Avoid the crowds and visit Gordes in the evening
This beautiful village, perched on the hillside, has some lovely buildings and the most fantastic views. Have dinner there or a stroll around the streets when it is quiet.
Visit the Village de Bories, just outside Gordes.
The Village de Bories consists of the typical stone shepherd huts shaped like cones. Wander around and see how life was like many years ago.
On Sunday, get up early and go to L'Isle sur la Sorgue
where there is the most amazing market that goes on until lunchtime. Home to the most number of antique shops outside of Paris, Sundays see the streets filled with antique dealers selling their wares, as well as a fantastic Provençal market where you can buy everything from fresh fruit and olives to handmade soaps and artwork.
The little village of Coustellet is not far away
There is a farmers' market held there every Sunday. You will also find the boulangerie there for your fresh croissants in the mornings. Perfect for a lazy morning on the terrace.
Drive along the country roads that go up and over the Plateau de Vaucluse
to Sault, famous for its lavender fields. Go at the beginning of July to see the area awash in the colour purple, or go on 15th August for the Fete de Lavande, held in Sault itself.
Head to Banon, a small village famous for its goats cheese
wrapped in dried chestnut leaves and tied with a raffia ribbon. More than 600,000 banon cheeses are made each year! Make sure you try at least one during your stay.
A must-do on any list is a trip to Avignon (1hr drive),
the capital of the Vaucluse. Head for the car park called 'Parking Palais des Papes'. This underground car park is underneath the Palais des Papes square and so when you surface, you greeted with an awe inspiring view of the Palais itself.
Lourmarin (30km), in the Grand Luberon,
is a very pretty village, dominated by its chateau. Visit the chateau or explore the narrow streets lined with art galleries, cafes, and craft shops. Try the local sweet snack called gibassier which is a sweet cookie made with olive oil, shaped like an oval leaf and about a foot long.
Visit the Luberon from the sky
Near Joucas, you will find Provence Montgolfière who organises balloon flights in one of the most beautiful parts of Provence
Visit Apt on a Saturday for the weekly market
or between April and October on a Tuesday morning too. Once you are stocked up on fresh fruit, bread, olives, have lunch in one of the many cafés.
Play a round of Golf
Close to the picturesque village of Saumane, you will find a lovely 9 & 18 hole golf course
Visit Roussillon (15km) -
home to rock formations, and the most vivid red hued soil you will have ever seen. The colours span the spectrum of reds, oranges and yellows and are truly amazing. The village itself is a delight to wander around with its arty shops and lovely cafes.
The local vignerons attend the markets at Coustellet and L'Isle Sur La Sorgue, and you are able to have a wine tasting there. We found some lovely local wines at the market and then followed this up by visting one of the many local vineyards where you are able to purchase some fabulous wine at really competitive prices. Most of these wines are not imported into the UK, so it's great to see what else is out there.
So many books have been written about Provence
Take some with you and let the towns and villages come to life. 'A Year in Provence' by Peter Mayle, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources by Marcel Pagnol are a few that spring to mind. You are not far from the restored villages of Ménerbes, Oppede le Vieux where much of 'A Year in Provence' was based.
The Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque
offers a tranquil and spiritual experience. Follow one of the guided tours around the monastery, which has been there since 1148. Go in June/July to see the full effect of the lavender fields in front of the Abbaye.
Cross over from the Vaucluse into the Alpes de Haute Provence
by visiting Forcalquier (45 min drive) - a lovely town with a large main square bordered with plane trees and cafes, overlooked by its citadel. It's worth climbing to the top to experience the view across the town and the fields.
Take the children to Pernes Les Fontaines (20 km)
to count the fountains. There are 40 in total dotted around the village. To help you, the town's tourist office has printed a map on which they are all marked.
Choose a clear day and drive to the top of Mont Ventoux
(you can cycle but it is so much easier driving!). Take a jumper, as even in the summer it is cold at the top. There are lots of picnic spots on the way up with large information panels about the amazing and varied flora and fauna that you can find on the mountain.
For a slight change in scenery, go to St Rémy de Provence
(just under 1hr's drive), at the bottom of the Alpilles hills. A chic and pretty town, for a time, it was once home to Van Gogh. Follow the self-guided walking trail around the town - 21 signposts are dotted around the town, each with a reproduction of one of his paintings and an explanation in French and English.
Visit Les Baux de Provence
- great for both children and adults. Take the audio tour and discover the history behind this amazing ruin on top of a huge rock!
Follow the small back roads out of Gordes
towards Murs, then down through the Col du Murs and the Foret de Venasque, into the village of Venasque itself. Go in May and you will see hundreds of cherry trees in bloom.
Rise early and head for Gordes or Roussillon
and have breakfast sitting outside one of the cafes. The views across the valleys in the early morning light with the mist are stunning! And, of course, a coffee and pain au chocolat are a great way to start the day.
If you fancy trying your hand at some of the local Provençal dishes, why not take part in a cookery lesson? The owner of one of our other properties in Provence runs a cookery school in the village of Crillon Le Brave (45mins from Le Gustave) every Friday morning (subject to demand). Please ask us for further details.
Sip a glass of rosé wine
sitting on the terrace on a summer's evening. Watch the sun set, and the stars come out and listen to the sound of the cigales.
Have you visited Mas La Jasse?
Click here to suggest a Great Thing you've done nearby ...