Before You Go

Study up

The Language

Bien sûr!  Brush up on your French, but don't worry if you're not fluent. Villagers usually respond to pointing, head shaking, and smiles. However, standard travel phrases do come in handy, and it's fun to be able to chat with locals. Countless language books are available through www.amazon.com.

 

 

 

History and Places to Visit

 

Food and Wine

 

Decor and Way of Life

You may want to peruse this selection and purchase after your visit to remind you of your stay in Provence. Most are hard-bound photo-rich volumes that would be a hassle to pack in your suitcase.

 

Travel Arrangements

From Paris, Gare de Lyon, take the TGV train (two-and-a-half hours) or a one-hour flight to Marseille or Avignon.  If you are arriving at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and wish to bypass Paris, there is a TGV train station right inside the airport at Terminal 2. Once you arrive in Avignon or Marseille, pick up your rental car and drive to the villages. We recommend small to mid-sized cars, to navigate narrow streets, minimize very expensive fuel and avoid being a target for thieves. Our best connection from Portland is on Delta to Amsterdam, then on to Marseille.  We’ve taken nearly every conceivable route and mode of transportation and are happy to share other options with you. Contact us for full details.

 

Packing

Pack lightly and go casual — especially important if you plan to travel by train, which can turn into a real hassle if you’re hauling loads of luggage. As to how to dress, remember Provence is a casual place. Leave the coat and tie at home — you’ll never wear them unless you combine your stay with a visit to Paris or you plan to eat at fancy restaurants.  And good news for the ladies: provençales are rarely seen wearing stockings, even in winter!

 

Weather

Weather is typically Mediterranean — usually warm and sunny from mid-April to mid-September and often into October. Recently however, weather patterns in Provence seem to have shifted, as they have elsewhere. Friends have reported shirtsleeve weather as early as February — and as late as mid-November. One summer, we wore sweaters to a Bastille Day celebration in July! The infamous Mistral, a cold, northwest wind, can be fierce and comes on unexpectedly. We’ve also experienced downpours in all seasons, so take a jacket, a warm sweater, a light raincoat — and think sun. Learn about today’s weather in Provence.