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Provence offers unparalleled variety along the Mediterranean. Were it not for the continuous buzz of the French language, one might mistake Provence for at least six other countries. Add Marseilles? Make it dozens of countries!

Avignon serves up an intense Roman history from Pont du Gard to Nimes to the Alpes, not to be confused with the Alps on the eastern border of France. The Van Gogh countryside to the south and west – Arles, Rousillon, Saintes-Maries-sur-la-Mer – is fragrant with lavender, peaches, cherries, sunflowers and olives. Orchards and vineyards dominate the landscape from Menerbes to the rolling fields of the Camargue.

One should never skip Marseilles. This old port mixes cultures and flavors from North Africa, Europe and Asia in one pulsating town. Et bien sur, there is no better place to learn the art of bouillabaisse than a grandmother’s kitchen in the old port.

Moving eastward still, one is welcomed to Aix en Provence by Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso. Further eastward still? Cannes, charming St Paul de Vence, stylish Nice et la tout Cote d’Azur. Prepare your palate for freshly grilled seafood, chilled roses and the delicate whiff of flowers wafting in the breezes from the fields in Grasse.

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