Since my childhood I have visited the Provence in the South of France. Since my first holiday to this part of France, it is one of my most favorite areas to spend my holiday.
10 reasons why I love the Provence
1. The climate
The Provence has mild winters and hot summers. With an average of 2800-3000 hours of sunshine per year and less than 80 mm of rainfall it is certainly an ideal holiday destination during the winter months.
Personally, I always travelled during the high season to the Provence where I enjoyed the summer on the coast and inlands and where the cicadas announced a new day with their chirping and I felt this real the Provence!
2. Variety in landscape
The deep red colour of the volcanic rock of L’Esterel, the olive groves with their silver leaves, lavender fields, the pines, cypresses, fig trees and exotic vegetation.
The Provence is a collection of many travel destinations. You can choose for hiking, water sports, culture and the beach. And all this against the backdrop of an azure sea where sailing boats floated to the rhythm of the waves.
3. The Provencal food
My favourite is ratatouille. Colourful vegetables straight from the market, which your have visited during the early morning. At the vegetables stall you looked for the most beautiful purple aubergine, green and red peppers, garlic, onions, zucchini and the most red juicy tomatoes. At the spices stall there were displayed hundreds of herbs in earthenware bowls. For the ratatouille we needed basil and herbes de Provence (thyme, marjoram, rosemary and savory).
Along the way we arrived at a chateaux where we bought Cotes de Provence rose for our evening meal that we enjoyed at sunset on the terrace.
4. The light
Everything you discover in the Provence, looks beautiful by the special light. The colour of the sea, the steel-blue sky, the colour of the houses with their yellow and orange walls. It is also called “the land of light”. It can truly be enchanted by this light, which many painters such as Monet and Vincent van Gogh got inspired.
5. The silence in the inland
The shrill sound of the cicadas, the sweltering heat. On the coast it is a buzzing, but if you are driving a few kilometres into the inland, you can feel and hear the silence. The small sleepy villages, where they still had a siesta. Take a walk through the pine forests and have picnic and enjoy the beautiful view of the valley. Then you drive further, to enjoy the scenery around you and stop in a village where you sit on a terrace near a bubbling fountain were you order a pastis. La vie française!
6. The typical Provencal houses
The mas is a name of a farmhouse, consisting of a ground floor and two floors and is built with local stone. Originally the “mas” was intended as a storage of agricultural products. The mas was a self-sufficient economic unit, which produced fruits, vegetables, cereals, milk and so on. The mas has no windows on the north side, due to the mistral. The windows are narrow for the protection of the heat during the summer or the cold during the winter.
Nowadays the “mas” were transformed into luxury villas or cottages.
7. The colorful markets
If you enter a Provencal market, all your senses come alive. . The smells, the colours, the crisp fresh bread, many cheeses, Provencal tablecloths. It’s a big colourful party and social happening, where you certainly find inspiration for your lunch or dinner.
8. The Café Culture
Early morning, on a terrace in the sun. Enjoying a café au lait and a croissant. In the afternoon enjoying a fresh salad with a baguette on a terrace in the shade of a parasol, overlooking the petanque court.
In the evening enjoying a good wine and the sunset.
Should I say more?
9. The local craft
The local crafts are weaving, pottery, wood and stone carving. These products are sold in the small shops of the villages. It’s nice that there are made authentic items and sold and not everything is covered by the masses.
10.The Provencal lifestyle
Everything I have mentioned you can file under the Provencal lifestyle. Enjoying the landscape, nature, food and many lovely towns and villages, makes the Provence a wonderful holiday destination. I have one advice: taste the true Provencal life and live like a local!
Have you been in the Provence? And what do you loved the most?