Provence, in south-eastern France, is divided into six departments and stretches from Orange to Aix-en-Provence, because we can't really consider the Alpes Maritimes as the "real Provence". Gently sloping vineyards and lavender fields are the backdrops that enthralled Cezanne, Van Gogh and Chagall.

The Provence, a follower of good living and charming hosts, it can boast a strong historical heritage where, between culture and lifestyle, the "farniente" has its place. In Provence, you can appreciate the art of landscapes, festivals, colorful markets - an architecture also, with its stone farmhouses and its refined country houses. The region of Provence has maintained its customs that she likes to share with the visitor, quite naturally...

To explore the lovely villages of the region, drive or catch a bus. Highlights include the Palace of the Popes at Avignon, the Roman amphitheatre at Arles and the craft centre of Les Baux. There is no more sun and celebrity-rich part of southern France than this iconic wedge of glittering coast, mountain retreat, Roman temple and gastronomic art de vivre.

The Provencal cuisine is distinguished by the use of olive oil, garlic, vegetables, herbs and fish. It is a rich and varied cuisine, influenced by both Mediterranean  and Arab cuisine, and especially by the Italian cuisine.

So prepare for heart-and-soul seduction. Travelling à la Provençal means a sensual sauntering past scented lavender fields and chestnut forests or in fresh apple-green vineyards and silvery olive groves, around markets, Matisse-designed chapels and medieval hilltop villages impossibly perched on rocky crags.

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