Provence is a wonderful place to visit and next year will be a particularly good time to head there as Marseille-Provence will be “Capitale de la Culture 2013”. Provence is already packed with fantastic festivals in normal times : Avignon (theatre), Arles (photography), Montpellier (dance), Aix-en Provence (opera). 2013 will transform Marseille and its region  into a wonder cultural platform for exhibits, performances, and events of all kinds.

Here’s a list of places to keep in mind for your family trip!

Where to stay in Arles

Arles is a great city; small and very authentic, it hosts every year “Les Rencontres Photographiques de Arles”, a photo festival  that has been on for decades. Arles is the darling of French Fashion people such as Christian Lacroix and Ines De La Fressange.

Hotel Le Cloitre16, Rue du Cloître, 13200 Arles. This Hotel has no website yet. It’s just been redecorated by India Madhavi. We stayed there and loved the décor, and the service was absolutely great. BELOVED!

Hotel Le Nord – Place du Forum. A must in Arles. We stayed at sister Hotel in Tangier which was a delight. Full of charm and history.

Hotel Amphitheatre – – 5 Rue Diderot  13200 Arles

Hotel Particulier – – 4 Rue de la Monnaie (with a swimming pool)

La Maison d’Arles (B&B) –

La Pousada (B&B) –

Arles Suites (B&B) –

Hotel Calendal –, well located in the centre, simple and affordable

La Maison MoliereLa Maison Moliere, chambres d’hotes


Outside of Arles (15-20 minutes away):

Mas St Florent –

Mas de la Chapelle

Le Mas de – Le Sambuc. In the heart of the parc naturel de Camargue, great for the horse riding with Sandy, in the 550 hectars property of the hotel owner.

Where to eat in Arles

La Chassagnette Organic Food by chef Armand Arnal, delicious – same owner as Hotel du Cloitre and L’Ouvre Boite. Go there for the food, for the garden, for the buzz. It will stay with you. BELOVED!

Comptoir du Sud 2 rue Jean Jaures – 2, rue Jean-Jaurès. Delicious and creative sandwiches with all kind of breads and yumme ingredients (Try the goat cheese, pear, figues confites, pine nuts…).

L’ouvre boite. To eat tapas in a charming square, under a big fat tree. A dangerous place where you can forget time and drink all night (it’s better to leave the kids in the room of the Hotel du Cloitre next door!). BELOVED!

Restaurant du Nord Pinus (by the former chef at L’Autruche)

La Gueule de Loup 

Chez Caro – 12, place du Forum-0490979438. (Thanks Loica for this new tip!).

Where to stay in Avignon

Hotel Cloitre st Louis. Great with kids : well located with a parking and a swimming pool. Rare in Avignon! The courtyard is beautiful, the hotel rooms in the modern part are not of interest visually, so don’t go there expecting old stones and charm.

La Mirande. One of the best hotels in South of France. If you can’t stay there, at least go for the Sunday brunch. So chic…!

Where to eat in Avignon

83 Vernet, 83 rue Vernet – A new restaurant in a beautiful courtyard. The inside decor is a bit 90’s (so is the music) but it is definitely the place to be in Avignon, with a buzz and good vibes. The food is good and creative.

Where to stay in Marseille

The famous Paris Mama Shelter just opened a sister Hotel in Marseille. A rock’n’roll attitude compatible with family life. We didn’t stay there but many of our friends did and they were all happy with their experience.

Where to eat in Marseille

Mama Shelter – Yes! The food is good, creative, and it’s a fun place to be for lunch or dinner…

Grain de sel – 39 Rue de la Paix

Le Cafe des Epices – 4, rue du Lacydon

Where to sleep in St Remy de provence

Le mas de l’ A small hotel with a swimming pool, run by a couple passionate about food. Modernist decor (not everything to my taste), but a very nice ambiance. Good selection of books and magazines in the pleasant living area. Like being at home…


Le Chateau des Alpilles –

La Maison du Village

Where to eat in St Remy de Provence

La Cantina – 18 Boulevard St Hugo

L’Estagnol – 16 bd Victor Hugo

 And a bit further…

I loved this place near Aix-en-Provence. Very good value for money, authentic “Bastide”, great views, delicious breakfasts and the visit of the last home of Picasso near by.

La Bastide de Richaume

. (see my full post here). BELOVED!