Ventabren is a small village just outside Aix-en-Provence in southern France. It’s a traditional place, full of all the things you want to find in a Provençal village and its surroundings. Here’s a rundown on why you’ll be so mesmerised.
Ventabren is just a few miles outside Aix, and it isn’t very big – just under 5,000 people live here. The village came into existence in 920 AD, when Guillaume 1, or William the 1st, was Count of Provence and built a home here. He was seen as the founder of the district of Provence. Ventabren is also the sight of Le Château de la Reine Jeanne, or Queen Jeanne’s castle. It was built in the 12th century and is now in ruins. It has great views over the lake, and is well worth the climb. You can read more about the local history here, in an information leaflet from the local Tourist Board.
Wander the Streets
Ventabren is a charming place to wander through, taking in the traditional blue shutters of Provençal homes around the old village. The town has been painstakingly restored in recent years, including the cobbled streets and the stone buildings.
Restaurant Dan B
The restaurant La Table de Ventabren has been highly regarded for over 12 years, and the chef, Dan Bessoudo, has been cooking to a discerning crowd. It has recently changed its name to Restaurant Dan B, but the food and wine are just as good. They have a Michelin star, given because of the quality of their food, the creative menu choices and their use of local, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant overlooks the Berre lake and has a great panorama; do book an outside table in summer. They are open for lunch and dinner every day except Mondays (andd Tuesday lunch and Sunday dinner during the winter months). Expect to pay between €70 and €100 per person.
Restaurant Dan B, 1 Rue Frédéric Mistral, Ventabren, France, +33 (0)442287933
The Aqueduct Roquefavour
This small village boasts the largest stone aqueduct in the world. Marseille and Provence have always had problems with finding enough water, but in the 17th century, things got much worse: there was a water shortage, the population was growing at a fast pace and there were issues around hygiene and keeping the water clean. The idea of an aqueduct had been proposed before, in the 16th century, but it was only when the cholera epidemic broke out in Marseille in 1834 that the city council decided to act. It was a huge project and an amazing architectural feat. Over 10 years, nearly 200 aqueducts were built, of which this one is the largest.
This aqueduct brings water from the Duranne River to Marseille’s Palais Longchamps. It’s over 83 metres (272 feet) high and 375 metres (1,230 feet) long, and it took 5,000 workers to build it. The first water ran through from the Duranne River to Marseille on June 30 1847. It brought an end to a lot of misery and suffering caused by the epidemics. In 2002, the aqueduct was listed as a historic structure.
The town has grown considerably over the past few years, because of its ideal location in a triangle between Aix, Marseille and Salon-de-Provence. There are currently lots more houses being built for new residents, so it looks likely that this little village will have more admirers in the future.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
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.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
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!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
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.