Best time to visit Provence & French Riviera

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Best time of year to visit Provence & French Riviera

Beach, lavender blooming, and lots of outdoor activities? This is summer, and most people consider it to be the best time to visit Provence. If you are a real lavender lover, you can ignore the crowds and come between June and August to get astonished by the endless purple fields. Summer brings appealing beach season and perfect hiking, just keep in mind packed hotels and higher prices. Warm autumn brings the sweetest grapes and the best olives you've ever tasted. The tourist crowds dissipate, yet in September the days remain long and sunny. December through February is the high time to enjoy extreme price cuts, explore the magnificent Calanques, hunt for truffles, ski in the Southern Alps, and taste great Christmas foods. Spring months are pleasant, villages awaken as it gets warmer, and tourist flocks haven't arrived yet, so you can experience a more authentic life in the region.

16 THINGS TO DO IN PROVENCE & FRENCH RIVIERA (AUGUST 07 - AUGUST 16)

Lavender Fields in Bloom

June–August • nature

One of the first things that may come to mind when you think of Provence is views of magnificent blooming lavender fields

Fromage de Chèvre or Goat Cheese

April–October  • food

Wine and cheese are a classic, but in Provence, ​these words have a whole new meaning

Bouillabaisse

May–September • food

Not only the flavour of this fish soup is special, but the method of serving it as well

Beach Season

June–October • activity

Provence is famous not only for wine and lavender ​but also for the beautiful beaches and the bright-blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea

Cycling around Mont Ventoux

May–August • activity

Explore villages, olive groves, vineyards, and other wonders in the Mont Ventoux region

Hiking in Gorges du Verdon

mid-April–mid-October • activity

The so-called "Grand Canyon of France" is a beautiful river valley with breathtaking views

Aïoli

June–September | Christmas | Ash Wednesday • food

You might think it's only mayonnaise but you'll discover that it's the centre piece of delicious provençal cuisine

Centifolia Rose and Jasmine Harvest

May–mid-June | August–early October • activity

Take a tour into the gardens of Grasse to find out just what it takes to make some of the important ingredients for your favourite fragrances in the capital of the perfume industry

Mountain Biking

May–October • activity

Provence is blessed with hundreds of kilometres of world-class mountain bike trails

Ratatouille

June–September  • food

Not the Disney movie, but the mouthwatering stewed vegetable dish from Nice

White Water Rafting

April–September  • activity

The mix of adrenaline pumping in your blood and the terrific scenery is unforgettable

Canoeing and Kayaking

June–September • activity

If rafting seems too extreme and simple​ paddling is too boring, you might want to try some mixed water activities like canoe or kayak-rafting​

Diving

May–September  • activity

Plunge into clear turquoise water and explore the unique marine life of the Blue Coast

Sailing

May–October • activity

Glamorous resorts, small old port towns, magnificent landscapes and, of course, the azure water. The French Riviera is truly a sailor's paradise!

Alpine Via Ferr​ata

April–September  • activity

A system of cables and ladders that Italian soldiers use​d for crossing the Dolomites is now a fun playground

Pastis

May–September • food

The favourite apéritif of Provence

46 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

Tour De France

July 07–29, 2018 • event

The world's biggest, most challenging and beautiful cycling event

Monaco Grand Prix

May 24–27, 2018 • event

Formula One race time is nothing but speed, glamour, passion, noise, and a hint of danger because the cars are never too far away from the barriers

Exploring the Calanques

October–May • nature

This natural treasure of Provence and cousin to the Scandinavian fjords is an essential highlight of any trip to the region

The Gitan Pilgrimage

May 24–May 25 • event

Watch a s​mall slee​py seaside town of Saintes Maries de la Mer turns into a noisy and wild carnival with Gypsy dancing and music

Festival De Cannes

May 08–19, 2018 • event

One of the world's biggest and most important events, the Cannes Film Festival speaks for itself

Pain, Amour et Chocolat

February 14 • event

If you have a great love affair with chocolate, you have to visit Bread, Love, and Chocolate Fair in Antibes for the Valentine's Day weekend

Mimosa Route

January–March • nature

Travel from town to town, visiting the festivities dedicated to the beautiful mimosa blossom

Chestnut Season and Fête de la Châtaigne

October • food

A little province in the South of France is the chestnut capital of the world

Carnaval de Nice

February 17–March 03, 2018 • event

The most important winter event on the French Riviera and one of the largest Carnivals in the world​​

Pétanque World Championship (Mondial La Marseillaise à Pétanque)

July 01–05, 2018 • event

A sport in which the French are the ultimate champions

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez

September 29–October 07, 2018 • event

The sun, the breeze, the Bay of Saint-Tropez and, of course, the beautiful yachts. All this creates an unforgettable​ spectacle

Les Hivernales

late February–early March | July • event

A joyful and spectacular even​t, which those in love with dance shouldn't miss

Ironman 70.3

May 13, 2018 • event

The home of a famous triathlon, Aix-en-Provence, annualy gathers triathletes from all over the world for a big race

Millévin

November 15, 2018 • event

A joyous and epicurean celebration of the arrival of the new Côtes du Rhône vintage

Cheval Passion

January 16–20, 2019 • event

This equestrian event in Avignon is an elegant and original spectacle

Feria du Melon and Melon Season

July 07–08, 2018 • event

Visit Cavaillon's most fragrant and sweet festival and taste some Charentais melons—a local speciality

Le Défi de Monte-Cristo or the Monte Cristo Challenge

June 22–24, 2018 • event

You can either repeat Edmond Dantès' feat or watch the 2-kilometer swimming race and enjoy yourself on the shore

L'entre-Deux Biennales Circus Festival

February 14–March 17, 2018 • event

This contemporary circus brings true aesthetic pleasure

The Long Night of Museums

May 19, 2018 • event

A perfect opportunity to visit the great museums of Provence for free!

Traditional Fishing with Nego-Chin Boats

July 15, 2018 • event

The people in Provence are very protective of their traditions and this annual event is a good examp​le​

Skiing in the Southern Alps

December–April • activity

Discover the other side of Provence in small village ski resorts

Sunflowers in Bloom

late June–July • nature

The lush purple lavender fields side by side with contrasting bright-yellow sunflower fields are a breathtaking spectacle

Wine Grape Harvest

September  • food

September is a very special time of the year which every farmer with a vineyard looks forward to

Christmas

December 04–February 02 • event

Visit Provence during the winter holidays and you won't regret it

Les Bravades de Fréjus

April 28–May 01, 2018 • event

A traditional feast day in the lovely little town of Fréjus

La Fête du Citron

February 17–March 07, 2018 • event

The bright, colourful, and fragrant Lemon Festival is among the most important events of the Riviera

Fête du Costume in Arles

July 07, 2019 • event

What could be better than lovely Arlesian women dressed in gorgeous costumes walking the streets of beautiful Arles?

Fête De La Véraison

August 03–05, 2018 • event

A traditional celebration of the medieval past and the wine grape harvest in Châteauneuf-du-Pape on the first weekend of August

Birdwatching in the Camargue Natural Park

March–May | September–November • nature

Admire thousands of pink flamingos and other migrating birds on the waters of Camargue

Strawberry Harvest and Fête de la Fraise

May 08 • event

Sweet festivals in beautiful old villages are a sign of spring

Le 14 Juillet​ or Bastille Day

July 14 • event

This National Holiday is the largest and most important annual celebration in France

Saffron Farms

September–October • activity

A precious spice is made out of the beautiful and tender flowers of saffron in Provence

Fête de la Saint-Jean​ or St. John Feast

June 23–June 25 • event

These beautiful bonfire nights are held in every town and village of Provence

Olive Picking

November–December • food

In Provence you can still experience traditional farming and take part in olive harvesting

Oyster Season

September–April • food

Even if you don't like oysters, you'll love them in France!

The Thirteen Christmas Desserts

December 24–December 25 • food

The sweetest Provençal tradition—lei tretze dessèrts

Foire Internationale Art et Antiquités

March 30–April 02, 2018 • event

A great opportunity for antiquity lovers to find something special

Black Truffle

mid-November–mid-March • food

You'll be able to not just taste some black tr​uffles, but also hunt them, visit the truffle fair, or try out other interesting activities offered by local farmers

Kitesurfing and Windsurfing

October–April  • activity

The sea and the wind of Provence make it one of the world's best spots for kitesurfing

Saint Tulle's May Day in Cucuron

May 25, 2019 • event

A creative tradition to celebrate the patron of the village of Cucuron

The Rencontres d'Arles

July 02–September 23, 2018 • event

During this festival, you'll be able not only to admire ​photography but also the architecture of the festival's venues

Nice Jazz Festival

July 17–21, 2018 • event

Save the date for the annual Nice Jazz Festival to be spoilt with the best of national and international timeless music

Daube

October–April • food

A tender and aromatic beef stew

Les Oursinades

February • food

A perfect place to taste some famous hand-picked sea urchins

Floating Market

August 04, 2019 • event

In l'Isle sur la Sorgue you'll find a very unusual way to buy some fresh vegetables, fruits, or seafood from the local farmers

Brioche des Rois

December–February • food

The true food of kings, a traditional winter dessert in Provence