Escape to Provence
Life | 06.26.2017
Recommendations for enjoying yourself, eating well and relaxing
Provence is the ideal place to escape and switch off from everything for a few days. It offers good weather, high quality rural accommodation, wonderful gastronomy and unique landscapes. The area is bigger than it seems, so it is important to choose which part you wish to discover first. After a few days in the Lubéron area, here is my advice for enjoying this part of Provence.
From Andorra, it takes little more than 5 hours to get to the Avignon area by car. My tip: take a GPS. Getting around can be slightly chaotic and you can easily get lost on the many routes and small roads.
Provence has a great deal of rural accommodation and hotels, the majority of which are of exceptional quality. Many families make a living by adapting their houses in the countryside to receive guests. You will find a wide range of accommodation, including different categories and areas at this link.
I stayed in fantastic accommodation called Côte de Provence located outside the village of Le Thor. It has a garden with a swimming pool, and guests can choose either a room or a small apartment/studio accommodation with a kitchen.
What to see
As there is never enough time to see everything, I recommend the following in the area I visited:
• Gordes and Sénanque Abbey
These were probably my favourite places, where Provence is at its most natural. The village of Gordes, made completely of stone, is beautiful with stunning views, although finding a parking space is a challenge. If you want to treat yourself, stay at Hotel La Bastide. A few kilometres away, you will find Sénanque Abbey, which is still lived in and fully functioning, with its characteristic fields of lavender, in flower at the end of June.
• Saint Rémy and Les Baux de Provence
These two nearby tourism spots are ideally located to visit in the same day. Les Baux de Provence is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. Visitors can enjoy the castle and the Carrières de Lumières exhibition, an immersive art experience with spectacular huge projections. Before going up to the castle, you will find the Cave Berthe, which has a magnificent pathway through vineyards and olive tress. This 1,600-metre walk is highly recommended and will satisfy any cravings for wine tourism. You can continue on to Saint Rémy, another charming village on the Van Gogh route (where he spent time) and a good place to buy souvenirs.
It is considered a small Provençal Venice, due to its canals, although this is a slight exaggeration. The small village has a market every Thursday in the centre. It is also famous as a centre for antiques, with a market organised every Sunday. Nearby, on the way to Fontaine de Vaucluse, kayaking on the river Sorgue is a good option. It is affordable for the whole family and an excellent way to enjoy nature on a river with transparent waters.
One of the large cities in the area, Avignon is famous for its bridge named after the city, and the impressive Papal palace. You will always find cultural or wine-related events in Avignon, which is a good, more urban, place to visit.
Apart from these must-see visits, the best thing to do is get in the car and explore!
Finally, here are a couple of restaurant suggestions:
Located in a hotel at L’Isle-sur-le-Sorgue, the restaurant has few tables and a short menu, but serves exceptional food. Service is impeccable and the chef is passionate about local produce. The fact that I still remember the lamb timbale with aubergine and tomato says it all. It was highly recommendable.
This modern restaurant in Saint Rémy specialises in shellfish, but also offers a wide range of dishes. There is a lunchtime menu, as well as an evening menu, and the quality of the dishes is very good. The restaurant showcases innovation, design and good ingredients. My goats’ cheese panna cotta, beef ragoût and tiramisu all made me very happy. Good wines are also served.
One final recommendation: take your MoraBanc cards with you, so that you can make the absolute most of your holiday. Also, to prevent anything stopping you from enjoying yourself to the full, read this post for simple advice to help you avoid any unexpected card-related problems during your trip.
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