On the roads and in backyards all over the South, you can hear the distinct “chirp” of the unofficial mascot of Provence – the cicada (le cigale). And as anyone will tell you, it’s not officially summer in the South of France until that first tsi tsi tsi rings clearly through the air. And foolish be the person who says otherwise… as we learned two weekends ago at a BBQ as one hapless guest claimed to have already heard our small green friends chirping their hearts out. Mais no no no was the collective response… pas encore pas encore (not yet).
Which brings me to chat a bit about the current mood of the South… which actually might be better described as the “unmood”. I welcome you to come & discover what happens when an already slow region slows down even more. In other words, summer in Provence is quite near paradise… that is if your idea of paradise just happens to be doing nothing but laying on the beach, sipping rosé, languishing over hours-long lunches or perhaps a combo of all three.
For us working stiffs (I’m dressing in all-white cotton by this point btw), it’s hard to imagine that anything gets done around here during the summer. When the temperature climbs above 26°C, it seems everyone and their maman heads to the beach. Activity in the centreville is “thinning” and the folks y mou doeet on the street look like they’re one or two hours away from a dip in the sea. Think bright colors, flip-flops, and a big jump in sales of everything “bronzy”.
Of course my vacation is just around the corner and I have big plans for enjoying these summer months myself. Here are a few of the things I’m looking forward to which can also make decent suggestions for your summer travels to Provence:
1. Visiting the Calanques at Cassis and after treating yourself to a massive gelato from Amorino along the port.
2. Taking a ferry to the Isle de Porquerolles and spending the day on the Plage d’Argent.
3. Picnicking along the sea.
4. Attending a lavender festival, dates available from Routes de Lavande.
5. Spending the afternoon on Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence… enjoying a glass of wine and doing absolutely nothing.
6. Self-guided wine tours.
7. Taking the train from Marseille to Nice for the fantastic scenery – or cutting it short and lunching in Antibes.
8. Eating a heaping bowl of bouillabaisse, or the fresh catch of the day, at the Vieux Port in Marseille.
9. Markets, markets, markets.
10. Splurging and getting a “thalasso” treatment at Hotel Ile Rousse in Bandol.
11. Taking in the sea views at hilltop villages like Bormes-les-Mimosas & Gassin.
12. Taking a tour of the Puyricard chocolate factory (not very summery but hey, it’s chocolate).
13. Escaping the heat in the “Tivoli of Provence”, Barjols.
14. Visiting the “garden of the Mediterranean” at Domaine du Rayol.
15. The beach, the beach, the beach.
And don’t forget, one of the greatest pleasures of summer in Provence is the joy of “farniente”…. doing nothing at all.
– If you’d like to hear what summer sounds like in Provence, click over for this YouTube slideshow.
12 thoughts on “15 Things to Do in Provence… in the Summer”
Looks like a great list with lots of fun things for the summer Tuula. Sigh!
Hope summer is off to a great start for you Marianne, sending you a big salut & bon weekend from Provence!
Dear Tuula ! What a summer funny list ! Don’t forget that Provence is more than the coast !! have a look inside at the cascade du grand Baou http://youtu.be/Jfh5SSySApI !! Claire Provence Hand Made
Merci Claire, the cascade du grand baou looks gorgeous, we must go visit it very soon… thanks for your comment & bon weekend 🙂
Amazing! Cassis and Aix are 2 of my fave Provence towns! Oh, when will I be able to back there? Perhaps when the 3 kids are older! Can’t wait! In the mean time, I will enjoy Provence through YOU!
You are too kind Jen, thanks so much for your sweet comment. Well…when you do get back to Provence, hope you’ll swing by and say “bonjour” – would be lovely to meet you!
Lovely post, Tuula – so evocative of summer in Provence. Can’t wait to get back!!
Thanks so much Deborah, your feedback is much appreciated…from one Provence lover to another! Hope you’ll be back very soon 🙂
Well it looks like you’ll be very busy this summer. I hope you are able to get your whole list done! That would be neat 🙂 I am so happy that the cigales have finally arrived. They’re not many around my home, but around work there must be a million. I have to leave the window open just so I can here them singing to me!
Sounds like you are going to have a fantastic summer! I will have to enjoy my short visit to Provence and then live vicariously through your pictures of your fun times. Bon weekend.
Looks like you had a really great time this summer!!
It looks like summer to top all summers. You are so lucky to have experienced
the place. I am so green with envy! Hope you will have more like this next
year. Lots of love and laughter on your way. Cheers!
Thanks for your comment Sandy! We’ve had a really nice summer and Provence (and the coast) is great this time of year. We’ll still have a few months, Sept & Oct, of nice weather so I hope to squeeze in a few more day trips… or at least a couple nice picnics! Hope you have a very bon weekend 🙂