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.

One of the biggest sporting events in Provence in 2018 was the Formula One race at the Paul Ricard racetrack in Le Castellet.

It was the first time in a decade that France had hosted the race and was held on 22-24 June. The F1 will continue at Le Castellet for another four year initially.

Looking further ahead, France has been chosen to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup: expect a far few matches in Marseille at the city's Vélodrome.

And in 2024 it's the big one: some events in that year's Olympic Games will come to Marseille. Paris is the main Olympic centre, of course. But Marseille will see a dozen or so sailing competitions as well as three or four football matches.

A new 5000-seat stand will be created on the Corniche to the south of the city to offer sweeping views of the events at sea, while the J4 Esplanade by the MuCEM will be transformed into a huge "fan zone". logoClick here to book a hotel in Provence

Route des Cretes Gorges du VerdonThe Gorges du Verdon are a top tourist attraction in Provence and one of the most beautiful river valleys in Europe. This is the best way to visit the "Grand Canyon of France".

Wine-taster in ProvenceDriving through beautiful provençal scenery and tasting fine wine are both hugely enjoyable ways to spend your stay in France. So why not combine them and take one of our suggested wine routes?

The Blue Coast train line outside MarseilleThe Blue Coast train is the very best way to see the dramatic landscape west and north of Marseille, with its rugged hills and tiny villages snuggled in deep limestone calanques.

Bicycles on the island of PoquerollesYou can cycle for miles along Provence's picturesque backroads without seeing a car or village, and the region is ideal for exploring the scenery while enjoying superb weather, food and drink.

Mont Sainte VictoireStarting 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.

Route des Cretes aerial viewThe route des Crêtes takes you on a magnificent ride between Cassis and La Ciotat, with 360 degree views over some of the most superb scenery in Provence all along the way.

mont ventoux summitThere are three routes to the top of Mont Ventoux: from Malaucène, Bédoin and Sault. This is a guide to what you'll see on each of them.

Astrid Berges-Frisbey in The Well-Digger's DaughterPeople 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 Olympique de Marseille insigniaThe 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.

bulls camargueWild, windswept and remote the Camargue presents a challenge to explorers. But, with its black bulls, white horses and pink flamingos, it's a unique, richly rewarding experience.

The Monte Cristo ChallengeThe romantic inspiration for Marseille's annual Défi de Monte Cristo (Monte Cristo Challenge) swimming race is, as the name hints, Alexandre Dumas' great classic 1844 novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.

The GR2013 at Marseille-Provence airportThe Grande Randonnée GR2013 is a new long-distance footpath through the varied rural and urban landscapes of Southern Provence.

Maitre Kaisen, the Buddhist monk who plays petanqueThe zen of pétanque, how boules became cool and the game that stopped a tram in its tracks: five fun facts about Provence's favourite sport.

gorges de la nesque cyclistsIf you are touring the lavender fields or the area round Mont Ventoux, the Gorges de la Nesque, around 26 km / 16 miles south of the Giant of Provence, are a spectacular excursion.

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