The charms of Provence

Updated: 2013-10-02 00:33

By Xu Lin (China Daily)

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The charms of Provence

Avignon Bridge and Papal Palace are two of must-see sites in the old town of Avignon.[Provided to China Daily]

About 10 minutes' walk from the town is Carrieres de Lumieres (Careers of Enlightenment), which is hosting the audio visual show Monet, Renoir … Chagall: Journeys around the Mediterranean until Jan 5. The place used to be an unused quarry, and the 35-minute show exhibits works of about 16 well-known French artists.

With beautiful music and projections of celebrated paintings on the ancient quarry's huge walls, I felt as if I was in these paintings. While I was walking slowly to enjoy my fascinating voyage, the images were also moving.

Lost in impressionism and fauvism masterpieces, I was dancing with Parisians from the late 19th century in Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette and sailing with British sailors on the Isle of Wight in Raoul Dufy's Regatta at Cowes.

Driving a car to these picturesque towns, you will see large lavender fields on both sides of the road. You can stop for a while to take some photos, but be cautious of the high-speed cars whizzing by.

Immersed in these purple flowers, I felt drunk by the fragrant smells. Summer is the best time to enjoy lavenders in Provence because they're in full blossom. As a necessity for Provence residents, lavenders are often used to make culinary herbs, essence oils, perfumes and tea.

Other popular places to watch lavenders are Sault village and Senanque Abbey. In front of the abbey are fields of lavender planted by monks.

It takes about three hours to get from Avignon to Nice by the TGV, France's high-speed rail system. Located on the country's southeast coast on the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is the second-biggest city in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region after Marseille. It's also a popular resort with the French in summer.

It's the best place to run away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and to relax a bit. You can either enjoy the clear sky, the blue sea, and the natural sunshine, or the views of luxurious cars, yachts, and blondes.

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