PROVENCE BLUE TRAVEL
Excursions in Provence with Elisabeth Sandebring Lecomte
There is so much to see in Provence. The diversity of landscapes is surprising compared to the short distances. The "Giant of Provence" or the Mont Ventoux, rising 1 912 meters above the sea , is the highest mountain in Provence and one of many "wild" and fierce areas where to go hiking, a popular way to spend a day off. The natural areas are never far; forests, rocks, wetlands, National Parks, rivers. The different colours are often emphasized by a strong cristalclear light.
Every season has its charm. Humans have been around for a long time working this land; the huge fields of lavender are just unbelievable in the summer. The fragrance, the sight and the humming (bees) is something to experience. The sunflowers are amazing in July and August.
The vineyards give character to the landscape ; the appellations of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Beaume-de-Venise, the wines from Côte de Provence are well known names for the amateurs of good wine.
The Provencal villages have maintained their charming athmosphère from the past; the public laundries, churches and chapels and the old houses in stone; they all ask for your attention. Photographers and artists will find stunning views everywhere.
Market days are a good occasion to buy gifts : soaps, santons, lavender bags for the closets, provencal textile as napkins and towels, typical sweets and candy. Markets are also perfect for you dusting off your old school French, the vendors are talkative and often colourful.
La Provence is an area filled with memories from the past. The Greek-Roman origins are still nearby and you can touch them. Spending a few hours or a day or two in Vaison-la-Romaine or in Glanum, discovering the Roman monuments in Arles means a deep dive into the heart of ancient history. Crossing the river Rhône to visit le Languedoc; Nimes and the Pont du Gard are the occasion to see some more of World Heritage Monuments. And they are great moments.
Arles was for a long time the most important city in the Southern Rhône Valley. The Popes lived in Avignon in the fourteenth century; it's possible today to visit the Popes' Palace, the biggest gothic palace in the world from the Middle Ages, and the Avignon bridge as well. The city mansions from the seventeenth and the eightteenth century in Aix-en-Provence, ancient capital of Provence, are remarquables. The Mediterranean harbor-city Marseille of Greek origins, at the foot of the mountains surrounding the second city in France, is a dynamic city who attracts new visitors. Marseille is changing its face . The city today is a successful mix between the old and the new.
The very special light has attracted many artists; Vincent Van Gogh came to Arles and St Rémy-de-Provence, Paul Cézanne lived in Aix-en-Provence, Henri Matisse was in Vence and in Nice, Derain and Signac discovered St Tropez, Pablo Picasso lived in Antibes and in Vallauris, many artists came to St Paul-de-Vence.
The Luberon is an area with striking beauties; hilltop villages as Menerbes, Oppède, Gordes, Roussillon and Lourmarin are worth seeing; and why not "get lost" in les Alpilles, another mountain range, with les Baux-de-Provence, an eagle's nest and charming St Rémy-de-Provence and then, push the door to visit an olive oil mill for an olive oil tasting ?
The possibilities are many; why don't you let me organize your day or your séjour? I would do that with pleasure.