When my friend sent me an article about sweeping views of poppy fields in Provence a few weeks ago and told me we should plan a trip to go see them for ourselves, who was I to turn her down? At this point, pretty much everyone around me knows I’m a sucker for anything travel. To be honest, at first I didn’t take her too seriously, as we’ve been friends for over 12 years and never traveled together. The whole getaway seemed ideal though… three days, just us, sea and salt air… Yep, definitely tempting. I was about to head back to the States to get married, and had been at max stress level for a few months. I figured I could use a couple of days to relax, and the sunshine of Provence seemed like precisely the right place to do it. ☀️

We booked our tickets and made accommodation arrangements over breakfast one day. I was so happy to be planning something other than the wedding, that I was quick to help with all the planning. I was in contact with a company that has two gorgeous accommodation options in Provence, so we booked that and prepared for our weekend away from gloomy Paris. We took the TGV to Aix-en-Provence, picked up our rental car, and headed immediately to the coast for a relaxing lunch by the beach in La Ciotat. Although our research had indicated that the poppy fields were inland, we were staying decently close to the coast, so it felt only right to start our Provence adventure with some Mediterranean Sea time. Our lunch was rather gusty at times, thanks to Le Mistral, so we limited our beach time and did some wandering through the city.

 Our stroll through La Ciotat old city was a great way to get some fresh sea air and take in the pretty façades. There are plenty of spots to get local wine, olive oil, and all things lavender in all Provence cities and towns. I find that whenever I’m in certain regions of France, I am tempted to buy all the little souvenirs from that region. Naturally, if it had the word “lavender” on it, I was considering purchasing it. {If you want to channel some of the Provençale vibes in your home, click here.}
After departing La Ciotat, we decided to visit a village on the way to the hotel, while at the same time keeping an eye out for our poppy fields. You see, the article had said the field was in the valley by Bonnieux, but that’s easier to use as a description only once you’ve been there. Driving around aimlessly didn’t feel like to most productive way to spend our time, yet it certainly was delightful. Needless to say, not only did we not make it all the way to Bonnieux that first day, we also didn’t find a single poppy field. We were disappointed while fully aware we were free as birds jaunting around Provence, so we were juuuuust fine.
Before taking my parents to Provence last summer, I had had a pretty clear idea of where I wanted to go based on years of research of the region. Yet somehow in all that research, Le Castellet never once came up yet it is for sure one of the most charming villages in Provence, if not all of France. I also found the inhabitants to have quite cheery dispositions (although in truth this could be due to us being there at the beginning of high season, thus no one is feeling burned out or tourist-exhausted yet!).
We strolled and strolled and looked out over the valleys from the perch that is this darling town. As we neared closer to our dinner reservation time at L’Olivier, we headed to get some rest and freshen up. When we arrived at Mas du Brûlat, we were pleasantly surprised by the immediate warm welcome of the staff. I knew at check in that even if we never found the poppy fields, we would end up having the perfect Provence getaway no matter what.
Our next day in Provence had more or less the same agenda as the first day: find poppy fields. Wondering if we ever found them? Well, we did. Barely.
Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles

Our first stop didn’t cut it. There had to be a fuller field than this.

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles

Finally, there it is.

For our last dinner in Provence, we returned to Le Castellet and made the rounds looking for the most welcoming restaurant. Feel free to disagree, but when I saw this place and the view from it, the deal was quickly sealed. The colors and plants are so inviting and the view across the narrow street is over a valley and beyond to the Mediterranean Sea. We enjoyed a slow multi-course meal here as the sun set and finished our evening with one last stroll through the town.
Our final day was spent in Aix-en-Provence, as my friend had never been and I knew we couldn’t leave the region without having a few hours there. Aix has earned its reputation as one of the best places to visit in Provence, with its museums, central location for all the wonderful villages nearby, and wonderful outdoor marchés. If you haven’t been, be sure to plan your stay around the main outdoor market that takes place every day from 8am to 1pm at Place Richelme. Enjoy great shopping, excellent meals (often with Italian influence, color façades, and that wonderful Provençal sun. 🍒🌞

🚲 Wanting to cycle in and around Aix-en-Provence? Click here for recommendations.

⚜️ To read all about our beautiful accommodation for this trip, Mas du Brûlat, click here.
⚜️ Want to frolic in poppy fields as well? ❣️❣️I think we were a bit early and 2-4 weeks later they would have been easy to find. We found this one near Lacoste, but they’re all over France, not just in Provence. I’ve even seen them since this trip near Paris!
⚜️ We ate dinner at this wonderful restaurant in Le Castellet. And, yes! They did have an excellent plant-based dish for me.
⚜️ There are many wonderful outdoor markets in the Provence region. Check them out here.
⚜️ Looking to bring a bit of France to your home? Check out some of my favorite products here.