Provence #3: Websites, Podcasts, Magazines, Tips

So where the heck do you start when making travel plans? How would YOU do it?

Aren’t we lucky to have the internet? When I was first interested in travel, at about age 18-20, there was NO INTERNET! I remember all of the travel agencies everywhere, and sometimes I’d stand outside a shop and daydream over fun destinations. I am sure travel agencies are still around but they must have had to change radically to stay in business. Why pay someone else to do the research that’s available at the click of a button?

 

A Few Questions to Think About

  • Where do we want to go? Where do we want to stay? How will we travel?
  • What are online resources we should take advantage of? Why don’t we start there…I’ll add to my list as I learn!

General Online Resources

  • Wikitravel: What a cool surprise to discover this site! I was looking up Provence and noticed that there is something called Wiki Travel…what a boon (or so I thought)! Typing in Provence brought me to a trove of great information that has me excited and thinking about possibilities!
  • Wikivoyage: As I began looking around, learned that Wikitravel was purchased as a for-profit site in 2006 and as such, Wikivoyage was built and integrated with Wikipedia. As time passes, Wikivoyage has surpassed the size of Wikitravel and is the preferred site when looking for tourism info via Wiki.
  • TripAdvisor: This site is full of helpful information but it’s extremely cluttered and can be annoying to navigate.
  • Here is the history and differences between Wikitravel vs. Wikivoyage.

Provence Areas (from Wiki)

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
The mountainous northern part of the historic Provence. Highlights include the eastern Luberon’s typically Provençal landscape and the Verdon Gorge, known as France’s “grand canyon”.
Alpes-Maritimes
Mostly known for the French Riviera, including cities such as Nice and Cannes, this department boasts 300 days of sunshine per year. Inland gets you into the Alps.
Bouches-du-Rhône
Vincent van Gogh was inspired by the countryside of this region, which is home to the wetlands of the Camargue and the Rhône Delta, the impressionistic landscape of the Alpilles and maritime Marseille.
Hautes-Alpes
Part of the French Alps, this is among the highest regions in Europe. With few towns and no large cities, this is the place to escape the Riviera’s excesses.
Var
Seaside resorts, yachts, the rich and famous, wine, palm trees, olive groves and Romanesque and medieval architecture. What’s not to like?
Vaucluse
An inland territory that is particularly well-known for the western part of the Luberon, an area of picturesque villages much sought after for their laid-back lifestyle.

Provence Websites

Provence/France Tourist Magazines

  • France: The Good Life: Free downloadable pdf format with issues covering all aspects of travel within France

Provence Podcasts

  • Join Us in France: (2014-)This delightful, informative podcast by Annie and Elyse focuses on travel in France and has many episodes about the Provence area. Type “Provence” in the search field for a list of episodes. Alternatively, the podcasts are organized into regions on the left column. The nuggets of information are priceless! This is our favorite podcast for all things France, and includes a wealth of general travel and safety tips.
  • Amateur Traveler: Provence: A nice overview of the area.
  • Rick Steves: A Week in Provence: (I haven’t listened to this yet but his YouTube video was excellent)
  • Rick Steves: Driving In Europe; Getting Around Ireland; Exploring Provence: (2014) Go to 32:32 to listen to the section about Provence.

Provence Outdoor Activities

  • Cycling: a trove of maps and information
  • Hiking: so many places including urban and nature

General Safety and Things To Be Aware Of

  • Using phones in Europe: Rick Steves has an older 2013 video which includes a discussion on how to use mobile phones in Europe most economically. Roaming data, sim cards, hot spots are all covered. I’ll update with a more current video but this is a great start. Begin watching at 1:33:30.
  • Paying restaurant bills: Service, tips (15%) and tax are included in each individual menu item’s price; the bill breaks out the portion of your total bill that represents that service and tax. Pay the “total” at the bottom, not the “subtotal”.
  • Tipping: Cabs: 15%. Rounding up at a cafe is routine. Washroom attendants: €1

Provence #4: The Difference Between Country Divisions