Visit Provence, France
One of the most beautiful parts of France to visit, Provence has scenery and highlights to satisfy the most discerning visitor - from the mountain regions in the north to the beautiful and dramatic coastline of the French Riviera, and from beautiful medieval villages clustered among the lavender fields and olive groves in the sun-baked countryside to historical monuments such as those at Avignon and Arles.
Six unmissable highlights of a visit to Provence
Calanques at Marseille
There is truly something for everyone to discover in Provence - whether it is your first visit, or you are one of the many regular visitors who return every year...The Provence region (correctly called the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region) is one of the most visited regions of France and includes six French 'departments'.
A very brief guide for each Provencal department is shown below, then see the more detailed travel guides for your chosen department for travel ideas.
Explore Provence by department
Coastal Alpes Maritimes is home to Cannes, Nice, Antibes and much more besides (see Cote d'Azur for details).
Head inland from the coast of the Alpes-Maritimes to discover some of the finest scenery in Provence (and France).
Further north-east, venture into the mountains and the Mercantour National Park to visit Sospel, then slightly further north to reach Saorge and Tende, both attractive hill villages in great locations.
Var, to the south of Provence, includes some fine coastline and such famous riviera resorts as Saint-Tropez.
Head towards the quieter interior of the Var to discover many interesting destinations such as the countryside and villages around Aups in the north of the Var, and the villages of the Cotes de Rhone wine region.
Particular mention goes to the towns of Entrecasteaux, Flayosc, Les-Arcs, Salernes and Tourtour - each with its own particular charm and slightly off the tourist trail. Most beautiful villages in the region include Seillans (35km west of Graisse).
Another highlight is the scenic splendours of the Port Cros National Park and the Iles of Hyeres which are off the Var coast.
The Vaucluse region, in north-west Provence, contains Provence's most famous mountain - Mont Ventoux - just north of the dramatic crags of the Dentelles de Montmirail, and other impressive destinations and landscapes.
Several Vaucluse villages are classified as 'most beautiful villages of France', among them Fontaine de Vaucluse, Gordes, Roussillon, also Menerbes and Lourmarin: see Luberon.
Also in Vaucluse visit the very impressive palace and bridge of Avignon - the town of Avignon itself is also a highlight, then see the Roman Theatre and ruins at Orange, among the finest roman remains to be found in France. By way of contrast head to the north of Vaucluse to relax in the Drome-Provence region, surrounded by lavender fields, and to visit Vaison-la-Romaine.
See Vaucluse department guide for visitor information
The Bouches-du-Rhone department is to the west of Provence and has a wide diversity of landscapes from the protected marshy landscapes of the Camargue region (explored from the pleasant resort of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer) to the dramatic coast east of Marseille along the Calanques at Marseille near Cassis.
Important towns in the department include Arles, Roman city and home to Van Gogh, and Marseille, and also several other smaller market towns, each with a distinctive Provencal feel, such as Aix-en-Provence.
There are also several lovely villages to discover - perhaps Les Baux-de-Provence is the best known, while other popular places in bouches-du-Rhone include Fontvieille, Martigues, Saint-Remy-de-Provence and Salon-de-Provence.
See Bouches-du-Rhone department guide for visitor information
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Hautes-Alpes
Other popular places to visit include Sisteron, the rock-strewn village of Annot and the craggy village at Entrevaux, while 'most beautiful villages in France' include Moustiers and La Grave. The Haute-Alpes region, especially the Serre Chevalier region and around Briancon, are very popular winter skiing destinations - see skiing in the Alps for details.
You can find more ideas - and a detailed map of Provence - at Provence tourist information, which also shows national monuments, national parks, towns in bloom, public gardens, sites of natural beauty etc. across the Provence region.
Map of Provence
French version: Provence (Francais)