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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

Art galleries ceramics and objets d'art
Aix en Provence Cezanne's studio 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
St Remy de Provence 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.
Musee Angladon in Avignon In the cities and towns the excellent art galleries of the region house collections ranging from eclectic collections of modern art to small private collections of a particular artist.  Real Provence can recommend the best of the galleries to include in your holiday depending on your own particular interest. 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 where some of the 18th century living rooms display many canvases, drawings, signed furniture and works of art. 
Avignon Collection Lambert 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.  
Art Market 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 hop.  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.   

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.

La Roque D'Antheron
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. Chorégies d'Orange
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. Aix en Provence Jazz
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. What better way to spend a warm summer evening. If you are booking a holiday with Real Provence we can include details of those which are being held locally during your holiday. Click >>Tailor Made Holiday Luberon Quartet
Roman History
Theatre Antique in Orange 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.
Vaison Roman site 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.
Arles Mosaic 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.
Pont du Gard 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.
Medieval towns and villages

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.

Aigues Mortes
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. Haute Ville of Vaison la Romaine
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. Oppede
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. Abbey de Silvacane
And of course the magnificent complex of buildings which makes up the Palais des Papes in Avignon.  The medieval city of 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. The city became the residence of the popes in the 14th century when Pope Clement V moved the papal headquarters here and the area around the Papal Palace with its beautiful cobbled square is a must for serious sightseeing. Palais des Papes Avignon
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Updated: 16 January, 2012