Olives and Olive Oils of Provence

It's impossible to imagine the landscapes of Provence without their silver-green olive groves rippling in the wind, provençal cuisine without the rich, fruity olives and olive oils of the local diet or provençal tissues and pottery without their distinctive, ubiquitous olive branch motif.

The French writer Georges Duhamel once wrote, "Où l'olivier renonce finit la Méditerranée" ("Where the olive tree gives up growing, the Mediterranean ends"). No wonder that his words are so frequently quoted.

In this section of the site we explore the long history of olive oil production in Provence, which almost came to an end completely in 1956. We discover how it reinvented itself over the last half century and the types of oil produced here, as well how to read an olive oil label - and avoid cheap Spanish imitations.

We also offer our full guide to the thriving tourist industry in Provence focussed on olive oil production: olive farms, olive oil tastings, festivals, shops, museums and more. And we invite you to view our picture gallery depicting an olive oil mill that uses a centuries old cold press process.

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olive oil press smallLe Vieux Moulin is one of the few olive oil mills in Provence that still use an ancient traditional method. Below, our picture gallery takes you right through the cold press process from start to finish.

olive oil in bottlesIf you fancy a visit to an olive farm, an olive oil festival, market, specialist shop or museum, read on for our full guide. Click here to read our general introduction to the olive oils of Provence.

olivesOlive production in Provence goes back a long way - back to the Ancient Greeks, in fact. On this page we explore this long and surprising history.

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