You can now come and explore Bollène’s historic hydroelectric power plant on the Rhone river! This masterpiece of industrial architecture was one of the last massive infrastructure projects to be built in post-war France. Commissioned in 1952, it boasts a gigantic turbine hall bathed in light through the geometric lattice of openings in its imposing Art Deco facade. Both are listed as Historic Monuments and can be visited during the newly launched 2-hour tour.
The world’s oldest opera festival, the Chorégies d’Orange, was created in 1869 and relaunched in 1971 in its current format. Every evening of its summer programme, 8,000 opera and classical music lovers throng the tribunes of Provence’s ancient Roman Theatre in Orange. The setting of this prestigious festival is no accident – acoustics at this venue are outstanding because of its immense backwall, which is the only stage wall to survive among Roman theatres built in Europe.
At the Roman Theatre of Orange, visitors can now extend the traditional tour of this ancient monument with a seven-minute Virtual Reality experience that immerses them in its two thousand years of history. This is a real bonus, while the inner façade of its famous stage wall is temporarily undergoing essential renovation works.
Connoisseurs of French-made quality blankets will know the name Brun de Vian-Tiran, the oldest cloth-weaving factory still running in France. For eight generations and down two centuries, the Brun family has been travelling the world in search of the finest wools to weave at its l’Isle sur la Sorgue manufactory. Now they’ve opened a new museum to showcase the wonderful saga of their family business.
There’s one Provençal speciality that’s not very well known, but it’s very photogenic – candied fruit! Vaucluse has long been a kitchen garden of France, and this technique preserves the fruit so it can be eaten in winter – especially at Christmas, when glacé fruit forms one of the traditional “13 Desserts”. As the candied fruit capital of Provence, Apt has just opened its Maison du Fruit Confit (House of Candied Fruit), where visitors can discover these magic ingredients and learn how to cook with them.
Cyril and Anne-Laure had the great idea of picnic hampers made up chiefly of local products, prettily presented and delivered to a place of your choice, wherever you like around the village of Lourmarin. For small groups, it can also be delivered with beautiful tableware and tablecloth. For larger groups, buffets are an option.
It’s not always easy to visit the workshops of artisans in the fields of crafts or food: you need to be able to find them, make sure they’re around and available, and be immersed in the region’s specific culture. Sarah Cheron knows them all, and offers guided day or half-day visits to their workshops for individuals and groups.
There’s no mystery about it – the reason the Lavender Museum has become a Provence must-see is that it offers visitors something new every year, and we can only congratulate it! This year there are themed activities, such as the gourmet trail giving visitors the chance to finally taste the lavender (yes, really!) and a ‘tour for the nose’ giving an unforgettable sensory experience. And there’s more!