Despite the romance of Provence — celebrated in dozens of bestselling travel books and memoirs — some parts of the region have lost much of their authentic character owing to the influx of affluent Parisians and the hordes of summer tourists. Fortunately, there are pockets in the Luberon and Alpilles areas where a timeless atmosphere remains intact. Hilltop villages such as Ménerbes and Bonnieux still embody the essence of the region, even with their starring roles in Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence.” The town of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue retains an inimitable charm despite the popularity of its Sunday market with the editors of glossy magazines around the world. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence’s Wednesday market is equally popular — arrive early — and a short drive south is ancient Les Baux-de-Provence.

Aix-en-Provence is the birthplace of post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne, and a walking trail links sites that include his childhood home and former studio.

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