And, if like me, you are planning a driving visit there soon, there’s plenty to think about when planning ahead. The good news is there is still plenty to look forward to.
For those heading for Provence (one of the most visited areas of France) there’s more than ever for visitors to fall in love with this year.
Glorious countryside filled with lavender and sunflowers, ravishingly picturesque towns and villages, sublime beach resorts and delicious wine and cuisine, provide an enticing backdrop to an enthralling programme of events in 2016.
Arty Party Provence
Experience the unique and vibrant Festival d’Avignon (7-30 July) which envelopes the city as each square is transformed into an open-air theatre. This French equivalent of the Edinburgh Festival celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2016. Also in Avignon, don’t miss the enchanting nightly light show at the Palais des Papes, Les Luminessences d’Avignon (12 August – 3 October).
Fabulous Food and Wine Festivals
The region is rightly famous for its exquisite wine and gastronomy and in Martigues you can enjoy a flavour of Provence at the “Sardinades” (19 June – 28 August). Enjoy a perfect waterside evening in this area known as the Provencal Venice as you join the locals at a nightly giant barbecue of mouth-watering grilled sardines and chilled local rosé.
In Cassis the wine makers celebrate the harvest with a special weekend of wine and delicious food joined by chefs from across the region. Make the most of the end of summer with open-air dining at the “Vendanges étoilées” food and wine festival in Cassis (23-25 September) held in Cassis and Calanque de Port Miou.
Captivating Cultural Premieres in Provence
In Aix-en-Provence the Hôtel de Caumont is exhibiting a major retrospective “Turner and Colour” (until 18 September) in partnership with Tate Britain and the Turner Contemporary, Margate.
The legendary Picasso is celebrated in Marseille at the magnificent MuCEM (until 29 August) with a dazzling display of 270 works of art which reflect key influences on the great artist’s work. And, in St Tropez Picasso is also feted via an exhibition of photographs as well as a collection of original ceramics by the artist (Salle Jean Despas, 3 July-28 August).
Provence honours its adopted son Vincent Van Gogh at the Van Gogh Foundation in Arles, with a fabulous exhibition of 30 paintings, many created during his time in Arles and Saint Rémy.