Provence Road Trip: 5 Day Itinerary through Provence’s Cities & Towns

With its natural beauty illuminated by the gentle Mediterranean sun that pours over the coastline in a blaze of vibrant colors, and the iconic lavender fields stretching to the horizon, it’s easy to see why La Provence has long been celebrated and admired for its natural treasures and artistic allure.

From the ancient Roman ruins of Arles to the vibrant port city of Marseille, Provence is a land that inspires and captivates in equal measure — and this Provence itinerary will show you why.

The region’s heritage is as rich and diverse as the landscape itself, so it’s no surprise that La Provence has inspired some of the greatest minds of the past centuries.

From Vincent van Gogh’s iconic paintings of sunflowers and dreamy nights by the river to the poetry of Frédéric Mistral, the unique beauty of Provence is undeniable.

The wealth of inspiration the infinite landscape provides is perhaps best described by Mistral’s motto: ‘Le soleil me fait chanter.’ – The sun makes me sing.

the charming town of mougins provence with an iron rooster, red gate, and vining plants
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Countryside life in Provence is slow-paced, but very sophisticated as beauty is easily found and celebrated in every part of life, even the smallest, if you simply take the time to see it.

This savoir-vivre provençal was humorously described by the author Yvan Audouard: “En Provence, le soleil se lève deux fois, le matin et après la sieste.”

Translated: in Provence, the sun rises twice, once in the morning and once after the siesta.

Provence’s rich history can be traced back thousands of years into the past.

Ancient Greek and Roman settlements are still visible in the region’s architecture today, before the region was incorporated into the kingdom of France.

This 5-day Provence road trip itinerary gives you the structure to have a quick introduction to all that Provence has to offer.

Be careful though, you may very well fall in love with Provence, just like many have before you, and 5 days in Provence may just not be enough…

Day 1 of Your Provence Road Trip: Marseille

Explore the vibrant streets of Marseille.

the golden streets of marseille in the old port neighborhood, narrow and curving road

Located at the gates of Provence, Marseille is a vibrant city in full transformation.

Numerous are the urban legends surrounding the city — and particularly its criminal scene.

But don’t worry, Marseille has successfully shed its bad reputation in recent years and is quickly becoming a fierce competitor to its eternal northern rival… just not in football.

All jokes aside, Marseille is amazing and well worth a visit.

If you can, try to spare a few days to really get a feel for this unique city before you embark on your Provence road trip.

the boats in the harbor of the old port of marseille with a ferris wheel and buildings visible on a sunny day

Start your visit at the Old Port, Vieux-Port, as this is truly the beating heart of Marseille.

You’ll find many restaurants serving delicious fresh seafood from the morning catch.

Next, head to Le Panier, the most charming part of Marseille.

Ducking down narrow streets, admiring colorful houses, pausing at lively cafés: it’s a great place to get a sense of Marseille’s unique Mediterranean character and lifestyle.

Here, you’ll also find the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, providing a wealth of fascinating insights into the history and culture of the region.

Got some time to spare? Hop on a boat or take a drive and spend the afternoon admiring Les Calanques, the stunning cliffs towering just outside of Marseille.

View from the top of the cliffs around Marseille at a site called the Calanques with stunning sea views.

Want some epic views?

Head up to the hilltop Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde.

Here, a spectacular panoramic view of Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea awaits you.

beautiful view of the city of marseille from the top of the hilltop where there is a basilica

Hit the road before sunset. Your next stop, Aix-en-Provence, is around 30 minutes away from Marseille.

Plan enough time for a quick walk around the historic center before you sit down for a delicious Provençal dinner in one of the town’s many squares.

Day 2 of Your Provence Road Trip: Aix and the Luberon

Take a stroll around Aix-en-Provence.

First things first: le café!

Head to Cours Mirabeau, a lovely square in the Old Town, lined with cafés and small boutiques, to enjoy a delicious French breakfast.

Once you’ve energized yourself for a day of exploring, head to the Cathédral Saint-Sauveur, a Romanesque and Gothic marvel dating back to the 12th century.

The church itself is beautiful, but the cloister and courtyard is especially charming.

Cathédral Saint-Sauveur courtyard with bushes and trees and arched pillars behind a church

While you walk around the city, keep your eyes open to admire the many fountains, a unique characteristic of Aix-en-Provence.

Art lovers will also want to stop at Atelier Cezanne, Paul Cézanne’s art studio, which has been preserved as a local museum.

It showcases various still life compositions and sketches the Impressionist painter completed here.

Immerse yourself in beautiful nature in the Luberon.

Allison Green enjoying the views in Gordes in Provence

From Aix-en-Provence, drive north to the Luberon, a natural reserve known for its picturesque hilltop villages, lavender fields, and vineyards.

Gordes, Bonnieux, and Roussillon are just some of the Luberon villages offering colorful streets, delicious local restaurants and charming cafés with magnificent views.

The lavender fields of Luberon bloom from June to August, and when they’re in full bloom, they’re a stunning sight that’s absolutely not to be missed!

Provence Villages - abbaye de senanque

There are several lavender farms in the region, where you can learn about the harvesting process if you take a tour.

The Abbey de Sénanque just outside Gordes is also a classic place to see the lavender!

Optional: Explore the Verdon Gorge.

Verdon Gorge in Provence, France, with limestone cliffs, trees, and a turquoise river in the distance between the canyon walls

If you enjoy hiking, you may want to plan an extra day here as Luberon has several natural reserves with plenty of hiking trails to explore.

East from our itinerary, you’ll find the Verdon Natural Park, home to the Verdon Gorge.

Considered one of Europe’s most beautiful natural attractions, this canyon has walls made of limestone, towering over 700 meters high over the turquoise Verdon River.

With its many opportunities for hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and swimming, this is a great extra stop on a Provence road trip for outdoor enthusiasts.

Discover the Venice of Provence.

two canals coming together, with a building at the junction of the two canals, on a beautiful sunny day in provence

With its many charming canals and waterways running through the heart of the teeny-tiny village, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has earned its nickname “the Venice of Provence.”

The unique charm of this place is sure to capture your heart at first sight.

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is also the birthplace of French writer René Char, so make sure to visit Maison René Char, which celebrates the life and work of the poet.

If your trip brings you to town on a Sunday, don’t miss the wonderful local market.

It’s the perfect place to soak up the lively atmosphere and stock up on deliciously fresh produce, flowers and artisanal products before you head further west, to beautiful Avignon.

Day 4 of Your Provence Road Trip: Avignon

Travel back in time in magnificent Avignon.

Ramparts of the city of Avignon in Provence, France

Dubbed the “City of the Popes,” Avignon has a long and profound history that you can see everywhere you look.

Nestled amidst imposing ancient ramparts, the old town of Avignon brings you to a bygone era, with preserved cobblestone streets, ornate architecture, and elegant plazas that now bustle with modern energy.

The top must-see attraction in Avignon is the Palais des Papes.

facade of the papal palace in avignon with lots of detail

This magnificent palace served as the Popes’ residence in the 14th century, when for a brief but tumultuous period, Avignon replaced the Vatican as the capital of the Roman Catholic Church and became the official papal residence.

Originally built in the 12th century, the Pont d’Avignon is now only a partial monument after half of it was washed away during the Middle Ages.

Only four of the twenty-two arches remain, along with the former gatehouse and a chapel.

a partial bridge in avignon with two archways

Walk along what remains of the bridge for a historic experience and a lovely view of Avignon or take a stroll along the river.

Art lovers, be sure to save some time for at least one of Avignon’s many museums.

For modern art, head to the Collection Lambert, an art museum located in an elegant 18th-century mansion that houses Yves Lambert’s extensive collection of contemporary art.

For those even more historical art, the splendid Musée Calvet is an unmissable stop.

It showcases an array of European artworks from the 16th century to the eclectic aesthetics of the 20th century, as well as ancient Egyptian artifacts.

Musee Du Petit Palais in Avignon, France

Next on our itinerary is the Petit Palais. This regal building, once the prestigious residence of Avignon’s archbishops, now stands as the proud host of the Musée des Beaux-Arts.

Walking through its palatial halls, you’ll find a beautiful collection of Florentine and Renaissance art, one of the largest found outside Italy.

Leaving Avignon, we’ll head south towards the enchanting Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

If you have extra time, you can spend an extra day in Avignon and follow this Avignon itinerary.

Day Four of Your Provence Road Trip: St.-Rémy, Les-Baux, and La Camargue

Trace Vincent van Gogh’s past in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

A cute street in southern France in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, with green and teal shutters on the windows and vines

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is a picturesque town with an immense importance in art history.

In this little town, Vincent van Gogh lived in an asylum for a year. During this time, he created a staggering 150 works of art, nearly one every other day, including “Starry Night.”

Monastery Saint-Paul where van gogh was institutionalized beautiful outdoor grounds

Today, you can explore the asylum slash former monastery where van Gogh lived during this time.

Part of it has been converted into a museum at the Monastery Saint-Paul de Mausole that pays homage to this important (and difficult) chapter of his life.

As you leave Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, admire the surrounding landscapes, full of fragrant lavender fields, lush olive groves, and sprawling vineyards — it’s a quintessential part of the Provence road trip experience.

Immerse yourself in art in Les-Baux-de-Provence.

the town of les-baux-de-provence from above with stones and some architecture of the town and lots of greenery around the town

Cradled amidst the imposing hills overlooking the Camargue, Les–Baux-de-Provence is another must-see Provence stop for art lovers.

Within town, be sure to pay a visit to the remarkable art exhibition space, Carrières de Lumières, located in a former quarry.

This modern museum features a stunning projection system that breathes life into digital art which is displayed on the quarry walls and ceilings.

The museum showcases a rotating array of artists — past works displayed have included the likes of van Gogh, Picasso, and Dalí — paired with music to create an immersive audio-visual spectacle.

Contrasting its innovative art museum, the narrow alleys of the old town are historic, including the remnants of an 11th-century castle and the 12th-century Church of St. Vincent.

Venture into the untouched beauty of La Camargue.

riparian scenery including some flamingos around the Regional Nature Park of the Camargue in Southern France

The Camargue Regional Nature Park is celebrated for its varied wildlife and pristine marshlands, which are a sanctuary to several creatures, including pink flamingos (among 400 other species of birds) and wild white horses.

Reserve some time for a brief safari or a stroll along the Natural Parc to observe these unique creatures in their natural habitat.

Continuing southward, the untouched beaches of La Camargue are one of the best places to swim or bask in the sun while you visit Provence.

This is a great place to pause a little if your itinerary allows!

Day 5 of Your Provence Road Trip: Arles

End your trip exploring Roman history in Arles.

Provence, France. Roman amphitheatre in the Old Town of Arles, light falling on the amphitheater and stairs leading up to the ruins

Dating back to the 6th century BCE, Arles was once an important Roman city, which you can see today in its landmarks.

Its historic amphitheater has been preserved so well that the Roman Theater of Arles, built in the 1st century BC, can still host cultural events today!

Another cool historic place dating back millennia is the ancient Roman necropolis, located just outside the old town.

Arles also served as inspiration for some of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous works. A few of these are showcased at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh.

Arles also has a charming historic center with cobblestone streets, picturesque squares, and colorful houses adorned with flower-filled balconies.

the adorable old town of arles with flowers on the balconies, shady spots, colorful doors and shutters, traditional provence look

Today, Arles remains a hub for contemporary art with many galleries and festivals exposing established as well as emerging artists from all over the world.

The contemporary art center LUMA, founded by Maja Hofman and designed by Frank Gehry, is an architectural masterpiece in itself.

Dedicated to modern art, photography and design, LUMA exhibits a vast collection of contemporary artists, with a special emphasis on works exploring the intersection of art and technology.

If you visit in July, don’t miss the city’s yearly festival dedicated to photography, Les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles.

This visual art is in fact so deeply rooted in the city’s DNA, that you could say Arles’s festival is to photography what Cannes‘ is to cinema!

Last but not least, you can’t pass up the cuisine… delicious!

Make sure to sample local specialties like bouillabaisse and ratatouille!

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