Top 10 ideas for May bank holidays in Provence

The Easter holidays are over and the summer holidays are not there yet but the May bank holidays and long weekends are around the corner to help us wait for them! Discover our selection of ideas to enjoy May weekends in Provence.

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Spring has truly sprung and the month of May has arrived! May is a synonym for festivals, long weekends and dancing around the May pole... We made a selection of ideas and tips for you to make the most of those beautiful May bank holidays in Provence, and to let your hair down, to get some fresh air or some culture or to explore with family, colleagues or friends, as a couple, with or without money, during the Ascension and Pentecost breaks in Marseille, Provence and Camargue.

May bank holidays with the family

In Provence…

First find the hotel with swimming pool in Provence that will welcome your family for those sunny May weekends. Then, enjoy the many May fairs in Provence – cattle, flowers, plants and gardens, vines and wine, artists and designers... In the afternoon the children will enjoy a boat trip to the Calanques or on the Rhône river. Finally, take to whole family to a theatre play for children. In May, in Provence, the children will also enjoy Archery at the Castle of Les Baux, the Feria des pitchoun’s in Noves, the European mill days in Allauch, Tendance Clown in Marseille

May bank holidays for couples

In the Alpilles…

First find a charming B&B in Saint-Rémy de Provence, with a pool, for your first romantic dip of the season. Admire the works of art at the Musée Estrine hand in hand. Enjoy a delicious lunch at the table d’hôte of the Cabro d’Or, in Les Baux-de-Provence, that presents an enticing menu in an unusual decor for 32€. In the afternoon, take a siesta under the olive trees at the feet of the Alpilles and enjoy the first sunrays of May before having a tasting of olive oil from Provence in one of the many olive-growing estates.

A siesta in the Alpilles

A siesta under the olive trees for romantic May bank holidays

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A boat trip in Provence

A boat trip for May weekends with the family

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Terrace for May weekends in Marseille

A relaxing drink on a terrace for May weekends with colleagues

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May bank holidays with colleagues

In Marseille…

First find an apartment or house for rent in Marseille to spend a few May days with friends (for info : « colleagues » does not mean work relations here). Then enjoy the Calanques in (not too) athletic mode with an unforgettable sea kayak excursion. At the end of the day the aperitif beckons in the Rue Sainte, a new trendy spot in Marseille or Fietje, la Ruche or l’U. Percut… You will always find a welcoming bar terrace in Marseille to enjoy a drink with friends. At sunset, the May weekends are perfect to discover the nightlife in Marseille. Don’t miss the Edition Festival during your holiday in late May around Marseille.

May bank holidays with the girls

In Aix-en-Provence…

Find a pretty holiday home or apartment in Aix-en-Provence with the girls. In the morning with the large market of crafts, textile and flea market to fill up on Provençal flavors on the Cours Mirabeau or the designer market at Rue Piétonne in the morning. Take a healthy and delicious lunch break with local food at Maison Nosh. In the afternoon follow the shopping route of Anaïs & Pedro, the Marseillaises or Ma Cigale est Fantastique in the streets of Aix. End the day with a cultural and delicious stop at the Hotel de Gallifet and its beautiful gardens or in the Art Centre Caumont and its lavish café - two new very trendy spots in Aix.

Affordable may bank holidays

In Provence…

Finding affordable accommodation in Provence is not impossible. Nothing beats strolling in the May sunshine at the numerous car boot sales that present their treasures everywhere in Provence and finding that affordable and original gift you were looking for. Lunch means stopping in an unpretentious restaurant but with quality food!
During the day or half-day, you can take advantage of the beautiful May days to follow the MyProvence routes: turn-key tours to go on a stroll in Provence. As the sun sets, enjoy the many traditional festivals in May in the villages of Provence.

Shopping day in Aix-en-Provence

Shopping day in Aix for May weekends with the girls

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Walk in Provence

A cheap and spectacular walk for affordable May bank holidays

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Quiet & voluptuous may bank holidays

In Provence…

Find the ideal luxury hotel room with spa or breathtaking views for an extraordinary holiday. Enjoy a day in the prettiest fashion shops or the best crafts outlets of Provence by following the circuits in the blog of the Marseillaises in Aix or Marseille. Of course the day would not be complete without a lovely evening meal in one of the Michelin star gastronomic restaurants, such as l’Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabanel in Arles, the Petit Nice - Passedat in Marseille, L’Oustau de Baumanière in Les Baux-de-Provence and many others…

Unusual may bank holidays

For the curious…

Pack your bags and head off the beaten track for a weekend with our 'My Provence' itineraries – an exciting range of novel discovery tours on themes such as the Côte Bleue coast, ancient know-how of the local 'Savon de Marseille' soap makers, 'Etang de Berre' lake, the castles of Provence and Provencal village traditions. You can follow up with an in-the-know guided tour of the charming town of Aix-en-Provence, Marseille told by journalist Jean-Pierre Cassely or picturesque village of Les Baux-de-Provence, before climbing aboard the tall ship 'La Flâneuse' to visit some insider's spots along the coast of Marseille.

2017 is 'Marseille European Capital of Sport' year (MP2017)! Try your hand at some traditional games and sports on the Prado beaches in Marseille from May 12th to 14th. Another must while you're in Marseille is the 'Sirènes et Midi Net' 12-minute theatre performance staged at midday on the first Wednesday of every month in front of the Marseille Opera House.

Last but not least, prolong the pleasure with a different angle on Camargue's 'Marais du Vigueirat' salt marshes... in a horse and carriage if you please!

Hiking in the Sainte Victoire

Climbing and hiking in the Sainte Victoire massif for sporty May bank holidays

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Rock climbing in the calanques

Rock climbing in the calanques for zero gravity sporty May weekends

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Sporty may bank holidays

Zero gravity …

The department is a climbers’ paradise, so choose your favourite spot from the Garlaban massif, in Aubagne, the calanques around Marseille, the Sainte Victoire massif in Aix, the Alpilles or Sainte Baume . And the start of the sunny season is the ideal time to enjoy and learn rock climbing. Those who prefer keeping their feet firmly on the ground will enjoy hikes or walks in Provence or roaming the hinterland. You can then take a welcome picnic break at the feet of your spot, courtesy of the best local producers. Find the nearest campsite at nightfall to enjoy sharing and convivial moments.

Sporty may banlk holidays

On the water…

Ocean lovers stay the night in a hotel on the seaside before getting active and enjoying the Mediterranean Sea to the fullest. Or explore the deep sea and dive in Marseille or create your own route and rent a canoe or a kayak at la Ciotat or Cassis. Seaside weekends present a wide range of nautical activities for young and old. Attend the Cassis regatta and enjoy the show that includes some of the most famous antique yachts in the world. After effort comes the reward and sports tend to make you peckish ... Taste all the flavours of the Mediterranean and seafood cuisine. You will find bouillabaisse, fish soup, lobsters and fresh fish on the menu!

May bank holidays with a change of scenery

In the Camargue…

If you crave wild open spaces, organise a May weekend in the Camargue. Find a cosy B&B in Arles or a hotel at Saintes-Maries-De-La-Mer, discover the fauna and flora among the bulls, the flamingos and the birds. On 24&25 May you can attend the celebration of the Saintes Maries by the travellers, at the Saintes Maries gypsy pilgrimage. And at night fall, go horse riding to admire the romantic sunset on the large beaches of the Camargue…

Kayak excursion in Provence

A kayak excursion for sporty May weekends on the water

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Horse riding in Camargue

Horse riding at sunset for May bank holidays with a change of scenery

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The best of the destination

So that everyone’s hopes and tastes are catered for, Bouches-du-Rhône Tourisme promotes must-see destinations which take visitors off the beaten track, using its deep understanding of the area and its neutral role as a non-profit organisation.