Our guide to seamless travel to Provence

We are committed to making your escape to Provence as effortless and enjoyable as possible. With our local expertise and dedication to quality, we do our best to ensure that your journey is smooth and filled with anticipation for the trip that awaits. Whether you are arriving from the UK, the US, or elsewhere in Europe by plane, train or car - we have you covered. Follow our practical guide for getting to and around Provence.

Arriving by plane

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When flying into Provence, your choice of airport really depends on your destination within the region, and so we have included some details on the main airports and how to get to them. As many of our guests arrive from the UK, US and the rest of Europe we have done our best to include more specific information for individuals travelling from these areas. Whether flying directly into Marseille, Nice, Avignon, or even Montpellier, Nimes, or Lyon, there are many options and one will be sure to suit your travel needs.

Marseille Airport
If your end destination is to the eastern part of Provence, including the Luberon, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille, Marseille Provence Airport is the most convenient option. While Marseille has a direct transatlantic flight from Montreal with Air Canada/Air Transat, most flights to Marseille connect through major European hubs such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, or Amsterdam.

  • From the United StatesMost travelers from the US choose to fly into Paris Airport first, then take a domestic flight to Marseille or the famous TGV train (high speed train) to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence or Marseille.
  • From the United Kingdom: Direct flights from London to Marseille Airport are available with quite a few different airlines.
  • From the Rest of Europe: Numerous European cities offer direct flights to Marseille, making it a very accessible gateway to Provence.

Nice Airport
If you are travelling to the western side of Provence, including the Côte d’Azur and the French Riviera, your best option is to arrive at Nice Côte d'Azur Airport. The airport is large, with direct flights from New York, London, and numerous European cities. If your itinerary allows, flying into Nice can be a practical choice even if you are heading west, too, with driving times of just 1.5 hours to Aix-en-Provence, 2 hours to Marseille, and 2.5 hours to the Luberon.

  • From the United States: Direct flights to Nice Côte d'Azur Airport are available from New York and other major US cities. As an alternative option, travelers can fly into Paris and then connect to Nice.
  • From the United Kingdom: Many direct flights to Nice are available from London and other UK cities.
  • From the Rest of Europe: Nice is well-connected with direct flights from many European cities.

Avignon Airport
Avignon airport welcomes jets and private flights all year round. Please contact our concierge service for further information.

Lyon Airport
As an alternative option, Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport is just a two-hour drive north of Avignon and serves as another viable option for reaching Provence. There is a train station and Flix-bus service directly outside Lyon airport making it a practical destination from those coming from the UK or Europe.

Montpellier and Nimes Airports
These airports offer more affordable flights and are well-placed for a scenic drive to your destination in Provence. These airports could be considered if you are flying from the UK in the summer and are looking for a cheaper option.

Choosing the right airport in Provence really depends on your final destination within the region. Whether flying directly into Marseille, Nice, Avignon, or even Montpellier, Nimes, or Lyon, there are many options and one will be sure to suit your travel needs.

Travelling by train

1 - Eurostar

Traveling by train to Provence offers a swift, comfortable, and scenic alternative to driving or flying. The region is well-connected by France’s efficient high-speed TGV network, as well as regional TER trains that provide picturesque views of the countryside. Here we have included a detailed guide on how to reach Provence by train.

The TGV (high speed train)
Traveling to Provence by TGV offers a swift, comfortable, and scenic journey through the heart of France. Whether you’re departing from Paris, London, or various other European cities, the TGV provides an efficient and enjoyable way to reach destinations in Provence like Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille. With modern amenities, ample luggage space, and stunning views of the French countryside, the TGV is a very popular option amongst travellers.

Booking tips - It’s advisable to book TGV tickets in advance to secure the best prices and preferred seating. Tickets can be purchased online via the SNCF website or other various travel agencies like Omio or Trainline.

Taking the train from London
For travelers coming from London, the Eurostar provides a quick and comfortable journey to Paris, with seamless connections to the TGV network. The Eurostar from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord takes approximately 2.5 hours, offering efficiency and comfort with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, onboard dining, and spacious seating. Upon arrival at Paris Gare du Nord, transfer to Gare de Lyon by taxi, metro, or RER train, which takes about 30 minutes. From Gare de Lyon, you can board the TGV heading to Avignon or Aix-en-Provence. During the summer months, the Eurostar actually offers a direct service from London to Avignon, providing a hassle-free and direct journey to the heart of Provence.

Taking the train from other major European cities
High-speed trains from various European cities connect seamlessly to the French TGV network, making travel to Provence easy and comfortable.

  • The train from Barcelona
    The direct TGV from Barcelona to Avignon or Aix-en-Provence takes approximately 4.5 to 5 hours. This scenic route offers views of the Mediterranean coastline and the rolling landscapes of southern France.

  • The train from Brussels
    The Thalys and TGV trains connect Brussels to Avignon and Aix-en-Provence, with travel times around 5 to 6 hours. These trains are known for their speed, comfort, and reliability.

  • The train from Milan
    High-speed trains from Milan to Marseille or Aix-en-Provence typically take around 7 hours. This route offers a blend of Italian and French scenic views, including the Alps and the Mediterranean coast

Local TER trains
For those who prefer a more leisurely and scenic journey, local TER trains offer an excellent way to explore the French countryside and coast. These regional trains connect smaller towns and villages, providing a more intimate look at Provence’s picturesque landscapes. TER trains are frequent and flexible, allowing travelers to hop on and off at various stops to explore the local attractions. Tickets can be purchased at the station or online. Popular routes include:

  • Marseille to Nice
    This route hugs the Mediterranean coast, offering stunning sea views and stops at beautiful towns like Hyères and Cannes.

  • Avignon to Orange
    This short route takes you through the heart of the Côtes du Rhône wine region, with opportunities to explore vineyards and historic sites along the way.

  • Aix-en-Provence to Pertuis
    Travel through the Luberon Regional Park, known for its charming villages, lush landscapes, and traditional Provencal markets. The journey offers a chance to experience the slower pace of rural Provence.
  • Nîmes to Montpellier
    This route takes you through the Gard and Hérault departments, showcasing a mix of Roman heritage and modern urban flair.

Travelling by car

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Driving to Provence offers an opportunity to experience the region's diverse landscapes and scenery at your own pace. Having a car, whether you drive your own or rent one when you arrive, is essential for exploring the hidden treasures of Provence. Think about all the beautiful local markets, vineyards, and cultural sites you would be able to explore with ease. This is particularly important considering many of our properties are often in picturesque villages or serene countryside locations with limited public transport.

Driving from the United Kingdom
Driving from the UK involves crossing the English Channel via ferry or the Eurotunnel. From Calais, follow the A26 motorway towards Reims, then take the A6 motorway south to Lyon, then the A7 to reach Provence.

Driving from the rest of Europe
Driving from neighbouring countries like Italy, Spain, or Switzerland provides an opportunity to enjoy some of the most beautiful routes in Europe. The A8 motorway from Italy, the A9 from Spain, and the A7 from Switzerland all lead directly to Provence. For a particularly scenic drive, consider the Route Napoleon, which winds through the stunning landscapes of the Alps and down into Provence.

Car rentals
Major car rental companies, including Hertz, Avis, Europcar, and Sixt, are available at all major airports and train stations in Provence. Booking your rental car in advance is recommended to secure better rates and ensure availability, especially during peak travel seasons. Why not consider renting a hybrid or electric vehicle? Provence is increasingly equipped with charging stations, aligning with sustainable travel practices – we talk more about this in our practical tips section coming up. To make the right choice for you, you can even use a price comparison website like AutoEurope.

Practical tips for your journey

Local transport
Local transport in Provence is quite efficient for travel between major towns and cities but can be limited in more rural areas. Buses and trains connect key destinations like Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, and Nice, offering reliable service for those routes. For example, you can easily take a train from Marseille to Avignon or a bus from Aix-en-Provence to Arles. However, public transport options are less frequent and less comprehensive when traveling to smaller villages and more remote areas, making it challenging to explore the scenic countryside without a car.

Plan your route
Check out Rome2Rio website to plan your route efficiently. This excellent website offers comprehensive travel options, allowing you to compare routes based on various criteria such as the greenest, cheapest, and fastest options. Covering global routes, Rome2Rio provides detailed information on different modes of transport, including flights, trains, buses, ferries, and car rentals.

Tips for driving in France
Here are some important rules and advice for driving in France:

  • Traffic from the right has right of way unless stated otherwise and except on roundabouts.
  • Drive on the right side of the road.
  • Always carry ID, driver’s licence, and car insurance papers.
  • An international driving licence is not required to drive in France.
  • National speed limits are 50 km/hr in towns (sometimes 30km/hr), 80km/hr on secondary roads, 110km/hr or 90km/hr on dual carriageways, and 130 km/hr on motorways.
  • The minimum driving age is 18.
  • Motorways in France have tolls, so be careful to get in the right lane when approaching a toll. The far right and far left lanes are usually reserved for users with a badge, marked “T”. You can pay the toll by credit card.
  • Check out the ChargePoint website where you can see the charging points for your electric car. You'll also find them in most supermarket and shopping centre car parks.

Towns and villages can get very crowded in the summer in Provence. Most places have car parks on the outskirts, and some larger towns offer a “park and ride” service. We recommend finding a public car park if possible, but if you do find a place on the street, be aware you can't park where there are large white signs with red circles saying “interdit sauf riverain” (residents-only parking). If you see a “payant” sign or a pay machine, you must pay to park. Display the receipt on your dashboard unless it works by number plate detection.

Taxis in Provence

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Navigating Provence by taxi offers a convenient and flexible option for travelers who prefer not to drive. Taxis are readily available in major cities like Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, and Avignon, as well as at airports and train stations. Here you can hail a taxi on the street, arrange one through your hotel, or use taxi apps like Uber and local services such as LeCab and AlloCab, which provide the convenience of booking and paying via your smartphone with upfront pricing. Outside of the big cities, taxis are not available at the last minute and require booking at least a few days in advance. For airport or train station transfers, taxi ranks are located right outside the exit, but to ensure you get a taxi that meets your requirements, it's recommended to book in advance through our concierge service, which offers fixed prices and luxury drivers for a seamless transfer to your property.

Taxi fares are metered, with higher rates during late-night hours and on Sundays and public holidays. Licensed taxis are identifiable by their illuminated "TAXI" sign and a meter inside the vehicle, and it is customary to round up the fare or leave a small tip for good service.

If you are looking to experience a day trip to a village in Provence, hiring a taxi for day trips or tours is a great option, with many companies offering fixed-rate excursions to popular destinations such as the Luberon villages, the lavender fields of Valensole, or the wine routes of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

A scenic road trip

1 - The village of Aurel on the Lavender route
The village of Aurel on the Lavender route

Provence is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, charming villages, and rich cultural heritage. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the region's beauty is by taking a more scenic road trip, whilst the route may take a little longer it will definitely feel more fulfilling. Here’s a guide to some of the most picturesque routes and villages, complete with specific roads to take for an unforgettable journey.

The lavender route: D942 and D950
We recommend starting your journey in the charming village of Sault, located at the foot of Mont Ventoux. This village, surrounded by lavender fields, is filled with vibrant markets and welcoming cafés, perfect for your first stop. From Sault, you can take the D942 towards Aurel, a quaint village with breathtaking views and serene lavender fields. From Aurel, continue on the D942 and then take the D950 towards Ferrassières, another picturesque village nestled amidst lavender fields. From Ferrassières, stay on the D950 towards the Valensole Plateau. End your journey at the Valensole Plateau, renowned for its extensive lavender fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. The entire area is dotted with charming farmhouses and chapels, adding to the picturesque scenery. It sounds dreamy, right?

The wine route: D977, D950, and D7N
For the wine lovers, start your journey in Avignon, a historic city famous for its Papal Palace and vibrant arts scene. From Avignon, you can take the D977 to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a region known for its exceptional wines and historic vineyards. From Châteauneuf-du-Pape, take the D950 to Gigondas, a charming village surrounded by vineyards and offering unique wine-tasting experiences. Next, take the D7N to Vacqueyras where you can finish your route in another renowned wine village with stunning vineyard views and delightful local wines. Top tip if you choose this route -make sure you have a designated driver pre-assigned.

The coastal route: D559 and D141
For the nature lovers amongst us, start your route by taking the Corniche des Crêtes from Cassis to La Ciotat. From here you take the D559 towards La Ciotat, and then follow the D141 (Corniche des Crêtes). The entire route along this cliffside road offers panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and the rugged coastline. It’s absolutely spectacular. To finish your coastal excursion, continue along the D141 to La Ciotat, a historic town with beautiful beaches and a vibrant waterfront. We recommend bringing your swimmers with you, as you may find the draw of the Mediterranean irresistible on your drive.

We hope you found this guide to travelling to and around Provence helpful. From the moment you start planning until you arrive, our goal is to ensure your travel experience is as refined and effortless as possible. For more personalised travel recommendations and to start planning your journey, please contact our team of local experts who are ready to assist you every step of the way.