Top 5 Must Visit Towns in the Provence Region of France

Aix-en Provence

This small town is famous as being the home of artist Cezanne and also for its many fountains. The biggest and most well known fountain can be found on the Cours Mirabeau. Bell towers also feature in the town along with many interesting buildings from the 16th, 17th and 18th century.

Check out the flower market at the Place de l’Hotel de Ville and of course some culinary delights can be had at the food market at Place Richelme.

Avignon

Situated on the banks of the Rhone River, Avignon is home to the Papal Palace. The Palace was built in the 14th century after the Popes left Rome. Seven Popes lived in the Palace between 1305 and 1378. Also nearby is Le Pont Saint-Benezet, a ruined bridge supposedly built by a local Shepard.

The town has several museums, a belfry dating back to the 14th century and Notre Dame des Dommes (Romanesque building constructed mostly during the 12th century). The cathedral contains the mausoleum of Pope John XXII.

Briancon

To cyclists, Briancon is a familiar town on the Tour de France cycling race. Featured no less than 22 times as a starting point for a stage of the tour, it has also been a stage finish 22 times. Briancon is a popular base for skiers during the winter season, and has produced some of the best ski racers in the world.

Last year the city walls, Redoute des Salettes, Fort des Trois-T?es, Fort du Randouillet, ouvrage de la communication Y and the Asfeld Bridge in Briancon were classed as World Heritage Sites.

Gordes

Gordes comes from the celtic word Vordense. This mountain village was an active resistance village during the 2nd World War and received the Croix de Guerre (1939 – 1945).

The major tourist attraction in the town is a castle which was re-built in Renaissance fashion in 1525. An interesting fact to note about Gordes is that all the buildings are made of stone and have terracotta roof tiles. Electric and phone cables are all underground, and the streets are paved with stones.

Nearby tourist attractions include Village des Boires and the Romanesque styled S?anque Abbey.

Draguignan

Draguignan started out as a Roman fort built on a hill. On that very same hill today you will see a 17th century clock tower. Draguignan gets its name from draco, the latin word for dragon. Legend has it that the dragon frightened the lives out of pilgrims as they made their way past the marshes.

Draguignan, today is home to the military barracks of the French army artillery school.

There are 2 museums to see. The Mus? Municipal was a 17th century convent. Look out for paintings by Rembrandt and Renoir and some local archaeological pieces. The Mus? des Traditions Provencales looks into the history of the region and local industries.

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