Charming Provincial Towns that May Not Be On Your Radar (Yet!)
Arts & Culture
Road Trip Travel
Provence is famous for its art, architecture, landscape and markets. France also has a spectacular rail system, making day trips a breeze, even if you don’t have access to a car.
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Where to stay in Provence, France
Hôtel Le Pigonnet
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Hôtel La Mirande
Regal-style hotel in Avignon with a Michelin-starred restaurant.
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A fusion of luxury and tradition nestled in the heart of Arles, offering a seamless blend of upscale accommodations and enchanting city views.
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Towns to Visit in Provence, France
Tarascon and Beaucaire
It is easy to find yourself delightfully lost wandering Beaucaire’s charming streets, shadowed by the Chateau de Beaucaire: a fortress dating back to the 11th century. You can visit the castle Wednesday through Saturday to inspect the imposing structure more closely. They even offer an escape room inside the castle’s chapel and tower!
A stone's throw across the river from Beaucaire sits Tarascon. Tarascon’s own fortress dates back to the 15th century and is extremely well preserved. My favorite things about this castle are the original medieval ceilings, the moat you must cross to get to the main courtyard, and the panoramic view of the Rhone over the parapets and gargoyles atop the castle. Graffiti left by prisoners while the castle acted as a prison from the mid 1700’s to the not so distant 1920’s represents how the castle has acted as a living diary over time. The castle often hosts artist’s exhibitions throughout the larger and otherwise empty rooms, a stunning juxtaposition of modern art and medieval architecture. Steps from the chateau you’ll find the Romanesque-Gothic Church of Saint Martha of Tarascon. Here you can learn more about the legend of the Tarascon Monster and how it was defeated!
For a taste of Ancient Roman history in the heart of the French countryside, pay a visit to Orange. The Theatre Antique d’Orange is considered one of the best preserved Ancient Roman theaters in the world, and also stands as a rather impressive museum. Also in Orange, you will find remnants of Roman temples and Orange’s very own Arc de Triomphe.
As its name suggests, this town is framed by the Sorgue river. On a stroll through this delightful town every turn meets you with a new whimsical view of bridges and waterwheels. For those seeking a unique souvenir from their time in Provence, this is the perfect destination as this town is known for its antique stores. To see the town in full swing visit on a Thursday or Sunday as these are market days. On market days, stalls seem to fill up nearly every street in town; and there is a constant buzz of locals and tourists alike admiring the baubles for sale.
Places to eat & drink in Provence, France
Restaurant Le Violette, Avignon - Enjoy lunch or dinner at this exquisite restaurant which is a beautiful destination unto itself.
Monsieur Tu, l'isle-sur-la-sorgue - Enjoy extraordinary, fresh cuisine on the bank of the Sorgue river.
Cafe saint-jean, Avignon - Visit for a more traditional French dining experience.
Coeur d'Artichaut, Avignon - If you are vegan or gluten free, you will have plenty of options here.
Chez Felix, Tarascon - This restaurant offers lots of fresh fruits and vegetables for those that like to eat clean.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Provence.