Real Provence - History Art and Music

History Art & Music

Renowned for the magnificence of the legacy of the Roman empire and Medieval times, this area of Provence has been a melting pot of civilisations from the establishment of Marseille by the Greek empire to the religious persecutions of the 12th century. The possibilities for a historical exploration are endless - below is just a taster of fascinating places you could visit during your holiday. Visits to these and many other sites of historical interest can be included in your Tailor Made holiday, click >>Tailor Made. 

For entertainment of a completely different kind, perhaps plan the timing of your Real Provence holiday to include one of the international art and music festivals which take place in Provence during the summer months. Real Provence can book tickets for you at any of these events as part of your Tailor Made holiday.

Here are just a few ideas you might want to include in your holiday planning.

Art galleries, ceramics and objets d’art

Painters have been inspired by the landscape and light of Provence for centuries. It attracted Van Gogh to spend his time in St. Rémy and Arles and Cézanne in Aix en Provence. And today even in the smallest villages you will find the tradition continuing in the studios of many local artists. Visit Cézanne's studio in Aix - still full of the painters presence

Cezanne studio

The St. Paul Mausoleum is the hospital in St. Rémy where Van Gogh spent time during his illness. Experience the peacefulness of its lovely cloister garden and take a stroll around the town following in Van Gogh's footsteps and the locations from which he painted some of his most famous works.

Van Gogh painting

In the cities and towns the excellent art galleries house collections ranging from eclectic collections of modern art to small private collections of a particular artist. Many of these collections are housed in beautiful old buildings which gives an added dimension to any visit. The Musée Angladon in Avignon for instance is located in an elegant city mansion.

Musée Angladon

The facade and courtyard of the building in which the Collection Lambert is displayed is a listed historical monument. Here in Avignon is housed in an exclusive collection of modern art of all types - video, sculpture, photography and painting.

Throughout the area you will also find local artisans producing interesting paintings and artworks. Often for sale in local markets and art fairs these can also be purchased direct from the artist's works shop. There is also a huge variety and choice of different types of ceramics and pottery ranging from simple tableware in bright provencal colours to collectors pieces of sculpture and objet d'art.

Art market
Roque D'Anthéron

If piano is your favourite, the music festival at La Roque D'Anthéron is not to be missed. Featuring international artists in a variety of lovely open air venue s, the programme takes place every evening over the months of July and August.

Chorégies d'Orange

The Chorégies d'Orange are world renowned. Staged in the magnificent setting of the old Roman Theatre the programme includes opera and music concerts. The atmosphere in this lovely old place on a summer evening really is a once in a lifetime experience.

Aix en Provence

Aix en Provence too stages a variety of summer musical events - dance, orchestral, opera and jazz some of which are held in the beautifully lit old town squares.


Many of the local towns and villages also hold their own smaller music festivals during the summer months. In the Luberon for instance a series of concerts by various young quartets are held in the lovely old churches of the beautiful old perched villages. Real Provence can include details of those which are being held locally during your holiday. Click >>Tailor Made. 

Roman History

The Roman presence is everywhere throughout this part of Provence from St. Remy to Arles, from Nimes to Orange. Here the magnificent Théatre Antique with its stage wall still standing is a superb example of Roman architecture. And as we've described above the theatre is still in use providing the venue for concerts and operas in the summer months.


The extensive and fascinating excavations of Puymin and La Villase at Vaison la Romaine and at Glanum near St. Rémy lead you on a fascinating discovery of daily life in Roman times.

Vaison la Romaine

Arles has a superb museum of Roman history of the area and magnificent mosaics and there are monuments throughout the town from the spooky Cryptoporticus and Alyscamps burial grounds to the Amphitheatre and Arena, all worthy of exploration.


The world heritage site of the Pont du Gard and the simple aqueduct de Barbegal near Fontvielle in the Alpilles just two more superb examples of Roman engineering.

Pont du Gard
Medieval towns & villages
Aigues Mort

Medieval history simply oozes from walls of the cities, towns and even the smallest villages. Here the fortified city of Aigues Mortes sits in the Camargue plain from outward appearances much as it would have looked hundreds of years ago. Walk right round the top of the thick old walls and look down on the medieval city grid system and from the look out towers, imagine the approaching enemy forces.

Cathedral Saint Saveur

The medieval Haute Ville of Vaison la Romaine and the old town centre in Aix en Provence are just full of atmosphere and the detail on the buildings provides a fascinating insight into the craftsmanship of the medieval stonemasons and architects. Here the pretty cathedral Saint Saveur in Aix nestles in a narrow street in the heart of the bustling Vielle Ville.


Beautiful old villages such as Oppède le Vieux in the Parc Naturel du Luberon and the fortress village of Les Baux in the Alpilles. Here the old streets wind up to the rocky perch of the Citadel from which there are magnificent views across the olive groves to the Camargue and, on a clear day, the Mediterranean sea.


Not forgetting the peaceful Cistercian abbeys of Senanque and Silvacane in the Parc du Luberon and the imposing Montmajour in the Alpilles. The Abbaye de Senanque nestles deep in a valley and its simple architecture fits perfectly with the imposing rocky hills surrounding this peaceful place.

Palais du Pape

And of course the magnificent complex of buildings which makes up the Palais des Papes in Avignon. Avignon is the chief city of the Vaucluse and gateway to Provence. Massive ramparts punctuated by seven gates surround the immaculately preserved medieval centre with the magnificent buildings of the Palais des Papes at its heart.

Page updated: 05-Dec-2018