Activities and Sports
In this area of the site we survey the enormous range of sports and activities you can practise and/or watch in Provence: hiking, cycling, water jousting, pétanque, swimming, diving, hot air ballooning, white water rafting as well as many spectacular rides and drives. Click here to read about bird watching and bull games, both in the Camargue.
In 2013 Marseille-Provence was the European Capital of Culture. Now in 2017 the region is the European Capital of Sport (pictured: Marlin, the comedy footballing seagull who is the event's mascot).
The year kicked off on 14 January with a big party on the Old Port and Red Bull Crashed Ice, an extreme winter sport involving a steep downhill skating race in an urban environment.
But the year doesn’t end there. Some 400 activities are planned over the coming months, including kick-boxing, fencing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, tennis, cycling, swimming, running and windsurfing. In short, something for everyone, including people with disabilities.
A highlight will be the arrival of the Tour de France in Marseille on 22 July, with a 23 km / 14 mile individual time trial beginning and ending in the Vélodrome.
The penultimate stage of the famous race before the finale in Paris, it will take cyclists along the Corniche JF Kennedy, round the Old Port to the MuCEM then up the steep hill to Notre Dame de la Garde.
It has been promised that entry to the Vélodrome will be free for this occasion, though a system of applying for tickets in advance is likely to be in place. Watch this space for details as they emerge. And click here to read more about cycling in Provence.
Also on the agenda: a round of the windsurfing world championship (10-16 April), the European sailing championship (5-13 May), the Euro Battle Pro international hip-hop championship (13 May), the Top 14 rugby semi-final (26-27 May) and the French athletics championship (14-16 July).
All this is in addition to major regular sporting events such as the Monte Cristo Challenge swimming race (24-25 June) and the Sosh Freestyle Cup skateboarding world championship (15-25 June), the pétanque world championship (2-7 July) and the Marseille-Cassis half-marathon (29 October), pictured.
It's going to be an active year! Click here for the full 2017 European Capital of Sport programme.
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Starting and ending in Aix, this route circles the mighty Sainte Victoire mountain that fascinated Paul Cézanne to the point of obsession. But you don't need to be an art buff to enjoy the rich and varied attractions on this ride.
People are always walking in Marcel Pagnol's stories - not surprisingly since so many of them are set in the tough peasant culture of the early 20th century. And so hiking is surely the best way to enter deep into his world.
The French are football-mad and none more so than the Marseillais. And Olympique de Marseille (OM for short) is central to the city's cultural landscape. Its local fan base is enormous and it regularly clocks up the highest match attendances in France.
© Travel and Tourism in Provence 2010-2017.