Provence, one of France’s most mythical regions which stretches along the Mediterranean coast and into the countryside, is a very vast region that offers alot to discover. There are some very important towns like Avignon and Arles (world famous photography festival each summer), great wineries that can be found along the Rhone and rugged landscapes like the Gorges du Verdon, a paradise for hikers and rock climbers. The landscape changes with the seasons, from lavender fields, to cherry trees and vineyards. Hiking and bike paths and outdoor markets abound, as are perched stone villages, whose charms support every delightful cliché about Provence.
It is easy to explore along the French Riviera and inland Provence, but as we had to do you need to decide where you want the focus to be. If you are after Peter Mayle’s Provence (i.e. the Luberon Region) it is easiest to set out from Avignon or Aix en Provence, both quickly reachable and best toured with either a private car and driver which made our touring seamless or self drive and slowly meander through the gorgeous towns.
The most well known part of Luberon stretches from the town of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Apt. We enjoyed some of the most quintessential hotels in the area (Villa Gallici in Aix, La Mirande in Avignon and La Bastide de Marie in Bonnieux) which are all centrally based to easily explore the smaller Luberon villages such as Gordes, Roussilon, Bonnieux, Lacoste and Menerbes. However for those who would like to settle in more like a local and indulge in the region a villa rental is a great option. There are numerous days trips to explore the region and charming daily local markets. If looking for a special splurge enjoy Alain Ducasse’s restaurant and the first of his country hotels at the meticulously restored 17th century Provençal house, La Bastide de Moustiers, set in a peaceful valley minutes away from Gorges de Verdon.