The walled towns continued their building stages into the 12 Th and 14 Th Centuries while many rulers came and went including the Popes who resided at Avignon from 1309 to 1376 and built impressive castles. In recent years, these towns have been home and motif to Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Picasso.
Vacation Renting,
Provence House Rental

The people of Provence work the land and cherish their traditions; the coliseum at Arles still features bullfighting two times a year along with its other Camargue bull spectacles.

A movement is underway to teach the ancient language of Provencals in the schools.

You could plan your trip around the June harvest of fresh fruit, the blooming of lavender, and the festivals that include ancient music, dance, horsemanship, and bull fighting.
Provence is a huge area in southern France that extends from Montelimar to the Mediterranean, from Nice to the Saintes Maries de la Mere in the Rhone River Delta.

This region of mostly rolling agricultural land has many Roman ruins some still integral parts of the later Medieval walled cities like Roman-built Arles and the one-time capital, visited Solon de Provence, home of Nostradamus,  and to the west St. Remy, haunt of the Impressionist painters.

These walled cities ooze history;theaters, aqueducts, coliseum-like arenas, Roman theaters, and Gothic and Renaissance castles are everywhere. House rentals can be found in every village by shopping on the web.
Celebrity chefs like Julia Child put Provence on the American cooking vacation circuit with her cookbooks and her praise for the bouillabaisse of Marseille  (30 to 60 Euros a plate in Marseille's Old Port restaurants), and the simple fare of the region based on fresh produce and olive oil.
Vacation Rental In Provence
Vacation South of France,  Hiking, Biking, and the Culinary Vacation in Provence
Provence tradition
The hills and valleys of Provence were inhabited as far back as Neolithic times and still have rock tombs of early settlers. Later, nomadic shepherds built corbel vaulted beehive-like structures of stone called bories with an estimated 3000 still standing  around Gordes and Saignon.
Germanic Celtic tribes and Italian Ligurians inhabited Provence before the Greek (600 BC) and later Roman settlers (100 BC) built permanent dwellings of stone.
From the first century BC to the third century AD the Romans built an extensive road system throughout Provence, the best example perhaps, the first century Julian Bridge on the road between Gordes and Lacoste that, until recently, carried automobile  traffic over the Coulon River, a feeder of the Durance River.  
Provence History
Provence Cooking Vacation
A pleasant surprise might be Provence's hiking, climbing, kayaking, and biking opportunities.   Even with the dollar discounted around 30 percent, Provence still has great appeal.  May and June, and in September and October are the best times to visit, the months when the European travelers are back to work and not on their six-week July/August vacations.

Many of the larger towns in Provence have a central historic area, the old walled city, where narrow cobble streets open only to pedestrians make great walking. At the end of June the lavender fields color the hillsides beneath the 12Th Century chapels that crown the hilltops in the Medieval walled villages.
Farming of rice in the southern Rhone delta, the Camargue, and growing of wheat and lavender in the north along with raising of sheep and the practice of viticulture and olive production are the primary industries in the largely rural hills of Provence.  
Hiking Biking Kayaking, Climbing
Trails through the olive groves and vineyards head out of each village, on some you share the trail with shepherds tending flocks.

Renting a house, even if it just for a week or two, is a good and economical way to enjoy all that Provence has to offer.
Rentals can accommodate  several families or just two people. When your search begins on the web, start first with the number of people that you will accommodate.
How Many People
The regions of Provence are called departments Provence, Alpes Maritimes, Bouches du Rhone, Var, Vaucluse, and the Drome Provencals.

Your vacation rental search could start with either the region you desire or the price range you seek. Some villages are more expensive than others but the area is well served by good roads so that you can base in one place and reach many villages and walled cities in an hours drive.  
Provence Rental Houses and Apartments

Transportation will be of crucial importance. Will you have a rental car? (30-60 USD per day and plentiful in the major cities and TGV stations) If not, lodging in one of the larger towns or cities would be a better option unless you want the solitude and isolation of a country vacation villa or retreat.

Provence Rental Cars      Available at TGV train stations.

Transportation: Local buses make trips between major cities stopping at towns and villages along the way.  Schedule.
Provence Region
Many visitors are inspired by British writer Peter Mayle's "A Year In Provence," a book that prompted a herd of Europeans to fan out in the countryside of the Luberon and Vaucluse looking for distressed cottages and old farms to buy as fix-up vacation homes and rentals.
Those vacation homes,villas, and apartments turned into vacation rentals and have made Provence available to the culinary vacationer, many come with a full kitchen.
The countryside of Provence has changed little in five hundred years, there are no malls, and just a few high-speed roads.

The one major innovation in Provence aside from the great roads that connect the villages, the high-speed TGV train; with top speeds of 180 MPH it puts Avignon two and a half hours from Paris.
A Villa or Vacation rental at the foot of a walled city could accommodate up to 15  or more and give good access to recreation, culture, shopping
Saignon  on the hilltop overlooking Apt is postcard perfect and near enough to the larger city to offer transportation
Arles was a roman city in the first century
A limited menu family run  mom and pop style restaurant in the Village of Apt, La Manade on Rue Rene Cassin should not be missed
Plain Trees
Non-lethal bull fighting
Road to St. Remy
Vacation Season: High, Mid, Low
High: July August
Mid:  April, May  June, September, October,and School Vacations
Low: November,December, January, February, March
The Roman Arena in Arles still hosts bull fights
The Roman Theater in Arles
Vacation Rental In Provence
Provence Vacation Rental
Vacation Rental In Provence for a  Cooking Vacation of  Healthy Eating,Low Fat Cooking, and hiking and biking in the South of France
Travelers can plan a culinary vacation and save money by renting a house in Provence to settle in for a few weeks or a month of living the village life, shopping for the daily provisions, and cooking with the locally grown produce.

From a home base in a convenient village located in central Provence you can make day trips by rental car or local bus to surrounding hill towns of stonewalls and Medieval castles where you will find great hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cliff climbing.  
Provence Events and Sightseeing
Provence Transportation
Provence Lodging, Villa, Vacation Rental
France Events and Sightseeing
Trails through the olive groves and vineyards head out of each village where you often share the trail with shepherds tending flocks.
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