Provence is a region in southern France, famous for beautiful weather and unique, local goods. Here are some fun, relatively inexpensive things to do there.
Provence stretches across southeastern France, encompasses rural farm towns rich in history, spacious lavender fields and the province even lays claim to a beautiful stretch of the Cote D’Azur. The region is dotted with ancient ruins and beautiful cavernous churches. At the top Provence is bordered by the French Alps.
Hunt for Bories
Bories are ancient stone structures which maintain an air of mystery. Historians are not completely sure of these structures’ purpose, though the most widely accepted theory is that they were built by wandering sheepherders of old times. Bories are more often found in the fields near Forcalquier, Apt and Bonnieux.
Visit The Salagon Museum: A Medieval Garden
Salagon is located in the town of Mane, France. Here visitors can wander the grounds, inspecting a modern version of medieval gardens. Entrance to the gardens is free, however, to get into the museum costs about 8 euros per adult and 6 euros per child between 6-17, they do family packages too.
Go Shopping at a Vide Grenier
Vide Grenier is the Provencal version of rummage sales and can often spread down a village’s entire main street. Vide grenier translates to “out of the attic” and at the fun garage sale type events visitors can find all sorts of neat gizmos and gadgets for cheap. Don’t be afraid to bargain! Look for flyers advertising what town the next Vide Grenier will be held in up to a few weeks before the event.
Visit the Cote D’Azur
The Cote D’Azur is the local name for the French Riviera. This Mediterranean heaven boasts sparkling blue ocean waters that are largely swimmable during the summer months. Tourists and locals alike enjoy these world-famous beaches. Don’t miss out! Most beaches are free, though crowded.
Petanque is a type of boules and is a great past-time. Locals enjoy playing a round during lunch or during even gatherings known as apero.
Gorges du Verdon
The Gorges du Verdon is locally referred to as the “French Grand Canyon.” It splits the High Alps highest peak and at the bottom is the beautiful Lake St. Croix.
The Ganagobie Monastery dates back to the 9th century and hosts daily religious ceremony performed by Benedictine monks. Ceremonies are usually open to visitors as long as you observe in silence. A bonus the gorgeous vista on the edge of the grounds.
Enjoying the Provence Lifestyle
Once you have seen all these sites, then it’s time to do as the Provence locals do and relax. With over 5 weeks of paid holiday and a strictly enforced 35 hour work week, the French certainly know how to maintain a low stress, high quality of life. Breathe in the lavender scents, enjoy potatoes and chicken prepared with Herbs du Provence, drink cheap yet delicious wine, and have a baguette covered in tasty cheese or dipped in pate.
Provence is a unique region of Europe that should not be missed. Often over-shadowed by fashion-central, quick-paced Paris to the north, Provence, 3 hours south by high-speed train, is like a whole different country.
It’s definitely on my must-visit list one school holiday!