Once an administrative province of the Roman Empire, Provence covers a large geographical area in southeastern France. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south, with the Alps and Italy to the north. Major cities in Provence include Marseille, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. Because of the excellent climate combined with clean water resources and rich soil, there are blooming fields of lavender and sunflowers spanning the countryside. The fragrant and vibrant natural landscape of Provence has long drawn visitors from around the world.