Gentler Guide to Iconic Natural Places in Provence

The Gentler is based in the UK, but its soul is in South of France, where life is made of romance, culinary delights and above all, outstanding green and blue spaces that truly reset the mind.
If you are looking to slow down and to explore stunning natural landscapes, from The Calanques National Park to the Mercantour National Park, here is the Gentler Guide to some of the most Iconic Natural Places in Provence.

Les Goudes, Marseille

Discover the end of the Marseille world by heading to Les Goudes, a traditional fishing village tucked up against the Calanques National Park: A natural swimming inlet with a stunning view. 
With an authentic Marseille atmosphere and spectacular sea view, Les Goudes is one of the most traditional villages one can find in Provence and a hidden paradise worth visiting.

If you are looking for the latest trendy spot, you should book a table at Tuba (or if you are lucky, one of the few rooms with a stunning sea view). Luxury meets simplicity and creates a refreshing new art of living in South of France.

 Tuba Club - Cabanons and Restaurant, Les Goudes, Marseille, 
Photography by @madeinmarseille

The Alps of High Provence, Gate of the Luberon, Heart of Provence & Entrance to the Alps

In the center of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region, on the road to Nice, you should make sure you discover and explore the Mercantour Regional Natural Park and the grandiose Lake Allos: the largest natural high-altitude lake in Europe, beautiful in all seasons and in all its forms.

Lac d'Allos (2228m), photography by Téa Pruneta

From the French departments of the Var (84) and the Bouches du Rhône (13), walk in the region of Forcalquier, a typical Provencal village, to taste its bohemian way of life and experience its endless fields of tulips at the arrival of spring. From the mountain of Lure, the highest point of this region of the Luberon, one can look out and admire the Mont Ventoux under a blue sky. Pure serenity.

The Lure Mountain, photography by Téa Pruneta

Continue your road trip to the Verdon Gorges and stop by the Galetas bridge which overhang the splendid Sainte-Croix Lake. You will admire the emerald blue of the gorges - an extremely unique color one has see first hand to believe! - across the Provence High Alps department, from Moustier Sainte Marie to Castellane. The road is spread across the mountain tops and the vantage points it offers are all as sublime as each other. Don't miss the world-famous Valensole plateau and its lavender fields as far as the eye can see!

The Verdon Gorges, photography by John Jason

Further in the Lower French Alps, between the two valleys of Ubaye and 'La Blanche', there is a hiking trail along which you will very likely make new friends: mouflons, ibexes and marmots. The flaura and the fauna of this region are incredible and the best relaxation for the mind. From there, if you follow the Great Alps route up, it will bring you in large rocky and mountainous spaces.

The Great Alps route, photography by Route Grandes Alpe

Make a stop at the Serre-Ponçon lake and its chapel St Michel: a small chapel built in the 12th century on a small eminence of the lake. Destroyed and then rebuilt in the 17th century, it now stands alone on a tiny island in the lake.

The St Michel Chapel, Serre-Ponçon Lake,
photography by © Hemi/Super Stock

Winding roads, gorges, large lakes, mountains... each carrying its own unique history. The Lower French Alps has multiple facets: a land of adventure but also serenity, rich in odors and colors, perfect for living fully in accordance with nature and for recharging your batteries.