Provence is magical, filled to the brim with interest and graced with more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Its famous luminous light has attracted countless artists, and the clear air makes it the home to Europes largest observatory.
Despite its popularity, you can still get away from it all and find your own hidden delights on a Provence bike tour: romantic tucked-away chateaux, bustling local markets, and Clochemerlesque villages. And nothing compares with the scent of the garrigue, the heady mixture of lavender, wild herbs and wild flowers that covers the hills.
Many of our fondest memories are of the simple things: lingering over lunch under shady plane trees, shopping for vividly colored Provençal arts and crafts, savouring the exquisite panorama from a lonely hilltop. Look and you’ll make your own discoveries.
A cultural melting-pot, Provence has legacies from the ancient Greeks, the Roman Empire and the worldly Popes who brought their glittering court to Avignon during the 14C. One of them, Clement V, died eating powdered emeralds which had been prescribed as an indigestion cure.
It’s difficult to imagine anywhere with more romantic associations. It was the home of the troubadours and where Courtly Love developed. Matisse and Dufy, Braque and Picasso, all painted here. The 19C poet Mistral gave the old Latin-based Languedoc tongue a literary revival and it lives on as a dialect in some villages. Provençal films include Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, based on the books of Marcel Pagnol.