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The lavender fields of Provence.

The lavender fields of Provence.

 A Week in Provence

With its golden landscapes, atmospheric café towns, and medieval heritage, Provence is a land of artists and dreamers. Thanks to mistral winds, sunlight really is more luminescent here – inspiring some of the most beautiful works of Cezanne, Van Gogh, Renoir, Matisse, and Picasso. You don’t need to be a master artist to appreciate Provence… but it helps if you’re a romantic at heart. Ready to plan your villa rental experience? Here’s a week’s itinerary to inspire your travel planning:

The incomparable colors of Provence.

The incomparable colors of Provence.

Saturday – Arrival

Meet your local contact at the villa. Familiarize yourself with the property; ask for restaurant recommendations, the nearest grocery, and whether there are any special events happening during your stay! Most stores will be closed on Sunday, so shop for any supplies you’ll need before Monday morning.

Sunday – Market Day

Stock up on groceries at the fabulous outdoor produce market in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a town known for its antiques. On Sundays, the streets overflow with vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and other artisanal products. Take the afternoon to explore the area around your villa.

Monday – Art Appreciation

Provence has inspired many world-class artists, so pick your favorite and investigate. Follow the “Circuit Van Gogh” plaques in charming Saint-Rémy to see many of the settings used in the artist’s paintings, including his famed Starry Night.

Tuesday – Wine Tasting

Pack a picnic lunch of fresh baguette, cheese, olives, and fruit. Then set out to visit some of Provence’s incomparable wineries in the area of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Stop for dinner in Aix-en-Provence, renowned for its cuisine based on simple, locally grown ingredients enhanced with the native flavors of fennel, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.

Plan on wine tasting along the routes des vins.

Plan on wine tasting along the routes des vins.

Wednesday – Avignon

Devote a day to the medieval hub of Provence, still surrounded by its ancient city wall. It’s impossible to miss the enormous Palais de Papes, a masterwork of gothic architecture. According to legend, the picturesque Pont d’Avignon was built by a shepherd after a visitation from a mystical apparition. The covered market of Les Halles is a great place to stop for ingredients on your way home.

Thursday – Roman Remains

Grab your camera and explore the amphitheatre in Orange, the Pont du Gard, or (for the brave and the bold) the still-active bullfighting arena in Arles. Want to go back further in time? Explore Les Baux, inhabited since 6,000 BC. If, on the other hand, you’re ready to rest your weary feet, indulge in another Roman tradition: thermal baths.

Friday – The Luberon

There are so many wonderful villages to explore in Provence.

There are so many wonderful villages to explore in Provence.

To complete your Provençal experience, head to the Luberon, a landscape dotted with charming hilltop villages. Wander, explore, take photos, eat, and relax. There are many villages to visit, but Gordes, Joucas, and Roussillon shouldn’t be missed. Celebrate your final evening by having a private chef prepare a gourmet dinner for your entire group.