Great for exploring the wine regions and the foothills of the Alps, but be careful in villages with steep, narrow streets.
Nîmes and Marseille airports are best.
The train is a comfortable and convenient option. Eurostar from London takes seven hours, with a change in Paris. From July to September there's a weekly direct train on Saturdays taking six hours.
Country code for France: 33. Provence: (0)4.
The Man who Planted Trees by Jean Giono; Market Day in Provence by Michèle de La Pradelle.
Do go / Don't Go
Spring and autumn see the region in its sunniest mood. Only the postcard-prettiest villages get crowded, even in summer. Winter is chilly when the Mistral wind blows.
Gastro-Provençal reigns - refined dishes of lamb, game and fish with olive, lavender and herb flavours. Local wines are a must: ask for something from the village's own vigneron (wine-maker) or look out for wines hailing from Rhone-valley villages such as Gigondas, Lirac, Vacqueras, Beaumes de Venies, and the classic, Châteauneuf du Pape. Do make like a petanque-playing village elder and order a Ricard (a popular brand of pastis), starting with one part pastis to three parts water.
It's best to book in advance. Your hotel should be able to arrange a pick-up from the train station in Avignon or the airport in Marseille.
A service charge is automatically added to restaurant bills, but it's usual to round up the bill or leave a few euros.
A programme for one of the summer's theatre, dance
The well-preserved Roman amphitheatre at Orange makes a thrilling backdrop to the summer opera festival in July (www.choregies.asso.fr).
Apart from the giant blocks of savon de Marseille, the best buys are olive-wood kitchenwares and lavender bath products (we like the Popée family's tiny shop on the road from Sault up to the Ventoux). In Sault, nougaterie André Boyer sells sweet treats in an historic interior. Isle-sur-la-Sorgue hosts a celebrated antiques market every Sunday morning.
There are belvederes on the twisty route up Mont Ventoux. High above Beaumes de Venise (ask in the village), Domaine de Durban has top dessert wines and a super view.
You can sample your way around the region's bigger markets, especially the one at Bédoin. Look out for wild lavender growing around Sault in July and August.
July The Festival d'Avignon brings all manner of street performers to the city, as well as formal concerts (www.festival-avignon.com). Avignon's off-beat fringe arts festival runs at the same time, filling the streets with jugglers and mime artists (www.avignon-off.org). Last two weeks of July Carpentras stages Les Estivales de Carpentras, an entertaining celebration of music, theatre and dance. 15 August Sault, in the heart of the region's lavender fields, hosts the fragrant Fête de la Lavande.