Slightly less wet than the month before, November still receives mild temperatures with an average high of 57°F (14°C). However, it’s now apparent summer has long passed and winter is near as the mercury dips to a brisk low of 43°F (6°C)—best to pack a sweater or two for those crisp evenings. And if you find yourself in the Alpine region inland from Nice or in northwestern Vaucluse, you can expect colder temperatures than that of the typical Mediterranean climate Provence is known for.
A cooperative sunny day might inspire beachgoers to don their suits, though the average sea temperature is now a chilly 63°F (17°C). For more on weather this month, see France in November: Travel Tips, Weather, and More.
Crowds & Cost
There are fewer crowds to compete with as even the shoulder season travelers have left the country. Having said that there are always visitors about in the main towns like Nice, Cannes, and Avignon. Hotel rates will be cheaper than during the busy season (up to 30%), flight, train, and car rental deals can be found, and lines for many famous attractions, museums, and galleries will be much shorter.
Though keep in mind, after Toussaint (All Saints’ Day) on November 1, many sights commence their shorter winter opening hours, restaurants close two nights a week, and towns and cities that buzz with holidaymakers in the peak summer months, like Juan-les-Pins, practically close down in the winter offseason.
And if you find yourself in the country on November 1 or 11 (see events below), know that there are nationwide closures, with businesses, including restaurants, museums, and galleries, closed.
Where to Go
This is a good month to rent a car and drive cross-country exploring Provence’s diverse landscape taking in the changing foliage as you make your way from one charming village and town to the next. A great place to start is in the historic city of Avignon where you’ll do well to explore its well-preserved medieval and Renaissance buildings and monuments, including the imposing Palais des Papes (Pope’s Palace). While here, you’ll be in time to experience Millévin a lively party that welcomes the new Côtes du Rhône wine and features tastings, music, light shows and an open-air dinner in the historic Place de l’Horloge.
Including Avignon, some of the most appealing parts of Provence are found within the triangle of Arles and Salon-de-Provence. Places like Les Baux-de-Provence is a favorite among tourists for its sound and light Carrières de Lumières informative event, or Saint-Rémy-de-Provence for its Roman ruins and historic sites, including the 12th-century monastery-turned-psychiatric hospital where Van Gogh painted Starry Night. There’s also Arles, its claim to fame is the impressive Les Arènes, a 1st century CE Roman amphitheater, and Théâtre Antique, both still used today for cultural events.
And a trip to France cannot go without a visit to the now-quiet Côte D'Azur for a languorous stroll along the water’s edge. If a brief storm should occur, there is always a nearby café or restaurant to choose between to warm up with a seasonal drink.
What to Do
Come the middle of the month, the star of the food scene is undoubtedly the black truffle where Richerenches kicks off the season with the Ban des Truffes. Meanwhile, Carpentras in the Var holds its annual Foire de la Saint-Siffrein event in late November and features live music, food stalls, and the first of the season’s truffle yield. Hunt for them yourself or load up your suitcase with the delicacy sourced from markets like these as well as Provence’s regular weekly markets found throughout the region.
Another food-related event worth checking out is Marseille’s much-anticipated gastronomy fair, SAVIM. Wander the stalls, sampling and buying the goodies on offer. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a little calorie-burning activity, you might like to participate in the Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes Nice-Cannes, a pretty route that follows the seafront from Nice to Cannes by way of Antibes. Though, there’s also the fun option of getting yourself to Porquerolles island off the coast of Hyëres to rent a bike and choose from any of the numerous circuits found throughout the car-less island.
Toward the end of November, Christmas markets begin to make an appearance in anticipation of the coming holiday seeing boulevards, streets, and marketplaces in towns and cities throughout the region lined with colorful wooden stalls and mini chalets. Shop the Christmas markets you happen upon taking advantage of the opportunity to pick up unique gifts and souvenirs, like a ceramic santon figurine, for loved ones back home. Try Foire aux Santons, a Christmas market in Marseille running since 1803, or Provence Prestige in Arles' Palais des Congrès.
Events in November
La Toussaint (All Saints Day). November 1st is a public holiday that commemorates the dead, expect some closures.
Armistice de la Première Guerre Mondiale (Armistice Day). November 11 is a solemn national holiday marking the end of World War I and sees many schools and businesses closed. Families visit the graves of their departed loved ones and many rites and rituals are held at the great French battlefield
Beaujolais Nouveau (Festival of New Wine). Taking place on the third Thursday of the month, this annual nationwide event celebrates the release of new wine at 12:01 am, mere weeks after the grape harvest, with music, fireworks, and parties.
Traveling to Provence in November? Check out these great itineraries.
Culture, Food & History of Provence - 6 Days. This six-day trip to France's famously beautiful Provence region allows you to experience its highlights. On top of touring the area's national parks and vineyards, you'll spend time in historic Marseille, travel around the ancient hilltop villages of the Luberon massif, and indulge in outdoor and gourmet excursions.
Culinary Rhône Valley Tour: Lyon to Marseille - 8 Days. This culinary tour winds its way from gastronomic Lyon (with a food scene rivaling that of Paris) through the colorful countryside of Provence. Taste famous wines, relax in olive country, and fall in love with the ancient cities and sweeping flower-filled fields that make this region famous.