Provence - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Provence

Provence

No other region of France stirs the imagination and stimulates the senses as strongly as Provence. The soft light and its vivid landscape of pastel colours have inspired writers and artists from F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton to Van Gogh and Picasso.

The fragrant countryside, redolent with wild herbs, is scattered with historic fortified medieval towns such as Avignon and Aix-en-Provence and the ancient Roman towns like Orange and Arles with their great monuments, arches and coliseums.

Provençal cooking is known worldwide for its contributions to French cuisine, including Seafood Bouillabaisse, Ratatouille, and Daube Provençale Stew. Its wines have a poorer reputation, but have improved considerably in recent years and Provençal rosé is becoming increasingly popular as a Provence souvenir.

On the coast is the great port of Marseille, a melting pot of cultures so in contrast to the traditional social landscape of most French provincial towns. Low-cost airlines and a fast TGV train from Paris have made Provence increasingly accessible and this, combined with glorious weather, puts it high on any list of the world's most desirable destinations.


Information & Facts

Climate

Provence has a Mediterranean climate with long, hot summers and mild winters. Temperatures along the coast tend to be slightly higher and swimming in the Mediterranean can be enjoyed as late as September/October. Most rainfall occurs in spring (April to May). Provence is renowned for the presence of the Mistral wind, a cold, dry north westerly wind that funnels down the Rhone Valley, often reaching 60 miles per hour (100km/hr), and is at its strongest and most frequent during winter and spring.

Language
French is the official language.
Money

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in France. Currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and some large hotels, though you will get a better exchange rate at the ATMs. Major credit cards are widely accepted, as are travellers cheques, particularly in major tourist destinations. Foreign currency is not accepted.

Time
Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between last Sunday in March and last Sunday in October).

While it's a bit off the beaten path for most holidaymakers in France, St-Rémy de Provence is among the most attractive and interesting towns in Provence, and is well worth the 12-mile (19km) journey from Avignon. The city centre has many beautiful buildings, including the Chapelle Notre-Dame de Pitié and the Hôtel Estrine.

Aside from the attractive town itself, St-Rémy is surrounded by a beautiful countryside that inspired many paintings by Vincent van Gogh. The artist lived in St-Rémy de Provence for a time, and the city has the somewhat dubious honour of being the place where the he famously cut off his ear, after which he committed himself to the Monastère de St-Paul-de-Mausolée, an asylum that offers visitors walking tours.

Vincent van Gogh is not the only famous resident of St-Rémy however, the city was the birthplace of 16-century author Nostradomus, and was the favourite residence of Princess Caroline of Monaco for a time. Visitors will fall in love with this perfect example of sleepy small-town France, with its busy markets and quiet atmosphere. Near the city, the remains of a Gallo-Roman settlement from the 2nd century BC are found.

While it's a bit off the beaten path for most holidaymakers in France, St-Rémy de Provence is among the most attractive and interesting towns in Provence, and is well worth the 12-mile (19km) journey from Avignon. The city centre has many beautiful buildings, including the Chapelle Notre-Dame de Pitié and the Hôtel Estrine.

Aside from the attractive town itself, St-Rémy is surrounded by a beautiful countryside that inspired many paintings by Vincent van Gogh. The artist lived in St-Rémy de Provence for a time, and the city has the somewhat dubious honour of being the place where the he famously cut off his ear, after which he committed himself to the Monastère de St-Paul-de-Mausolée, an asylum that offers visitors walking tours.

Vincent van Gogh is not the only famous resident of St-Rémy however: the city was the birthplace of 16-century author Nostradamus, and was the favourite residence of Princess Caroline of Monaco for a time. Visitors will fall in love with this perfect example of sleepy small-town France, with its busy markets and quiet atmosphere. Near the city, the remains of a Gallo-Roman settlement from the 2nd century BC are found.

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