Provence, located in the southeast of France, is one of the most stunning and popular regions in the country. With its picturesque villages, lavender and sunflower fields, Roman ruins, and incredible Mediterranean seaside landscape, there are endless places to visit in Provence.
With the sheer amount of amazing sights, towns, and gorgeous scenery in the Provence region, it can be overwhelming choosing where to visit. Whether you’re doing a road trip through Provence or taking the train from town to town, this guide covers 15 can’t-miss destinations in Provence.
15 Places to Visit in Provence
From hilltop villages to scenic coastal hikes and historical monuments, here is a list of 15 amazing places to visit in Provence.
Avignon, situated on the banks of the Rhône River, is one of the most popular cities in Provence. One day is plenty of time to see the main sights; however, it’s also a great spot to base yourself for a few days and explore the surrounding area.
The historic city center of Avignon is a delight to visit, with its charming Provencal streets, cafes, and artisan shops selling local goods. Wandering around the city is one of the best things to do in Avignon, especially considering the center is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
A must-visit is the Palais des Papes (Papal Palace), Europe’s largest gothic palace, which was once the seat of the Catholic popes in the 14th century. While the palace is made up of mostly empty stone rooms, you will be provided with a digital tablet that showcases how the palace rooms were once decorated, which helps to immerse yourself in the history of this important building.
Just a stone’s throw away, the Pont d’Avignon, formally known as the Pont Saint-Bénézet, is one of the top experiences in Avignon. This medieval bridge once had 22 arches that led across the Rhône River, but only 4 arches are left today. You can buy tickets to walk to the end of the bridge for a nice view of the city.
During the month of July, the city hosts the Festival d’Avignon – one of the largest performing arts events in the world. If you are a theater-lover, then this event should be at the top of your Provence bucket list.
Gordes is a famous hilltop village located in the Luberon valley in Provence. When you look up “photos of Provence”, the iconic view of Gordes village is the most common photo you’ll find.
One of the best things to do in Gordes is to explore the small streets and enjoy the endless viewpoints of the valley below. Sunset is the ideal time to visit.
The main sight to see in Gordes is the castle, which you can visit for a small fee. The castle is mainly used to host art exhibitions throughout the year; other than that, there isn’t much to see inside.
Gordes is very small and you only need a couple of hours to see the old town. Wander around the streets, visit the boutique shops, and eat a delicious Provencal meal at one of the top-rated restaurants in town.
Of course, don’t miss your own chance to take a photo of the picturesque view of Gordes. Make your way to Route de Cavaillon, or simply type in “Town View Point Gordes” into Google Maps for one of the most scenic views the Provence region.
Aix-en-Provence, often simply referred to as Aix, is one of the top places to visit in Provence. It’s also an ideal spot to base yourself for a few days to explore the Luberon valley and nearby towns.
Aix-en-Provence is famous for its market, which spreads across various squares throughout the city. The local food market is open daily at the Place Richelme from 8am – 1pm where vendors sell locally sourced vegetables and fruits.
The main market days, however, are on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. If you can, plan your visit to Aix-en-Provence to land on one of these days. The market is huge with locals selling everything from hats and clothes to antiques and fresh foods. It truly is an experience not to be missed.
Other than the market, Aix is home to various art museums like the Granet Museum and the Caumont Center of Art.
Ever heard of the artist Paul Cézanne? You can visit his home and museum at the Atelier de Cézanne, just a 15-minute walk from the center of town. Make sure to book your tickets in advance, as time slots fill up quickly during the summer months.
With its endless charming streets, lively ambiance, rich history, and bustling cafes, Aix-en-Provence is a must-visit on any Provence itinerary.
4. The Camargue
The Camargue is one of Europe’s most unique natural regions. This vast area, located between the the Rhône River and the Mediterranean Sea, is home to lagoons, salt marshes, and wetlands making it a haven for biodiversity.
The Camargue is famous for its white horses, often seen roaming freely around, and pink flamingos, which live in the wetlands. The best places to see both horses and flamingos is at the Parc Ornithologique du Pont de Gau.
There are several trails and boardwalks throughout the park where you can get unobstructed views of the birds and animals in the area. This can be done on a day trip from Avignon or Aix-en-Provence.
The salt flats, located near Aigues-Mortes, are another must-see in the Camargue. The best way to see the salt flats is by booking a tour through Le Saunier de Camargue, with options to take a tour by bike, train, or 4×4.
For those who are nature enthusiasts, love bird watching, or are interested in the biodiversity of Provence, then the Camargue is a must-visit destination.
5. Les Baux-de-Provence
Les-Baux-de-Provence is a charming village located in the heart of the Alpilles mountains. The best way to visit is on a half-day trip from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence either by bike or by car.
Renting an e-bike from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and doing a self-guided tour is the most memorable way to visit Les-Baux-de-Provence, plus you don’t have to worry about finding parking.
Dating back to the middle ages, the Château des Baux-de-Provence is the top thing to see in the village. While the castle is mostly in ruins, it’s still worth a visit for the amazing panoramic views of the surrounding olive groves and vineyards.
Within the village, you can visit the Saint Vincent Church, which is one of the many buildings that is carved directly from rock.
Another highlight is the Carrières de Lumières, a former quarry now transformed into a multimedia art space, where projections of artworks by famous artists like Vincent Van Gogh are cast upon the walls. Book your tickets in advance.
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Provence. For being a small town, there is a surprising amount of things to do here.
Saint-Rémy has a wonderful market on Wednesday mornings. With vendors selling everything from olives, fruits, vegetables, Provencal soaps, and clothing. Arrive early because it is one of the most popular markets in the Provence region.
Van Gogh spent one year in Saint-Rémy at the Saint-Paul asylum. The hospital is a quick 15-minute walk outside of the town and is 100% worth visiting. You can take a tour of the room the artist stayed in, as well as explore around the beautiful grounds.
Have you ever heard of “The Starry Night” painting by Vincent Van Gogh? This painting is of the stunning landscapes surrounding Saint-Rémy.
If you have more time, you can stop by the ancient Roman settlement called Glanum. Just a 5-minute walk from the Saint-Paul asylum, this Roman city features ancient ruins and is a must-visit for history buffs.
Arles is home to many historic Roman monuments and has a thriving art scene making it one of the most unique places to visit in Provence. With one day in Arles, you’ll have plenty of time to explore this beautiful city.
Established by the Celts and later conquered by the Romans, the city is a treasure trove of fascinating sights.
The Roman Amphitheater should be the first stop on your visit. Built in the 1st century AD, this arena once hosted chariot races and gladiator contests. Now, you can attend bullfights or concerts, or you can simply visit on a self-guided tour.
Purchase the Arles discount pass to gain access to the other Roman sights, such as the Roman Theater, Baths of Constantine, Saint-Trophime Cloister, Cryptoportiques, and the Alyscamps.
Additionally, Arles served as an inspiration for Vincent Van Gogh, who produced over 300 artworks during his time here. You can take your own art tour and visit places like the Espace Van Gogh, which houses the hospital where the artist was treated and features a courtyard depicted in several of his paintings.
8. Lavender Fields of Valensole
Planning to visit Provence during the summer? The Lavender Fields of Valensole are a top attraction during the season.
These gorgeous fields paint the landscape in vibrant shades of purple, and the air is filled with the sweet scent of lavender. It’s an experience not to be missed.
The best time to visit the lavender fields is in June and July when they are at their peak. Dusk provides the optimal lighting for photographers, as it lights up the sky and purple shade.
You can visit Valensole on a day trip from Aix-en-Provence. The drive is a short one hour.
9. Cassis and the Calanques
Cassis, a charming coastal town in Provence, is known for its picturesque port and sandy beaches but also for its proximity to the breathtaking Calanques.
The Calanques are a series of rocky limestone inlets along the coastline, forming dramatic cliffs and hidden coves, featuring the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean.
The best way to experience the Calanques is to hike to them from Cassis. Calanque d’En Vau is the furthest one, and it takes about 2-hours each way to hike to from Cassis. Bring your swimsuit, water, and some food and spend the day enjoying the amazing scenery.
If you prefer not to hike, then alternatively, you can take a a boat tour from Cassis and see the Calanques from the water instead.
The town of Cassis itself features a small beach, a port, and many seaside restaurants. After a long day of hiking around the Calanques, it’s best to settle in for a relaxing meal of freshly caught seafood next to the Mediterranean sea.
Roussillon, a tiny village in the Luberon region, is made of red and orange colored buildings. It was named one of the most beautiful villages in France and is worth a quick visit during your time in Provence.
The village is famous for its ochre cliffs, a unique scenery made up of vibrant red and orange rocks. The best way to experience this is to walk along the Ochre Path, which is a set of walking trails located next to Roussillon that take you through these mesmerizing formations.
Roussillon itself is small and only requires an hour or so to visit.
11. Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard, constructed in the 1st century AD, is a three-tiered Roman aqueduct that was originally designed to carry water to the city of Nîmes.
Standing at an impressive height and remarkably well-preserved, the Pont du Gard stands as a monument to the longevity of Roman craftsmanship. Its grandeur is amplified by the natural surroundings, with the shimmering river below reflecting its majestic arches.
Visitors can traverse pedestrian pathways on the structure, offering a closer look at the ancient stonework and a panoramic view of the serene landscape. Nearby, a dedicated museum delves deeper into its history, construction techniques, and the significance of water in Roman culture.
Beyond its historical and architectural appeal, the Pont du Gard is a symbol of human ingenuity and the timeless connection between man and nature. For those journeying through southern France, it is an unmissable marvel, bridging the past with the present in its enduring beauty.
12. Verdon Gorge
The Verdon Gorge is one of the most amazing natural wonders in France. This canyon is carved by the vibrant Verdon River, which makes it through steep limestone cliffs making it one of the top visited places in Provence.
To best experience the Verdon Gorge, rent a kayak or canoe for the day as you make your way along the crystalline waters of the Verdon River. During the summer months, the river can get incredibly busy, so it’s recommended to reserve your activities in advance.
Rock climbing and hiking are amongst a plethora of other activities available here. Even if you aren’t looking for an adventurous activity, visiting the Verdon Gorge for its spectacular views makes it a worthwhile visit.
Marseille is the second largest city in France and is also the capital of Provence. Located along the sparkling Mediterranean coast, Marseille has a history that goes back to over two thousand years ago. With 1-2 days in Marseille, you’ll have plenty of time to explore this ancient port city.
The Old Port, or Vieux-Port, is the heart of Marseille. Once a bustling trade hub, it’s now lined with cafes, shops, and yachts. Take a walk along the promenade and take in the sights and sounds of the city.
Rising above the cityscape is the iconic Notre-Dame de la Garde, a basilica perched on a limestone hill. From here, you’ll find the most spectacular panoramic views of Marseilles and the Mediterranean sea.
The city is home to many museums, such as the MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations) and the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Equally compelling is the Palais Longchamp, a grand building that houses both an art museum and natural history museum.
14. L’Isle Sur La sorgue
L’Isle Sur La Sorgue, often called the Venice of Provence, is a charming town where the the Sorgue River flow through a network of canals.
One of the town’s main draws is its renowned antiques market, counted among the largest in France.
Insider tip: Visit on weekends to see the streets come alive with stalls showcasing a vast array of treasures, from vintage furniture to rare collectibles.
Uzes is a gem that is tucked away in the heart of Provence. With its narrow winding streets, cobblestoned walkways, and Medieval buildings, an afternoon in Uzes is the perfect amount of time to enjoy this magnificent place.
The Place aux Herbes is the town’s central square, surrounded by shops, trees, and also hosts a market twice a week. Here, you can shop local produce, Provençal delicacies, and artisanal crafts, making it a must-visit to get a taste of the local foods.
Make sure to stop by the Medieval Garden and wander through the terraced landscape that features both medicinal and culinary herbs.
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Jenoa is a travel writer based in the United States. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe and shares all of her insider tips on the best destinations, eats, and hotels in Europe on her blog, The Travel Folk.