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Provence Holidays

Discover the Most Beautiful Sites

The Alpilles Regional Nature Park

About

Located in the Bouches-du-Rhône department and covering 510 square kilometres, this area is one of the smallest regional nature parks in France, created in 2007 to preserve its natural heritage. It is also one of the most beautiful and best preserved places in France. Spring remains the ideal time to stay!

Why should you visit?

For its diversity! It has a wide variety of environments such as agricultural areas - with olive groves, vineyards, orchards, pine forests - forests, garrigues and a low mountain range (496 m). It is rich in 960 plant species, and thus offers landscapes whose beauty is even more striking in spring! The wildlife is extraordinary: 250 species of birds live here, including Bonelli's eagle, the kestrel, the Egyptian vulture and the eagle owl.

Things to do

Walking in the Alpilles :

  • The application Balade nature, les oiseaux des Alpilles (Nature Ballad, Alpilles birds) offers 6 walking routes particularly remarkable for the diversity of birds and landscapes. Information available on the site: alpilles.sonsdessens.fr
  • The website Chemins des parcs.fr offers hikes in the Alpilles at all levels, which can also be accessed on the Chemins des parcs app.

More Information

To find out about all the possible events and activities during your stay: parc-alpilles.fr

A very well done site which will allow you to discover the cultural, historical, artistic and culinary heritage of the Alpilles: alpillesenprovence.com

The Provencal Colorado

About

The Provençal Colorado is an old open-air ochre quarry, which extends over more than 30 hectares, in the Luberon massif, in the small commune of Rustrel, about ten kilometres from Apt. The site was exploited from 1871 to 1993 for the variety of its ochres and the quality of its pigments. When the exploitation ended, Rustrel found itself with a singular site composed of cliffs, rocky peaks, ravines, tunnels, galleries, but also caves and fairy chimneys.

The place is best visited in spring, to avoid the crowds and the heat!

Why should you visit?

Because it is the most unusual place in the Vaucluse, a unique site in the world! To admire its varied shapes and colours, from pale yellow to carmine red, orange, brown, green and mauve, which come in a multitude of shades. The predominance of reds has earned it the nickname "Colorado" ("red" in Spanish). The visit allows you to discover an amazing natural and industrial heritage!

Things to do

Discover the site freely:

  • the Sahara circuit: the 2 kilometre walk is accessible to all and lasts about forty minutes.
  • The Belvederes circuit: the 3.9 kilometre walk overlooks the whole of the Colorado Provençal, is more difficult and lasts almost two hours, but the panorama is just magical!

Discover the site with a guide: allow about an hour and a half for a guided tour. You just need to arrive a quarter of an hour before the start of the tour, at the ticket office located at the entrance to the Les Mille Couleurs car park.

For timetables, visit the official website: coloradoprovencal.fr

More Information

The site coloradoprovencal.fr will give you all the useful information.

The site luberon-apt.fr will allow you to discover the country of Apt.

The Calanques National Park

About

Between Marseille and La Ciotat, this grandiose 5,000-hectare park extends over a coastal massif of limestone cliffs, creeks and islets that are home to numerous living species. Created in 2012 with the aim of ensuring habitat preservation and diversity, it is Europe's first peri-urban national park that is both terrestrial and marine. It has 26 creeks in total. The most famous are Port-Miou, Port-Pin, En-Vau, Sormiou and Morgiou. The site is world famous for its fascinating landscapes. The best time to visit is in spring, as the park is a victim of its own success in summer!

Why should you visit?

To experience pure beauty! Take a walk along the paths to discover the fauna - 80 species of birds, including Bonelli's eagle, a wide variety of reptiles, including the ocellated lizard, the largest in Europe, etc., and, on the sea side, more than 60 marine species, including dolphins and rorqual whales - and the flora - more than 900 species of plants, Lobel's broom, Aleppo pine, rosemary, thyme, Montpellier cistus, etc. Take a break to swim in the crystal-clear turquoise waters, fish, dive, climb, and enjoy the sumptuous views at any time of the day or night!

Things to do

The park can be discovered :

On foot:

Who hasn't dreamed of walking in nature without taking their eyes off the Big Blue? It is here that the dream takes shape! There are countless routes and paths! These few sites will help you to choose, according to your desires, your form and the time you wish to devote to it:

  • calanques13.com, the calanques website offers hiking itineraries and indicates all the access conditions to the massifs.
  • calanques-parcnational.fr: in the "Walks and hikes" section, the site offers around twenty routes, with an interactive map and provides all the necessary advice before setting off on the trails!
  • altituderando.com proposes the 12 most beautiful hikes in the Park, from the easiest to the most difficult.

By boat:

Several companies offer tours to discover the calanques:

From Marseille :

From Cassis: contact the Groupement des Bateliers cassidens: 06 86 55 86 70

From La Ciotat: contact Les Amis des Calanques: 06 09 35 25 68/06 09 33 54 98

More Information

Visit the calanques-parcnational.fr website, a gold mine for discovering the calanques and all the possible activities within the park.

The Sainte-Victoire Mountain

About

The Sainte-Victoire massif, which stretches over 18 kilometres between Aix-en-Provence and Pourrières, and culminates at the Pic des Mouches, at an altitude of 1,011 metres, is world-famous thanks to the painter Cézanne, who immortalised it in more than 80 paintings! It was awarded the "Grand Site de France" label in 2004, in recognition of its management according to the principles of sustainable development. Sainte-Victoire welcomes more than a million visitors every year! As it is not accessible during the hot season, it is best to visit in the spring.

Why should you visit?

Because it is a strong symbol of Provence and offers breathtaking views and an infinite variety of landscapes! To admire its flora, 900 flowering plants, its fauna, 27 species of mammals, including chamois and mouflons and 126 species of birds, including Bonelli's eagle and albino pigeons. In the scrubland, you can see the ocellated lizard, a small dragon with green and blue scales, and in the dry grass, the hedgehog cricket, a large cricket unable to jump. 

Things to do

The Sainte-Victoire is the ideal place for hikers: it is criss-crossed by a network of 250 kilometres of marked trails for all levels. It is possible to stay in refuges or gîtes for several days. It is also a magnificent playground for mountain bikers, with 150 kilometres of possible routes.

For all information about activities on Sainte-Victoire, visit: amisdesaintevictoire.asso.fr and grandsitesaintevictoire.com

More Information

To find out almost everything about the Aix region, visit: aixenprovencetourism.com 

Discover the Most Beautiful Sites