Provence

Provence is a French region located in the southeastern part of the country bordering Italy. Scores of historical landmarks, scenic seaside cities and towns, vibrant annual festivals, and vast mountain ranges provide a landscape for diverse, exciting vacations. Golf courses and spas, galleries and museums, Provencal Roman ruins, and sweeping chateaus are each attractive aspects of vacations in Provence. Even more, there are famous gardens and country homes, nature reserves and a wealth of shopping and dining pursuits to savor.

History

History
History

Provence history features harvesting, fishing, and hunting deeply imbedded in its past. Its pastoral history began after this era, when animals were domesticated. This cultural attribute has changed very little over many centuries aside from a short delve into industrialism. Celtic Germans were initial inhabitants until assimilation into both Greek and Roman cultures cicrca 600 BC. During this historical period, Massalia was founded by the Greeks (now known as Marseille) along the coast and the people began cultivating olives and grapes. The region prospered under the Romans, twho conquered the Greeks. By the year 536, the Franks ruled the region and defended Provence from invasions by the Moorish. Provence joined the Holy Roman Empire in 1032 and governed by a series of dynasties until the later 14th century. The French took possession in 1481 and subsequently, the monarchy diminished and a democratic government eventually ruled.

Cities

Cities
Cities

There are several notable cities within Provence, one of the most famous being Marseilles, a cultural hybrid and vibrant, cosmopolitan city, France’s second largest. Maritime trades define the economy, with a massive commercial port part of the backdrop. Avignon is well known for its arts background and as home to the famous Palais des Papes. Located on the French Riviera, Cannes is a glamorous playground for the rich, a scenic city buzzing with movie stars and the renowned Cannes Film Festival. Luxury Cannes hotels, boutiques, and restaurants are highpoints. Further up the coast past Antibes is Nice, another French seaside hotspot with a warm climate. World-famous, Nice features glorious beaches, important museums, a stunning coastal promenade, and scores of historical landmarks. The ancient Roman city of Arles is a historical gem: Latin and Roman UNESCO monuments preside here. Additional celebrated cities in Provence include Aix-en-Provence, La Carmargue, and Rousillon. 

Rhone River Cruises & The Camargue

Rhone River Cruises & The Camargue
Rhone River Cruises & The Camargue

The Camargue is the area’s river delta and a major center for breeding horses and cattle. Cowboys, marshy plains, and a host of Manades (ranches) offering horseback riding tours, attract many visitors. Rhone river cruises are another feature of Camargue, which is located bwteen the Rhone Rive delta and the Mediterranean Sea. There are a bounty of Rhone River cruises to choose from, including many departing from Camargue. Cruises present excellent perspective on the regions’ mountains, valleys and hills while offering a slew of amenities onboard. Many of these cruises offer visitors several shore excursions along the way to explore the Rhone’s riverside destinations. Flowing through the southeast of France, Rhone River cruises are one of the top choices for viewing ancient Roman ruins, historical attractions, and other remarkable sites. Within the Carmargue, most of the cruises are on intimate barges, while cruises between Chalon and Arles are generally on larger river cruise ships. 

Wineries

Wineries
Wineries

For almost 3,000 years, wine has been produced within Provence and today Provencal wine is known throughout the world. Winemaking and viticulture have been a prominent part of area history, influenced by several leading cultures including the Catalans, Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Gauls. The multiplicity between groups led to the introduction of a wide array of wine grapes including varieties with Italian origin. Today, wine tours are a major part of tourism in Provence and a vast medley of wineries exist, a large majority producing rosé varieties.

Mountains

Mountains
Mountains

The mountains of Provence provide hours of entertainment for adventure tours and vacations: a large number of tourists enjoy skiing, mountain biking, and hiking within several of the most famous mountain ranges including Montagne Sainte-Victore and the highest peaks in Provence, the Maritime Alps. The highest peak in Provence is within the Mont Ventoux, with a completely bare limestone top. The Alpilles are a much smaller range near Avignon that juts out from the Rhone Valley creating spectacular scenery.

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