Discover the best of Provence and explore its charming towns and cities, medieval abbeys, storybook castles, and Roman monuments. Follow this guided tour through its magical landscapes - fields of red poppies, fragrant lavender, olive trees, and sunflowers. The tour begins in Avign, famed for its Palais des Papes, and moves into the surrounding countryside, including Orange and its Roman-era coliseum, and the charming hill towns of Gordes, Roussillon, and Bonnieux. On to the Bouches du Rhone, featuring Arles, van Gogh's old haunt; Les Baux and its troubadour-era remains; the Camargue, the marshy land of Provencal cowboys and flamingos; and chic and elegant Aix-en-Provence. After exploring revitalized Marseille, with its new museum, you are introduced to the Var, with its Mediterranean paradises of St. Tropez, Antibes, and the resort islands of Hyeres, Porquerolles, and Port-Cros. Farther east awaits the fabled French Riviera, including the glittering towns of St. Tropez, Cannes, Nice, regal Monaco, and Menton, with its new Jean Cocteau museum. Finally, you discover Provence's more rugged side in Haute Provence, domain of the Gorges du Verdon.
BARBARA A. NOE is the senior editor of National Geographic Travel Books. After studying political science at the Universite de Bordeaux, France, and earning bachelor's degrees in French and international relations at the University of California, Davis, she went on to travel throughout France to her heart's content. Settling down long enough to earn a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she then began her career with the National Geographic Society. Having visited France many times since, her favorite region remains Provence.