How to Spend 3 Days in Provence
Straddling the Mediterranean Sea in the south of France, Provence is known for its lavender-scented scenery, historic cities, and fine wine and food. Three days in Provence gives you ample time to see and taste the best of the region—here’s how.
Day 1: Avignon and Lavender
Start your time in Provence with a tour of Avignon, home to UNESCO World Heritage-listed old city. Half-day tours typically visit to the star attraction Palais des Papes, the largest Gothic palace in the world, and provide plenty of time to explore its interiors. Inside, the Saint-Martial Chapel is particularly worth a visit for the frescoes that chronicle the life of the chapel's namesake saint. Other must-sees include Avignon Cathedral, a Romanesque structure that dates back to the 13th century, and the Pont d'Avignon, the remains of a medieval bridge over the Rhone River.
Grab lunch in the city center before making your way out to the Vaucluse Plateau, one of the best places to see lavender in bloom during the summer months. In the evening, return to your Avignon or move on to Aix-en-Provence to rest up for the next day’s activities.
Day 2: Aix-en-Provence and Wine
Start your second day with a trip out to Provence's wine country to learn about and taste locally-produced wine. There are eight wine regions in total, but the most popular is the St-Victoire area, which falls under the Côtes de Provence appellation; the region also inspired much of Paul Cézanne's works and is best visited a part of a tour that includes round-trip transfers and therefore allows you to sample as much wine as you like.
In the afternoon, return to Aix-en-Provence to explore the city on walking tour. Staple stops include the Aix Cathedral, famed for its mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture and two 15th-century masterpieces—The Burning Bush Triptych and the stone-carved Altar of the Aygosi Family—and Cours Mirabeau, a tree-lined street full of shops and restaurants.
Day 3: Marseille and Cassis
Spend your final day in Provence on the coast. Opt for a day trip to Marseilles, the oldest city in France, and the charming port town of Cassis. While Cassis is a short drive from Marseilles, you may wish to instead take a boat between the two cities, so that you can see the limestone cliffs that line the coastline between the two cities.
In the afternoon, return to the Vieux Port area of Marseilles to explore the Cantini Museum, which showcases contemporary art in a 17th-century mansion, and the MuCEM, which chronicles the history of the Mediterranean region. In the evening, sample the city’s famous bouillabaisse or set sail on a sunset dinner cruise on the Mediterranean.