News Experience Provence Like a Local

All articles

Experience Provence Like a Local

The sights, sounds and scents of Provence will instantly put you under their spell. But if you really want to get under the skin of this sunny slice of southern France, follow the locals and try some of these experiences.

In partnership with Atout France and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region

1. Go to the local market

Be prepared for a mouthwatering morning as you browse the food stalls of Provence’s renowned markets. You won’t be able to resist the tempting displays of ripe local produce – plus huge selections of cheese, charcuterie and fresh fish. Wander through Toulon’s Cours Lafayette Market and nibble on a cade, a local savoury pancake made with chickpea flour. Don’t miss the food market in Arles – one of the largest in Provence – as well as the sprawling stalls in picturesque Saint-Tropez, Lourmarin and Cotignac.

Search flights to Marseille

2. Make your own bouillabaisse

Marseille’s famous bouillabaisse fish stew is fabulously rich – a heady concoction of rockfish, shellfish and other fishy goodies served separately from its broth that’s topped with croutons covered in a spicy, garlicky mayonnaise called rouille. Learn how to make it from one of the masters: Le Miramar in Marseille. Once a month, the chefs teach you how to make this stew, which you can then eat in this venerable restaurant overlooking the Vieux Port.

Cheapest month to travel to Marseille Cheap flights to Marseille

3. Watch the French Air Patrol training in Salon-de-Provence

Since 1953, the French Air Patrol has been thrilling spectators with its hair-raising acrobatics. From its base in the attractive town of Salon-de-Provence, the patrol has been pioneers in aerial acrobatics, devising more and more exciting ways to mesmerise audiences. Catch the red, white and blue plumes of vapour from the jets as they swoop in the sky.

Check out flights to Avignon

4. Take a nap at the bottom of Mount Ventoux

Provence’s dramatic peak – whose barren limestone makes it look snow capped all year round – rises up to 1,912m and will always be associated with the Tour de France. But discover the gentler side of Mont Ventoux by exploring its foothills. Vineyards, pine forests and olive groves cover the lush grounds beneath the so-called Giant of Provence, where you can picnic and snooze to the sound of cicadas.

Search flights to Toulon

5. Drink a glass of rosé or a local beer on a café terrace

When the sun is shining and you’re sitting on a terrace, a glass of provençal rosé is just what you need. Think of those wonderfully dry pale rosés from Provence’s wine regions including Côtes de Provence, Côtes du Luberon and Côteaux d’Aix-en-Provence. If you prefer beer, you’re in luck. La Cagole and La B.A.L (Brasserie Artisanale du Luberon) are produced in Provence, and their clean refreshing taste goes beautifully with the blue skies and sunshine of the south.

Search flights to Marseille

6. Bring your pétanque boules to a provençal village

Listen out for the metallic clink of a steel ball as it’s tossed on to a pétanque pitch. It’s one of the quintessentially sounds of summer in Provence. Feel time slow down as you join a game of pétanque in a sleepy provençal village – preferably with a glass of pastis in hand – and have a go at this relaxing ball game.

Search flights to Avignon

7. Join the musical soirées on the Place d’Albertas in Aix-en-Provence every Thursday

One of the most delightful squares in Aix-en-Provence is the magical setting for summertime musical gatherings every Thursday. Amateurs and professionals alike get together to perform everything from classical and jazz to French pop in front of the splendid 19th-century Albertas fountain.

Search flights to Marseille

8. L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and its 350 antique shops

France’s largest antiques centre after Paris is also one of the country’s prettiest towns. L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue spreads over several enchanting waterways, with its 350 antiques shops tucked into little lanes and squares. Visit the Sunday bric-a-brac market to pick up even more unusual finds.

Search flights to Avignon

9. Sea kayaking off the coast of Bandol

Get to know the nooks and crannies of Provence’s coast by renting a kayak in seaside Bandol. Once you’re fully kitted out, make your way out of Bandol’s marina and around the little island of Bendor. You’ll have the most breathtaking views of the coast from your own little craft.

Fly to Marseille

10. Go down through the white waters of the Verdon river

Hold on tightly for the ride of your life through the Gorges du Verdon. This impossibly deep river canyon is one of the natural wonders of Provence – and you can explore it in an electrifying ride through its white water rapids. When the river calms down, you’ll be floating in waters in the deepest shades of green and blue.

Fly to Toulon

11. Feel like a Marseillais by watching a football game at the Vélodrome

Discover just how passionate the people of Marseille are about their football, specifically the legendary Olympique de Marseille football team. Lose yourself in the rousing atmosphere of a football match in the sleek Vélodrome stadium, where you and 67,000 other people can cheer on their heroes over a scintillating 90 minutes of sport.

Cheap flights to Marseille

Read more about Provence

*DISCLAIMER: Published 18 June, 2018. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.