Day 1 in the Bouches-du-Rhone
Welcome to Provence - The Bouches-du-Rhone Department! After checking into your hotel, make your way to Salon-de-Provence. This charming town, resembling a Provencal village, has plenty of surprises in store such as quality local craft-work, amazing Provencal cuisine and heritage to explore. Start your visit with lunch at one of the local cafes to soak in the warm atmosphere and get your bearings.
Afterwards, head to the Château de l`Empéri, the 9th-century castle which dominates the plain of Crau and listed as a historic monument by the French Ministry of Culture. It is the oldest castle of Provence still standing that was built to protect the Provecals from the Sarcen invasions. The castle also serves as a museum on the history of the French armies and is the number two military museum in France.
Another great museum to explore in the village is the Nostradamus Museum, `La Maison de Nostradamus`, the home where `Nostradamus` (1503 - 1566) lived, and in which he wrote his famous `Prophecies` (Lyon 1555). The museum is situated in the old center of town at the foot of the Château de l`Empéri.
End your day enjoy a Provencal dinner in town, Salon-de-Provence is packed with restaurants for all tastes, many offering a beautiful view over the landscapes around the town.
Day 2 in the Bouches-du-Rhone
Start the day off early and head off onto the roads of Provence to discover the Bouches-du-Rhone`s most beautiful vineyards. Explore the gorgeous landscapes while tasting the rosé of Provence. The region is surrounded by famous wines and fantastic vineyards where the world`s best rosé is made (as well as amazing reds and whites).
Alternatively, take a tour of the area. This department is one of vast contrasts. It ranges from mountains to plains and wilderness areas, as well as forests, and a diverse coastline, making an endless amount of opportunities when it comes to exploring. Take a casual stroll in the `Calanques` fjords, bike ride or horse trek in Camargue. There is a wide range of breath taking excursions. And if you`re a history or architecture buff, you`ll find plenty of interesting tours on themes such as ancient Arles or Corbusier`s 'Cité Radieuse` in Marseille. A guided excursion of the different villages and cultural highlights is a great way to explore.
After a busy day of sightseeing finish the evening dining in one of the quintessential villages of Bouches-du-Rhone such as Bouc Bel Air, Rognes, Rousset or Saint Cannat. Sit back, relax and enjoy a gourmet authentic Provencal dinner.
Day 3 in the Bouches-du-Rhone
Make your way to the village of Châteauneuf-le-Rouge, a small town situated between Aix en Provence and Saint Maximin. Explore the 16th and 18th-century Chateau and park built inside its boundaries, the Ancient Aurelian road leading from Gaul to Rome, La Galiniere, and Rousettes walking-track on the road to Beaureceuil.
Alternatively, spend your morning exploring Bouc Bel Air. The village is built around a rock and an ancient 12th-century chateau that provides a magnificent panoramic view of the countryside. Make sure to spend time exploring the exceptional Albertas Gardens, true works of art, these gardens are beautifully laid-out and truly an enchanting place to visit.
In the afternoon continue exploring the villages in the Bouches-du-Rhone department. Spend some time in the historic village of Rognes dating back to the stone-age. The village is nestled at the foot of the Rognes hill and famous for its wine, truffles and stone. The surrounding countryside is beautiful as well offering some great hiking and mountain biking.
Or, make your way to the village of Rousset that lies at the foot of Sainte-Victoire, in the heart of the beautiful landscapes filled with vineyards and olive trees. This is a great town to wander the Provencal streets lined with shops and craft workshops where there are treasures to be discovered.
Continue exploring the villages of the department and head to the charming village of Saint Cannat. The town dates back to the 5th-century offering beautiful fountains, doorways which are the remains of the medieval ramparts, old communal wash-houses, the church with its notable font, an ancient 5th-century sarcophagus, and the Automat Village which is very popular with children. Make sure to visit the village museum in Saint Cannat while here to learn more about the rich history of the area.
As evening approaches wind down with a lovely dinner at any of charming villages of the Bouches-du-Rhone department. Provencals are crazy about their food and it shows in the many amazing restaurants boasting magnificent Provencal cuisine.
Additional Days in the Bouches-du-Rhone
Should you be able to spend additional days in Provence - Bouches-du-Rhone department we recommend you explore the culinary side of the area. Discover the delectable Provencal cuisine by taking a culinary tour. Visit a family goat farm and try freshly made goat cheese, or an olive mill to taste just pressed oil. Enjoy using fresh local herbs and vegetables picked from the garden. Learn how to turn the local fresh produce into astonishing and tempting dishes.
Alternatively, continue to discover the charming medieval Provencal villages in the area such as Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Martigues, Saint-Maximin-la-sainte-baume, and much more!
Your Last Day In the Bouches-du-Rhone
Depart your hotel for the airport or train station where you will head home or make your way to more European adventures. Savor the memories of a very special time in the Bouches-du-Rhone department in the south of France.