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Seasons in Provence

Published: November 2009
last updated: March 2011
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With more than three hundred sunny days per year Provence is an ideal tourist destination almost all-year round. However, when you are planning your trip to Provence, take a note of our seasonal advice.

Winter

The mild sunny weather and the temperatures around +10C make winter a perfect season to take a tour of the provençal towns.

Ideas for winter trip to Provence:

Christmas illumination in Aix-en-Provence, Bouches du RhôneThe towns of Vaucluse (for ex. Regional Natural Park Luberon), Bouches du Rhône (for ex. les Alpilles) or Var (Regional Natural Park Verdon). You will be able to take a tour of each town without suffering from the heat and the crowds of tourists. Although you will not be able to enjoy the rich flora, most museums and natural sites of Provence are open all-year round. As the weather changes from relatively warm seaside to the snowy Southern Alps region, you will be able to enjoy different seasons and landscapes during one winter trip. As winter is a low season, you can book your hotel with only a short notice and have for the best price.

Ski-trip to one of the stations of Hautes-Alpes. You will be able to choose from the great variety of ski stations, a lot of which are suitable for children and beginners. Here, in contrast, you have to plan your trip and book your accommodation long time in advance. Remember that January Winter in Hautes Alpes and February are the high season, when most French plan their ski-holiday: the stations are overcrowded and the accommodation prices double. The stations normally open in the middle of December and in good years stay open until mid-April. Planning your ski-vacation in Southern Alps for December or March might be somewhat risky, but brings a lot of advantages.

To avoid in winter:
The seaside, as well as the Natural Park la Camargue are too cold due to the strong winds and are not an enjoyable place to visit.

Spring

As spring in Provence comes quite early, it is a perfect season to visit beautiful provençal towns, this time enjoying the trees in bloom and open terraces.

Ideas for spring trip to Provence:

The towns and villages of Vaucluse, Bouches du Rhône, Var Middle of March in Provence or Alpes d’Haute Provence. The weather and traffic conditions in spring (excluding the period around Easter) will allow you to travel stresslesly in any region of Provence. Although some seasonal restaurants and hotels, especially those on the seaside, open in mid-April or beginning of May, you will be able to enjoy the open terraces and walking tours without the heat.

Visit of natural sites:
la Camargue, Massif of Calanques, mountain St. Victoire, etc. Second half of April and the month of May is the perfect time for nature walks and visits of the famous natural sites. You can enjoy horse-back riding and wildlife observation in Camargue and climbing in Calanques.

La Couronne beach in April The seaside:
If you are not afraid of somewhat fresh water (around +19C in May), you can enjoy the beach, sharing it with only a couple of locals and tourists. The ideal “empty” season continues until the end of June.

Advice:
Although the number of tourists grows significantly, accommodation prices in spring stay very reasonable.
Although the weather becomes quickly very warm, we suggest that you still bring a sweater or a jacket, as the cold wind – mistral is not infrequent in spring.

Summer

With warm Mediterranean weather summer in Provence is an ideal time for all lovers of beach-vacation.

Cicada - one of the symbols of ProvenceIdeas for summer trip to Provence:

Beaches of the blue coast of Bouches du Rhône or Var.
We do not need to confirm the reputation of the beaches of French Mediterranean coast. The weather is hot and always sunny, the sea is warm and very clean and there is a huge choice of accommodation from modest campings to the luxury hotels. Keep in mind, however, that July and August is the period of school vacations in France, which most families choose for their beach holidays. During these two months the traffic is very dense, especially on weekends, the beaches are full and the accommodation prices are at the year’s high. If your dates are flexible, we would rather suggest June or September for your beach holiday.

Lake St. Croix, Verdon, VarThe Regional Natural Park Verdon.
For the lovers of nature, active holidays and old towns Verdon natural park will be an ideal destination.
There you will find a beautiful river, perfect for kayaking, a lake with lovely beaches and numerous historical and cultural attractions around.
As Verdon is a natural preserve, you will not easily access it by train or public transport; we highly recommend coming with your car or renting one to discover this region.

Alps.
Visiting mountains and lakes in summer can be a pleasant surprise.
The weather is mild, the tourists are few (compared to the seaside) and the activities are plenty.
If you are a nature-fan, bring or rent a VTT bike or hiking equipment.
Even if you are not a devoted sportsman, there are many picturesque towns (e.g. Taillard, Barcelonnette) and breathtaking landscapes to see.
On the lakes you will find equipment and instructors for all kinds of water-sports.
There is a great choice of accommodation for reasonable prices, from renting an apartment or chalet, taking a room in a B&B or a small hotel or choosing one of the campings.

Lavender fields. Abbaye de Sénaque, Luberon, Vaucluse
In June and July you cannot miss quite a particular attraction – to see the lavender fields in bloom. You will find them equally in the regions of Vaucluse, la Drome or Var.

Advice and precautions:
Whether you travel to Provence to lie on the beach or to explore the nature or cities in the back-country, a high-degree sunscreen, a hat and a pair of sun-glasses are a must!
The towns and villages of Luberon and Var attract millions of tourists, and are therefore crowded and very hot in summer and are therefore to avoid, especially if you are traveling with children, weak or elderly persons.

Autumn

Very mild weather, fewer tourists and lower prices make autumn, especially September and October, a perfect season for any touristic Vineyard of Luberon, Vaucluse activity in Provence.

Ideas for autumn trip to Provence:

Camping or beach.
In September the weather is still rather hot and the sea is warm. Note that many hotels date the end of the high season as September 30, while others lower prices already from the beginning or middle of September.

Alps.
We would especially recommend this trip for photography lovers. In the autumn the nature of the regions of Hautes Alpes and Alpes d’Haute Provence is absolutely breathtaking. This is a perfect time to book rooms in different villages and take a slow tour with the stops in best natural preserves of Provence.

Platanes near Pertuis, Vaucluse City tours.
If your main goal is to see the towns and villages of Provence, plan your trip for the end of September or later. You will have a very mild warm weather, fewer tourists and all restaurants, commerces and tourist attractions still open (at least to the end of October).

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