Provence is the stuff holiday daydreams are made of. It’s a sprawling land of gently swaying lavender fields, charmingly rustic chateaus and sun-kissed beaches we can’t wait to introduce you to on one of our Provence cruises. A large region located in southwest France, it’s well-known for the diversity of its landscapes: rugged coastal cliffs contrast against lazy fields and quaint villages, where weekly markets take place as they have for centuries, untouched by time. In fact, the quiet beauty of the Provence countryside has provided inspiration for countless artists, from Matisse to Picasso. Perhaps even more so than anywhere else in France, food is central to the Provencal way of life. You’ll find all of the delicious hallmarks of Mediterranean cooking here – silky olive oil, sun-ripened tomatoes – and a clutch of mouth-watering, time-honoured recipes. Don’t leave Provence without trying a hearty bowl of soupe au pistou, which combines fresh, earthy vegetables with delicate herbs and tender beans. Of course, everything should be washed down with a cool, crisp wine: Grenache Blanc and Syrah are Provencal specialities. On your travels, look out for scattered Roman relics, such as the Arles Amphitheatre and the town of Vaison-la-Romaine, which is encircled by the river Ouveze.