Aix-en-Provence – without a doubt one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s beautiful, charming, with great shopping and restaurants, and it’s main thoroughfare, Cours Mirabeau is considered the Champs-Elysees of Provence. It’s known as the ‘city of a thousand fountains’ although I have yet to count them all.
Apt – old market town that has had a weekly market for over 900 years. The market takes place on Saturday mornings, is jam packed during summertime, and is my favorite hands down.
Arles – a small sultry city where you can stand in the same spot where Van Gogh painted some of his most famous works, visit the ruins of the Théâtre Antique, and watch bullfights in a Roman Coliseum.
Avignon – beautiful ancient walled city. Home to Palais des Papes and down the road from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. But more importantly, home to The Cousin and Baby Cousin.
Banon – small village with a large bookstore that has two shelves of books in English. Bonus. Also home to it’s namesake goats cheese. It’s mmm mmm good, but careful, it’s also unpasteurized. Can be a little tricky for delicate American tummys. Learned that one the hard way.
Cassis – lovely and quaint port village that has stole my heart. It’s like St Tropez on valium; totally chilled out. If you go, be sure to check out Restaurant Le Bonaparte for fresh, perfectly presented seafood.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape – aka Mecca is the luscious wine region a little north of Avignon. It is also my future home should I win the euromillions. Hours upon hours upon hours can be spent in one of the many wine degustation locations. Just be sure to bring someone to drive you home. In my case, The Husband. Bless him.
Clermont-Ferrand – home of Michelin tires, ASM Clermont rugby, and my belle-mere, French Maman. It’s pretty much smack dab in the middle of France in the Auvergne region.
Forcalquier – home of the largest market in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence making it completely impossible to drive through or find parking on Mondays between June and August.
L’Isle sur la Sorgue – fantastic and quaint village located on the Sorgee river. It’s the perfect place to stop for lunch (only 20km outside Avignon and 60km outside Aix) and buckets of Rosé. Grab a table in the sun and laze out.
Marseille – the big bad of Provence, famous for bouillabaisse and The French Connection. Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde and Château d’If are must sees. It should also be noted that the closest Starbucks to Le Petit Village is here.
Toulon – port city on the Côte d’Azur but not as glam as Nice or Cannes. Home to the French navy and Heineken Cup’s 2013 champion rugby team, RC Toulon.