The lure of warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine are reasons enough for many to head towards the Mediterranean in the south of France. Then it becomes a bit more complicated to decide between the main areas of Provence and the French Riviera.
Many choose Provence mainly because of the Romans. Yes strange as it may seem it is the legacy of the Roman occupation of large swathes of the South of France and Provence in particular which attracts visitors from all over the world to Provence as it has some of the best preserved feats of roman engineering still standing, many still in use.
The big five of Provence in terms of Roman monuments are:
• the Pont du Gard, an immense, 49 metre high, aqueduct bridge which spans the river Gard.
• the two-tiered amphitheatre in Arles which once could seat 20,000 people.
• the arena in Nimes built around 70 AD, is one of the best preserved Roman edifices and even today houses outdoor concerts in July.
• the 1st century amphitheatre in Orange which is a world class venue for opera.
• the Palais des Papes in Avignon (actually built in the 14th century but the connection to Rome is clear as it was the residence of the exiled popes).
There are many traces of Rome elsewhere in beautiful places like Uzes and Les Beaux des Provence, but those are the main ones.
There is a good deal more to discover in Provence including the vineyards and cellars of well known wine areas such as Chateauneuf du Pape and the traces of numerous modern artists, in particular the Paul Cezanne art circuit in Aix. Also the lavender fields near Sault which offer some of the most photogenic images of nature on the planet and the magnificent "calanques" near Cassis which once served as a harbour for the Roman fleet. As well as the vast flatlands of the Rhone delta where pink flamingos, wild horses and bulls roam the Camargue which also has some of the best sandy beaches you will come across. Not forgetting the numerous pretty villages such as Gordes where you can enjoy a long lunch and the spectacular walking country of the Alpilles hills and a whole bunch of fascinating museums such as the recently opened MuCEM in Marseille.
Travelling to Provence is easy as there are a number of international airports served by low cost carriers including Marseille, Nimes and Montpellier plus fast train services to Aix en Provence and Avignon and good motorway connections.
To get around the main Roman sites of Provence you need a good base and the key places to stay in or near are St Remy en Provence, Avignon, Isle sur Sorge and Aix en Provence as all are pivotal to the regions main attractions with good travel options, plus they are in themselves attractive places to stay.
Villas du Monde have an excellent, longstanding range of hand picked holiday villas for rental in Provence, ranging from a three bedroom villa in Ansuis (A627) for 6 with private pool (1440€ to 2065€ per week) to a stunning seven bedroom holiday property near Aix en Provence with private pool and tennis court (Aix20) for 17 people (4950€ - 7790€ per week).
We recommend the B398, a four bedroom villa for up to eight people with a private fenced swimming pool (2095€ to 2810€ per week) located just north of Aix en Provence. It was recently listed as seventh best villa holiday for 2015 by the Daily Telegraph.
See our full range of villas in Provence and either call using our freephone number 00 33 800 800 565 or send us an email and our holiday advisors will ensure you make the right choice for your requirements as well as help with travel arrangements and provide more information on what to do and see in and around Provence.