How to Spend 48 Hours in Provence

48 hours will give you enough time to visit a little bit of everything Provence has to offer
48 hours will give you enough time to visit a little bit of everything Provence has to offer | © StevanZZ/Shutterstock
Alex Ledsom

Provence has everything you need for a two-day break; hilltop villages, vineyards, lavender fields, old abbeys, African culture, food markets and swimming holes. The only problem will be fitting it all in. Here’s our guide on how to spend 48 hours in Provence.

Day One

The first day is all about the Luberon, the area of northern Provence and home to small villages and traditional ways of life.


Lourmarin and Bonnieux are on the map for the morning. Lourmarin is in the valley – an old village with the traditional blue shutters and old houses that you’d expect of Provence. It has its own castle, is home to the annual Festival Yeah! and has lots of rustic interior design shops. The second town is different. Bonnieux is on a hill and is much more of a locals place to live – a village with its own sense of community. Carry on to lunch, which should ideally be at the vineyard of Domaine des Peyres. It isn’t big but the wine is renowned, the service is friendly and there’s an art gallery on site.


After a quick wine tasting (and buying) head up to the Sénanque abbey. It’s a 12th-century monastery where monks still live. You can tour the main buildings, buy some of their hand-farmed lavender products and walk around the lavender fields (go in summer to see them in bloom). Read our guide here.

Head to the little town of Gordes, which is perched high up on a hill overlooking the Luberon valley that you’ve spent the day crossing. If your budget can run to it, stay in the chic Bastide de Gordes in the centre of town, where you can take a swim before dinner. Gordes is a popular town in the summer months so it’s best to park outside and walk in. It’s a place to idly wander and take photos, stopping for a coffee after dinner, or at one of the many ice cream shops that will cross your path.

The medieval town of Gordes sits high on a hill

Day Two

Day Two offers a chance to visit two conflicting cities – those of Aix and Marseille. Both are wildly different and now part of the same governmental district. Aix is upmarket, meticulously clean, very rich and homogeneous in its make up. Marseille is chaotic (the traffic is legendary) and much more multicultural – it’s a great place to delve into African French culture.


Aix is full of winding streets, glorious fountains (it’s called “the city of a thousand fountains”) and wonderful food markets. The daily market is in Place Richelme (8am to 1pm) and there’s one on the Cours Mirabeau on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Foodies should head to rue d’Italie too, for lots of wine and jam shops and Italian delicatessens. You’ll find all your Provençal souvenirs to buy and the local delicacy, calissons.

Discover the charming town of Aix en Provence

After you’ve finished in Aix, head to Marseille, which is a 30-minute drive or bus ride. Walk around the old port, “le vieux port” and have lunch at La Piscine (French for swimming pool). It’s a restaurant owned by French olympic swimming champion, Florent Manaudou and designed like a pool. It takes its cultural leanings from the iconic French movie filmed in St Tropez, La Piscine. Locals love the burgers and it looks out over the harbour.


Marseille has some architectural wonders to visit and you’ll need to make a decision here as you won’t have time to visit all of them. The new MUCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations) is just round the corner, next to the old Fort Saint-Jean, and opposite the Cathedrale La Major. Alternatively head to Corbusier’s brutalist “city within a city” which was built after World War Two. It’s an entirely self-contained apartment block complete with its own school, doctor’s surgery, restaurants, bar, supermarket and rooftop pool (unfortunately, for residents only). They run tours and the rooftop offers views looking out over most of Marseille. The Palais Longchamp is another must-see. It’s a palace built to commemorate a ten-year structural feat to bring water to the city from the nearby river Duranne, when Marseille was suffering a cholera epidemic. It now houses the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Take the time to wander the galleries and beautiful buildings in Marseille


A trip to Provence wouldn’t be complete with a swim or a drink along some of France’s most popular coastlines. Head to the Calanques, France’s natural wonder – a series of inlets, which you can hike down or take a boat tour into. Cars are not always allowed because of fire risk. These bays are perfect places for dinner, for example, at Le Château in the Calanque Sormiou. Reserve a table on the terrace, watch the sunset and raise a toast to your 48 hours in Provence.

Finish off your 48 hours with a drink and swim in the Calanques
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.