How to Spend 1 Day in Provence
As one of France’s most popular destinations, Provence attracts visitors with its fragrant lavender fields, historic architecture, and delicious food. If you’ve only got one day in the region, it makes sense to focus on a small area rather than trying to cram too much in. Here's how to make the most of 24 hours in Provence.
Morning: Aix-en-Provence and Lavender Fields
Start your morning with a walking tour of Aix-en-Provence, concentrating on the historic center of town. Stroll down the tree-and-fountain-lined Cours Mirabeau before making your way to the Romanesque-meets-Gothic Aix Cathedral via the Place d'Albertas and the Hotel de Ville (or City Hall). Pop inside the cathedral to view the 15th-century Burning Bush Triptych and beautifully carved Altar of the Aygosi Family before taking a tour of the lavender fields on the Valensole Plateau, which are at peak bloom in July. If you opt for a custom, private tour, include a stop for lunch in the town of Saint-Martin-de-Brôme.
Afternoon: Art and Nature in Cassis
In the afternoon, make your way toward Cassis, a picturesque port town on the Mediterranean Sea; if you’re staying in Marseilles, it’s easy to visit on an afternoon tour, which typically include convenient round-trip transfers. During a walking tour or free time, stop at the Place Baragnon and the adjacent Hotel de Ville (City Hall) for some people-watching. From here, pop into Musée d'Art et Traditions Populaires de Cassis to check out its large collection of archaeological artifacts or drop into the Museum of Perfume, dedicated to one of Provence's most celebrated industries. Wrap up your afternoon with trip out to Cap Canaille, the highest sea cliff in France—a 15-minute drive from the city center.
Evening: Marseilles and the Mediterranean
Finish your day with a visit to Marseilles, the second-largest (and oldest) city in France. Be sure to check out the Vieux Port area, where historic attractions such as the City Hall and the Eglise Saint Laurent are situated. While you may want to spend your evening soaking in the local atmosphere or sampling the city's world-famous bouillabaisse (fish stew), evening dinner cruises let you see the city from a different perspective and tend to include a sumptuous French supper.