Provence is a region bursting with unique possibilities. From the stunning beaches of the French Riviera and the challenging Alps to enchanting hidden wetlands and rolling lavender fields, this area of France has something for everyone.
Searching for activities to do during your stay? Here’s our list of the top things to do in Provence and Côte d’Azur…
1. See the region on two wheels
A great way to slowly take in your surroundings (and stay on top of your fitness!), cycling is a fantastic option for those looking to discover more of the Provence and Côte d’Azur area.
If you’re worried about your cycling abilities, don’t be – Freewheeling France highlights the benefits of hiring an electric bike, which makes for a less tiring experience. They offer help hiring cycles, including a detailed list of places to rent across the country, and suggested bike routes.
Join other cyclist fanatics and attempt to conquer Mont Ventoux on your two wheels, a rite of passage for many riders, or take it easy and meander around olive gardens, vineyards, and gorgeous sleepy villages. Don’t forget to add the hilltop town of Gordes to your route, home to the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque and those picturesque purple lavender fields.
2. Sail through a National Park
See the wonders of Calanques National Park from the water instead of the land, with Bleu Evasion’s boat excursions. You’ll access hidden coves and pause for some snorkelling, rest on the beach, and spend some time just lounging on the luxurious craft itself while bobbing along the idyllic waters of the Mediterranean.
More of a thrillseeker? Some boats also offer wakeboarding or tubing too, meaning you can explore the colourful coastline in whatever way you fancy.
Price: from 39€ per person on motorboats/139€ per person on catamarans
what3words location: unguided.socket.tutoring
3. Roll around Nice on a Segway
Explore the neoclassical streets of Nice on a quirky, eco-friendly method of transport – Segways!
Mobilboard offers Segway rental in Nice, taking you along the Promenade des Anglais, the Old Town, and even up the castle hill, on various different leisure circuits. The group tours range from 30 minutes to two hours, meaning you can easily fit the experience into your holiday.
Alternatively, you can hire the mini-motors for a self-guided tour of the city instead. See landmark sights such as the Opéra de Nice and the Natural History Museum – a fantastic family-friendly activity to do during your trip to Provence.
Price: group tours from 17€/daily rental 65€
4. Tear up the roads in supercars
Get behind the wheel of a Lamborghini or Ferrari with Liven Up’s driving experiences of the French Riviera. Zoom around the spectacular winding roads of Monaco, Èze, or Nice accompanied by a skilled instructor, while you feel the V8 or V10 engine roar to life. There’s even a chance to follow the course of the Monaco Grand Prix.
A truly unforgettable experience, and one that any petrol-heads would be crazy to miss.
Price: from 69€
what3words location: prompt.rush.standing
5. Go wine tasting in the Luberon
At the heart of Provence, the Luberon is well-known for its lush vineyards and award-winning wines.
With so many places to choose from, it’s easy to spend a day hopping from chateau to chateau trying delicious wines. Most of the vineyards have been in the local families for generations, and their methods of growing and manufacturing the wines have hardly altered.
One such place is Château la Canorgue, which has been in the family for almost 200 years and regularly bags prizes for its beverages. It’s also located in the heart of The Luberon National Park, a picturesque area. After all, what’s a holiday in Provence without wine?
what3words location: dazzle.preferences.skiffs
6. Tour Provence’s first perfume museum
Head to the quaint town of Grasse and see the so-called world capital of perfume, with a tour around the Fragonard Perfume Museum.
Gain a unique insight into the centuries of perfume production. Learn about the methods of extracting scents from natural sources and how the various fragrances have been devised over the years. Visit the attached Historical Factory to see how the Fragonard experts have made their name as some of the best perfumers in the world. The daily tour ends with a chance for you to test your nose in a fun olfactory game – have you got what it takes to manufacture beautiful scents?
what3words location: guarded.umbrella.jacuzzi
7. Unwind in the village of Gordes
Frequently named as one of France‘s prettiest villages, Gordes is home to some of the world’s biggest film stars and artists. The area is also famed for its relaxing atmosphere and pampering experiences, which is why we recommend a day at The Sisley Spa during your Provence or Côte d’Azur villa holiday.
Designed to recreate the atmosphere of the abbeys in the region, the building is a haven of peace. Enjoy an indoor swimming pool, sauna, and sensory showers with a view of the Luberon. Treat yourself to a Sisley Phyto-Aromatic Treatment – an experience that combines massage rituals from all over the world with local traditions and aromatherapies.
what3words location: tamed.confines.upturned
8. Explore Verdon Gorge in kayaks
Verdon Gorge is one of the most-visited attractions in the Provence area, and rightly so. Home to crystal blue waters and breathtaking cliffs, the gorge is a great spot for swimmers and hikers alike.
Rent kayaks from Location Nautic and explore the scenery in a different way, taking in the sublime setting with your family and friends. The kayaks on offer range from one to four seats, meaning that even the little ones can get involved with this adventure. You can choose to rent the kayaks for as little or as long as you’d like to, as well.
Price: from 13€ for 30 minutes
what3words location: custody.
9. Uncover an island fortress in Marseille
Château d’If was built in the 16th century and was home to prisoners who were banished from the city, for over 400 years. Nowadays, the fortress is a protected monument that attracts thousands of visitors a year, offering up a vital slice of southern French history.
Fun fact – the famous 19th century novel, the Le Comte de Monte-Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, is set in the Château d’If! The book has inspired 23 films and has been translated worldwide.
Price: from 6€
what3words location: appetites.
Feeling ready to take on Provence and Cote d’Azur and everything it’s got to offer? Talk to the Oliver’s Travels Concierge Team and let them know what you’re looking for in your accommodation, and they’ll help you explore villas in Côte d’Azur or find your perfect Provence chateaux.