Travelling To Provence, How To Pack For The Summer …

June 11, 2014

Provence, Travelling, Vicki Archer, French Essence

 

Travelling to Provence and wondering how to pack for the summer?

I spend half my time here and yet I still get it completely wrong sometimes.

 

I forget after a long, cold and oftentimes dreary winter, how hot, hot, hot Provence can be. Even now in early June.

Yesterday was one of those days… I got it totally wrong.

Somewhere between 33 and 39 degrees in full sun at the magnificent amphitheatre in Orange, I decided I should re-think how to pack for Provence in the summer.

 

By the way, old Orange is a beautiful town to explore in Provence.

The amphitheatre and museum are well worth a visit and if you can time your stay to include an evening at the opera…

I promise it will be nothing short of magical.

 

How to pack for the summer?

Bare is not the answer unless you want to be bronzing all day every day.

Sunscreen is a necessity and lots of it, but I do believe that covering up is the safest and easiest way when touring around Provence.

 

Light colours.

Pure fabrics… linen and cottons… that breathe with the body.

Pretty dresses, skirts and tee shirts, white and beige trousers… long and short sleeved shirts.

I’m thinking bermuda shorts… with a striped tee.

 

A large scarf is an absolute must to protect the shoulders, arms and neck from the fierce rays.

Of course, large and fabulous sunglasses…

And hats… soft hats with a decent brim that protect but fold easily into a good tote.

 

A large sized tote that holds all is perfect for a day out in the sun.

It works well to hold all the bits if you are lazing by the pool and a tote can easily accompany you in the evenings.

 

The footwear is easy… if you like the sneakers … perfect… practical and comfortable.

For something lighter and more summery… the espadrilles are brilliant.

 

And yes, I have seen the Birkenstocks in Provence… xv

 

 ‘In The Bag’ Basics

dresses and skirts

the betsy johnson print fit and flare  //  the halogen cyprus eyelet cotton  //  the lilly pulitzer cotton tunic

**the vince camuto white cotton maxi skirt  //  the theory italian cotton knit midi skirt

 

shirts and tees

the rag & bone long sleeved striped tee  //  the perfect fitting cotton tees from gap  //  ** calson cotton ballet neck tees

rachel roy sleeveless tunic shirt //  hinge boyfriend chambray  //  tory burch brigitte military shirt

 

pants and bermudas

campbell cargos and linen capris from j.crew // the minnie in beechwood from j.crew  //  white jeans always do the trick

vince bermudas  //  andie from j. crew

 

and the rest

the soludos classic espadrille //  the best sunglasses from illesteva //  the lovliest raffia hats from helen kaminski

the karoo cotton floral from marc jacobs  //  downing silver tote from j.crew

 

 

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43 Comments

  • Merci beaucoup for this much needed advice. You are so right about Provence being hot. That’s one of the reasons they have shutters on their houses – no only to protect from the winter winds, but to keep their houses cool when the sun is high in the sky. I know because we have been there when it was hot and it was a blessing to be able to close the shutters midday. I quickly found out that black was not your friend in Provence in the summer. Thanks again Vicki. Anyone traveling to Provence should definitely read this before packing.
    Sam

  • Rena says:

    You are right, covering up is the best to protect from the sun. I do
    it since I live in the Tropic and when you go out…white crisp Linen.

  • Sonny and Michael Gillis says:

    Hi Vicki!

    We lived in St Remy for 12 wonderful years. Moved back to States 2 years ago. We are homesick. Is your apt for rent? Remy and Heather are our dearest friends.Would love to meet you. I know we have much in common and friends too!

    Warm regards,

    Sonny and Michael
    Please RSVP

  • Melanie LeFever says:

    This is so helpful to me. I live in a warm climate and am always looking for new ideas. thank you for the link to buying the clothes. I don’t know if they ship overseas, but Calypso St. Barths has lovely linen tops and skirts. Thank you for your post. I look forward to them.

  • Jenny Barton says:

    Couldn’t agree more. After 10 years of visiting three times per year, and now being well into our fourth year of living in Lourmarin, I still get it so, so wrong. I pack away the cashmere only to be hit by the Mistral two days later, which whistles though the linen trousers – as my granny used to say, a lazy wind, in that it goes through you, not round you. The answer, for me, is layers – always natural fabrics, but a nice American Vintage vest under a linen shirt, with a cashmere cardi or a pashmina for comfort. I have unashamedly gone into a café loo and removed the vest when the sun is strong. The tote carries Factor 30 for the visage (not as resilient, sadly, as it was), and Jungle Juice to zap the mosquitos, plus the completely wonderful scarf you featured some time back, with which I fell deeply in passion – the Red Butterfly one – because it folds to the size of a pack of tissues but is big enough to swathe myself in when/if the sun vanishes. Isn’t that the charm of Provence – always to expect the unexpected?

    • Vicki says:

      Isn’t that the most beautiful scarf, Jenny… mine will be with me too this summer… How wonderful to live in Lourmarin… one of my favourite villages… :)
      Provence is unexpected… that is so true… in every way… :)

  • suzanna says:

    OH MY, LOVE IT……..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mina says:

    No to Birkenstocks! You have to try Fitflops they are so much cuter and way more comfy! I have 4 pairs!

  • Anita Rivera says:

    Vicki! This morning when I came here, there was a message that said that the comments were disabled. I am glad they are up and running! I remember when I first moved to Nice in June. It reminded me so much of my native California because my first several days there, it was chilly, but then the “canicule” came and it was true California-type weather: HOT!

    But no matter where you are in Provence, any style outfit must be comfortable and stylish.Enjoy your outings! Anita

    • Vicki says:

      Hello Anita…
      I have such troubles with the internet here so I am afraid all sorts of wild and crazy things were happening to the site yesterday! I am glad I managed to sort it out…
      Heat does need comfort… and practicality… that’s why I believe the simple works so well.

  • Terri says:

    Thanks for this list. My husband and I will be in Provence in mid-September. What changes would you make to your list for that time frame?

    • Vicki says:

      Add a few cashmere pieces Terri… light sweaters/cardigan for the evening… maybe a warmer scarf.
      Normally the days are still beautifully warm, but the evenings can get a little chilly… and dining outside is still the most popular… so a cashmere throw works well.

  • What a great post! I will be sure to bring my big floppy hat! :)

  • devon says:

    Hi Vickie

    Love the clothing suggestions! Orange looks wonderful. I don’t think I had that down on my list of places, We love to explore and visit places that have ruins. Our plans were to visit Aix-en-Provence leaving from Paris. Is Orange somewhere in the vicinity or reachable by train? It’s the transportation we may have a problem with as we are not planning to drive. Is it a day trip or worth spending the night? Thanks

    • Vicki says:

      Orange is a day trip and just over 80 kilometres from Aix. It’s not a huge town and the amphitheatre and museum aren’t enormous. There is also the most beautiful Romanesque church in the old town… the original paintwork is quite beautiful.
      I am not sure how the trains run… I think a car is the easiest way… The problem in Provence is that the public transport is limited and to really see the countryside, hiring a car is the best.
      Arles, Nimes and Saint Remy de Provence are also wonderful if you are interested in Roman ruins…

      • devon says:

        Thank you, this has been very helpful. We have been somewhat undecided as to how to plan our trip and which cities to add to the itinerary. If you don’t mind answering, which locations do you think have the best accommodations for overnight stay. Nice lodging.

        Thanks much for your help.

        • Vicki says:

          The larger towns have good accommodations generally… and if you aren’t driving then there is always plenty to do and see…
          Aix-en-Provence is wonderful as is St Remy de Provence… even Marseille is a wonderful destination if you want to visit a city.
          There are also many wonderful hotels in the Luberon region.

  • Anne says:

    When is the best time of year to visit Provence to avoid melting in the heat (but not too, too cold)?

  • Claire says:

    Hello vicki, love your posts. Planning on visiting Avignon early august, will it be extremely hot then? Does the sun burn as fiercely as the new Zealand sun? Thanks. Claire

    • Vicki says:

      The sun is not quite as fierce Claire… but it’s strong… I would say that I burn much less than in Sydney but I wouldn’t stay outside for long without protection… either a hat and/or sunscreen… :)

  • I wish my dilemma was what to pack for Provence:) That’s a good one to have!! Love your idea….enjoy

  • Linda B. says:

    I have the opposite problem. I live somewhere really hot (Tucson, AZ and when I go visit family in the cool, rainy NW USA, as I am about to, it is hard to pack warm enough clothes. . .

  • Laurie says:

    Is the red butterfly scarf still available? Thanks, Vicki, I so enjoy your emails. Photos today are so lovely.

    • Vicki says:

      I don’t think so Laurie… But i am sure she will be making other beauties… the designer is called Athena Procopiou

  • Candice says:

    I need to concentrate on what to pack to wear somewhere, Anywhere !
    I am tired of being alone out in the middle of the countryside, I need a city.
    so … there … lol.

    The big worry in my family right now is if I go visit friends in London or go to Buenos Aires and stay with friends, that I might not come back .. they only need to worry if I take the kitten with me :)

  • nancy says:

    I adore my Birkies! The shiny colors this summer, matched up with the right polish, the serious support for your feet — very chic with slim pants and shorts of all lengths. (No dresses.) If you try a pair, like me, you will become a convert and end up with more than one pair.

  • This is very much on my mind right now – the four of us are leaving for London, Santorini, Rome, Florence and Venice in a week. Just found a sleeveless black dress that will work for the wedding in NY (just before we leave) and touring around Europe w/a pair of flats. A few scarfs will definitely be making their way into my suitcase along w/draw string linen pants. Still need to find comfortable walking sandals that look good…

    • nancy says:

      shoes that satisfy your needs are so essential for a trip that I start with my feet and work my way up … just returned from 2 weeks of travels and key were my shiny blue marine birkies with rouge noir polish, marine French striped + solid ts, white cotton shirts, shorts and long pants, my bucket bag, and a large sun-screening hat, was always perfect, and I never had to think twice, walked on stones pavements, bicycled, etc. and in the evening high heeled sandals were simply fun to wear – with dresses that fulfilled a need for extravagant evening glamour. enjoy a marvelous trip!

  • Laurie says:

    Notting Hill, Please let us know what you come up with for cute and comfortable sandals.

  • Sharyn Talbot says:

    Thanks Vicki, this is proving to be most helpful. We leave Australia tomorrow, Tuesday June 17 and will be in Eygalieres by saturday. Not only does this help with the packing which is difficult when you are leaving a city which is currently reaching a high of 16 degrees C but it gives us a taste of what to expect once we arrive and adds to the excitement of the trip.
    Your emails are always eagerly awaited as we get closer to the time to depart.
    Thanks again and we are counting down the sleeps until we are in Provence.

  • Maggi says:

    I look forward to visiting Provence in October..I expect that the weather should be similar to the September temps. I plan to add cashmere to my packed items but do you have any other recommendations? I really appreciate your insights and love your blog!!

    • Vicki says:

      There are lots of ideas and tips on the page I mentioned…:)
      October can still be warm so I would take a soft hat also, for the daytime… and a few teeshirts… the cashmere sweater is perfect for the evenings…

  • Jo Cooper says:

    All your tips are great! Hopefully we will be staying at Le Petit Bijou when we are in St Remy. Emailing in progress! Thanks for the tips on train travel and driving, I think we have forgotten what happened last time we drove in France!
    Love all your hints for clothes for Summer (we are attending a wedding in England in August, so incorporating St Remy in July/August 2015). We know it will be busy, but what can you do? Australia is a long way away and we have to make the most of our time in Europe. ! We spent some time in Avignon and the Canal du Midi several years ago and fell in love with Provence. Only problem with the links re clothes is that they all seem to be for tall, slim and very young women!!! I am a little on the old side and rather short! Oh dear!!! Cheers! Jo

  • Vicki, I really appreciate this post and all of your ideas. I have a couple of questions regarding spring. What do you recommend to wear from late April until it starts to get hot in June? Are the last two weeks in April & early May too early to wear white jeans? And when do you start to wear light colors? Thanks so much for your help.
    Sam

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