Provence was a historical state of southeastern France. On the left banks is the lower Rhône River till the west and and borders Italy to the east. On the South, it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. Today this comprises the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, and parts of Alpes-Maritimes and Vaucluse. Marseille is the largest of this territory in modern time.

Some of the earliest known habitats of the human race have been found on the coast of Provence. Stone tools of the primitive era found in the region when carbon dated were found to be as old as 1 to 1.05 million years BC. Location of these sites included the Grotte du Vallonnet near Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, between Monaco and Menton. Advanced tools worked on both sides of the stone dating to 600,000 BC, were found in the Cave of Escale at Saint Estėve-Janson. Tools from the year 400,000 BC got located to Terra Amata in Nice including some of the first fireplaces in Europe. Excavation sites in Observatory Cave, in the Jardin Exotique of Monaco, led to the discovery of tools from Middle Paleolithic- 300,000 BC and Upper Paleolithic – 30,000–10,000 BC.

During the phase between World War I and World War II, Provence was under civil unrest and was rancorously divided between the ruthlessly radical big cities and humble, conservationist small villages. In the year 1919, there were strikes throughout the city of Marseille. In 1935 Toulon saw riots all over.

Provence was once in the unoccupied zone when Germany defeated France in June 1940 leaving it in 2 halves of an occupied zone and unoccupied zone. Italian soldiers were stationed in the eastern Provence. Rising unrest among the civilians and hidden resistance to the occupation led to the formation of an active front facing rebels. The Soviet Union was raided by Nazi lead Germany in June 1941, following which the Communist Party became the forefront of resistance in Provence.

Deputy of Charles de Gaulle, Jean Moulin became the leader of the Free France resistance movement. He was catapulted to Eygalières, in the Bouches-du-Rhône on 2 January 1942 and united various rebel movements throughout France to push off the Germans from their motherland.

A dialect of Occitan language, named as Provencal has been historically spoken all over the Provence. Langue d’oc is the other name for this language and is related closely to Catalan.
Vivaro-Alpin a regional version of this language spoken in the Alps, Provencal in South which includes the maritime, Rhoadanien is the version spoken in Rhone Valley and Nicois is used in Nice. An ancient form of Provencal, Nicois is known to be closely related to the original language of troubadours. It is also known as the literary language of its own.

So don’t waste any time. Just pack your bags and visit Provence to experience its magic. You can get a lot of discounts on flights and hotels on Cleartrip.com if you are planning well in advance. Just comment here if you need any advice, and I will be happy to help!

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