Provence is a highlight of any vacation. This magical corner of France, with its charming hilltop villages, magnificent beaches, and delicious foods, is a must-see for the discerning traveler.
While Provence is wonderful year-round, it is especially nice in the springtime. Let’s look at some of the reasons why.
A Provence vacation is cheaper in the spring, with flights and lodging especially well-priced. Rentals on Airbnb and VRBO, for example, can be half the price in the spring that they are during the peak summer months.
The reason is because there are fewer visitors, a lot fewer. That means shorter lines, easier-to-get dinner reservations, and no mob scenes at popular sites. It also means that hospitality staff are calmer and friendlier, not as busy and stressed as they are during the summer frenzy.
If you like hot weather, by all means come to Provence in July and August. But if temperatures in the 90s and 100s wear you out, then come during the cooler season. The springtime weather in Provence is ideal, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, perfect for a long lunch and that extra glass of wine.
The glorious Provençal countryside comes to life in the spring. There are flowering trees everywhere—almond trees with their white blossoms, cherry trees with their pink. Brilliant mimosas bloom along the Côte d’Azur while aromatic yellow broom covers the hillsides. In later spring, you’ll find field after field full of poppies.
In March and April, the first of nature’s bounty starts to arrive in the famous Provençal outdoor markets. First it’s asparagus and strawberries, then cherries, followed by melons and all manner of goodies. Provence is one of the breadbaskets of France, so what you buy is often grown just up the road. Grab a roast chicken, bread, cheese, and some of that wonderful fruit, and enjoy a memorable picnic.
Spring is the start of festival season in Provence. Some festivals are well-known, like the Cannes Film Festival and the giant antique market in l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Others are more local, like the many wine, fruit, and garden festivals throughout the region. If you like a particular kind of festival, you can probably find it in Provence in the spring.
The Immersive Van Gogh multimedia show has traveled the world and thrilled millions, after a long run at the Atelier des Lumières in Paris. Before that, the show started at the Carrières des Lumières in Provence, an immersive multimedia center inside a gigantic mountain cavern. Every year a new show is developed, which then spreads around the world. Want to see the latest? Then come to where it all started, and where it is still the most dramatically amazing place to see it.
Deep in the Provençal countryside is one of the world’s most remarkable natural sites, where a river bursts forth straight from the ground. It’s the Fontaine de Vaucluse, the largest spring in Europe. Waters flow up from a 1,000-foot-deep spring into what looks like a calm pond, until you see water gushing out the side and forming the Sorgue River. It is impressive any time of year, but especially in the spring when the flow is at its peak.
Keith Van Sickle splits his time between Provence and California. He is the author of the best-selling An Insider’s Guide to Provence and the best-sellers One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence and Are We French Yet? Read more at Life in Provence.