Provence offers the perfect peek into rural French life. Picturesque, charming, and adorable, Provence is great on its own or as a terrific addition to a few days in lively Paris. To fully make the most of your time in this beautiful jewel of a region, make sure you allow around a week at the least. A few extra days will let you fully explore the many delights and spend a few days unwinding on the stunning southern sandy beaches. Provence offers the very best of everything, and you can choose to be super active in the great outdoors, or relax and enjoy the good life!
There are so many things to enjoy in Provence, with loads of things that are great for little explorers!
Some top things for kids in Provence include:
So many children love seeing a wide array of different animals, and there are more than enough places in Provence where your kids can get better acquainted with four-legged friends, furry creatures, and feathered pals … not to mention lizards, aquatic life, and more!
La Barben Parc Zoologigue is an enormous zoo that is home to a huge assortment of different creatures from all over the world. Animals include rhinos, giraffes, monkeys, tigers, lions, elephants, and bears. You can all hop on the quaint sight-seeing train that runs all around the zoo and there are also lots of interesting walking trails and a cool play area. The views are spectacular too!
If your kids are pretty adventurous and active there are a number of riding stables dotted around the region. Explore the beautiful landscapes by horse back!
Get up close and personal with smaller animals at the delightful Autruche de Provence Farm, or get snap-happy at the Crocodile Farm.
Provencal markets offer great opportunities for shopping, browsing, people watching, trying delicious local delicacies, and getting a glimpse of the local way of life. There is such a vast array of products to look at that it can be rather eye-popping! There are several markets to choose from – make sure you don’t try and cram in too many or your little ones will probably get all shopped-out!
Some markets have musicians, artists, and performers, creating a fairground-like atmosphere.
The morning markets in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (Sundays) and Apt (Saturdays) are the biggest and most well-known in the area. They are very crowded though, so can be a bit overwhelming for younger or shy children. You might want to visit some of the smaller, but also impressive, provincial markets.
Provence is an excellent place to enjoy some scenic hiking and walking. The Luberon area is often a top choice because of the variety of well-marked walking trails, diverse sights, and great views. Enjoy gorges, peaks, and rolling pastures.
Head to the Ecrins National Park for some watery fun. Your kids can spot a wide assortment of local flora and fauna as they canoe or kayak along the water.
Parc Jungle Lave is great for older kids who enjoy a bit of a thrill. It’s the biggest forest climbing park in the whole of Europe and your little dare-devils can enjoy high treetop escapades. There are also courses that are suitable for younger kids and a selection of other activities for different age groups.
There are loads of historical places of interest scattered all around Provence, some of which are sure to spark your children’s imagination.
The large Chateau de la Barben is an excellent castle with lots of period furnishings that let you really take a step back in time. Kids usually love descending into the gloomy dungeon! Various other castles and grand old mansions dot the area. Senanque Abbey is a stunning old monastery. Depending on the time of year, you may also be able to see the large patches of purple where the monks grow lavender. The Village of the Bories is a fascinating place where you can see lots of old stone buildings. There are many other similar small stone structures all around the area. They were originally built in prehistoric times and they have been maintained and reconstructed in the times that followed.
There are spectacular Roman ruins to explore, taking you back to the days of the mighty Roman Empire. The Pont du Gard is one of their main feats, although children often like seeing the digs at Glanum and the old monuments near St Remy too.
There are also old fortresses to explore. The gigantic Palace of the Popes is the largest Gothic fortress on the planet, and it is easy for kids to see how it helped to protect and defend the area in times gone by. Fort de Buoux is another popular destination.
History lovers should definitely add Avignon to their itinerary – as well as the Palace of the Popes it boasts many fine and fascinating historical sites.
Fun, Fun, Fun!
After all the culture, history, and energetic activities in the great outdoors, you may be looking for somewhere for the whole family to just cut loose, unwind, and have a day of pure fun and giggles. Some great places for this are the novel Park of 1,000 Gnomes and the brilliant Village Des Automates with its games, rides, workshops, characters from story land, etc. If the weather is nice and sunny you could also consider Aqualand Water Park.
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