Bigger than Massachusetts and with cultural centers such as Marseille, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence, there's just too much of Provence to see it all in a week. For a short stay centering around dining and tasting at wineries, here are two spots to add some variety to your tour.
Please note that prices, hours of operation and other details can often change, and we recommend that you call ahead before you go.
1 Esplanade du J4, Marseille
Telephone (33) 4-84-35-13-13
Open Wednesday to Monday
The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, which opened last year at the edge of Marseille's port, is as notable for its stunning architecture and jaw-dropping views as for its historical collections and its exhibitions on European and North African cultures. Architect Rudy Ricciotti incorporated the 17th-century Fort St.-Jean into the design, connecting it with high footbridges to the museum's modernist glass, concrete and steel box, where an outer concrete skin resembles a giant fishing net. Access to the exterior spaces and cafés is free.
LE JARDIN DE L'ALCHIMISTE
Mas de la Brune Route D74A, Eygalières
Telephone (33) 4-90-90-67-67
Open Daily, May 1 to June 12; weekends and holidays only, June 13 to Oct. 1
After Marie and Alain de Larouzière retired from her family's Henriot Champagne house 20 years ago and bought a landmark Renaissance manor house in the Alpilles, they turned their attention to the gardens. Inspired by the alchemical, pagan and Biblical symbols carved in the house's ornate stonework, they decided to create a one-of-a kind botanical garden based on alchemy. Using 13th-century books and a team of landscape architects, they created a fun, informative, 2-acre wonder. It opens with a labyrinth leading into "the garden of magic plants"—where among other plants long believed to have mythical properties is a pergola covered with 22 French varieties of grapevines. The gardens contain three color-themed sections: A "black" area is followed by two other plots, with dramatic displays of white and red flowering plants.