Provence my love, what can I say?
Planning and packing for Provence, I realized this was one of the locations I was most excited to visit. I think that's saying a lot because I've been to some heavy hitters when it comes to pretty places: the Amalfi Coast, Santorini, you get the idea. That's right, I'm picking Provence over all of 'em!
Grab a glass of rosé and get ready to swoon at this perfect little slice of heaven in southeast France!
The breadbasket of Europe: a myriad of fruits, veggies, nuts, and flowers flourish under the 300+ days of sunshine every year in the Provence region. Oh, and lavender. The seas of lavender were intoxicating. More on that later....
Provence was a summer girls getaway weekend for me, and the perfect dose of relaxation! Since Provence is a relatively large region, we chose to use the charming town of Aix en Provence as our hub, and flew into the closest airport in Marseille. From Marseille, a private car service picked us up and delivered us to our accommodations for the next few days- about a 35 minute drive. This was the best option for us because not only did the activities that we wanted to do departed from Aix, but it is robust with brasseries, boulangeries, and cobblestone streets to explore! There are many small villages that comprise the Provence region, so depending on what your agenda holds, Aix could be a great option. Trains are also available from Marseille to Aix en Provence, but our flight was set to arrive rather late, so we opted for the most expedient route of hired car.
One of our priorities for this trip was to attend tastings at a few wineries that specialize in rosé, so as any responsible adult would do, I secured driving services because no one wants to stress about having to spit their samples when you're sipping wine in France. Luckily, during my research I stumbled upon a company called Grape Escapes Provence. One look at the many itinerary options on the user-friendly website and I was like YAAASSS, HUNNY! Mama wants the full day wine tasting option! This could possibly be one of the best things I have ever booked, seriously.
Sarah at Grape Escapes makes all the winery visit arrangements for you, speaks perfect French and English, and provides comfortable transportation to each village and winery, completely removing any guesswork from the day so that you can 110% devote yourself to saying "YES WAY, ROSÉ"! I loved the itinerary she provided us. We visited adorable villages (like charming little Cucuron) where we enjoyed sidewalk cafe coffee sipping, a delicious patio lunch, and of course French sized samples during four separate wine tastings. It was an amazing little snapshot of Provence's typography, food, culture, and it's famed wine of course! And guess what? We had THE most incredible time with her!
There are not many things in the world that I adore more than a bold red, but I was in the mood to ROSÉ ALL DAY while in Provence!
Note: let's take a moment to make sure we are all on the same page. Rosé wine does not mean blush wine. I won't get into a lot of detail about the crisp, dry, floral note filled and mineral finished amazing-ness that is Provence rosé but just know that it IS NOT FRANZIA. K, thanks.
Not to worry, even if you're not into rosé (yet) you can still enjoy the wines of Provence. But really, what is wrong with you?! Just kidding...no I'm not.
Wine and sunshine, what more could you ask for?
Lush fields of lavender, that's what.
As with most of nature's beauty, timing is everything! Remember when I told you guys about the sprawling tulip gardens in The Netherlands, and I mentioned it only blooms for a few weeks a year? Well, same story in Provence. Prime time for lavender is June and July, and maybe into the first weekend of August depending on the weather. After this, the lavender has reached its peak and you will find fields already cut. In fact, before our trip in late July, I was warned from others who went a week or so before that "all the lavender was gone" because harvest had come early on account of the hot summer. This is when being good at research comes to play: the villages and fields in higher elevations bloom later and are therefore harvested later, which is exactly where we headed.
If you're heading to Provence during the beginning of lavender season in mid-June, check out the Luberon area. If you're heading out later in the season (mid-July through the1st week of August), your best bet is to head to the Sault area.
Not only was the scenery to die for, but the scent from the fields was so fresh and soothing!
My top tips for pretty Provence:
-Visit more than one village! The best way to get around and see many areas and the only way to hunt for lavender is by car, so either rent one or hire someone to do the hard work of driving for you.
-The lavender fields are full of bees working hard to make that honey! If you're allergic please take precautions. In a pinch, lavender oil works amazing to lessen the burn... true story, one of my girls got stung right on the booty while there!
-Book in advance! A majority of tourism here happens during summer months and prices will pop during that time so make sure you're hitting those reservations early, especially if you want a deal.
-Get comfortable with the idea that you're going to need to rent a car. If you can not drive a standard, you'll also need to get comfortable with the idea that you'll be paying more for an automatic, as they are not as prevalent in Europe as in the USA. Another option is to hire a driver for the day.
-Plan the areas you will visit around the time of season that you're visiting the area- higher elevations mean later bloom times. Check maps online as you plan your visit!
*image from http://www.beyond.fr/map/lav_map.html
My booking recommendations:
Airport transfers: Sun Transfers
Winery Tour: Grape Escapes Provence
Want to see more? Click play below for a quick video tour of the lavender!
BON VOYAGE, BABES!! xoxo
Shop my Provence styles here:
Pink off shoulder dress or similar!
Similar lilac floral maxi and this pink floral midi dress is dreamy, too!