What’s New in Provence, France


Beautiful rows of lavender flowers near the Rhone River.

By Olivia Gilmore

In Southeastern France bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, lies the historical and culturally diverse area of Provence. Whether you’re an adventure seeker looking to jump off the cliffs of Calanques in Cassis, or a history guru looking to explore the ancient Nimes, Provence, France is one of the top tourist destinations the world over in 2017.

Vacationing in Bouches-du-Rhone

Paying a visit to Bouches-du-Rhone means getting to know its three different locations. Marseille, a cosmopolitan city next to cobblestone villages draped alongside the Mediterranean, Provence, a region covered in picturesque fields of sunflowers and lavender, and the Camargue, an area populated with vibrant flamingos and natural beach scenes and an otherworldly remoteness.

Villa La Coste Hotel's terrace area for guests.
Villa La Coste Hotel’s terrace area for guests.

The luxurious new hotel Villa La Coste located in Aix en Provence is in the heart of the biodiverse vineyard, Chateau La Coste. 28 Villa suites sit upon the property’s private hillside, surrounded by natural gardens which open into expansive terraces offering views of the distant valleys and vineyards.

The hotel’s contemporary architecture and artistic essence attract guests who have an appreciation for art, beauty, and comfortable living.

An all inclusive vacation makes for an easily controlled budget while traveling. Village Club du Soleil in Marseille offers full family accommodations. Established in February 2017, a holiday package including a city pass to visit the surrounding city, became a worthwhile option to all seeking travelers.

Check out their holiday packages at sea, in the mountains, or in the countryside atwww.villagesclubsdusoleil.com.

As McArthurGlen opens their first outlet in Provence, guests can expect to see their favorite luxury and premium brands at 30-70% less. The outlet is equipped with over 120 top brand retailers, seven restaurants and cafes, and a playground area. The outlet is fittingly located in the busy town of Miramas.

When people think of the city of Arles, they probably think of art. Most likely because the famous Vincent van Gogh lived and created dozens of paintings in Arles, or because the annual Rencontres d’Arles photography festival that is held there.

Building designed by Frank Gehry launched by the Luma Foundation in support of local artists. Photo by Artnet News.
Building designed by Frank Gehry launched by the Luma Foundation in support of local artists. Photo by Artnet News.

Excitement is growing in the city of Arles as the LUMA Foundation helps to support the activities of independent artists and pioneers by building a 56-meter-high art complex. The complex will be home to artist’s studios and will feature exhibition spaces as well as workshops and seminar rooms. Hooray for art and culture!

Visiting Vaucluse?

The Vaucluse department of Provence it the ultimate destination for travelers looking for historic hilltop villages plagued with a medieval vibe. Don’t worry it also has some impressive lavender fields to accompany the old-fashioned feel.

Being situated so close to the ocean, it is no surprise that Vaucluse is welcoming a new boat-hotel in Avignon called The Chardonnay. Guests can choose from a variety of excursions, including the Christmas excursion and the three-day weekend excursion. Enjoy a glass of wine on your deckchair outside as you float down the Rhone River.

Speaking of the Rhone River, ViaRhona has a new adventure in store, it involves leading you on a cycle route that spreads across Camargue beaches and scenic greenways. ViaRhona by bike is in the process of developing a bike route beside the Rhone River that guides its guests on a tour of the coastline.

A couple enjoying a break while on the ViaRhona bike trail. Photo by ViaRhona.
A couple enjoying a break while on the ViaRhona bike trail in Vaucluse. Photo by ViaRhona.

If you’re a biking enthusiast, then keep on reading because ViaRhona is not the only ones offering a one of a kind bike tour.

Duvine Cycling and Adventure Co. is also offering a six-day Cotes du Rhone Bike Tour with all inclusive wine tours, meals, and excursions. A bike tour followed by a four-course meal by sunset sounds like the perfect way to experience Vaucluse.

Meanwhile, 2017 marks the 700th anniversary of the castle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Throughout the year different events will take place in celebration of the historic Popes which once occupied Valreas.

Expect there to be lots of wine available, presumably because it was Pope John XXII favorite. But who doesn’t love wine?

Seeing Avignon, The City of Popes

Marked by its famous presence of Popes, Avignon is the capital of Vaucluse and home to many theatergoers and historic sites, including The Palace of the Popes, The Cathedral, and the Pont d’Avignon. The magnificent architectural heritage and buildings from the Middle Ages will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the city’s past.

The historic Palace of the Popes at sunset.
The historic Palace of the Popes at sunset.

Starting in September of 2017, guests who visit The Palace of the Popes will be invited to experience a tour of the biggest Gothic palace in Europe. The Histopad in The Palace of the Popes will use 3-D technology and augmented reality to open a door into the past.

The mobile tablet equipped with six languages will accompany guests along the way and virtualize the tour as if they were in the 14th century.

In front of The Palace of the Popes is Le Carré du Palais, a school on Rhone wines and a 100% Rhone Oenotouristic Wine Bar. Featuring special events all year long, the Carre du Palais is characterized by its impressive wine cellar, outdoor patios, and exquisite dining rooms. Devoted to the theme of fermentation, the place also offers an array of coffee, tea, chocolate, and cheeses.

The Palace of the Popes is also hosting its fifth Les Luminessences d’Avignon, a monumental sound and light show. Every evening from August 12 to September 13, the palace tells its story in a full room screening that illuminates the walls of the Honour Courtyard.

For international visitors, there are three translated shows a week. Allow yourself to be transported into a world of fascinating light and sound as the show brings the monument to life. Designed to be enjoyed by all ages!

Les Luminessences d'Avignon light show portraying history on its palaces walls.
Les Luminessences d’Avignon light show portraying history on its palaces walls.

The Palace of the Popes is one of the most visited monuments in France, it was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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Olivia Gilmore is a travel enthusiast, writer, and cultural anthropologist who has traveled to West Africa and across the East and West Coast of the United States. As a member of Amnesty International, her interests include advocating for human rights, humanitarian volunteer work, and cultural immersion. She’s from Lunenburg, MA.



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