How about making the most of your stay to visit the region’s top monuments? Discover Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur‘s must-see sights!
Experience the Mucem in Marseille
A genuine jewel on the Old Port (Vieux Port) of Marseille, the Mucem is the first ever museum dedicated to Mediterranean cultures. Its ultra-modern design is already a sight to behold, but climb up to the rooftop to enjoy the picture-postcard views over the Ancient Greek city and its port. On the exhibition front, the Mucem boast a contemporary and interactive programme, shining the spotlight on Mediterranean civilisations of today and yesteryear.
Discover the majestic forts of the Région Sud
Fort Carré is set on Saint-Roch pensinsula (Presqu’île Saint-Roch), facing Antibes. In addition to its impressive architecture, you will adore the magnificent vistas over the Mediterranean… In July and September, you can book a tour of Brégançon Fort, the French President’s traditional holiday home on the Côte d’Azur France! If you want to enjoy a gorgeous view of the fort, head to Plage de Cabasson – a beautiful beach of white sand lapped by turquoise waters. Wind up your fort tour in Marseille with Fort Saint-Jean and Fort Saint-Nicolas, standing on either side of the Old Port (Vieux-Port) – both intrinsic parts of the city’s history.
Admire the Popes’ Palace in Avignon
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Popes’ Palace, crowned with four impressive towers, stands overlooking the city of Avignon. The building’s gigantic size becomes apparent once you’re inside: this is Western Europe’s largest Gothic palace. After admiring the frescoes, visit the awe-inspiring Pope’s chamber. And before you leave, take a walk on the ramparts leading to one of the towers – the panoramic views over the city and beyond are genuinely breathtaking!
Revel in the tranquillity of the Région Sud’s abbeys
Start your tour in the Hautes-Alpes are with a visit to the Abbaye de Boscodon, near Lac de Serre-Ponçon : a masterpiece of medieval art set in the heart of the Forêt Domaniale de Boscodon forest. Book a guided tour to learn everything there is to know about this exceptional site. Next, head to the Abbaye de Sénanque and Abbaye du Thoronet, forming two of Provence’s three sister abbeys. Sénanque Abbey is no longer home to any religious orders, but it now welcomes numerous year-round exhibitions. Thoronet Abbey is considered as the world’s finest example of Cistercian architecture. An absolute must! Last but not least, stop off at the Abbaye de Lérins on Ile de Saint Honorat, home to a community of monks. These modern-day friars hosts various exhibitions and abbey tours and sell a range of home-grown wines.
Discover the Antique era in Provence
Begin your voyage back in time with a tour of Arles‘ most beautiful monuments. Roam the narrow galleries of the Roman Arena, imagine yourself on the stage of the Roman Theatre and wind up your town tour with a visit to the impressive Thermes de Constantin Roman baths… Next, it’s time to head to the Théâtre Antique in Orange, Europe’s best-preserved Roman theatre! Continue your voyage back in time with a stop-off in Vaison-La-Romaine, home to the beautifully-preserved remains of the Puymin Roman quarter. Don’t miss a visit to the Roman Theatre too – it is simply breathtaking!
Follow in the footsteps of Vauban
Start your tour with the must-see town of Briançon in the Hautes-Alpes area, famed for its Cité Vauban – a cluster of fortifications built by Louis XIV’s famous military engineer Vauban. France’s highest-altitude town, Briançon offers breathtaking views over the River Durance. Next, head to the Place Forte de Mont-Dauphin stronghold to discover the impressive construction built to protect the Fort des Têtes. If you don’t have time for a full tour, simply stop for a moment to admire its incredible architecture. The last stage of your Vauban tour takes you to Sisteron Citadel, standing out elegantly against a backdrop of Alpine landscapes. The Citadel bears the unmistakeable mark of Vauban, even if he was not its original architect.
Tour the coastal chateaux
If you admire architectural prowess, you’ll love visiting Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur‘s many chateaux! Start off with the gorgeous Château Grimaldi in Cagnes-sur-Mer: this impressive building harbours a museum and boasts superb panoramic views over the Mediterranean Sea and mountains. Continue your cultural stroll in Antibes with another Château Grimaldi: this one is home to the fabulous Picasso Museum (Musée Picasso). If the weather is fine, you can make the most of the sea views from the terrace. The last monument on your list is Château d’If, an ancient state prison located on Frioul archipelago, facing the City of Marseille. This iconic castle was brought to international fame by Alexandre Dumas’ masterpiece “The Count of Monte Cristo”.
Visit Cocteau’s chapels on the Côte d’Azur France
An ancient fisherman’s chapel, Chapelle Saint-Pierre is the pride and joy of Villefranche-sur-Mer! Decorated by Jean Cocteau in 1956 it resembles a genuine canvas adorned with the artist’s colours. The chalk drawings in particular stand witness to the genius of Cocteau‘s work. It’s best to visit the chapel at opening time to make the most of its very particular atmosphere before the crowds arrive. Although less well-known than its big sister, the little Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Jérusalem in Fréjus was also graced by the hand of Cocteau.
Succumb to the magic of Les Baux-de-Provence
A genuine voyage back in time, the town of Les Baux-de-Provence is an astonishing hub of history, home to Troglodyte dwellings and a beautifully-preserved medieval castle – the Château des Baux de Provence is an absolute must-see during your stay in Provence. If you’re in the mood for a cultural experience to remember, head to the Carrières de Lumières: an ancient quarry now converted into a unique, immersive exhibition venue hosting spectacular multimedia shows.
Retrace the religious history of the Sainte-Baume hills
If you’re exploring the Provence Verte spiritual route, start off with the famous Sanctuaire de la Sainte-Baume. Also known as the Grotte de Sainte-Marie-Madeleine (Cave of St. Mary Madgalene), this grotto harbours a church carved into its rock. Continue your tour with the Sainte Marie-Madeleine Basilica in Saint-Maximin, Provence‘s largest Gothic construction and a genuine architectural and historic jewel. Your spiritual tour ends at the Sanctuaire Notre-Dame de Grâces: book a guided tour to pierce the secrets of this sacred site…