Destination: France: Provence
One of France’s most mythical—and beautiful—regions, Provence is located in southeastern France, bordering Italy and Monaco to the east and the Rhône river to the west. It encompasses the inland departments of the Vaucluse, Alpes de Haute Provence and Hautes-Alpes, as well as the Bouches-du-Rhone, the Var, and Alpes Maritimes, all of which front the Mediterranean Sea. The region’s most well-known towns and resorts are Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Nice, Cannes and St. Tropez.
The Provence so aptly described by Peter Mayle in his best-selling books (A Year in Provence, Toujours Provence) centers mostly around the so-called Lubéron area, which encompass parts of the Bouches-du-Rhone and the Vaucluse. Scenic, small French towns like Aix-en-Provence, Salon-de-Provence, Les-Beaux-de-Provence, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Orange and Ménèrbes are all within easy driving distance. Lovely, countryside boutique hotels in this region include 28 à Aix, in Aix-en-Provence; Domaine des Andéols, in Apt; foodie haven Auberge la Fenière, in Lourmarin; Le Couvent des Minimes, in Mane; and classics La Bastide de Marie, in Ménèrbes and Hôtel de Crillon le Brave.
Some geographical highlights in the region are Mont Ventoux, the so-called “giant of Provence,” which rises over 6,000 feet in the lush Vaucluse landscapes. If you’re driving through Provence, don’t miss the Gordes de Verdon, a limestone canyon around the Verdon River, that is popular for climbing and hiking.
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