The walled towns continued their building stages into the 12 Th and 14 Th Centuries while many rulers came and went 1376 and built impressive castles. In recent years, these towns have been home and motif to Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Picasso.
Provence Vacation Rental
The people of Provence work the land and cherish their traditions; the coliseum at Arles still features bullfighting two times a year along with its other Camargue bull spectacles. A movement is underway to teach the ancient language of Provencal in the schools.
A good bet is to plan your trip around the June harvest of fresh fruit, the blooming of lavender, and the festivals that include ancient music, dance, horsemanship, and bull fighting.
Otherwise September October is a good time for the olive harvest and harvest festivals.
Provence is a huge area in southern France that extends from Montelimar to the Mediterranean, from Nice to the Saintes Maries de la Mere in the Rhone River Delta. This region of mostly rolling agricultural land has many Roman ruins some still integral parts of the later Medieval walled cities like Roman-built Arles and the one-time capital, Aix-en-Provence. Between those two find  Solon de Provence, home of Nostradamus,  and to the west St. Remy, haunt of the Impressionist painters. These walled cities ooze history;theaters, aqueducts, coliseum-like arenas, Roman theaters, and Gothic and Renaissance castles are everywhere. House rentals can be found in every village and you can find them shopping on the web.
Celebrity chefs like Julia Child put Provence on the American cooking vacation circuit with her cookbooks and her praise for the bouillabaisse of Marseilles  (30 to 60 Euros a plate in Marseille's Old Port restaurants), and the simple fare of the region based on fresh produce and olive oil.
Provence Vacation Rental, Lodging In The South of France
Vacation South of France, Hiking, Biking,
and the Culinary Vacation
Provence Tradition
The hills and valleys of Provence were inhabited as far back as Neolithic times and still have rock tombs of early settlers. Later, nomadic shepherds built corbel vaulted beehive-like structures of stone called bories with an estimated 3000 still standing  around Gordes and Saignon.
Germanic Celtic tribes and Italian Ligurians inhabited Provence before the Greek (600 BC) and later Roman settlers (100 BC) built permanent dwellings of stone.
From the first century BC to the third century AD the Romans built an extensive road system throughout Provence, the best example perhaps, the first century Julian Bridge on the road between Gordes and Lacoste that, until recently, carried automobile  traffic over the Coulon River, a feeder of the Durance River.  
Provence History
Provence Cooking Vacation
You might be surprised at the hiking and biking opportunities in Provence.   Even with the dollar discounted around 30 percent, Provence still has great appeal.  May and June, and in September and October are the best times to visit, the months when the European travelers are back to work and not on their six-week July/August vacations.

Many of the larger towns in Provence have a central historic area, the old walled city, where narrow cobble streets open only to pedestrians make great walking. At the end of June the
lavender fields color the hillsides beneath the 12Th Century chapels that crown the hilltops in the Medieval walled villages.
Farming of rice in the southern Rhone delta, the Camargue, and growing of wheat and lavender in the north along with raising of sheep and the practice of viticulture and olive production are the primary industries in the largely rural hills of Provence.  
Hiking Biking Kayaking, Climbing
culinary vacation can mean renting a house in Provence to settle in for a couple of weeks or a month of living the village life, shopping for the daily provisions, and cooking with the locally grown produce.
From your home base in a convenient village located near a market you can make day trips by rental car to surrounding hill towns of stonewalls and Medieval castles or to the many hiking trails or to the back roads for biking.
You can find great hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cliff climbing in the hills of Provence. Trails through the olive groves and vineyards head out of each village and connect to the next village.
Renting a house, even if it just for a week or two, is a good and economical way to enjoy all that Provence has to offer.
Rentals can accommodate  several families or just two people. When your search begins on the web, start first with the number of people that you will accommodate.
How Many People
include Hautes Alpes, Alpes de Haute Provence, Alpes Maritimes, Bouches du Rhone, Var, Vaucluse, and the Drome Provencal.

Your vacation rental search could start with either the region you desire or the price range you seek. Some villages are more expensive than others but the area is well served by good roads so that you can base in one place and reach many villages and walled cities in an hours drive.  
Provence Rental Houses and Apartments


Transportation will be of crucial importance. Will you have a rental car? (30-60 USD per day and plentiful in the major cities and TGV stations) If not, lodging in one of the larger towns or cities would be a better option unless you want the solitude and isolation of a country vacation villa or retreat.

Provence Rental Cars      Available at TGV train stations.

Transportation: Local buses make trips between major cities stopping at towns and villages along the way.  Schedule.
Provence Region
Medieval Castles
Inspiration came with British writer Peter Mayle's "A Year In Provence," a book that prompted Europeans Vaucluse looking for distressed cottages and old farms to buy as fix-up vacation homes and rentals. Those vacation homes,villas, and apartments turned into vacation rentals and have made Provence available to the culinary vacationer, many come with a full kitchen.
The countryside of Provence has changed little in five hundred years, there are no malls, and just a few high-speed roads.  
The one major innovation in Provence aside from the great roads that connect the villages, the high-speed TGV train; with top speeds of 180 MPH it puts Avignon two and a half hours from Paris.
A Villa or Vacation rental at the foot of a walled city could accommodate up to 15  or more and give good access to recreation, culture, shopping
Saignon  on the hilltop overlooking Apt is postcard perfect and near enough to the larger city to offer transportation
Arles was a roman city in the first century
A limited menu family run  mom and pop style restaurant in the Village of Apt, La Manade on Rue Rene Cassin should not be missed
Non-lethal bull fighting
Road to St. Remy
Vacation Season: High, Mid, Low
High: July August
Mid:  April, May  June, September, October,and School Vacations
Low: November,December, January, February, March
The Roman Arena in Arles still hosts bull fights
The Roman Theater in Arles
Provence Vacation: Cooking in Provence, Healthy Eating,Low Fat Cooking
Eygalieres
Village of Saignon near Apt
Provence Vacation Rental
Saignon hilltop village
Provence vacation rentals in the south of France are available on the web, be it a vacation house, apartment, villa, or B&B.
A Vacation rental makes hiking, biking, and culinary vacations in Provence easy to plan.
Provence vacation rental in St Remy will offer proximity to the Provence  market days
Provence Vacation Rental
Provence Transportation
Provence Trains
Provence Dining
Provence Shopping
Provence Events
Provence  Hotels, Lodging
Provence Hiking, Biking
Provence Sightseeing
Hotels in Arles Shop 20 hotels in Arles
House Rental, Villa Rental Details.  Several experienced renters have offered this advice.
  • Shop Well Ahead
You can save by renting a house or vacation apartment for your Provence vacation but you need to shop well ahead of your intended dates and you should do some research.  
  • Reviews, Photos, Google Satellite Map
Read the revues listed,  look at photos, and look at the property with the Google satellite maps, street view if possible.  Does the location match the photos supplied by the owner, is the house really in the village or on the coast, water view, mountain view etc.  Check the neighborhood with Google satellite street view; the cafés can get pretty noisy on weekend nights even in a small village.
    Communicate
Communicate with the owner or property manager by email and save the records of correspondence.  Communicate by telephone to verify that they are actually at that location.  Ask questions via email or telephone.
Does the kitchen have an oven and full stove or is it a hot plate on the counter.  Is there a washing machine, loaner bikes, pool, AC, WiFi, or is it dial-up.  Are there cleaning charges, extra charges for electricity, gas, rubbish removal etc.  How many stairs must you climb to reach the villa or house, is there secure parking    
  • Payment
Pay by credit card.  Pay a deposit but not the full amount before your visit, and only after looking at the agreement or contract.   Wire a small deposit and then call to confirm that the owner or manager received the bank transfer.    
Check Google for any forums or negative reports about the rental company or property.  
You will be asked to pay a security deposit and sign a contract stating the conditions for the return of the deposit.  If the contract is complicated or harsh and the owner or manager offers no reviews, no photos, and no flexibility in the payment method,  keep shopping.   
Reach Provence From Paris
  • Air
International flights serve Paris, Marseilles,  Local flights reach Nimes and Avignon.
  • Train
TGV Fast trains serve Avignon, Aix,  Nimes, and Marseilles from Paris.  Local trains serve Arles
  • Auto
Rental cars are available at CDG and at the TGV Stations in Paris, Avignon, Marseilles, and Nimes.  Available also in Arles.
AutoEurope is available in Avignon at the TGV  train station.
Vacation Rentals
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Provence village will offer proximity to the Provence  market days
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