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Tourist information for Provence

Provence and the Rhone valley is, for many, the most alluring region in France. Warm in winter, hot in summer, famous for its wine and its beautiful countryside. Drive through quiet, rolling hills, among olive groves and vineyards; visit Roman ruins or enjoy life in the vibrant cities of the area with their outdoor cafes and outstanding cuisine. See the landscape and clear colours that inspired Van Gogh at Arles, dance on what's left of the Pont d'Avignon; visit the delta land of the Camargue with its wild horses and bulls, or drive inland to Europe's answer to the Grand Canyon - the spectacular Canyon du Verdun. It would take a lifetime to fully appreciate all that this region has to offer, but start here for a real taste of France soaked in history and warm sunshine.

Activities in Provence:
Walking, rock-climbing, cycling, skiing, horse riding, bird watching, wine tasting, boat trips on the Rhone.

Special attractions:
Bull-running at Arles, Roman arena at Arles, Palace des Papes at Avignon, nature reserves at Alpes de Provence and the Camargue, hiking at the Canyon du Verdun, the ancient settlement at Glanum, trekking around Mont Ventoux.

Towns in Provence:

Aix-en-Provence. Beautiful, civilised, historic city with music festivals in June and July and loads of restaurants and good nightlife.

Arles. Main city on the great delta mouth of the Rhone, in the centre of the Carmargue. Roman ruins and arena. Bull running. Although there is a Fondation Van Gogh it houses works inspired by the artist rather than those of the painter himself. Near Les Alpilles is a good area for walking, cycling and horse riding.

pont d'avignon bridge of avignonAvignon. Walled medieval town very popular with tourists. Sights include the Palais des Papes, the Petit Palais, the remnant of the Pont d'Avignon and boat rides along the Rhone.

Camargue. River delta area well-known for its semi-wild white horses and bulls. It is also a famous nature reserve and bird-watching area but beware the weather, which can be wild and windy or very hot with lots of insects.

Carpentras. Rather dour old town but surrounded by beautiful rolling hills dominated by Mont Ventoux and Les Dentelles. Excellent centre for walking and cycling.

lyon at nightLyon. Built on the silk industry but now a commercial centre, this is France's second largest city. A funicular leads to Roman ruins and incredible views of the city are also available from the Basilique de Fouviere. It has a Musee des Beaux Arts as well as museums of contemporary art, textiles and puppets. As you would expect of such a large city, there is a lively nightlife and many restaurants to savour the local gastronomy. It is also near the Monts du Lyonnais, a quieter, forested region dotted with small villages.

Montelimar. Famous for its nougat.

amphitheatre vienneOrange. Roman theatre and close to Les Dentelles and Mont Ventoux which are good for walking, cycling and rock-climbing.

Vienne. More Roman ruins.