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Spring is definitely in the air and few places on Earth are as breathing taking as Provence, as the flora is beginning to bloom, the birds are nesting and new life is being born, and the sun is bringing its warm rays to the rich earth. Perhaps your soul and your romance needs to be rejuvenated as well? Then Provence will provide that needed tranquility in a mild Mediterranean climate.
Once in the heart of Provence you can drink in the natural and rugged beauty that fills the region. Within a short drive of the villages of Saint-Remy-de Provence, Arles, Les Baux and Avignon are the Massif des Alpille Mountains which stretch between the towns and are great for hiking or cycling. Once at the summit of these majestic ranges, the panoramic views of Provence are stunning. Arles is home to the famous French bull fighting, which takes place in the Roman arena. Bullfighting was first introduced in France in 1701 and has become increasingly more popular over the years. Traditional French bullfighting is a twice-a-day event that begins at Easter and with events scheduled all the way through to September…a must see event for those visiting Provence. If you love nature, you will want to take a short drive to the Camargue Wetlands, just south of Arles. The wetlands are home to over 400 species of birds, wild horses, and the famous Camaruge bulls that roam to and fro. The soil is rich delta soil, as the Camargue is located between the Mediterranean Sea and two arms of the Rhone River delta. The flora there is adapted to high saline content, and the sea lavender displays are spectacular.
For those of you who have a deep appreciation for architecture and the arts, you will want to take the time to explore ancient villages in the region. As you walk, you will be retracing the very steps that world renowned artists such as Van Gogh trod centuries ago.
The village of Les Baux de Provence is a 10th Century village, with many buildings that have been lovingly restored. It will take about 1 ½ hours to walk through the village, the ancient castle and the citadel ruins. If you visit during the month of May, there are more than a dozen neighboring estates that are open to visitors during the annual Wine Festival. Visitors are encouraged to call ahead and arrange mutually convenient times for tours.
The Palais des Papes is located in the village of Avignon, just 25 kilometers from the Auberge de la benvengudo. Built in the 1300’s, it is the largest Gothic palace in Europe and offers tours through more than two dozen rooms of the palace. Visitors can enjoy courtyard performances given by the Avignon Theatre during July; as well as the art exhibit in the Great Chapel, which is on display throughout the summer. If you are visiting during the month of July, you will enjoy the Festival d’Avignon, which features French and foreign drama, dance and stage performances throughout the village.
Another nearby cultural event that takes place during June and July in the Aix-en-Provence, which is the training grounds for hundreds of musicians. During the summer months, the European Academy of Music brings together top singers and instrumentalists from all over the world and visitors to the region are welcome to enjoy the practices and performance of the musicians. Provence offers some of the most secluded and romantic picnic areas in all of France.
After spending the early morning hours exploring the area, why not go spend the afternoon lounging on a blanket and enjoying a picnic lunch of the finest of Provence wines, cheeses, crackers and fruits? Many picnic areas are just a short stroll from the roadside. As you sip your wine and enjoy the breeze of the ancient olive trees and the whispering of the cicadas, you will again feel your soul rejuvenating in the quiet wonder of a world centuries away.
Several options are available for accommodation in the region from quaint B&B to luxury hotels. Les Baux de Provence is an idyllic village and is centrally located to all of the must see attractions in Provence. Auberge de la benvengudo is one of the best Les Baux de Provence Hotels. The décor will make you feel as though you have stepped back centuries in time, surrounded by classic antiques still in practical use todya, while the modern conveniences such as Hi speed wi-fi will allow you to stay connected to the outside world. Guests can choose from an array of accommodation options, ranging from cozy rooms in warm Provencal colors to apartments complete with a fireplace, flat screen TV and kitchen.
The Auberge de la Benvengudo restaurant is one of the finest restaurants in the Provence. The renowned chefs prepare succulent meals using only the freshest fruits and vegetables, as well as Mediterranean seafood. The authentic Provencal cuisine is served with your choice of one of the fine local or regional French wines. Provence offers cooking classes to those who truly enjoy the French cuisine and desire to learn to cook the dishes at home.
The celebrated chefs from Provence restaurants partner to provide an intimate, hands-on learning environment for students. Classes are taught in both English and French and allow the students to learn how to prepare several classic entrees and desserts. Pick up a bottle of wine on your way back to your room and enjoy a quiet evening that will hearken to those of days gone by. As you talk with that special someone late into the night, make plans for a romantic day trip to the nearby French Rivera, Nice, Cannes, or Monaco which is just over the border.
Spring is here, and it is time for new beginnings. What better way to begin than to take the time to allow your soul to be refreshed or your romance rekindled? Provence provides the perfect climate and setting for both and is located just one hour from Marseille International Airport.