One of the true delights of Provence during the winter is the fact that there are barely any tourists there. Most people seem to be a bit reluctant to hit this area of France during the colder months. That is fine though. Avoiding the tourists is brilliant. It means that you can truly experience some of the delights that this area of the country has to offer.
Ok; if you are going to be in Provence during the winter, it is likely you will be staying in reach of one of the many small villages that are peppered around the area. Brilliant! Most days of the week you will find at least one or two markets running. Go and visit them! It will mainly just be locals there and you will be able to experience a true ‘French Market’. Make sure you head to a good Farmer’s Market (Port Grimaud I on Thursdays and Sundays, Port Grimaud Sud on Mondays and Fridays or Grimaud on Thursdays). You will be able to pick-up some high quality ingredients to work into your own cooking.
The law in France states that stores are only allowed to offer sales twice a year. The first will always be in July in order to pull those tourists in. The second, and quite often bigger, sale is in January. There will not be tourists here. Stores will be looking to get rid of the stock that they were unable to shift over the Christmas period. There are plenty of deals here and I am sure you will be able to find more than one item to bring home to your family. There will be plenty of cafes and restaurants around these stores so you can always stop off for some delightful French food to ‘reinvigorate’ yourself.
Let’s stick to the subject of food for a little. Provence is a very ‘high class’ area. People flock from all over the world to sample the culinary delights on offer (French cuisine is the best after all). Most of these people will book months in advance to ensure that they have a table at their favorite restaurant. You will not be heading to Provence during the high season though. This means that you have your pick of some of the best restaurants around, and you are barely going to need to book a table. Grab a food guide in advance and just ‘tour’ the region. There will be plenty on offer !
No. You are not expected to have a dip in the Mediterranean during the winter. You will freeze. You should still head near the beach though. The scenery is absolutely stunning. Have a walk around the area and you will almost certainly start to warm up on even the coldest of days. Don’t forget to bring your camera along too! Those gorgeous views will be unspoiled by tourists, and that means that you should be able to get in some beautiful photographs !