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Archeology in the Provence, France area indicates a long history of human habitation, with a culture of hunting, fishing, and wild-plant harvesting early on. Later, with the domestication of wild animals, the culture switched to a pastoral one. This culture has changed little over the centuries, apart from a brief exploration into industrialism.
Though German-Celtics originally inhabited the area, they were eventually assimilated into the Greek and Roman cultures which peacefully infiltrated beginning around 600 BC. During this time, the Greeks founded the colony of Massalia (now Marseille) on the Provencal coast. It was, in fact, Greece that introduced the grape vine and the olive here.
The province was consistently defended by Rome against, first, pirates, and then invading Celts, mainly to protect their trade route to Spain. The first Roman settlement was established in France in 123 BC. and in all, they built over 13,000 miles of road, one of which is the nearby Via Aurelia (or Aurelian Way).
Provence prospered while under Roman rule, but as the Roman declined, Provence did the same. By 536, Franks were in control and defended the area from repeated Moorish invasions. Raids were frequent, though, and Provence suffered much during the 8th century from Moorish raids by sea and land.
In 1032, Provence became part of the Holy Roman Empire, and was ruled by a succession of dynasties, including the papacy, until 1376. In 1481, Provence was handed over to the French, and has seen its government change from a monarchy to a democracy.