On the roads of Provence

10 locations to see in Provence before you die!

1 February 2023

As you know, we are crazy in love with our beautiful Provence. And today we have the pleasure to share with you our favorites and to list in this first guide, walks and experiences that we have tested and found exceptional and original.

Here are the 10 things to see in Provence before you die!

1.Visit the hilltop villages of the Luberon by bike

The Luberon is the perfect place to discover the back country by bike!

We love these well-maintained bicycle paths away from the road, which allow you to discover, in complete safety and at any age, these wonderful authentic villages of the Luberon on an electric bicycle for the less athletic (it must be said that it climbs!!) or on a classic bicycle. 

Alone or with your family to discover the hilltop villages. You won’t be disappointed: sport, heritage and gastronomy. Let’s go !

Many stops are possible. Our fave : from Bonnieux, discover the villages of Lacoste, Ménerbes, Oppède and Oppède le vieux. This route represents 35 km and is very easy to do. You will be able to discover the Castle of Lacoste as well as the House of Truffles and Wine in Ménerbes, our favorite village.

We recommend you to spend at least one day to discover these villages. 

Indeed, the different villages offer a discovery of breathtaking panoramas. You can also do this tour in half a day by taking less time for the visits. An abbey as well as wine estates are also present on the route but we bet that you will want to stop very regularly on the route to immortalize these beautiful Provencal landscapes.

Don’t forget to make a loop towards the village of Gordes, classified as the most beautiful village in Provence and whose abbey of Notre Dame de Sénanque has been entirely restored, if you have the courage to go there in summer, superb postcard photos guaranteed with the lavender fields which surround it. Note that the abbey store sells organic vegetables (delicious) from their garden, maintained by the monks.

When to go : Ideal during the long week end of may, to avoid the crowd and the heat and enjoy all the fruit trees in bloom !

Do you want to rent an electric bike ? https://www.rentbikescooterluberon.com/

2.Get some height!

An unforgettable ride in the sky of Haute Provence.

Let yourself be carried by the wind with this exceptional activity that will allow you to fly over the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region in a calm and gentle way.

The opportunity to enjoy a breathtaking view of Provence during a morning excursion through the magnificent regional natural parks of Verdon. Softness, poetry and lightness on the program.

So come and take the departure in Puimoisson, in front of a lavender distillery. You will be able to help the team to prepare the material and to inflate the balloon before contemplating the burner to heat the air and give life to the balloon.

Then, it will be time to board the basket to begin your ballooning excursion through Provence.

You will then rise into the air to enjoy a breathtaking view of the Verdon gorges, the Sainte-Croix lake and many other picturesque landscapes of the region.

Finally, once back on earth, you will be invited to share your impressions of this balloon flight around a buffet composed of regional products with the whole team! 

A great way to end your flight over Provence and its breathtaking panoramas.

When to do this activity? Our region is beautiful all year round and offers a great variety of landscapes depending on the season, but we suggest you come at the end of June when the lavender is in bloom.

Book the hot air balloon activity: https://www.manawa.com/fr-FR/activite/france/gorges-du-verdon/montgolfiere/vol-en-montgolfiere-en-provence-depuis-puimoisson/6974

3.Wild picking in Lauris

It is an activity to discover the wild plants of our beautiful region organized by an enthusiast: Elisabeth. This activity has been tested and approved by Magali, our founder and her 3 children.

Once arrived in Lauris, Elisabeth will take you for a walk in the hill and the forest. In the middle of nature, the opportunity to squat down and discover the thousand and one treasures that grow every year in our region and that we often pass by without noticing.

This activity will be an opportunity to broaden your botanical knowledge. Wild salads and other edible plants, including Milk Thistle, watercress, chicory, broccoli and wild leeks, and even blue candy: pretty little blue flowers with sweet petals that will make you (almost) forget about our favorite sweets.

This outing lasts about 3 hours and includes:

– 1 2-hour walk in the surrounding countryside

– Picking of different types of wild and edible plants

– Tasting of the preparations made with the picked plants

For more information: please contact Elisabeth at 06 51 15 94 12 or by email at finkelisabeth84@free.fr

4.The iris in Trets in the Pays d’Aix

We find that we only talk about lavender when it comes to evoking the flowers of Provence but there is another wonderful and fragrant purple flower, delicate and popular with perfumers: the iris!

Still unknown (hurry up, maybe not for too long!) this bucolic and poetic stroll in the middle of these hectares of flowers is a must for those who love flowers and nature.

These delicate flowers bloom in May at the foot of the Sainte-Victoire.

Nearly 20 hectares of Iris Pallida are cultivated there for the perfume industry. But did you know that it is not the flowers that are used for our perfumes, as beautiful as they are, but the rhizome.

If you wish to spend a day, immersed in an ocean of irises, to be discovered on foot or in a horse-drawn carriage, go to the site: https://www.cpparm.org

5.The famous Estaquéens doughnuts

Although chichis can be found in downtown Marseille, it is recommended to go to the chichis barracks of Estaque, 10 kilometers from the Old Port, to enjoy this little gourmet pleasure often confused (wrongly!) with churros.

A word of advice: never tell an Estacan that the Chichi Frégi is nothing more than a Churros!  The Churros is twisted, thin and short: the Chichi is thick, puffy and measures about 20 cm.

The texture of its dough is lighter, airy and fluid. It is prepared with wheat flour, chickpea flour and orange blossom water, then dipped in 20 liters of boiling oil to form a kind of large “sausage”. The fritters are then cut with large scissors and measure about 20 cm.

You can eat it plain, barely crispy on top and very airy inside, or for the greediest among you, rolled in sugar, topped with hazelnut paste, or covered with whipped cream. Not really dietetic, but so delicious.

A good excuse to discover Estaque, a district often ignored by the inhabitants of Marseille themselves. Indeed, it is not only a charming fishing port: its small flowery village conceals many secrets… let you lose yourself in the alleys and stop to eat the Frégi chichis!

As you can see, over the years, Chichi has become a favourite place to go for a stroll: for many people from Marseille, the Sunday outing goes through l’Estaque where you stop on your way back from swimming on the Côte Bleue. Almost a must for those who want to tell their friends about their perfect day!

You will find at this address on the edge of the port several Chichis barracks : https://goo.gl/maps/oc6aTSaqMscAFQQZA

6.Go to the Seychelles (in Provence)

To be quite frank with you, we hesitated to tell you about it. Because it is the favorite walk of the creator of Rose and Marius and we like to keep our little secrets to avoid the crowds. But how to speak about the most beautiful places of Provence without mentioning this mythical stroll on the blue coast.

It is the customs path that goes from Méjean to Niolon following the seaside as closely as possible, passing by the Erevine cove (ideal to make nice jumps in the sea, always checking the bottom before), the Moulon, the Jonquier and the Riflard. This is a hike not to be missed for the spectacular beauty of the landscapes of the Côte Bleue, between the Mediterranean Sea, steep rocks and creeks. 

Be careful, if you go there with young children, to the apics which are sometimes vertiginous.

Our advice: Take your picnic and install your tablecloth under the pine trees on the cliffs facing the beautiful blue sea: impossible to have a more beautiful spot for lunch! We join you the photo of our last spot of picnic, not bad, not?

7.Sea Bears of the Blue Coast

Here is an ideal outing to enjoy the winter in our wonderful region.

Did you know that sea urchins are called sea hedgehogs? But this small marine invertebrate is especially popular for its light and granular texture, its iodized flavor and its citrus aftertaste make it a dish appreciated by gourmets. It is also ideal for keeping your figure, provided that it is eaten raw and natural. 

Very rich in iodine, useful for the good functioning of the thyroid gland. It also provides selenium and copper, powerful antioxidants. Because it contains vitamin A, it contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system and to eye health. It also provides iron for the formation of red blood cells. 

In addition to being tasty and healthy, come and share a great moment of conviviality during the “oursinades de la Côte bleue”.

The joyful “oursinades” of the Côte Bleue offer great tastings of sea urchins and shellfish on Sundays from the end of January. To know the dates, go to the website of the tourist office of Carro, Carry le Rouet or Sausset the 3 villages which organize them.

Large tables are set up on the quays of the port in a friendly atmosphere, with musical entertainment and stands offering local products. 

This tradition is firmly anchored since the 70’s, date of the first “oursinade” organized in Carry-le-Rouet, the occasion to toast with a good glass of white wine facing the sea while tasting this exceptional dish.

We recommend you to come early in the morning to find a parking place! Indeed, these festive and popular gatherings attract more and more people over the years!

8.The ‘Carrières de Lumière’ in Baux-de-Provence ✨

We won’t forget culture !

Yes, but in a place as atypical as it is exceptional, where we like to take refuge in the summer to discover fabulous works of art in the natural coolness of these quarries. It is also an unforgettable multi-sensory experience with a varied program accessible to all audiences. 

Little children will finally love this type of museum where you can run and scream without disturbing them.

In 1978, the underground quarries of Les Baux-de-Provence in the Alpilles, world famous for their use in Jean Cocteau’s film “Le testament d’Orphée”, were transformed into a sound and light show venue. Representations of masterpieces are projected onto the huge walls, pillars and floors of the quarry, creating a colorful world that transports you to music. More than 100 video projectors project images onto more than 7000 m² of surface.

In addition, this unique experience can be combined with a visit to the ancient medieval fortress in the heart of Provence, overlooking the famous village of Les Baux-de-Provence. The Château des Baux is perched on a rocky outcrop and has long been occupied for its defensive position.

If you are looking for an even more immersive experience, we recommend spending a night in the caves of Les Baux-de-Provence to enjoy the coolness in the middle of summer. The Mas D’aigret, located 5 minutes walk from the old town of Les Baux de Provence, in the heart of the Alpilles, is the perfect place to spend an unusual weekend in one of the most beautiful villages in France.


Don’t miss this opportunity to discover the hidden treasures of Provence!

9.The flight over the Sainte-Victoire in hang-glider

Do you know the emblem of the beautiful city of Aix en Provence? Cézanne’s muse, immortalized 84 times by the great master : the ‘Sainte-Victoire’ mountain culminates at 1011 m and is obviously worth a visit.

A site for walking, it can be explored by all its paths punctuated with restanques. The religious heritage offers several stages to your hikes: the Sainte-Victoire priory, built in the 17th century, the Saint-Ser Hermitage…

For the most courageous among you, you can try the incredible activity of paragliding over Sainte-Victoire. This will have the advantage of avoiding the crowds that can sometimes flock if you come to walk in the peak of the tourist season, but above all it will reveal to you all the beauty of this great Lady of stone. Seen from the sky, it is so majestic.

At the peak of the Mouches, the highest point, an extraordinary panorama embraces the horizons of Provence and the undulating plains of the Pays d’Aix.

On a clear day, you can see the sea, the Mont Ventoux and the Alps.

To book this crazy activity, it’s here : https://parapentesaintevictoire.com/

10.Unusual day at Marseilles ☀️

Marseilles, the oldest city in France, has just blown out its 2600 candles. If there is a city with a thousand facets, it is without any doubt the 2nd city of France that you should dedicate at least 1 day of your time in Provence.

Here is a day of discovery in the Phocaean city that we recommend. It’s not easy to choose in this city that stretches over 57 kilometers long, but this program, original and off the beaten track, can only brighten your stay.

Let’s start with an early morning tour in the classified massif of the Calanques of Marseille.

The walk we propose starts at the Col des Baumettes and will take you no more than 2 hours to reach the magical Calanque de Sormiou.

Here is the link to the route of this walk : https://www.visorando.com/randonnee-calanque-de-sormiou/

For the lunch break, we recommend the Restaurant Les Beaux Mets. Which has the particularity to take place in the most famous prison of Marseille!

In the heart of the Baumettes prison, a stone’s throw from the Calanque de Morgiou, the former women’s quarter has been transformed to host the restaurant Les Beaux Mets. 

The kitchen, which opens onto a 42-seat dining room, is a real work tool for the inmates and symbolizes this transition to the outside world. 

Every lunchtime, from Monday to Friday, the chef Sandrine Sollier and her team concoct choice dishes prepared with fresh, seasonal and local products.

Then to finish the day in beauty and if the weather allows it, you can go to sea for a few hours of diving. The opportunity to discover breathtaking scenery!

In the year 2000, a professional diver named Luc Vanrell discovered parts of the plane of the writer and poet Antoine de St Exupéry off the Calanques, on the northeast side of the island of Riou. These parts included a leg of the left landing gear and parts of the as well as parts of the fuselage.

This is an incredible opportunity for you to discover these historic sea beds!

More information : https://tourisme-marseille.com/fiche/epave-de-l-avion-p-38-d-antoine-de-saint-exupery-riou-marseille/

BONUS | Rose et Marius perfume creation workshop !

And yes, we can’t do a guide on the 10 things to do in Provence without telling you about our incredible workshops where you can create your own custom perfume with the most beautiful materials of the Haute Parfumerie de Provence. A great way to keep an olfactory souvenir of your dream vacation in Provence.

As an exceptional perfume house in Provence and an expert in creating signature scents, we offer custom perfume creation workshops in our incredible bastide, located in the heart of the historic city.

We offer many workshops that must be booked in advance on boutique@roseetmarius.com or by phone 09 82 59 35 35

The TV show Echappées Belles came to test them, discover below the experience : https://dai.ly/k7mCPZ0NvlCKBRyLrUi