* Photographing Provence’s rolling fields of lavender: Sure, we’ve all seen those shots of iridescent Provençal hills cloaked with purple lavender. But it’s another thing entirely to get out and snap these stunning—and fragrant—fields in person. Lavender’s peak blooming season is usually between mid-June and mid-July; the area concentrated around Plateau de Valensole is particularly vibrant.
* Touring Marseille’s brand-new waterfront: Following a prominent year as European Capital of Culture 2013, much of Marseille boasts an all-new appearance. Head down to the city’s J4 Esplanade for unbeatable views over the Vieux Port, 12th-century Fort Saint-Jean, and Rudy Ricciotti’s ultra-contemporary MuCEM.
* Hiking the Caps: The Riviera’s sentier du littoral is an almost continuous coastal footpath that winds its way along the country’s seductive southern shores. Leave the coastal hubbub behind and spend a day wandering between the wealthy private mansions and the sparkling sea on Cap Ferrat or Cap d’Antibes.
* Soaking up history and culture in Nice (Riviera): Nice boasts more museums than any city outside of Paris. Better yet, almost all of them are free. Revel in the 17th-century opulence of Palais Lascaris, peek into the creative mind of an artistic genius at the Musée Matisse, or learn about Nice’s time-honored multiculturalism at the Musée Masséna.
* Visiting a wine estate: Most of Provence and the French Riviera’s prestigious vineyards welcome visitors for free tours and tastings. Just keep an eye out for signs as you drive past. Superb AOC wines are scattered throughout the region, including Côtes du Rhône (around Avignon), Côtes de Provence (through much of the South of France), Côtes du Luberon (north of Aix), and Nice's tiny AOC Bellet, west of the city center.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.