th century Avignon Bridge, called the Saint-Benezet bridge after the young shepherd who heard divine voices instructing him to construct it. Both are UNESCO world heritage sites.
Avignon is one of the big destinations in Provence, easily reached by the fast TGV from Paris. It can be a hub for your visit to Provence, especially if you're seeing the larger cities by train.
This picture gallery is centered around the Luberon and the delightful colors of the landscape that have found their way into the architecture of the region. From the ochre formations outside of the town of Roussillon where ochre was mined for pigment and now can be seen as art in itself by a short walk on the ochre trail, to the vibrant blues of Provence shutters, perhaps you'll find a perfect place for that vacation rental by browsing this picture gallery.
Menerbes was where Peter Mahle first settled in Provence and he made it popular enough to make it to the third spot on our list. It's a nice little village perched high on an outcrop and the surrounding countryside is very picturesque.
Yes, folks, there's a lot going on in Lacoste--and it's been a volatile place for hundred of years. The castle of the Marquis de Sade is now owned by Pierre Cardin, and it becomes a performance venue for the big Lacoste Summer Theater Festival. We got some fine clouds the day we photograhed the intriguing castle, so have a look.
Saignon was one of my favorite villages of the Luberon in Provence. It's a place where I'd like to live, livability being my criteria for the soundness of a place, even a pretty one.
If I selected my perfect Provence village by looks alone, I'd probably end up in old Oppede, or Oppede-le-Vieux. Left to rot when villagers didn't need it's hilltop defensive position nor the long drive they made to their fields, it's now undergoing a rebirth, being repopulated by artsy types and the tourism crowd. There's a big parking lot away from the village, which makes the whole deal seem nicer--without all those cars whizzing around you can actually imagine the age of these stones.
Lourmarin is where Peter Mahle lives now, and where French writer Camus is burried. I've spent a week there, and it's another place I'd like to live. It's not a perched village, but everything is mighty flat. There is a variety of good food in both shops and restaurants, and spending the off season in Lourmarin makes you feel like you're a part of real village life in the Luberon. There's a chateau in Lourmarin, and you can buy some great wine there in the wine cellar.
Sure, you go to Provence for the Pastis, the culture, the art. But if you go to the farthest point south, where the Rhone empties messily into the Mediterranean sea, you'll find a land of cowboys called "gardians" and a special breed of cattle as well as a bird park teeming with water birds and the special breed of Camargue horses. It's a stunning change from the "other" Provence.