Let’s be honest. Provence sounds amazing. Rolling hills, fields of lavender, vineyards, a glass of wine, a bite of cheese, la vie est belle, right. Provence with kids? Omit the sticking cheese, forget about the wine and strolling the vineyards? Wrong. With our top tips the whole family is going to fall in love with Provence.
When we travel the goal is for all four of us to have fun. But I am well aware that our concepts of what is fun differ.
I don’t expect my kids to spend a whole day at the gallery. What I do expect is for them to suck it up for an hour or so with as little whining as possible. I like to point out to them that waiting for them, while they play on the playground of the local park is not my idea of spending time on our travels either. But I do it.
Then there are things that make all of us happy and nobody is waiting their turn to have a good time. Like time at the beach, eating, hiking in parks…
10 Things to do in provence with kids
In no particular order here are our 10 favorite things to do in Provence: some are perfect for us adults, others will make kids squeal with joy but most are bound to ensure the whole family is having fun:
A glass of wine with a selection of cheese in the evenings.
I can’t help that wine made to the top of the list. But after a full day of exploring the beautiful region of France, my favorite way to end the day was kid in bed and the two of us indulging in a glass of wine and in a variety of different cheeses.
At the time of our trip to Provence our daughter was 8 months old. That is why we made sure we were back at our home away from home at around eight in the evening.
We used Interhome to book our apartment in the Luberon region. It was our base, which allowed for some great day trips.
We felt it would be easier for us if we let her have her evening routine, as our days were hectic and she slept on the go. And with her sound asleep, we were able to truly unwind. It had two benefits, buying good wine as well as cheese in supermarkets was cheaper than enjoying the same at a local bar and with Stela in bed, we didn’t have to worry about anything.
Explore the hilltop villages of Luberon – stop at gordes
The Luberon region is famous for many picturesque hill-top villages.
Planning which of the villages to visit and which ones to skip can be a daunting task. They all look inviting, but unless you make a few hard choices, you won’t leave Luberon for the duration of your trip. Not necessarily a bad choice, but then there’s so much more to Provence.
The most visited villages are probably: Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, Lacoste and Menerbes. We visited the first two and we stopped at the foothill of Lacoste and admired it from a far.
We also strolled down the beautiful village of Fontaine de Vaucluse, which got its name from a spring feeding the river Sorgue. Make sure you go to the spring.
Marvel at Roussillion
The beautiful village is situated in the Luberon, at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse. But what makes it extra special are the ochre deposits, Roussillon is famous for its magnificent red cliffs and ochre quarries.
You won’t believe it until you see it. And the best way to see it, is by walking the “Sentier des Ocres”, which will take you around 30 or 60 minutes.
Visit Camargue natural park and hit the beach at Les Saintes Maries de la Mer
White horses, pink flamingos, wetlands,The Camargue Natural Park area includes a large UNESCO designated biosphere reserve. The place offers plenty of things to do: bird watching, pony riding, walking, cycling, hiking…
The village of Saintes Marie de la Mer, the capital of the Camargue, is located where the river Rhone meets the Mediterranean Sea. It is a famous pilgrimage destination for Roma people (Gypsies), who gather here yearly for a religious festival. The legend says that the shores of the village welcomed Marie Jacobi, Marie Salomé and their handmaid Sarah, who were persecuted Christians escaping from Palestine on a boat.
Our favorite was of course the break at the lovely sandy beaches of the village.
Eat MUSSELS in the town of CassiS
East of Marseille, on the Mediterranean coast, Cassis is a very popular tourist destination famous for cliffs and sheltered inlets.
My favorite memory of the visit is eating mussels with an incredible view of the sea. They bring you children’s bucket for throwing away the shells of the delicious mussels.
Walk through Avignon
You can skip many things on this list, but never the stunning and historically rich town of Avignon. Located on the river Rhone, the historic center enclosed by the medieval walls, includes the palace of the Popes, the cathedral, and the Pont d’Avignon. The place became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
Eat your share of croissants
I know this goes without saying, but don’t go easy on the heavenly croissants or other buttery pastries while in Provence. This is your chance to have the best of it. No dieting in France.
Aix en Provence and the artists
Aix is a lovely laid back charming town. Best way to explore it is by foot. And take your time. Leisurely walk down the Cours Mirabeau, an avenue, lined with wonderful terrace cafés and bookshops and on the other side tall trees is the heart of Aix.
Again all I can think of is the food. I still remember stumbling upon a food market and how hard it was to walk away with only a handful of things. Everything looked delicious.
A visit to the food markets is a must in Provence. Each village has one, so here is a calendar to make sure you visit at least a few.
My favorite thing about Aix? Except the food? Paul Cezanne. It was here that the famous impressionist was born and created many of his masterpieces.
The region has inspired a lot of other artists, such as Van Gogh. He spent some time painting in the lovely Arles. Also worth a visit.
Rent a boat in Les Gorges du Verdon
The Gorges du Verdon, sometimes referred to as Grand Canyon du Verdon, is a steep canyon, up to 700 m deep and 21-km-long.
Explore it on the water, though the place offers rafting and hiking as well. We rented a boat and just drove around, starting from the lake Lac Ste Croix to the entrance of the canyon. It’s magnificent.
LAVENDER obsession and the reason to go back
We visited the region famous for the fields of lavender in the beginning of May, which was a bit too early for the flowers to bloom. But I don’t mind, it’s an incentive for another visit.