The herbs of Provence

Herbes de Provence

Known to all as a symbol of the gastronomic heritage of the South of France, and used on grilled meats, in stews and to make stuffed tomatoes, marinades and salads, these aromatic plants are to be found on the tables of all those who enjoy Mediterranean cuisine. They also have genuine medicinal properties which will help you to stay on top form. But exactly how many herbs of Provence are there? It’s hard to say. Below is a list of those commonly cited by foodies. When you come to learn French in France, have a wander around the markets or to some of the small shops for a sniff of their extremely delectable scents! Afterall, France and food goes hand in hand.


Savory has a slightly peppery taste and is a source of antioxidants and minerals. It also has invigorating properties and, for when you have a cold, it’s an antiseptic. It is perfect with goat’s cheese and grilled meats.


Known as farigoule in the South of France, thyme is a highly aromatic herb. It has digestive properties, and is also used to help treat bronchitis and liver disease. Thyme is one of the ingredients (along with bay, parsley and rosemary) in the famous bouquet garni, a bundle of aromatic herbs commonly used by keen cooks to prepare stocks and broths.


This is another medicinal plant which is highly effective for treating fatigue or blood circulation disorders, and also helps to ease rheumatism. It can be used in pizza dough, on lamb or fish, and even in desserts.


Oregano has numerous uses in cooking (chops, pizza, etc.). An excellent energy booster, it is effective against respiratory diseases and rheumatism. If you’re having a barbeque, oregano is an essential addition to your grilled meats. In our region, some people use it to make the famous pissaladière, a pizza-like dish made with onions, anchovies and olives.


Known as balicò in the Nice region, basil is, along with olive oil and garlic, one of the three essential ingredients in pistou. This Provençal sauce can be used to make a soup of the same name, or as an accompaniment for pasta. It is rich in vitamin A, phosphorus and calcium. Don’t forget that you can also grow most of these plants in your garden. Now that you know all the secrets of the herbs of Provence, take advantage of your stay in Antibes and enjoy the local specialities!

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