Provence, the French region on the Mediterranean coast adjacent to Italy offers a perfect getaway whether you want to relax, go sightseeing, or both. The region is famous for its mild climate, breathtaking landscape and numerous beautiful cities and charming villages which are home to impressive historical monuments attracting millions of tourist since the 18th century. In Provence, you can find a large number of well preserved Roman ruins and splendid medieval churches, castles, palaces and civic architecture. Provence truly offers one of a kind experience.
Nice is the capital of the French Riviera (Cote d'Azur) and the second most visited French city after Paris. The city is a popular vacation resort since the second half of the 18th century and continues to attract millions of tourists each year with its mild Mediterranean climate and beautiful beaches as well as rich cultural and historical heritage. Most Nice's main attractions - magnificent palaces and churches, numerous world-class museums and art galleries, and beautiful squares are found in the old town (Vieux-Nice) and are a must-see if visiting the city.
Avignon is another city in Provence worth to visit. The city situated on the left bank of the Rhone River in the Vaucluse department is best known for the Palais des Papes (Papal Palace) which served as papal residence during the so-called Avignon Papacy (sometimes referred as Babylon Captivity). Seven popes resided in the Palais des Papes from 1309 to 1378 when pope Urban VI returned to Rome. However, Pope Urban's return provoked the Papal Schism and the palace served as residence of antipopes (Clement VII and Benedict XIII) until 1403. The Plais des Papes designated as UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995 is the largest Gothic palace in Europe. Today, it serves as museum and is open to public.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is a charming village situated at the Gorges du Verdon about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Nice. The village is famous for its amazing location and splendid medieval architecture. The most impressive are the 12th century Notre Dame church and a chapel dating to the 8th century. The village is also renowned for a star that hangs on a 225 meters (738 feet) long chain between two cliffs above the village. According to the legend, the star was hung there by a knight after returning from captivity during the Crusades.
A one week trip is not enough to be able to explore Provence thoroughly but it is enough to visit top attractions, try the local cuisine and taste the region's famous rosÃ© as well as enjoy the sight of breathtaking lavender fields blooming in the heart of the summer from late June to August.