The Secrets Landscapes of Provence
Whether you're holidaying in Provence or simply enjoying a short visit, you might be wondering what exceptional sights you can see (or photograph) in winter. Look no more!
Every season has its corner of paradise... And Provence's natural scenery and landscapes literally change all the time. Whether you're seeking a feast for the eyes, content for your Instagram feed or some great pics for your Aunt Agatha's souvenir photo album, we'll tell you exactly where to find that elusive lavender or poppy field, deserted beach, or flock of pink flamingos. One thing is sure, you'll never see Provence through the same lens again!
Like a lot of people, Aunt Agatha loves nature and her greatest pleasure in life is taking a stroll in the countryside to see how it changes through the seasons... Thanks to our Landscapes of Provence guide, you'll be able to show her what secrets each place has to offer and its magical quality of light at certain times of year. Winter is the ideal time to (discreetly) observe the courtship rituals of pink flamingos in Camargue. In spring, take some stunning picsof Provence's poppy fields (and share, share, share on #myprovence). In summer, enjoy a refreshing waterside stroll far from the packed Mediterranean beaches. And in autumn, make the most of the Indian summer to dive into the Calanques fjords or roam among the red-leafed vines of the inland Aix countryside...
The secrets of Provence's autumn landscapes
The colourful vines of Puyloubier and Beaurecueil
Aah autumn! Probably the best season for your landscape photos in Provence. With its greens, yellows, reds, flaming oranges and rich browns, Mother Nature offers up a genuine artist's palette, which we love to capture on canvas or film. Let's start with the vines and the truly awe-inspiring show they give in autumn. Take off to Beaurecueil or Puyloubier at the foot of Sainte Victoire mountain and follow our guide to the "Sentier des Vignerons" (wine grower's footpath) to make the most of this magnificent display in Provence.
Detail of a vine leaf in autumn
Autumn landscape in Provence: the vines of Puyloubier
A peaceful stroll in the Calanques fjords
As long as the Mistral wind keeps at bay, our Indian summer stretches all the way into October! It's not too hot or not too cold and the days are still long enough to enjoy a swim in the Calanques or take the coastal route from Marseille to Cassis. Provence's footpaths are a true delight in this season.
The autumn forests in the north
And if Aunt Agatha wants to go mushroom picking in an autumn forest, take her north to the Durance area. The hills of Les Roques, La Chaîne des Côtes and Trévaresse, where you'll find the area's densest forests, are bound to keep her more than happy!
Walk in the Trévaresse hills where you can pick delicious wild mushrooms in autumn
Pick a few arbutus berries for an afternoon snack as you roam the footpaths of Provence.
The secrets of Provence's winter landscapes
The pink flamingo romantic season in Camargue
Even in Provence, it's less tempting to get out and about in winter because the days are shorter, the sunshine is more timid, the Mistral wind blows stronger and you have to swap out your cap for a beanie and flip-flops for a good pair of slippers. But here's the thing: at this time of year, and especially in January, you can admire one of Camargue's most spectacular shows: the courtship display of the pink flamingos. If you want to observe this incredibly beautiful "chatting up" ritual discreetly and head back home with some stunning pics, head to the Parc Ornithologique du Pont-de-Gau in Camargue. Your Instagram followers are going to love it!
In January, you can admire the courtship display of the pink flamingos.
PINK FLAMINGO ROMANTIC SEASON IN CAMARGUE
The deserted beaches of the Cote Bleue
January and February are also the perfect time to show Aunt Agatha the stunning Calanques fjords and Côte Bleue coast, as you enjoy a family stroll along the coastal footpath running alongside the Mediterranean between Niolon and Sausset-les-Pins and make the most of the deserted beaches to savour a winter picnic. You can also wind up your excursion by sampling some sea urchins and other local seafood specialities in a friendly atmosphere at the Oursinades Festival in Carry-le-Rouet in January and Sausset-les-Pins in February.
Sea urchin tasting on the Côte Bleue coast.
Almond trees in Alleins
Did you know that the little village of Alleins is the former capital of almond production? Today, many almond trees still grow around the village and an Almond Festival is held here every year in September. And what could be prettier than a whole orchard of almond blossom to herald the arrival of spring? Make the most of the February holidays to visit Alleins and capture the show on camera!
Cheer up your Instagram account in February (don't forget the #myprovence tag) with a pic to remember
The secrets of Provence's spring landscapes
Irises in the Alpilles
The warm weather is back and it's the perfect time to enjoy a holiday in the Bouches-du-Rhône. Head off into the countryside, revel in a picnic in a sunny meadow and make the most of the landscapes of Provence. This is the ideal season for exploring the Vallon des Glauges – a remarkable natural area in the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional des Alpilles nature reserve, where yellow and purple irises flower from March to April. These fragrant flowers bloom in March if they are sheltered from the wind and sun, otherwise you'll have to wait until April to admire them.
Observe the irises in bloom in March, if it is good and you are lucky (photo M.Astolfi)
What could be prettier than a poppy field in May?
Poppies in Lambesc, Saint-Cannat and Tarascon
This year, France will be enjoying three long weekends in May! The ideal time to get back to nature, spend a weekend out in the country, get some welcome rest and take some gorgeous pics of the landscapes of Provence. If you'd like to capture some flowers in May, the biggest trend is poppy fields. But they are somewhat elusive around here... So, if you want to share the beauty of a real poppy field with your friends, family and followers, you'll need to head to the north of the Bouches-du-Rhône, to Lambesc, Saint-Cannat and Tarascon, via our Belles Routes de Provence scenic routes or along the lanes heading towards Saint-Michel-de-Frigolet Abbey, where you'll come across a stunning poppy field...
Rice fields in Camargue
If you're looking for a change of scenery and walk on the wild side, head to Camargue. This time, climb on your bike on horse for a tour of the wetlands, home to wild flora and fauna, beautiful canals, typical architecture and rice fields! This rice is planted in May and harvested in September. You can learn all about it at the Maison du Riz.
NB: you'll need to come back in September to celebrate the rice harvest at the "Féria du Riz" in Arles!
Rice field in Camargue
Horse ride in the wetlands of Camargue
The secrets of Provence's summer landscapes
Lavender in Jouques
If there is one flower that epitomizes Provence, it has to be lavender, with its fragrant purple fields stretching as far as the eye can see, against a backdrop of blue skies... The Vaucluse area is particularly famed for its lavender fields, but the Bouches-du-Rhône is home to a lavender distillery where the flowers are grown on site. If you'd like to visit, head to the Moulin Saint-Vincent distillery in Jouques - a little town to the north-east of Aix-en-Provence - between mid-June and mid-July (before the harvest) to capture the plants in bloom and share them on your social networks with the #myprovence tag. Likes guaranteed!
Picture this... A lavender field in Provence
A sweet fragrance to take back home to remind you of your holiday in the Bouches-du-Rhône.
Refreshing river in Gémenos
It's tricky to go walking in the wooded hills of Provence in summer as they are subject to strict regulations. If you fancy an excursion to the Calanques fjords, Sainte Victoire mountain or Parc Naturel des Alpilles nature reserve, the Myprovence Balade mobile app offers you daily updates on accessibility. Alternatively, why not head to the Parc Départemental de Saint-Pons in Gémenos, where you'll find a car park, meadow, picnic area, river and plenty of wide open spaces for the kids... Just follow our tips for a refreshing summer in Provence!
Take a refreshing dip in the river at the Parc Départemental de Saint-Pons in Gémenos
A striking contrast: the wet and arid lands of La Crau
A vast plain stretches between Saint-Martin-de-Crau and Arles: t**he Plaine de la Crau**. Spanning several hundred kilometres, this magnificent site is characterized by two very different landscapes: fertile land and arid land. The contrast is the most striking in summer, when the northern area of La Crau overflows with water used to irrigate the grass used to make the coveted "Foin de Crau" straw, while the dry southern area's semi desert-like landscapes are reminiscent of the cracked soil of Africa. Not to be missed during your summer holiday in Arles – just hop on your bike!
Flock of sheep in the plain of La Crau
Arid land to the south of La Crau in summer, reminiscent of the cracked soil of Africa.