Tourism In Provence: 5 Ideas For Free Outings.
As the French vacation budget shrinks due to inflation, it is more useful than ever to know about good deals and free activities. If you plan on touring in Provence, know that it is possible to have fun without spending a dime. We have listed 5 free outing ideas for you in the region.
1- Visit the Camargo Foundation in Cassis.
The first of the 5 free outing ideas in Provence is the visit of the Camargo Foundation.
This foundation was created by American artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972) to encourage creativity and experimentation, through residencies for artists, researchers and thinkers.
This unique place, located in Cassis on the shores of the Mediterranean, has been awarded the label "Maison des Illustres" by the Ministry of Culture.
But above all, the Camargo Foundation regularly opens its doors to the public during open days and every Friday from May to October at 11am, for a free visit of the foundation's gardens. The guided tour is by reservation only by sending an email (more information on the official website of the Foundation, link at the bottom of the page).
By walking through these gardens overlooking the Mediterranean, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of Cap Canaille and the entrance to the port of Cassis!
2- Admire the last windmill in Bouches-du-Rhône.
If you are nostalgic for the old Provence as described in the novels of Alphonse Daudet, you should go to the town of Boulbon to enjoy a second free outing. In this small Provençal village that has retained a picturesque and rustic aspect, you can admire the last windmill in the Bouches-du-Rhône. The Bonnet mill in Boulbon was built in 1776 during the golden age of windmills. Thanks to a restoration in 2002, it has regained its roof, its wings, and its mechanism. Even its grindstone is working again! This mill, nestled on the western slope of the Montagnette, is visible from the village. On windy days, you can see its wings turning. If you want to know more about this vestige of the past, know that the mill is open on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month from 2 pm to 5 pm. It is also possible to book a guided tour by calling the town hall at 04 90 43 95 47 at least 5 days in advance (http://www.mairie-boulbon.fr/fr/information/80718/patrimoine).
Discover the artisanal soap making in Salon-de-Provence.
One of the 5 free outing ideas in Provence will allow you to discover another local know-how: the artisanal production of genuine Marseille soap and black soap with olive oil!
It is in Salon-de-Provence that Marius Fabre soap factory has been perpetuating this know-how for four generations. Not only will you be impressed by the immense cauldrons used, but you can also witness the work of the master soap maker and discover step by step the gestures repeated for over 120 years! Visit their website: https://www.marius-fabre.com/en/content/17-visit-the-soap-factory
The most curious can complete the visit to the soap factory with a visit to the Museum of Marseille Soap (also free). This museum brings together antique tools, wooden stamps, soap molds, and other archives from the Fabre family.
4- Make an eco-friendly escape game in Miramas.
If you're looking for a free outdoor activity to keep the kids entertained during your stay in Provence, suggest an eco-themed escape game! Head to the Parc de la Poudrerie in Miramas to explore the 118 hectares of this former industrial site. Armed with paper and a pen, you can play the virtual game Waste Wars 3 - Mission Nature sauvage (https://www.poudrerie.fr/). This escape game was initially designed to raise awareness among schoolchildren about waste reduction, but it is now available to the general public and children aged 10 and up. Get ready for 1 hour and 15 minutes of walking and reflection. Put on your sneakers and have fun!
5- Embark on a treasure hunt in Istres.
The last of the 5 ideas for free outings in Provence will take you on a treasure hunt in the heart of the city of Istres. Starting from the old center, you will have the choice between 6 routes to discover the city for free and independently.
These walks are accessible from 4 years old. The little ones will be delighted to walk among the animals of the Art Zoo and the dinosaurs of Dinosaur'Istres.
Children choose the character they want to play (for example, a paleontologist or a dowser) and try to solve all the riddles of this treasure hunt! Upon arrival, a gift is given to the young explorers. More information is available from the Tourist Office (https://www.istres-tourisme.com/).