On the road in Provence | With Jamie & Lou Graham
On the road in Provence with Jamie and Lou Graham
This instalment of our travel series shines a light on the picturesque region of Provence. When we think of this area, images of tall cypress trees, far-reaching meadows and fields of lavender and sunflowers come to mind. It’s a place that’s rich with nature and spectacular hilltop village views, and markets buzzing with local makers and thrifted antique finds.
But to get a true sense of the variety and beauty this region has to offer, we recommend exploring areas that are off the beaten track.
We have many happy memories from Provence. Often, we spend our time getting lost in a maze of cobbled streets, stumbling across brocantes in remote villages, wild-swimming in gorges and of course, sampling a glass or two of what the local vineyards have to offer. But no matter what part of Provence we travel to, we’re always finding new places which makes every visit feel like we’re discovering this corner of France for the first time.
For those looking to explore the area on foot, then a hike through The Calanques National Park is one that’s been recommended to us. It’s easy to reach through the historic fishing town of Cassis, where you can hike along the coastal path and head down into Calanque d’En Vau – a limestone cove where you can enjoy a refreshing swim. It’s definitely one on our list for our next visit.
Home to exhibitions
Galleries and exhibitions may not be what you tend to associate with this region, but they’re well worth seeking out. In fact, Les Rencontres D’Arles in Provence is to photography what Cannes is to film. Each year it plays host to 60 exhibitions, some of which are set up in heritage sites around the city. We’re avid photography lovers, so we try to visit this event in Arles when we can. Every exhibit offers something different and the historic settings chosen for the displays are like art in themselves.
France’s antique heritage means you can find heirloom pieces in even the most unassuming roadside brocantes. And it’s these treasure-filled local markets that never fail to capture our attention. In fact, L’Isle sur la Sorgue market in Vaucluse is always a go-to for us. We absolutely love rummaging through and finding old antique chairs and vintage bric-a-brac.
But what we love most about a good brocante filled with antiques is that every find is unique and has survived for many years, perhaps even centuries. Whether it’s French-style furniture or soft furnishings, we like to think that each piece was once cherished in someone’s home and we hope that people feel the same about the Graham and Green collections, too.
We’re undeniably adventurous when it comes to food, so tasting a region’s delicacies is always one of the highlights of our trip and you’ll often find us trying something new. Next time, we’d love to travel to the harbour in Cassis or La Boite a Sardine in Marseille to eat some of the locally-caught seafood (ideally with a rosé in hand). Another place we’ve heard great things about is the old village of Oppède Le Vieux where you can eat alfresco-style under the olive trees at Le Petit Cafe.
We hope our travel guide has inspired you to explore somewhere new. But in the meantime, you can bring a touch of Provençal je ne sais quoi into your home with our French-style furniture collection.