Planning your holidays in Provence can be overwhelming with all the articles, posts, Insta photos out there. Fear not, this is the essential guide to guarantee you the most dreamy French holidays. We like it simple and relaxing but beautiful and stylish and all tips below adhere to that motto.
Hotels in Provence
This blog has lots of recommendations for boutique hotels in Provence. Here are some of our favourites, tried and tested or spotted recently:
- Domaine de Fontenille in Lauris, close to Lourmarin, which is a very popular village. It has become a bit too touristy for my liking now but in September it should be much more pleasant. My brother stayed in Domaine de Fontenille and I went to visit him and can confirm it is really nice.
- La Bastide de Marie is our favourite in the region. It’s in Ménerbes and therefore close to Lacoste, Bonnieux, etc all villages you’ll want to explore. Even if you don’t’ stay there, try to book lunch or diner as the setting is just magical.
- Le Mas de la Rose is another favourite. It’s in the Alpilles region, which I like even more than the Lubéron.
- Other addresses where we haven’t stayed but that look nice
La Ferme de Callis. LA FERME LES CALLIS, a B&B only for adults which seems to be truly charming.
- Ultimate Provence. Another new hotel in Provence, this time nestled within a vineyard between the Gulf of Saint-Tropez and the nature reserve of the Plaine des Maures. 23 rooms, 6 studios and 5 apartments starting at 370€. It also has a restaurant, a bar and a swimming pool. The design is by Humbert & Poyet who used a palette of the very fashionable shades sage and sepia, and associated materials of wood, marble, brass and leather. There is also a nice big terrace to enjoy aperitifs!
- And a nice little rental.
The best Provence restaurants
We’ve tried all of these restaurants in Provence and can recommend them for good food, great setting and a very warm welcome
- Le Carillon, Goult: French classic cuisine with a wonderful welcome by the owner. They can prepare simpler version of the dishes for children
- Ca Mia, Goult: a really good family Italian with great produces.
- La Bartavelle, Goult: hidden in a side street, you eat outside admiring the stones and flowers and enjoy delicious French classic food.
- Le Cinq, Menerbes: you’ll come here for the view of the Lubéron hills but the bistro style food is
- La Terrasse, Joucas: a very simple old fashioned café in this village out of the tourist traps. Great view again. Very simple food, the kids will love it as it has all what they like: burgers, fries, pasta, ice cream.
- Pizzeria du Côté de chez moi, Goult: just opposite the Café de la Poste and Ca Mia. Great pizzas that you can either order and take away or eat on a few tables outside.
- Café de la Poste, Goult: used to be great for food, not as much now. Still a fab place to have a drink and play cards in the evening. Full of atmosphere.
- Maison de la Truffe, Ménerbes: move away from the centre of the village and go towards the church and the castle There you’ll find a truffle specialised place with a lovely garden.
- La Bastide de Marie, Ménerbes: our ultimate favourite. We start all our Provence holidays there because of the absolutely dreamy Provence setting and the good food. You’ll feel very special. If it’s too pricey for diner, go for lunch. Really worth it.
- La Bastide de Gordes, Gordes: we tried this 5 stars hotel restaurant for the first time. Again, a fantastic view of the sunset going down behind the hills. Service is top notch of course. We ate at L’Orangerie, the bistrot. It’s probably worth trying the gastronomic restaurant or the newly opened Clover by Jean-François Piège.
Things to do in Provence with kids
- Canoë at Ile sur la Sorgue. We rented with Canoe Evasion who were really cool
- Wave island, big aquatic park. I would recommend you pay extra for the beach hut to get space and fast track to attractions
- La passerelle des cîmes: tree walks
- E bikes: there are several places that rent them out and some can deliver them to your place
- Walking in Provence is of course a great idea. Do go early in the morning, take a bottle of water and be cautious of the heat.
- Pont du Gard: always nice to jump from the rocks in the Gard under the bridge.
- Carrières de Lumières: a fantastic way to rediscover famous artists. Their works are projected onto the stone walls of the quarries. Book in advance and try go go off season to avoid the crowds. They sometimes have a show for kids as well.
Tips to live like the locals
- The boulangerie (Serge Ferruit) and butcher in Goult are really good. Ask for a « festive » baguette. For those into interior designs, the butcher has the very trendy terrazzo floor 🙂
- On Mondays as the boulangerie is closed we didn’t mind driving to Oppède to get our bread at Les Filles du Boulanger. Lovely street with platanes. Ask for a « Grand Siècle » baguette
- Market in Ménerbes on Thursdays is not interesting for food.
- Le Coustelet has a good market on Sundays. The town itself has no charm but in terms of food you are well served.
- Stay in the first half of the market, the one that is closest to the main road and starts with a garden and plants stall. Pick your fruits and vegetables from the stalls that specialise in one or two produces.
- There is a very good Melon merchant and next to him very good tomatoes grown in field.
- Now THE TIP is to get immediately when you arrive to the end of the market, there is a white van that sells AMAZING peaches. They are so good that they go very very quickly!
- Book a private chef for a restaurant diner in your own home. I had found Marie Lousada from Met and Saveurs three years ago and she was fab. So we hired her again this year. It was as delicious as before. Plus she can deliver meals too so we got some more good food for the next day or so.
Which Provence villages to visit
The below is within a 25 min radius from Goult or Gordes. We have visited all of them over the years. Some are more touristy than others. I don’t like the over touristy ones that have lost all their charm and authenticity because they are now all made up for tourism. However if you visit off season that might be more bearable.
- Over touristy
- Les Baux de Provence
- Oppede le vieux
- Isle sur la Sorgue
- Still authentic
Here you go. Hopefully the above is really helpful and will get you ready for the best south of France holidays.
Have you been to Provence? If so, what was your favourite place?