What to Know Before You Go to Provence

July 10, 2019

Saint Remy en Provence I wit & whimsy

Today’s post is my last batch of photos from Provence before I share posts from the French Riviera. So, in addition to sharing snaps from Les Baux, Saint Remy, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Aix en Provence, I wanted to share some helpful tips should you be planning a trip to this region of France.

Due to parking meters, we only stopped briefly in Saint Rémy en Provence. We had an absolutely delicious lunch at L’Aile ou la Cuisse which had an excellent prix fixe menu for lunch as well as a robust a la carte and so many delicious pastries. Make a reservation in advance (the place was packed as soon as it opened!) and see if you can sit out on their covered patio that floods with sunlight. Saint Rémy is home to a few small museums and had they been open on the day we were visiting I would have loved to pop by! Bookmark them for your visit for sure.

Saint Remy en Provence I wit & whimsy

Saint Remy en Provence I wit & whimsy

Just south of Saint Remy is the picturesque Medieval village of Les Baux. You’ll have to park and hike up to enter the pedestrian-only town so be sure to wear comfy shoes with good tread this day. (I was hanging onto Merritt much of this visit because my sandals need new soles put on them after so much wear- ha!)

Les Baux Provence I wit & whimsy

I loved the sweeping views that Les Baux offered once you climbed to the top. In addition to visiting the village itself you can also pay to visit the old fortified chateau which we opted to skip. The village has lots of cute restaurants and charming shops so there is plenty to see in this town.

Les Baux Provence I wit & whimsy

Les Baux Provence I wit & whimsy

I opted to wear a breezy midi skirt and my favorite button down for this afternoon. More cute gingham pieces here.

Les Baux Provence I wit & whimsy

The church in Les Baux is absolutely beautiful inside and I also loved this iron cross standing proud outside. If you’re planning to visit Les Baux, also look into tickets to Carrières de Lumières which is a light show with images projected on stone walls within a cave in town. They sell out so you must book in advance.

Les Baux Provence I wit & whimsy

Les Baux Provence I wit & whimsy

Les Baux Provence I wit & whimsy

Les Baux Provence I wit & whimsy

Not far from Les Baux and Saint Remy is one of Provence’s largest cities, Aix en Provence. We spent a brief afternoon taking in the colorful buildings and bustling squares while also visiting some shops.

Aix en Provence I wit & whimsy

Aix en Provence I wit & whimsy

Aix en Provence I wit & whimsy

Notable shops included one of my favorite French clothing brands, Sezane and also beauty products from La Bastide. Also don’t miss Rose et Marius for gorgeous soaps and candles.

Aix en Provence I wit & whimsy

Aix en Provence I wit & whimsy

Aix en Provence I wit & whimsy

Aix en Provence I wit & whimsy

Last but not least on our list of Provence villages was L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue often referred to as “the Venice of Provence” due to its canals.  It’s known for its antiques stores and weekend markets, plus waterwheels on the Sorgue river. The antiques vendors were so much fun to visit and had me wishing it was easier to transport vintage French mirrors or glassware back home to Brooklyn.

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue I wit & whimsy

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue I wit & whimsy

Now, for a few things to know before you head off on your trip to Provence for those who are interested in visiting the region:

  • Having a rental car is a must. The villages are spread out and if you want to take full advantage of all the region has to offer, you’ll need a car to do so.
  • Be prepared with cash for the tolls you’ll pass through while driving through the region.
  • Be sure to book your rental car in advance if you need an automatic. These cars are less common than those with stick-shift and you could arrive to a rental car company without any automatic cars available if you don’t specify this in your reservation.
  • Some gas stations in the region will require you pay first inside before you fill up your tank.
  • Many restaurants in the region don’t start dinner service till 7. They also all seemed to prefer reservations – even if made a few hours before you plan to arrive.
  • If you’re hoping to see the region’s famed lavender (in Valensole and Sault), you’ll need to visit in late June and early July.
  • To help us prioritize the villages we wanted to see in Provence, we used the Les Plus Beaux Villages listings as a guide.
  • I’d recommend picking a home base for your time in Provence. We did so in Apt which was a great central location for the various villages we planned on visiting.
  • The markets that happen in the various towns each day get busy and parking as a result can be very tricky. Arrive early!
  • Parking in general can be tricky as lots are small and often in inconvenient spots. Be prepared with some patience and have your license plate number handy as you’ll need it for the parking meters.
  • American Express was not widely accepted at many spots we visited.
  • I’d recommend having a few key French phases at the ready as people in the countryside definitely do not speak English as regularly as you may find they do in cities like Paris.
  • Know you won’t be able to see it all in one trip! There are more villages I’d love to see in Provence and ones I already hope to return to.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my Provence posts! I’m looking forward to sharing the French Riviera and my time in Paris with you starting next week!

What I Wore:

Sezane Button Down Shirt // Mango Midi Skirt // Bow Sandals // Staud Bag // Talbots Sweater, Shorts and Sandals // Headband // Cluse Watch

p.s. more from Provence and How to wind down when traveling for work.

4 comments on “What to Know Before You Go to Provence”

  1. Love the midi skirt just ordered it thanks to you and the matching top! Been looking for a classy summer matching set for a while I hope this is it!

  2. This is great Meghan. Your photos are beautiful and it’s been fun to follow along. Parking can be so tricky over there, and we found the worlds most confusing parking meter in the village of Riquewihr. We thought it was just us, and our weak French until two French couples came along and had an awful time of it as well. It was pretty funny as all of us stood there together coaching each other through it with their limited English and our limited French.
    We are headed to Burgundy tomorrow for a couple of days (to see the Tour de France!), and then on to Chamonix.

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