Lifestyle: Experience and Taste

Lend a hand with the olive harvest. Learn to cook from an award-winning chef. Visit wineries where big names in modern art sprout alongside vines. Provence is a feast for the senses, where hands-on, authentic experiences are served with a smile.

Savour sun-kissed Provence wine

With over 600 producers, Provence is a paradise for wine lovers. This capital of oenotourism offers authentic experiences that embody the easygoing Provencal lifestyle. Along the Wine Route (Route des Vins), meet winemakers at intimate tastings, cycle through the vines, bunk at a vineyard, and even try your hand at picking grapes! The wine harvest runs from the end of August to mid-October – another great reason to visit in the autumn.

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Uncover the secrets of Provence olive oil

With olive groves as far as the eye can see, Provence is famous for its liquid gold. To find the purest, look for the AOP (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) seal of approval in Les Baux, Haute-Provence, Aix, Nîmes, and Nyons. Harvest season kicks off in the fall – want to see it firsthand? Take a tour of an olive grove in Mouriès – some basic French is helpful – or visit one of the town’s three heritage moulins (mills).

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Fill your basket with Provençal flavor

The marché (market) is an integral slice of Provence life. Pick up seasonal fruit and artisanal cheese for a sun-drenched picnic. Interact with farmers and artisans to learn about local specialties. Scoop up souvenirs that celebrate Provence’s savoir-faire. From Forcalquier’s Monday market to Aix-en-Provence’s big Saturday affair, every day is market day in Provence.

Craft your own perfume in Forcalquier

Located near the UNESCO biodiversity site Montagne de Lure, the Artemisia Museum celebrates the region’s heritage as the heartland of aromatic plants. If the fragrant interactive exhibits inspire you, Artemisia also runs “make your own perfume” ateliers. Open to visitors of all ages, though adults will enjoy sipping the local herbs in Forcalquier’s artisanal Henri Bardouin pastis.

Make your own soap in Marseille

Bathe in Provence heritage at the new interactive MuSaMa museum. Built to showcase the city’s beloved export, savon de Marseille, this new Marseille attraction puts you in the shoes of a soapmaker.  After a fun history lesson about this prized product, you’ll have a chance to get your hands dirty, um, clean, by making your own soap.

Drink wines and see art in the vines

At Provence wineries, big names in contemporary art sprout amid the vines. Find a Renzo Piano gallery, Andy Goldsworthy cave, and Tadao Ando chapel on Château La Coste’s art and architecture walk. Built by the Knights Templar in the 13th century, the Commanderie de Peyrassol, now houses an outdoor modern sculpture park. At Château Vignelaure, an underground art gallery between the cellars displays works by Miro, Cartier-Bresson, and more.

Play chef for a day

Savour Provence’s rich culinary heritage in a cooking class. Avignon’s historical La Mirande hotel invites kids and adults into its kitchen. In Brantes, forage for wild plants then make a meal with your fresh-picked bounty. Gluten-free foodies will love Auberge la Fenière’s cooking class while sweet tooths will be in heaven at Chocolaterie de Puyricard’s chocolate workshop.