Pope’s Palace, Avignon
In the 14th century this world-renowned building was the residence for six popes, and so was the seat of western Christianity. It’s one of an ensemble of structures with UNESCO listing in Avignon and one of the world’s largest and most important gothic buildings. Safe to say that it has to be on your agenda if you’re in the region.The architecture, which was the height of medieval craftsmanship, will drive home the opulence and splendour enjoyed by the popes during their exile from the Vatican.
Senanque Abbey, Gordes
his is one attraction that must be visit between June and August when the lavender is in bloom. If there’s one sight that crystallises everything that people adore about Provence it’s the pale grey walls of this romanesque building, edged by cypress trees behind a lavender field. The abbey is from the 1100s and is usually incorporated into lavender tours: If you can, try to get there as early as possible, when the field catches the low sunlight, and when there aren’t so many people around! The monks make a living from the fields, and also keep honey bees.
Old Port of Marseille
From the 6th century BC this was one of ancient Europe’s trading hubs.
What we see today, this rectangular finger of water with quays on three sides, is mostly from the 1700s.
It’s a symbol for Marseille, a place for locals to meet, go for meals and take some evening entertainment.
Tourists will be astounded by the rows of yachts, which seem to go on forever.
You could do a full circuit of the port, which will take about half-an-hour on foot, or catch the ferry from the Quai du Port to Quai du Rive Neuve for 50c.
Gorges du Verdon
Running for 25 kilometres through the Verdon Regional Park is one of Europe’s most admired natural settings. At points this limestone canyon reaches depths of more than 700 metres, and when you gaze down at the river you’ll be captivated by its bright turquoise colour. It attracts sightseers from round the world, and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your car for views that will last a lifetime. But of course, it’s much more rewarding if you do! Many visitors rent a boat for a couple of hours, stopping occasionally to swim in these sparkling waters.