Why Stay in Provence?
Books like the ones written by Peter Mayle have made many people dream about going on a holiday in Provence, France or even moving there. But what makes that particular place so charming? For many it is simply the sun, the lavender fields, the old stone houses and the great people living in the area. For others it is the delicious food, the freshly baked bread, the wine and the opportunity to visit Nice or Saint Tropez. If you take into account all these attractions, it is no wonder that so many tourists, thousands of them, come to Provence starting from April until late October.
Attractions of Provence
The lavender, the white stone farm houses, the vineyards, the sea – these are all beautiful, different nature colors that will convince everyone that life in Provence is, to begin with, full of vivid contrasts. Provence is also well known for the numerous smaller and larger restaurants; the smaller ones are usually hidden on the sunny streets of the smaller villages, being places where you will enjoy food made out with what the land produces. The big restaurants, boasting with Michelin stars, charm their clients with exquisite dishes and exquisite wines. Under these circumstances, it is not a surprise that the vineyards in Provence produce more than 50% of the France’s rose wines.
Provence is situated in the South of France, including a higher area, the Alpes of Haute Provence, as well as the sunny beaches of the Cote d’Azur – try http://thecotedazur.net. No matter where you decide to spend your holiday, or maybe much more than that, you will be fascinated by the old villages, which have managed to keep their authenticity. The food is almost 100% provencal, and so are the weekly fairs where the farmers in the region get together to sell their numerous, tasty cheese varieties, meat, bread or any other food related product that their farms produce.
Considered to be the “belle” of the entire Provence area, Avignon, the former papal seat, is a place that boasts with its one of a kind architecture and masterpieces of art. Avignon attracts thousands of tourists every year and they all marvel admiring the Palais des Papes, the very place where the Christian popes used to live for many centuries, a medieval construction which is most visited building in France. It all started in 1309, when a Gascon became pope; he did not want to live in Rome, as all the other popes did before him, so he moved to Avignon. This period is known in history as Avignon Papacy.
The work started back in 1335, being coordinated by Pope Benedict XII and it was continued by pope Clement VI. The best painters from all over Europe were hired to decorate the palace, and thus exquisite frescoes appeared on the huge walls. The good news is that all these paintings are intact nowadays and they can be admired in their full splendor by all the tourists.
After the popes left, the palace was used by Papal legates, Italian vice-legates, and in 1791 the territory was considered as belonging to France once again. Being one of the largest Gothic constructions in Europe, there is no wonder so many come to visit it while in Provence. In addition to this, starting with 1995, the palace has become an UNESCO Heritage Site. So book your holiday in Provence today!
Irina Chirilov, the author of this article, works as a blogger for Thrifty Bucharest Romania, a travel and car rental agency in Eastern Europe.