The Reading Nook
SIGHTS & THINGS TO DO
Whether your passions are the arts, history, physical activities, foods and wines, touring or antiquing, Provence has it all. The premier summer arts and cultural festivals favoured by Parisians, historical sites dating back to Roman times, artists' havens, clear blue azur sea and beaches, sun that shines all summer. Within an hour's drive is Avignon, home of the Vatican for 400 years, Baux-de-Provence - noted as the prettiest (medieval) village' by the French, Nimes and Artles - home to Van Gogh, and chic St. Tropez and Cannes. Nice is 90 minutes away, Italy and skiing are just 2 hours away. Or take the TGV 20 minutes from the home for a quick 3 hr. trip to Paris, even direct to EuroDisney! Too much activity? Just want to sit still and relax on your vacation? A pool, hammock, barbecue, house stocked with books and videos, large yard for children to run around in and children's playthings, boardgames, the Provencal sun... The Reading Nook. Provence typically does not rain from June-August, so you are assured bright sunny days, and the beautiful light that drew so many artists to this area.
15 minutes away
Aix-en-Provence is a romantic artistic town, home to painter Paul Cezanne and writer Emile Zola. Visit Cezanne's studio, traverse the narrow cobblestoned paths of old town, enjoy the colourful farmer's market, or join the famed Aix Cultural Festival in the summer. Have a thermal spa treatment at the of site Roman baths in the center of town. Savour the magic captured by Marcel Pagnol, who grew up in neighboring Aubagne, in his book and movie 'Manon of the Spring', and discover why Picasso made his home in Le Tholonet, next to Aix.
Farmer's Markets + Countryside
5-45 minutes away
The beauty of Provence lies in its gentle pace, its artisanal crafts, and its colorful farmers' markets. Visit the local markets throughout the week to stock up on fresh organic foods, lavender honey, home-made soaps, flavored olive oils, and fresh herbs to take home. Drive 45 minutes into the countryside to see the ochre cliffs of Roussillion, or the perched medieval town of Gordes, along with the purple lavender fields of Abbaye de Senaque, a working Cisterian monastery. Go further north, towards Avignon, and pick up some wine from the Chateauneuf du Papes vineyards.
Nice + Cote d'Azur
90 minutes away
Lifestyles of the rich and famous at Nice and the Cote d'Azur is only 90 minutes away. Stroll along the famed Promenade des Anglais beachfront of Nice, visit painter Henri Matisse's home and museum (as shown), see Chagall's works at artist colony St. Paul-de-Vence, stop at the nearby luxury towns of Monaco and St. Jean Cap Ferrat. Or take a more low-keyed visit to the idyllic small beach towns of Cannes and St. Tropez, favored by the film stars, only 45 minutes away.
25 minutes away
Whether it's lounging on the beach, swimming, snorkeling, sailing, wind-surfing, scuba-diving, deep sea fishing, sailing, or hiking the Calanques (fjords), the Mediterranean is only a short drive away. Visit the little colorful cove town of Cassis or head out to Poquerolles island where only bicycles are allowed. For fun-filled splashing, enjoy a day at the water parks near the beaches.
60-90 minutes away
History is very close at hand. The Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct (as pictured), one of the 10 wonders of the ancient world, is 1 hour north, near Avignon, the site of the Vatican for 400 years. Visit Roman ruins near St. Remy-de-Provence (also home of Nostradamus) and the Roman amphitheatre at Nimes 1 hour west, where bullfights are still held. Stay at Nimes and Arles to see where Van Gogh lived and painted scenes of haystacks and starry nights. Medieval castle town Baux-de-Provence, 1 hour away, is complete with a catapult, a battering ram and views to the sea. It is also the ancient home of the Grimaldis, who are now reigning in Monaco (e.g., Princess Grace’s family).
15 minutes+ away
What is Provence without lavender? Or sunflowers? Or the wild thyme or rosemary or poppies that grow in open fields? Or Sun? Enjoy nature through the many hikes and bike trails in the area during the cooler months (trails closed in summer as a fire precaution), Hike up or kite flying at Cezanne’s mountain, Ste. Victoire, white-water raft or canoe under the Pont du Gard, ski in the lower Alps, bicycle along the Tour de France routes, rock-climb on the Calanque fjords at the sea. Or visit the salty marshes of the Camargues towards the west, where wild white horses and pink flamingoes still roam.
Don't want to drive? Not sure where to go? Try a local guided tour!