Within half an hour’s drive…
Apt – Our nearest town holds one of the largest markets in Provence on Saturdays. To appreciate the town visit another day and wander through the streets where there are good shops and an impressive Cathedral. Note most shops and banks close Monday.
Roussillon – A must do! Pretty colour washed village houses that have used the pigment found in the ochre. Walk to the viewing platform at the top.
Goult – A popular village with the equally popular Café de la Poste, being one of several good restaurants found here, walk through the back streets to the ancient windmill.
Bonnieux – quaint perched village made famous by Peter Mayle with great views over the valley to the north, popular market on Fridays.
Lacoste – this village has two famous residents, the first the Marquis de Sade lived in the chateau in the 18th Century, this, like many of the houses that line the cobbled street is now owned by the fashion designer Pierre Cardin.
Oppede Le Vieux – A very charming village built into the hillside of the Luberon where time has stood still. Lose yourself as you wander through the gardens to reach the village, make sure you go to the top, the church is worth the effort.
Menerbes – Classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, with its wonderful buildings and views over the valley towards Mont Ventoux.
Gordes – as featured in the film, a Good Year, this famous perched village is always popular. Don’t miss the viewing platform on the way up for your photograph and the Abbaye de Senanque dating to 1150, Monks still live here, famous for its calendar photo with the lavender.
Saignon – Charming perched village also home to several celebrities, explore the ‘rocher’ at the top of the village, where there are outstanding views.
Colorado Provencal (Rustrel) – Walk amongst the ochre and see the incredible natural formations and colours.
L’Isle sur la Sorgue – the Venice of Provence! Also famous for its antique shops and market on Sundays and holidays.
La Fontaine du Vaucluse – A popular touristy town on the river where you can hire canoes or walk along the river to the source which is one of the deepest in the world!
Banon – Famous for it’s goats cheese, this pretty village also has a renowned book shop ‘Le Bleuet’ selling English and French books.
Simiane La Rotonde – this charming perched village will capture your heart .
Sault – The drive to this perched village is spectacular, as are the views on Mont Ventoux, which stands some 1912 metres. The area has endless lavender fields with a 5k walking route ‘route de lavande’, at it’s best early July.
Lourmarin – One of the many very pretty villages on the south side of the Luberon, with a chateau and busy Friday market. Ansouis, Cucuron, Lauris and Tour D’Aigues are all worth a visit.
Within an hour…
Avignon – Steeped in history, a walled city on the mighty Rhone river with the Palais des Papes, Pont St Benezet, ‘Les Halles’ food market, great restaurants and boutique shopping.
Aix en Provence – A busy chic city, with over 100 fountains, home to Cezanne and the Cours Mirabeau, a mansion lined avenue framed by a canopy of plane trees, where you can just sit back and people watch in one of the many cafes.
St Remy de Provence – Tree line boulevards, pretty back streets, delightful shops and restaurants. Nostradamus was born here. Follow the Van Gogh ‘trail’ from the Asylum.
Glanum – Dating to 6BC these Roman ruins are some of the oldest classical buildings in France, abandoned in the 3rd century. The oldest and smallest triumphal arch dates to 20BC.
Les Baux de Provence – Popular and picturesque village topped by a ruined chateau with views over olive orchards and vineyards towards the Camargue. Make sure you visit the Carrières de Lumières just around the corner where there is free parking.
Mont Ventoux – The peak is covered in white granite giving a snow covered impression, which it is from late October until Spring time. Views for miles, the last ski station before the Mediterranean and the home of one of the most gruelling stages of the Tour de France
Within two hours drive….
Marseille – The biggest city outside Paris, there are too many things to do here in just a day but to name just a few – Fort St Jean, Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, which over looks the Vieux Port (take the ‘petit train’ and get off at the top by the Basilique), MuCEM museum, boat trips and plenty of restaurants.
Cassis – a pretty fishing port boasting some of the most dramatic scenery in the French Riviera with the highest sea cliffs in Europe, plunging into turquoise waters. Take a boat to the Calanques or hike the route across the cliff tops. After, drive ‘Route des Cretes’, it is high and every turn brings a new unbelievable view.
Pont du Gard – built by the Romans in the middle of the first century to allow the aquaduct of Nimes to cross the Gard river. Standing 50M high the bridge is both a technical and artistic masterpiece. One of France’s top 5 tourist attractions and a world heritage site.
Arles – The Roman capital of Provence, this lively city of Arts, once home to Van Gogh, features a splendid Amphitheatre and Necropolis of Les Alyscamps.
The Camargue – Western Europe’s largest river delta, covers an area of over 900 square kilometres, a wild landscape of red salt lagoons with flamingoes, marches and rice paddies, herds of wild white Camargue Horses, where Europe’s only cowboys, ‘the Gardiens’, raise fighting black bulls for the bullrings of Languedoc and Spain. Visit Aigues Mortes while you are here.
Nimes – this wonderful town has an impressive amphitheatre, the best preserved in France, dating to 70AD. The Maison Carrée was built in 19BC and is one of the best preserved Roman temples anywhere. By contrast facing the Roman Temple, built in 1986 and designed by Norman Foster is the Carré d’Art.
Cotes de Rhone – explore one of the greatest wine areas in the world. Villages you should include, Beaumes de Venise renowned for its sweet Muscat, Gigondas & Vacqueras and of course, Chateauneuf du Pape.
Vaison La Romaine – A roman town divided the river Ouveze, cross the 2000 year old bridge, visit the amphitheatre, used for the summer arts festival held in July and climb the maze of twisting cobbled streets to reach the 13th century chateau.