Home to the alluring towns of Saint-Tropez and Cannes and the grand cities of Nice, Provence is a sensational region in the southeastern part of France. It borders the Mediterranean sea and Italy by way of the southern Alps. To think of Provence conjures images of dramatic landscapes and tranquil rolling lavender fields. A region steeped in beauty and ancient history, Provence is the ideal place to visit for a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday or retreat. To help you on your way, we have taken a look at our favourite relaxing past times available in the region.
The charming home to one of the world’s most famous film festivals, the town of Cannes maintains a passion for film all year round. With a myriad of cinemas scattered generously across the town, you can choose from arthouse to world cinema in a range of venues. Perhaps the most famous to mention is the Palais des Festivals. Built to screen all of the major shows of the Cannes Film Festival, the magnificent complex boasts 18 auditoriums. After the film, you can take a leisure stroll and observe the Cannes walk of fame, which features the handprints of famous actors and actresses from around the world.
While you may not consider spending time in a city synonymous with relaxing, Avignon begs to differ. This laid back city plays host to several relaxing sights. The mesmerising Palis de Papes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was built to house the Popes who sought refuge in Avignon when they fled Rome during the turn of the 13th century. You can also visit the cities inspiring museums, such as the Musée de Petit Palais and enjoy some luxurious French cuisine on a gourmet walking tour. After lunch, take a stroll along the beautiful Rhone River to view Pont Saint-Benezet, the remains of an ancient and legendary bridge.
Between the months of June and August, vast areas of the region become awash with vibrant purple as the lavender plants bloom. If bumping shoulders with the tourist crowd is not your favourite thing, avoid the main visiting spots such as the Notre-Dame de Senanque. Instead opt to take advantage of the acres of peaceful farmland to walk, take photos and enjoy. Throughout the summer you can find lavender festivals brimming with local produce from lavender honey to essential oils.
Arguably one of the world’s most famous and exclusive wine appellations, the red wine of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a must try. The wine itself is made up of a complex combination of 13 different grape verities, with the exact ones used still a closely guarded secret. The appellation’s wine shop, Vinadea, holds tasting days where the knowledgeable staff can guide you through many wines of the region. When young, the wine emits hints of fruity flavours raspberry and plum, while an older wine will produce notes of dusted leather, game, and herbs. To finish, an aftertaste of tingling strawberry is typical with many of the regions bottles.
The port city of Marseille sits on the southern coast and still hosts a busy fishing port. Head to the Vieux Port (old harbour), part of the city’s old town, for a breath-taking sunset and view of the boats. From here you can also access many of the city’s main attractions, and feast on delightful fresh seafood. For a sky-high view of the city, you could ride on the Ferris wheel close to the harbour
With such tranquillity on offer, Provence makes for a wonderful, relaxing holiday destination. For bespoke retreats tailored to provide you with maximum peace and calm, take a look at our retreats in the south of France, and if you would like to find out more about yoga and mindfulness head to our balance journal for more reading.