The popular and scenic region of Provence in the southeast corner of France has come to worldwide attention thanks in part to the books written about its charms and curiosities. True to description, Provence is breathtaking: purple lavender fields, craggy olive trees, multicolored vineyards, cliffs, gorges and ancient villages. The appeal of Provence goes back much further, however, and artists over the centuries have been captivated by the quality of the light in the countryside. You really have to see it to believe it.
The larger cities and towns of Provence—notably Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Toulon, Nice, Avignon and Arles—all have their merits - especially Avignon. But, this region's small towns are where the true colors of Provence really shine. From romantic cities to foodie havens, wine connoisseur and artistic epicenters, Provence enlivens all your senses.
Food in Provence is superb—this is, after all, the prime fruit and vegetable-producing area of France. Regional specialties are tapenade (an olive-and-herb paste), bouillabaisse (an outstanding fish and shellfish soup flavored with tomatoes, saffron, thyme and garlic), anchoiade (anchovy, oil and garlic paste), daube (braised meat, poultry, fish or game), marcassin (young wild boar) and panade (fruit tart).
Even the common potato chip, fried in oil and spiced with various herbs, is elevated to an art in Provence.
Provence is also prime truffle territory. During the season (fall-December), stop at a truffle fair—the prices are steep but the taste and mystery surrounding this delicacy are definitely worth the cost.
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Courtesy of: Darla Logsdon
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