Provence & Languedoc-Roussillon
(Gorges du Verdon)
Your suggested itinerary in Provence
Visit the French Riviera
- GETTING THERE:
Daily flights from Paris to Marseille, Nîmes, Montpellier and
Perpignan. The TGV Paris-Marseille takes 5 hours, with stops in
Avignon or Nîmes. There are train connections in Marseille for
Montpellier, Béziers, Narbonne and Perpignan.
Though most of the area enjoys a relatively mild climate, weather
can be capricious, so be prepared with umbrella and sweater.
Expect extreme heat in the summer and pleasantly cool winters. Late spring
and fall are the best touring seasons.
- FOOD & WINE:
Garlic and olive oil are the staples of both the Provençale and
Languedocian kitchens; emphasis is on fish and vegetables. Bouillabaisse is
the classic fish soup, seasoned with saffron and herbs and garnished
with aioli, the garlic mayonnaise that is another hallmark of the regional
table. Daube de boeuf is a beef stew with red wine and tomatoes;
ratatouille and all of its components are essential Provençal
ingredients-tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, onions, garlic. Goat cheeses are
produced all through the region.
Both Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon make superb wines: Châteauneuf
du Pape, Cassis, Collioure, Bandol, Palette, Vacqueyras, Gigondas,
Coteaux d'Aix, Costières de Nîmes, Coteaux des Baux, Côtes de Provence,
Fitou, Faugères, Picpoul de Pinet.
Jam, honey, herbs, herbal teas, lavender sachets and olive oil are all
avialable at daily or weekly outdoor markets. A few local specialties:
almond-paste candies called calissons from Aix-en-Provence; candied
fruit from Apt; olive oil from Les Baux; bull sausage from the Camargue;
anchovies from Collioure.
Santons, carved wooden figurines for the Christmas crèche-shepherds,
angels and Wise Men, but also butchers, bakers, cobblers, cooks,
seamstresses and a world of other Provençal folk-are on sale everywhere, as
well as olive wood bowls and utensils, pottery and faience.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is renowned for its Sunday morning antiques
market; Marseille has an old-books-and-flea market the second Sunday of each
Frédéric Mistral, Marcel Pagnol, Madame de Sévigné and the Marquis de
Sade are all authors associated with the region. Other works include
Stendhal's Travels in the South of France; Ford Madox Ford's Provence;
M.F.K. Fisher's Map of Another Town (about living in Aix-en-Provence);
and, more recently, Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence and Toujours
- EVENTS & FESTIVALS:
International Lyric Art and Music Festival of Aix-en-Provence
Chorégies d'Orange in the Roman theater
July to August
Tel: 90-34-24-24 or 90-34-15-52
Festival of Avignon for music, dance theater, and poetry
July and August
Bullfights in Arles
Easter, July to September
Music in the Abbaye-St-Victor in Marseille
October to December