Editor’s Note: Mireille Guiliano is the internationally bestselling author of French Women Don’t Get Fat. Her latest book isThe French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook. Born in France, she now divides her time between New York City, Paris and Provence. She can be reached at mireilleguiliano.comand frenchwomendontgetfat.com.
Provence and the South of France is the Francophile’s top destination after Paris. The light and the views are magical, especially between April and October. I’ve visited, stayed and lived in several parts of Provence and have some favorite views that live with me – past, present and, hopefully, future.
First, though, let’s be clear on what is Provence. It is not the Côte d’Azur, the Riviera – you know, Nice, Cannes, St. Tropez and all the dots nearby on the Côte and a bit inland. Provence is a touch west and north, anchored by such cities and villages as Avignon, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, St. Rémy-de-Provence and more. The hills – the Lubéron, Les Alpilles, the Dentelles de Montmirail … The departments (counties) of Vaucluse (84), Bouches du Rhône (13). This is the country of Van Gogh, Cézanne, sunflowers, lavender and fruit trees.
These may be some of the most dazzling views within such a small area, but many small villages, and bien sûr, the major cities, will offer equally rewarding views, whether of a fountain, a row of houses, an unusual town square or some small streets that transport you to a different era. And, of course, if you are driving in the Provence countryside in July or August and spot a field of sunflowers, stop the car and start adding to this list.