No other region of France stirs the imagination and stimulates the senses as strongly as Provence. The soft light and the vivid, pastel-coloured landscapes have inspired writers and artists from F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton to Van Gogh and Picasso.
The fragrant countryside, redolent with wild herbs, is scattered with historic fortified medieval towns such as Avignon and Aix-en-Provence and the ancient Roman towns such as Orange and Arles with their intriguing monuments, arches and coliseums.
Provençal cooking is known worldwide for its contributions to French cuisine, including Seafood Bouillabaisse, Ratatouille and Daube Provençale Stew. Its wines have a poorer reputation, but have improved considerably in recent years and Provençal rosé is becoming increasingly popular as a Provence souvenir.
On the coast is the great port of Marseille, a melting pot of cultures pleasurably in contrast to the traditional social landscape of most French provincial towns. Low-cost airlines and a fast TGV train from Paris have made Provence increasingly accessible and this, combined with glorious weather, puts it high on any list of the world's most desirable destinations.