Book with Confidence Guarantee
Covid-19 promise: At Provence Days we believe in doing the right thing by our customers, should you need to cancel your holiday plans we will ensure you get a full refund or transfer your holiday dates if you prefer.
(For full details see our updated terms and conditions.)
1. Find your house
Choose from a beautiful selection of hand picked Provence rental properties we know and love, photographed and described by us.
2. Use our local know-how
We live and work in Provence – we give you insider knowledge and tailored add-ons for the perfect Provence stay.
Favourite Squares of Provence – Place Richelme, Aix
This is the first of an occasional series on our favourite squares in Provence – for a market, a cafe, or watching the world go by, and preferably all three. One of the best squares in Provence for letting the hours slip by and the blood pressure drop is Place Richelme in Aix-en-Provence. Place Richelme is a gorgeous setting with the high golden facades and wooden shutters so typical of Aix, and the towering plane trees that bring welcome shade in the summer – you feel you are right at the heart of the town here. Place Richelme has two distinct personalities, by day and by night. Its daily food market is one of the key attractions of the old part of Aix, and yet it is not overrun with tourists. This is where the locals shop as they have done for centuries, from the elderly down to students pulling together a picnic lunch to munch on a sunny step. It is this demographic smorgasbord that makes Place Richelme so great for people-watching, and the best place to do that is at one of the cafe tables on the square, where the colours and sounds of the market and its […]
Provence in the movies
There’s no better way to get in the mood for a trip to Provence, or indeed to reminisce upon your return home, than through the medium of the movie. Here are our favourite films set in Provence to whet your appetite. To Catch a Thief (1955) Cary Grant & Grace Kelly (Côte d’Azur) Classic Hitchcock crime caper on the Côte d’Azur in the golden era, with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly messing about on the Riviera. It was while promoting this film that she met the prince of Monaco, who would quickly make her his Princess Grace. And God Created Woman (1956) Brigitte Bardot (St Tropez) The film that launched Brigitte Bardot and put St Tropez on the map, taking it from sleepy little fishing village to the place to be seen. Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources (1986) Gerard Dépardieu, Daniel Auteuil, Yves Montand (Aubagne, Vaugines, Ansouis, Mirabeau) A wonderful pair of films, faithful to the books of Marcel Pagnol, that made quite a splash on release in the 1980s – these films forged the idealised image of Provence and the region has never looked more beautiful on film. La Gloire de mon Père (1990) […]
Provence rental houses for large groups (16 and more!)
When you are planning a trip to Provence for a large group – a reunion, a family gathering, a celebration, or a team-building exercise – you need to book well ahead. So here in plenty of time for next year are some ideal, large Provence rental houses with pool, for 16 people and more… Avalon, sleeps 20, €5600-8400 per week Avalon (see also top picture) is a beautiful country estate near Gordes with extensive grounds including its own lavender field and vineyard, and an artificial grass tennis court. This big Provence rental sleeps 20 in 10 bedrooms with 9 bathrooms. The furnishings and decor are high-end. Avalon is an old house, with the layout following the logic of centuries of adding on, taking away, knocking through – in other words, it has bags of charm and character. Some bedrooms are accessed off the central courtyard, and there is a separate annex with two bedrooms and a large living space, which can be used by teens or a family wanting a little privacy. The life of a house usually revolves around the kitchen and Avalon is no exception, especially as the kitchen opens out to a shaded terrace with view, […]
Another day, another market
Wherever you are in Provence, you’re never far from a market. There are literally hundreds of markets, big ones taking over whole towns and smaller ones consisting of just a few stalls in villages. Some of them have been going for over eight hundred years (there are mentions of Uzès market as long ago as 1226) and each market, big or small, has its own special atmosphere, selling everything from hats to rotisserie chickens, tablecloths, espadrilles, antiques, santons (Provençal crèche figurines), herbs and spices, baskets and, of course, fruit, vegetables, olives and cheeses… Regular markets take place in the mornings from 7 or 8 and start packing up promptly at midday. Evening summer markets normally start at 5 or 6pm for a couple of hours but some go on till 11pm. There are also many specialist seasonal festivals or markets celebrating one product such as truffles, pottery, wine, flowers, goats’ cheese, asparagus, strawberries, cherries, melon, lambs, garlic, lavender, petit épeautre (spelt), apples, lemons… In recent years, Christmas markets have also increased in popularity. Specialist market at Provence lavender festival. Every market is unique but none more so than the farmers’ market at Velleron (near L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in the Vaucluse). It takes […]
Cavaillon melons & how to choose one
‘Marriage is like a melon, it’s a question of luck’ (Provençal proverb) Melons are notoriously difficult to choose but, in summer in Provence, your chances are actually quite high of finding perfect, sun-drenched, sweet, succulent, scented melons. Eaten with raw ham, filled with Muscat de Beaumes de Venise (a sweet local wine) or simply just as they are, they are one of the highlights of a summer meal in Provence. When you come off the A7 autroute at Cavaillon, gateway to the Luberon, you can hardly fail to miss the huge sculpture of a melon beside the first roundabout. Weighing in at 9 tonnes, this enormous melon indicates that you’re entering the Melon Capital of Provence. Melons have been grown in the region since the Popes were in Avignon in the 14th century but the renown of melons from Cavaillon started in the mid 19th century when it became possible to ship produce rapidly to the Paris markets by train. In the 1950s melon production in Cavaillon accounted for 64% of the melons grown in France. This figure has diminished but the region still produces more than any other in France with an annual production of about 130,000 tonnes. There’s […]
A guide to French public holidays
Whilst the UK has eight public holidays, and the USA seven, France has eleven national public holidays a year. These fall whenever they fall according to the actual date and if they happen to fall on a weekend, an extra day may be given to employees in compensation, but this is not obligatory. What usually happens is that if the holiday falls on a Sunday the Monday is taken off, but if it falls on a Saturday that is hard cheese. When a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, many people take a long weekend (which is called faire le pont – literally, to make a bridge). The only statutory (paid) public holiday in France is 1st May. In French a public holiday is a jour férié, and if a day is a holiday you may be told c’est férié! Here is the list of French public holidays: • 1st January – New Year’s Day (Jour de l’An) • Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques) • 1st May – Labour Day (Fête du Travail) • 8th May – VE Day – (Fête de la Victoire 1945) • May (40 days after Easter, always on a Thursday) – Ascension […]
A Provence Christmas
You won’t get carol singers but Provence has its own intriguing Christmas traditions and rituals that reach far back in time. Christmas in Provence starts on 4th December on Saint Barbara’s day, and goes through all the way to Candlemas on February 2nd, when you should take your Christmas lights down. That whole Christmas period is known as la calendale. St Barbara’s day Traditionally on St Barbara’s day (la Fête de la Sainte Barbe) you should put a handful of wheat on some damp cotton wool on a saucer. Many bakers sell little sachets of wheat for germinating. Keep the cotton wool damp and if, when it germinates, it is bright green and upright, the following year will be a prosperous one. You then keep the saucer of germinated wheat to decorate your crèche. If you happen to be a farmer, after Christmas you would plant the wheat in your field to ensure a good harvest. Provence Christmas crèche The crèche (nativity scene or crib) is a big part of a traditional Provençal Christmas. Today’s crèche has its roots in the Middle Ages when religious plays were performed portraying the birth of Christ. During the French Revolution, religious […]
Christmas in Provence
Winter in Provence is a well-kept secret: you can visit popular attractions and feel like you have the place to yourself, the skies are still blue and some days lunch can be eaten outside in the sun. And though it may feel unseasonal to eat Christmas lunch outside, Provence is decidedly festive over the winter months. The region is steeped in Christmas customs and traditions, making for a magical holiday. Here are a few of our favourite things when we spend Christmas in Provence: Christmas markets Yes, Provence has Christmas markets too, beautifully lit, with wooden chalets selling arts & crafts and Christmas gifts, with traditional carousels for the little ones and mulled wine for the grown-ups. Some even have a skating rink. The bigger Provence Christmas markets can be found at: Aix-en-Provence: mid-November to end December, Cours Mirabeau. Christmas village/market, children’s rides, carousels.Carpentras: December, centre of town. Christmas market, free shows, lights, skating rink.Marseille: mid-November to end December, on the old port. Including the 142nd local Santons Fair (Foire aux Santons de Marseille).Monaco: December 2 – January 2, on the port. Christmas village/market, skating rink, activities.Nice: December 3 – January 1, Jardin Albert 1er. Christmas village, skating rink, big […]