Provence Gifts, French Lavender, and Provence Souvenirs.
A Provence Gift will remind you of what may be the most beautiful region in France. Blue skies, beautiful villages, Provence lavender and cicadas are some of the natural gifts that make the charm of Provence. You will find a variety of Provence products including French lavender, towels, foutas, Marseille soap and other souvenirs from Provence.
Our French office is based in Aix en Provence, ideally located in the heart of Provence. Order online, we ship gifts and souvenirs to the US and the world.
Provence is located in the South Eastern part of France, and enjoys a wonderful, typically Mediterranean climate.
Bordered by the impressive French Alps in the North and beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean coast in the South, Provence features colorful mountain villages surrounded by beautiful lavender fields, as well as older historic cities, like Arles, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseilles, which is the 2nd largest city in France.|
A brief History of Provence. Provence only became part of France in 1486. Before that, Provence was ruled by the Greeks, then the Romans and finally by the counts of Provence.
About 600 BC, Greeks from Rhodes settled down in Marseilles, which became a major trading port of the ancient world.
Roman legions entered Provence about 180 BC and had a large influence on the region. Many beautiful Roman ruins can be found in Provence, with the best probably in Arles, and impressive Roman aqueducts like Pont du Gard.
In 1309, Pope Clement V moved the Roman Catholic papacy from Rome to Avignon, for about a century.
Finally, King Rene was the last count of Provence before it was incorporated in the French kingdom. King Rene's chef reportedly invented the famous .
Aix en Provence
Aix is no doubt one of the most stunning and beautiful cities of Provence. A tour of Aix en Provence is a chance to travel in time: its architectural and cultural heritage is accessible to everyone, treasures that you will discover simply by walking around the town.
Also referred to as "the city of a thousand fountains", it was founded in 123 BC by the Roman Consul Sextius Calvinius who gave his name to the springs - Aquae Sextiae, thus Aix.
You can't come to Aix without visiting the Cours Mirabeau, a place of history and leisure which has always been one of the city's busiest and most lively areas.
The Mazarin Area with its 17th Century luxury "housing estate" (hotels particuliers) and Fountain of Four Dolphins, the Cathedral which developed from the 5th to the 17th Century, are among the countless jewels to be discovered while strolling the charming streets of the city.
Aix is a true city of Art: Paul Cezanne, whose workshop can still be viewed as it was at the painter's death, was born, lived and worked there most of his life. To the east of Aix rises the beautiful Sainte Victoire Mountain, one of the landmarks of the Aix area, and Cezanne's favorite subject throughout his lifetime.
Every year in July, Aix also holds a major opera festival: the Festival International d'Art Lyrique.
Last, Aix is famous for its art de vivre, its countless markets and restaurants and its delicious almond specialty, the Calisson.
And if you are looking for a genuine guided tour of the city, don't miss Tastes of Provence's Gourmet Walking Tours: Jennifer, your English speaking host, will make you discover the cuisine du soleil (the cuisine of the sun) while strolling the elegant streets of this jewel of a French town!
Things to do in Provence
Besides visiting Aix en Provence and Mont Sainte Victoire, there are so many other things to do in beautiful Provence!
Hiking in the Calanques (inlets) that strech from Marseille to Cassis is one of the most incredible experience Provence can offer. The Calanques are popular among tourists and locals alike, and offer several vantage points such as the Cap Canaille, allowing spectacular panoramas.
Note that the best time to visit calanques is probably March through May, when temperatures are still relatively fresh, and that calanques are closed during the summer. Boat tours are also available, which can provide for some spectacular sightseeing.
The Mount Ventoux is also a remarkable site of Provence, and has gained fame through its use in the Tour de France cycling race.
For road bicycle racing enthusiasts, the mountain can be climbed by different routes. But be careful: as the name might suggest (venteux means windy in French), it can get windy at the summit, where wind speeds as high as 200 mph have been recorded!
The city of Arles, located in the Camargue area, is worth a visit. It has important remains of Roman times such as its famous Roman Arena, which have been listed as World Heritage Sites since 1981.
Vincent van Gogh lived in Arles in 1888-1889 and produced over 300 paintings and drawings during his time there.
Avignon is another major city in Provence. Often referred to as the "City of Popes" because of the presence of popes and antipopes in the 14th and 15th Centuries, it is one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts, its historic centre, the palace of the popes, and the famous bridge of Avignon.
Last, don't miss strolling the beautiful and wild beaches streching from Hyeres to the Lavandou. The beach of Bregancon for example will give you an incredible view on the Fort de Bregancon, the official retreat for the President of France.
And from Hyeres, you'll be able to reach the islands of Porquerolles and Port Cros, an amazing and well preserved National Park, to hike or ride a bike for hours in a stunning and wild landscape...