One area in France that seems to have all their eco ducks in order is Provence. There are few areas in the world that have been blessed with as many wonderful sights, aromas and sounds as Provence and now they can add “eco friendly Provence” to the list. The French government has long been a strong supporter of the Kyoto agreement and their eventual ambition of 54 million tons of saved CO2 by 2010 is one of the more aggressive goals of any country involved in the agreement. And, Eco- Friendly Provence provides a good example.
One of my favorite spots in Provence is the medieval village of Entrevaux. It features a fabulous draw-bridge entrance high across a river and there are walled walkways that zigzag up through 20 fortified doorways to a 17th century citadel which dominates the village. The Gothic Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption church is quite grand, dating from 15th and 17th centuries, with a large, ornate facade. The walled town itself requires a good bit more time to explore than one might think, or you’ll miss a lot. I suggest that you get the walking tour guide from the Office de Tourisme and put it to good use.
There are a multitude of attractions for the green traveler. In the nearby village of Le Baux de Provence you can visit an incredible winery with a fantastic organic and biodynamic reputation. In the same village (voted one of the prettiest villages in France) you’ll find the Cathedrale d’Images, an astounding art concept with something of a cult following. A disused quarry is used as a giant ‘canvass’ onto which works of art are projected. France also happens to have some incredible islands in the Mediterranean and, while we all know Corsica, very few people know about Porquerolles and Port Cros. These two gems have been described as the ‘European Caribbean’ and, in terms of green travel, visiting them is an absolute must.
Provence certainly provides a treasure trove of sensory experiences with its wonderful food, wine and scenery straight out of a landscape painting. And, there are so many walking, biking and hiking tours to enjoy while minimizing your carbon footprint. Just remember, after partaking in what may be your most memorable wine tasting experience, getting back to your hotel on your bicycle may be difficult.
Viva La France!