Arelate Festival 2017 Preview
Arles is world renowned for its Roman history and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its many incredibly well preserved monuments and buildings.
© Trans Provence
© Holly Millar
Discover the top Provence activities
You can jump from Europe's highest bridge on your trip to Provence, if you've got a good head for heights that is.. At over 180m vertical drop it's definitely a test for the nerves! Anyone from 15 years plus can take part although if you're over 55 you may need to provide a medical certificate.
A not-so-gentle but extremely refreshing summer activity is one way to describe canyoning! Plunge yourself into the mountain streams via a series of abseil descents, jumps and natural water slides – just make sure you choose a warm day!
You will make your way along rivers and rapids, using the river bed as a natural obstacle course. Not suitable for very young children, but anyone over the age of about 8 can take the (very cold) plunge and try canyoning. With the safety of a guide everyone can abseil down cascades, splash into pools and ride the river rapids. You can choose from short beginners’ routes or longer ones for the more adventurous.
Different companies will have their own policies on age limits but usually, unless they are booked onto a children's activity course, anyone under the age of about 14 years old will have to be accompanied by an adult. A basic level of swimming ability is required for safety reasons.
Caving is a great way to see the underground world carved out beneath our feet. Trips can be organised in various locations across Provence with guides and activity companies. You can try a 'discovery session' to see if you like being underground, or get more stuck in and go on a longer trip which might involve abseiling underground, squeezing through tight passages and exploring deeper caves and lakes.
Provence is without a doubt one of Europe’s most beautiful and varied sports climbing venues. An abundance of top quality limestone means that the island has an unparalleled variety of routes of all grades - suitable for experienced and beginner climbers.
Enjoy a number of cycling trails and routes in Provence and what better way to explore Provence than on a bike when you can enjoy the beautiful scenery. Have a look at our cycling guide for more information and explore the cycling routes that are in the area. If you are in Provence without your biking gear there are a number of cycle hire shops in who rent and sell bikes, gear and more.
There are over 2.5 million people doing geocaching around the world and some of them (perhaps surprisingly) are right here in SeeProvence.com! It’s a relatively new craze that started taking the world by storm in May 2000 after a computer geek decided that GPS could be “really exciting”. He hid some treasure at his home in Portland, America, for people to find, broadcast the GPS coordinates and said, “Come and get it”. His only rule: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff”. And that’s exactly what Geocaching is…you go in search of treasure by using the GPS system on your mobile device – once you’ve found it, you write your name in a logbook and replace the treasure you decide to take. It’s pretty simple really and means, as a family, you can be adventurers together. You won’t usually find anything quite as precious as gold, silver and diamonds but nevertheless it’s quite exciting!
Excellent courses and beautiful scenery across the entire Provence region, make this a perfect place for a round of golf. There are also a number of golf specialist hotels and resorts that you stay in if a holiday filled with golfing is what you are looking for!
Horse ride through the nature reserves, gorges, vineyards and mountain top towns of Provence is the perfect way to explore the area. Provence is an attractive destination for horse riding, trekking & lessons.
Hot air ballooning is a truly unique and fun experience. You can experience views and scenery like never before. There are a few hot air balloon companies in Provence who will offer you this enjoyable experience.
The views are stunning, and as you glide over the land or sea below you may see wildlife and animals normally hidden from view. The pilot controls the height but the wind determines which direction you take, so the flight can take anything from one to two hours, depending on when a suitable landing site comes into view.
Hot air ballooning looks serene, but there are moments of excitement; once the creaking wicker basket rises and you are suspended in the air metres above the ground, with nothing but the wind and the pilot taking you through the blue sky, it can be quite thrilling.
Race around the tracks in go-karts or try something more powerful! With a number of karting tracks in Provence it will be great fun for everyone.
There are also a number of motor racing tracks in Provence where you can put your driving skills to the test.Take the wheel of a race car and enjoy a race around the track. There are a few circuits and adventure companies who can offer you a motor sports racing experience in Provence.
Kayaking is a fun watersport that can be enjoyed as a team or on your own. Unlike canoeing, paddlers face forward and have a double bladed paddle. It is a versatile sport that you can enjoy on rivers, lakes and the sea.
You can take your inflatable or plastic kayak and make your way down the water. Using the double bladed paddle you can control the speed, direction and enjoy the experience and wonderful views in your own time. There are some watersports centres and adventure companies who can take you out for your kayaking experience.
Explore and discover the best markets and shopping in Provence! A dream for any sort of shopper and in all the villages dotted around you are sure to stumble across some fantastic shopping. The markets in Provence are also something not to be missed, explore the many stalls and purchase anything from local food to nic nacs and souvenirs.
Check out our guide to shopping in Provence for more information on all the shopping hot spots and markets.
Mountain biking is a challenging and fun activity whether you are an experienced biker or new to the sport it has something to offer everyone. With a number of adventure companies offering mountain biking excursions in Provence as well as our extensive guide to mountain biking you are sure to find some terrain to suit your skills. If you are new to mountain biking let a guide take you out for the day and show you the ropes. If you are experienced then seek out the best routes and tackle the steep and rocky tracks.
Heading to a Nature Reserve you can explore all the beautiful wildlife and soak up all the beautiful scenery. Take a walk around the park, spot the unusual wildlife or even do a spot of birdwatching. There are a number of wonderful nature reserves in Provence that you can explore.
The most popular sport in Provence is the game of Petanque - a form of boules played on a dirt or gravel surface in towns and villages throughout the region. The essence of the game is to throw metal balls (boules) towards a target (normally a small wooden ball) with the aim of landing the boules as close as possible to the target.
The game is played in teams or individually, and points are awarded for each boule that is closest to the target before the best placed oppposing side's boule. The team who reaches 13 points first is the winner. If the target is knocked out of play then no points are awarded unless a team has boules left to play, in which case they receive points for each boule remaining. Boules are thrown from a standing position (different versions of Boules allow a run up) and the target must be thrown six to ten metres away from the player.
You will see games of Petanque being played wherever you are in Provence, and it is game much favoured by retired gentlemen who can enjoy a shady afternoon's game accompanied by a refreshing Pastis. Visitors are generally welcome to play a game with the experienced locals - just hang around the pitch and ask if you can join in for the next game.
Provence is the perfect place to pop on those running shoes and head out to explore. With the beautiful scenery and wonderful landscape you can run for miles or simply head out for a short jog. There are a number of trails to follow and even some events that you can participate in.
Provence is full of beautiful and wonderful scenic driving routes which you can explore. Take a drive a long the wonderful coastline of the French Riviera or head high into the mountains of Haute Provence. One of the best way to explore the chateaux, vineyards and hilltop towns of the area is undoubtedly by car!
Segway tours are available in Arles, with a number of different tours on offer during the daytime and one at night.
One of the most popular things to do in summer for families is to pop to the local swimming pool. Many of the villages in Provence have outdoor swimming pools that opens only for the summer months of July & August (sometimes they open mid June and early September). These municipal swimming pools cost a couple of euros entry, and represent good value for a family. They generally form part of the local sports centre and so you could try some other sports whilst you are there.
If you'd like to take a dip outdoors in a more natural environment, there are some lakes which have beaches, playgrounds & picnic areas, and offer non-motorised watersports like kayaking and paddle boats. There are also a good selection of lakes and wild swimming areas as well as waterparks which the whole family can enjoy.
So don't forget your towel and your swimming costume or shorts (note, males should wear speedo's in municipal pools, no board shorts allowed).
With its warm climate and dry months, tennis is very popular across the region. Significant investment in the sport means that there many tennis clubs and courts available for the enthusiast or the amateur. The courts are generally clay or hard courts, and you can book courts as a non-member at most of the clubs.
Try an adventure playground or a theme park for a day of family fun. There are a number of adventure playground and theme parks, where both adults and children can play for hours. Head to our theme parks page to find out more and get your adventure started.
Swing through the trees high above the forest floor on a circuit of zip lines, monkey bridges, ladders and ropes. You can travel through the forest without touching the floor, safely strapped into a harness and attached to a secure safety line. These eco-friendly adventure parks are created around the trees without damaging them in any way and can be dismantled if necessary, leaving the forest as though untouched.
Tree-top adventures can be fun for both adults and kids and with most courses having a few options of varying difficulty anyone can participate in the tree swinging fun.
If climbing up sheer rock on the end of a piece of rope sounds a bit scary then Via Ferrata climbing offers an element of security that still allows beginners to enjoy the achievement of having scaled a mountain! This form of climbing was invented by Italian soldiers in the Dolomites who used it to enable them to scale vertiginous faces easily and quickly. These days it is a popular sport that makes the thrill of mountain climbing more accessible to children, beginners and those who want a bit more security when they climb. Following marked routes through the mountains you are helped along by steps, bridges and ladders whilst being roped up for extra safety.
Enjoy mountain trails or countryside paths throughout Provence, gentle strolls along the coastline, vineyards, or the conquering of peaks. Walking is the perfect activity for groups, families and friends. Pick from a number of routes ranging in difficulty, from easy child friendly walks to challenging day long hikes. Along the way enjoy the fantastic mountain views, beautiful scenery and wildlife that is normally hidden in the winter months.
Check out our walking and hiking guide for more details on hiking in Provence, if it is walking routes you are after head to our walking and hiking routes page to explore what sort of trails you can tackle in Provence.
Splash around on a water slide & enjoy hours of fun, waterparks are hugely popular with both adults and children! Enjoy hours of fun splashing around in the waterpark and tackle some of the fun rides and slides.
From boating lakes to windsurfing, cable ski & white water rafting. You can enjoy a whole range of watersports in Provence either on the coast or at one of the various lakes located inland, the watery fun is endless!
Down by the coast, there are of course plenty of opportunities to sail, windsurf, kite surf and generally mess around in the water. But inland too, there are several lakes where you can wake board, canoe and water ski.
The Natural Park of Verdon has numerous watersport iopportunities, including white water rafting, canoeing, water skiing, canyoning and sailing. there is a cable wake-board lake in Le Muy (EXO Active Park Le Muy), and more genteel non-motorised water sports are available at Lac de Saint Cassien. There are lots of companies who can cater for your water adventures have a look at the Watersports Centres in Provence.
Canoeing - Canoe rafts are an unsinkable, stable type of inflatable canoe that allow you, without too much technique to profit fully from the joys and fun of white water river descent. The descents are taken on by groups of 4 to 5 boats, accompanied by a fully qualified guide. You are equipped with neoprene suits and shoes, a safety jacket and a helmet. The course which you take is chosen according to the water levels and experience of the participants.
Arles is world renowned for its Roman history and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its many incredibly well preserved monuments and buildings.
Take in the historic sights of Avignon and make a visit to Ile de la Barthelasse using this alternative mode of transport.
With a long bank holiday weekend in store it made sense to venture to the outskirts of Provence to see what the Ardeche region and the famous Ardeche Gorge has to offer.
On a sunny Tuesday morning in April I found myself getting quite lost in the maze of narrow streets and lanes in the stunning, and slightly quirky, hilltop town of Biot.
As we have already revealed galloping along the Alpilles on horseback is a jolly good way of touring the stunning scenery that this Parc Naturel has to offer, but for a more modern (lazy) approach there is an alternative - the electric bike.
Provence has been a popular choice for family holidays for many years, thanks to the ease of access, the weather and the plentiful activities for children, particularly in the summer.
On Saturday I decided to go hiking on Mont Ventoux, the largest mountain in Provence. Popular nicknames include the ‘Beast of Provence’, ‘Giant of Provence’ and of course the ‘Bald Mountain’. After doing only a...
Riding around La Camargue on horseback is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the company of experienced and well-trained horses trekking through marshland and along the dusty-paths of the famous region.
Les Alpilles is a relatively little-known range of hills to the south of St Remy de Provence, awarded Parc Naturel Régional status in 2007. The peaks rise to a modest 500m, hence the name ‘little Alps’. Inhabited and farmed by man...
With the many rivers around Avignon there are plenty of opportunities to kayak in gorgeous natural surroundings. We headed just 50 kilometres north-west to the village of Goudargues, near La Roque sur Ceze, to try Goud' Canoe’s...
There are plenty of things to do and see in Avignon, and learning to cook local produce with a local chef is a great way to learn about Provençal cuisine.
Provence Quad Location, situated in Graveson just a few kilometres outside St.Remy-de-Provence, offer guided tours through the Provençal countryside every day of the year. I was part of a group on the “Discovery” tour.
A late night decision over a sublime "soupe au pistou" and a bottle of red, ended up with an early morning alarm call to make for a dash to the summit of the Mont Saint Victoire.
Many visitors to Provence start in the historic city of Avignon. Thanks to the TGV train service, you can easily travel from Paris or Marseilles to Avignon, where you will find plenty of car rental companies. From Avignon, you can go on any number of...
Cooling off during the hot summer months in Provence tends to involve heading to the nearest swimming spot to take a dip, whether that's at a swimming pool, a waterpark or somewhere in a more natural setting.
Vaucluse ULM flight school are based out of a hangar in Avignon-Sud Airport where they are in possession of around ten different types of aircrafts – from gliders; to stunt planes, microlight aircraft and the bright yellow Auto-Giro that...
Coming on holiday to Provence doesn't necessarily have to mean that you have to step down a gear and enjoy a slower pace of life, although there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Touring the Mont Sainte Victoire is a perfect escape from Aix-en-Provence to see a wild side of Provence, share some of Cesanne's views and taste some fine wines en route.
The Train des Pignes runs on the Chemins de Fer de Provence railway line and connects the Riviera town of Nice with the historic city of Digne Les-Bains, taking you from seaside to snowy mountains in just three hours and 30 minutes.
Touring Provence by car is a must, exploring the scenic villages of the Luberon in a topdown vintage Citroen 2CV is a dream!
In 1994 a limestone cave in the Ardeche was discovered that excited the archaeology world. Three caving enthusiasts discovered a cave richly decorated with charcoal drawings, hand prints and engravings that had been closed off by a rock fall for...
The history of Van Gogh is exposed with a flourish all around Arles as the artist completed some particularly famous paintings while living in the town. This walking tour brings you step by step to each of the places where Van Gogh would have set up...
If there is any flower to represent Provence, it has to be the lavender. You find it everywhere in stores and market stalls. It's in the little sachets that you put in your closets to add a whiff of fragrance to your garments. It's in the...