I finally made it and I am obsessed!
Words would never be sufficient for me to express how wonderful, how beautiful and how entirely life-changing the south of France has been for me. It was the breath of fresh air I needed after spending so many weeks of my life in busy cities. I finally got to slow down and smell the lavender! If I had to break down my days here, it would probably just include drinking lots of rosè, eating lots of apricots and cheese, and going on long walks by the water. Truly the stuff of legends. It was the best week of my life and it’ll be my happy place for a little while.
To be perfectly honest, this part of my trip didn’t involve a ton of sight-seeing. While I did do some, a larger part of this adventure involved more exploring and experiencing the lifestyle as well as the incredible culinary creations the Provence offered. I also made some incredible friends while I was there and had an amazing experience just being with other solo travellers.
But anyway, I know you want to hear about what actually transpired in the Provence so here’s a breakdown of everything I saw and did while in Avignon:
- Day trip to Arles
Avignon, despite being a smaller sized city, is still a city nonetheless. If you want to truly see a town in France, you’ll have to take yourselves down to Arles. Placed by the Rhone, this town is so exceptionally quaint. It’s got some of the best ice cream I’ve tasted and it’s so darn provincial. It must be what Belle talks about in Beauty and the Beast because I cannot imagine something more fitting to be in the South of France.
- Les Halles Market
This isn’t just directed for Les Halles but any market that sells food. The produce in Europe is great but in the South of France, it is out of this world. I’ve tasted tomatoes sweet enough to lead me to believe that they’re actually supposed to be fruits! My first day there resulted in an incredible picnic with new friends trying out some amazing Provence produce like goat cheese on figs (it sounds gross, I know, but it is SO SO SO DELICIOUS – don’t knock it till you try it), olive tapenade and of course, lots of bread.
- La Princierre
If you must know, this is the fourth best ice cream shop in France. Their ice cream is to die for, as are their sorbets. So if you know what’s good for you, you’d go here. Try out their lavender ice cream – the lavender is locally sourced directly from the Provence!
- Lavender Tours
I’m usually not one for tours but I will admit that this was completely worth every penny I paid. For 55 Euros, I was taken to explore the beautiful lavender fields of the provence with about 7 other people. It is incredibly difficult to get to the fields if you do not have access to a vehicle and even then, they are complicated to find. Despite what you might think, lavender just doesn’t grow everywhere – that is just an amazing lie that I wish was true. Save yourself the trouble and go on a tour with the Tourism office and be prepared to be amazed! I loved how our tour guide, being a local, knew exactly where we’d be able to find lavender in bloom despite it not being in season just quite yet. In fact, I was about a week or two early so try going out there towards the end of June! There is a tight time period between the full bloom and the harvest so you’ll want to get in there before mid-July if you’re looking to actually see anything. Going with a local guide is amazing because you get a chance to learn a lot about provincial culture as well as non-touristy spots within the region. Plus, you get to practice your terrible but functional French!
- Gordes, Rousillon and every village there is
Provencial villages are amazing but Gordes is by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life. Set on the edge of a plateau, this village stands to be one of the oldest villages in the Luberon region. The very history there is amazing and you’ll have to see its beauty for yourself because photographs do not do it any justice.
Rousillon, if you must know, also takes its place up on the most beautiful villages list with Gordes. This village is home to a variety of ochre deposits rendering the walls of their buildings to be various shades of red, orange and yellow. The colors of this village only makes it as equally colorful than its villages and it’s about as lively. If you’re up for a beautiful hike, the Ochre Path is a trail that will lead you to some of the biggest ochre quarries you’ve ever seen. It’s worth it, I promise – it’s almost like the French Grand Canyon, just less canyon-like. 😛
TOP TIP: For what it’s worth, bring water with you because it gets up to the 40s(Celsius) in July – 100s for my American friends using Fahrenheit here – and I don’t want you to wither up and die. ❤
Most importantly, it is incredibly HOT in the Provence especially in the summer and more than that, it is also very dry! While it is crucial to stay hydrated, make sure you’re packing on that sunscreen and moisturizer. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with your skin peeling off your body and being sunburnt while paying for overpriced sunscreen for no reason. Trust me, it’s not like I’m not speaking from experience or anything. 😀
Anyway, Avignon is an amazing place to make your home base in the Provence and there a lot to see. If you’re into seeing real France and not that Parisian hospitality, then you’re going to want to head in that direction.
Holla at your girl if you need help planning a trip out there – I’d be happy to help!
Catching up on being so far behind,
P.S: I promise you’ll hear about everything in the next couple of weeks – up next, Cassis (my favorite seaside town).