Ahh, Provence. If you have been there you will remember the serene, sleepy villages hanging precariously off hillsides with windy narrow streets, stone houses, gorgeous water fountains and bustling colourful markets, brimming with locally produced products, juicy berries and cherries, olives, fresh olive oils and bunches of sweet smelling flowers.
The smell and sight of freshly baked breads, croissants and delicious sweets is overwhelming and are in abundance as are fresh vegetables, cheese/meat products and a variety of handcrafts. There is so much to choose from and everything is so attractively presented.
Summer sees the landscape turn purple and yellow with fields of lavender and sunflowers and orchards full of fruit trees laden with fruit and acres of vineyards dotted with quaint stone farmhouses.
Sit me down under a shady cherry tree in the countryside with a basket of fresh foods, a stick of bread and a glass of Rose and I’m a happy girl.
There’s no place quite like Provence. Driving is easy and pleasant through narrow lanes and attractive countryside. Towns are quiet close together and easy to navigate, each one having its own charm and share of interesting stone buildings. The most challenging part is remembering which way to look when navigating a roundabout.
Provence is a place I know I will return to many times.
A satellite navigator is a must if driving! And you will need to drive.
If traveling through Summer, book hotels and car hire before you arrive.
Research the towns, or have a travel book. There are so many towns, you need to choose which to see.
Au point de lumiere – Saint Saturnin les Apt, – Decadent B & B. Luxury at an affordable price. Set out in the countryside amongst the vineyards and orchards. Rooms are tastefully decorated and comfortable and have a fridge as well. Oh, and there’s a pool and lounges to lay around after a busy day sight seeing. Breakfast is outstanding-served on the upstairs terrace with sweeping valley views and is absolutely delicious! Home made preserves and a choice of breads/croissants, coffee, OJ, and eggs. Annie and Jean Claude were perfect hosts. Have stayed twice and I can’t wait to go back again.
Hotel Cresp – Ace location! A budget hotel, clean and on the same street as the markets and is along the front with a huge communal balcony overlooking the Promenade Des Anglais and ocean. Great spot for a picnic lunch wine and people watching. It’s located upstairs at 8 rue Saint François de Paule. The entrance and stairs/lift area is very old with peeling paint but the actual hotel is all renovated.
Hotel de Verdun – Comfy. Another budget hotel about a 10 minute walk from the beach, but is quite comfortable and clean. I have discovered that most hotel rooms in France are quite small and this is the norm. I imagine the luxury hotels would have the large luxury suites to accompany the large price tags.
Cube Hotel – Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. Value for money! Have stayed here twice. Across the Rhone River, this quirky hotel is clean and inexpensive. There is a big beautiful terrace that overlooks the river to Avignon. (ask for a room at the front, with a view, although the rooms at the back are cheaper, of course) The hosts are quite charming.
Note: All opinions are my own.