10 Best Cities to Visit in Provence
The charm of Provence is irresistible. The rich history of this region combined with amazing monuments of architecture of all eras, interesting museums, beautiful nature, delicious cuisine, charming villages, and towns – all of these are amazing. Among the many attractions of Provence, we can name ten that are worth seeing.
The best and most convenient way to travel in Provence is by car. You can rent a car at this link.
Growing out of an ancient settlement of Gauls, Avenio, the current Avignon can be considered one of the most touristy cities in France. History has left its traces in the Roman ruins and impressive medieval buildings. In the 14th century, the city was the residence of the pontiffs; that is when they built the crenelated wall – an excellent example of medieval fortification.
The main attraction of the city is the Palais des Papes, a brilliant example of Gothic architecture. The earlier Roman Avignon Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms), situated higher on the cliff, was linked to the palace to form a unified ensemble.
In addition to these sights, there are many others in Avignon. The combination of antiquity and modernity gives the city a special style. Find a good hotel for your vacation in Avignon by clicking here.Book a hotel in Avignon
The city of Orange stands on the ancient Arauzion, which was a battlefield between the Romans, the Gallic, and the German tribes. During the reign of Emperor Augustus, they built many important buildings. Among them is the Roman theater. The amphitheater is perfectly preserved and is currently the main attraction of the city. It has 60 rows and a seating capacity for 11000 spectators and still serves its purpose as a theater performance venue.
The Triumphal Arch, decorated with beautifully crafted bas-reliefs, is one of the city’s other Roman monuments.
The representation architectural sights of Orange of the Middle Ages and later are beautiful mansions, among which is the City Hall, built in the 17th century. Among the religious buildings the most remarkable is the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Nazareth, which was built in the 6th and rebuilt in the 12th century. If you decide to stay in Orange for a few days, you can book a suitable hotel here.All hotels of Orange
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Arles stands on the site of an ancient settlement. The Romans built public buildings, fortress walls, and houses here. From the ancient and medieval heritage of the city, many monuments have survived. The main one is the famous Arena with a seating capacity of 25,000 spectators. In the Middle Ages, the building was for fortification purposes, and in the 19th century, it recovered its original appearance. In addition, other Roman buildings remained in good condition – the ancient theater, the Alyscamps Necropolis, and many others.
The Cathedral of St. Trophime is another important landmark of Arles. They built it on the site of St. Stephen’s Cathedral (5th century); in the 12th century, they rebuilt the cathedral and transferred the relics of Saint Trophime here, so they renamed it.
Arles is a special city for admirers of Vincent van Gogh because much of the artist’s creative life took place here. Find comfortable accommodation in Arles here.
» See More – SEE VAN GOGH’S PROVENCEBook a hotel in Arles
On the border of Provence is Nîmes, another old town full of Roman monuments. Before the Roman conquest in 121 BC, it was a Gallic capital. An arena built in the 1st century, A.D. is currently surviving. In the center of the city, there is Maison Carrée, an ancient Roman temple, which they later used as a Christian church. Now, this building is a museum of Roman art.
In dilapidated conditions, we see the Temple of Diana (2nd century AD), now you can see only the central hall. On the top of the hill, there is another ancient monument – the Tower Magne (3rd century BC). The town is full of curiosities and has a special charm thanks to the mixture of three Mediterranean cultures. See a tour of Nîmes (click here), where an experienced guide will show you the many interesting things to see and do.
Beautiful hotels in this city are available for booking here.Best hotels of Nimes
» READ MORE – 20 French cities worth visiting
Les Baux-de-Provence is a small village included in the list of the most beautiful villages in France. It is on a cliff, 245 meters above sea level. The Alpine scenery, the views of Arles and other cities, which opens from here, is impossible to forget. This is where the stunning Château des Baux resides. It is not functional, but even in its current form, impressive. The castle, built in the 10th century, was a defensive construction. The high position made this fortress impregnable since the excellent overview allowed you to see the approaching enemies long before they could approach the rock.
Numerous tourists visiting des Baux are also interested in the exhibition of medieval weapons and a working model of a trebuchet. You can settle in Les Baux-de-Provence here.Look for a room in Les Baux-de-Provence
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Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is another place whose history goes back to antiquity. First mentioned in the 6th century BC, the Phoenician merchants built a sanctuary along a trade route. The Romans turned this road into a paved Via Sanktuaria and erected an altar in honor of Hercules. They built the city around it.
The well-preserved Triumphal Arch and the Mausoleum called Tomb of Julius can now be seen in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The Mausoleum’s pedestal is particularly interesting with its bas-reliefs of mythological themes. In addition to ancient monuments, the city is rich in medieval buildings, such as the monastery of St. Paul, where Vincent van Gogh died, and charming Baroque buildings. Find the right place to stay in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence at this link.All hotels of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence are listed here
The medieval town of Aix-en-Provence is associated with the famous impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. You can visit the Cezanne’s studio, where everything remains as it was during his life. The center of this beautiful city is the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour (Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur ), built in the 12th century; the interior displays outstanding works of medieval art. The Eglise de la Madeleine, another architectural monument, also has splendid paintings of different ages, from the medieval triptych “The Annunciation” to the works of Rubens.
Among the attractions, we should also note the former bishop’s palace, which now houses the Tapestry Museum (Musée des Tapisseries). You can stay in the cozy hotels, and the reservations are available here.Choose a hotel in Aix-en-Provence
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is a charming town, which attracts tourists both as a resort and as a pleasant place for excursions. There are all conditions for recreation – a beautiful beach, many hotels (suitable accommodation can be found and booked here) and restaurants.
Every year, this town holds a festival dedicated to Saint Sarah, who is especially revered by the Gypsies. You can find a statue of this saint in the elegant Notre Dame de la Mer, which impresses with its splendid acoustics.
This medieval structure more than once saved the locals from Saracen raids during the Crusades. They could sit in this church fortress long enough since there was a well with drinking water inside.Best hotels of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
Vers-Pont-du-Gard is a small town, but the main attraction is near – the Pont du Gard aqueduct. It is one of the best preserved structures of the Roman period. Almost 50 meters high and 275 meters long, this bridge is now for pedestrians, but until recently, it was also for transport. Its main purpose was to carry water to Nîmes. As an aqueduct, the Pont du Gard served until the end of Roman rule.
What is striking is that the grandiose construction holds up without any mortars and solely by its own weight. Six arches give the bridge openwork and airiness, while the load-bearing structure is only one arch. To see the hotels in Vers-Pont du Gard, follow this link.Look for a hotel around the Pont du Gard
The Greeks founded Marseille in the 6th century BC as a seaport. In this quality, it still exists. The old port (Vieux Port) is the most important attraction of the city, but currently, sailors mostly use it. By the way, Alexandre Dumas described Marseille in his novel. The boat with Edmond Dantes arrived in the Old Port. Another place mentioned in this work, the Château d’If, is a real place too. After being built in the 16th century, it had military value, but it became a prison before being converted to a museum.
There are not many preserved buildings in Marseille. The most significant architectural monuments belong to the 19th century. But there is a medieval abbey of Saint-Victor (Abbaye Saint-Victor), founded in the 5th century. The beautiful baroque town hall building is also from the 17th century.
To feel the true spirit of Provence, you can visit the cozy resort town of Cassis and the national park of Calanques with a guide. You can book a tour of these places here. There are many excellent hotels in Marseille (consider the different options and book a suitable one here).Book a hotel in the Old Port of Marseille
Have a fabulous trip through Provence!
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