Provence Travel Guide: Best Places & Restaurants
We recently traveled to the Provence region of France and fell completely in love with this gorgeous area. Keep reading for our personal Provence travel guide based on all the places we loved and food we ate.
Provence has been one of my dream vacation destinations in France for years and this summer we finally made it happen with a two-week trip to the area around Beaumes-de-Venise. I’d spent shorter vacations here but having two leisurely weeks meant lots of time to explore small cobblestone villages, fantastic restaurants, and lots of scenic views.
We had such a wonderful time in this beautiful area. Now, I’m sharing my best Provence, France travel tips and the best places to visit in the region.
How I Planned Our Provence, France Vacation
One of the best things about living in France is having so many beautiful cities and countries in such close proximity. I’ve been able to do a lot of traveling since moving here in 2015, and I’ve gotten vacation planning down to an art.
First, I like to make a list of the places and attractions I know we’d like to see in the area. Next, I book restaurant reservations for the places I really want to go to a few weeks in advance (they can book up very quickly!). Finally, I take a look at any events that we might want to do that are happening on certain days. Oftentimes I only know about these when we are in the area due to signs on the road or in shop windows.
For this trip, I loosely scheduled our travel plans around restaurant reservations I was able to get and what was close to what. Then each day (unless we were going to a certain place for a meal) we took a look at the list I put together of things to see and picked from there. It was a great combination of flexibility and a little structure and made sure that I was able to fit in a couple of fancy restaurants that I’d been eyeing (what I love to do on vacation!).
Provence Travel Tips
Want to use this Provence travel guide to visit the region yourself? These are my top tips after spending two weeks in the region:
- Bring mosquito spray and sunscreen with you everywhere. There were a couple of times when we were at restaurants getting bothered by mosquitos.
- Use the Michelin app or website for great restaurant recommendations (and make reservations in advance.
- Bringing or renting a car is the way to go if you’ll be in the area for more than a couple of days. This will give you the most independence to explore.
- It’s windy in Provence, so short dresses might not be the best choice!
Where to Stay in Provence
We stayed in Beaumes de Venise, a small non-touristy town known for its Muscadet wine. We booked a house through Slow Provence (not an ad) and loved it! We would absolutely stay there again!
It was incredibly clean and so well thought out. Instead of a pool, there was a large jacuzzi that fit up to 8 people. It’s not heated in the summer so it’s the perfect place to sit, enjoy a glass of rosé and soak up an incredible view.
Even better? On arrival, there was an epic cheese and charcuterie platter and several glasses of wine for us. Oh, and it’s pet-friendly too! Seriously, what could be better?!
Best Places to Visit in Provence, France
There are so many things you must see in Provence – it’s honestly hard to choose just a few favorites! From beautiful countryside towns to ancient ruins, this region did not disappoint.
This town is in an interesting area of France known for its red-colored stone. The town features buildings built from the same stone and is a really lovely place to wander and explore.
There are many lovely nature walks nearby as well. We didn’t get a chance to attend, but we heard that the farmer’s market here is fantastic!
I visited this town solely because it was put on my radar by photographer Jamie Beck, a fellow Texan who lives and works in France. Apt because one of our favorite places in Provence simply for its beautiful authenticity! There were barely any tourists and it was very charming. I hear they have a great market on Saturday, too (it’s been held every Saturday for more than 900 years!).
If you visit Apt, I cannot recommend enough Une Glace en Luberon, a delightful sweet shop that was so, so good. The shop is a window leading into her kitchen, so you know it’s made there!
This is a very well-known town so it can be pretty touristy, but it’s super charming! L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is known for its antiques, so make sure to go on a day when the antique stores are actually open. Antique stores are open Friday to Monday. We went on a Tuesday and they were closed! So, we ended up returning for a second visit.
I popped into the tourist office and saw that they had an antique fair happening while we were there (it happens just twice a year), so we came back then and hit up both the physical antique shops and the market happening in one of the town’s parks.
This was probably my favorite town in Provence, but that’s hard to say as there were so many cute ones! This town had all the great shopping (without lots of touristy shops that had repetitive things). It felt a bit like Santa Barbara in California (blasphemy, I know!). It just had a really lovely clean, upscale, fun vibe.
There were a million restaurants we passed that looked good and the market here is supposed to be excellent. If you’re looking for gorgeous Provencal linen dresses, La Boutique de Jeanne just outside of the city is fantastic. For a cooking class, go see La Cuisine Provençale.
This is the small town across the river from Avignon and it is completely charming! There is an antique fair every Thursday and Saturday morning. Be sure to visit La Chartreuse, a beautiful abbey hidden inside the city.
Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct that is truly incredible. At 49 meters tall, it’s actually the highest Roman aqueduct bridge in the world! This is a wonderful spot for a swim and picnic with a view. In the evenings, they do a wonderful light show.
This is one of the larger towns in Provence that we visited. There is a lot to see and do here! We didn’t spend much time in Uzès because we were visiting friends and there was a festival, but I wish we’d had time to wander a bit more!
Carrières des Lumières
This is a really unique place to visit – an immersive digital art exhibition inside an old rock quarry. It’s located near Baux de Provence (a pretty town but very touristy and so hot on a hot day). Next time I would skip the town and just go do this neat light/sound show featuring different artists. Then, go for a nice lunch at La Cabro d’Or just down the street.
If you love Roman ruins or history, then you’ll want to go here and plan to stay the whole day. It was incredible! There are two huge sites of Roman ruins and a museum dedicated to the artifacts they found. It was utterly fascinating and a curveball addition to the trip.
I highly recommend planning to join one of the guided tours of the ruins. They are included with your ticket and really elevate the experience. Afterward, head to Leone Artisan Glacier for ice cream or ice cream pastry creations!
Château de Mille
We went here on a Jamie Beck recommendation and to see her exposition there. Chateau de Mille is a beautiful winery set on an estate with chateau ruins. Hint: Book a tour in advance to go inside the Chateau ruins! We loved their wine!
Mont Ventoux is a tall mountain in Provence. It’s a great place for hikes and day trips if you’re feeling adventurous, but was also a really fun place to drive up at sunset.
Best Restaurants in Provence
If you know me, then you know I love to get a taste of the local flavors and cuisine anytime I travel. I loosely scheduled our travel plans around restaurant reservations I was able to get.
We ate lots of wonderful food and pastries while traveling, but I’m only sharing my favorites in this Provence travel guide.
Le Saint Hubert
Le Saint Hubert restaurant is located in Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt (another very cute Provencal town!). This is run by friends of ours and it was so special to go and celebrate the amazing restaurant they’ve created! The food was incredible! The building has gone through lots of changes including being a hotel and a cinema at one point.
La Bastide de Marie
La Bastide de Marie was another Jamie Beck recommendation by Menerbes, France. This hotel and restaurant was incredibly cute in all its provencal beauty! There were touches of blue and white textiles all over the place and they make their own wine with grapes on the property.
If I’d had time, I would have booked a spa day. The price includes a massage, pool time, and lunch – and when you do the math, it’s really a steal!
La Mirande is a 5-star hotel that also includes a lovely bar and a Michelin-star restaurant. Located in Avignon, the gorgeous old-world interior is worth just stopping in for a tea!
They have cooking classes as well in their basement/cave. We went twice for iced tea and iced coffee and they were fabulous!
La Table d’Estoublon
This spot had the most grand chateau entrance I’ve ever seen! This should be in a movie. The atmosphere was beautiful with outdoor terrace dining. The waiters were super attentive and the food was excellent. Stop by their boutique during your visit – they are also known for their wine and olive oil.
Hôtel Crillon Le Brave
This beautiful hotel is currently known for its Madeleine restaurant. We weren’t able to get in but went to their bistro, which was fantastic and had beautiful views. If you can, try not to go on a windy day as the terrace might not be open.
Our Provence Vacation Favorites
This was such a wonderful trip and our Provence travel guide is packed with many lovely things to do and places to see.
My Favorites: La Bastide de Marie, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Vaison-la-Romaine.
Francois’ Favorites: Apero in the Jacuzzi, La Cabro d’or, Roussillon, Vaison-la-Romaine, Dentelles de Montmirail, grilling in the backyard, Crillon-le-Brave
VIEW THE GOOGLE MAP OF OUR FAVORITES TO PLOT OUT YOUR OWN PROVENCE TRIP
Click on the image above or click here to access the Google Map guide to our Provence vacation.
Other Travel Guides
Want to explore other France travel guides? Click the links below to discover some of my other favorite regions in France: