White sandy beaches and cerulean waters may seem like a cliché for coastlines, but in the case of the French Riviera it is a true description. Outlining the southernmost edge of France, the Riviera – immortalized in the 1955 film To Catch a Thief — is home to sun-dappled cities and lifestyles of luxury. But once you’ve managed to tear yourself away from the gorgeous coast, you’ll find yourself in the heart of Provence, the notable province in the south of the country. The Riviera is just a small section of this region, which includes the seaside cities of Nice and Marseilles. Further in you’ll discover mountains, inlets, lavender fields, and our favorite postcard villages in Southern France.
Provence is bordered by the Rhône River to the west, Italy to the east, Hautes-Alpes and Drône to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. With a warm climate, Provence (and the Riviera) makes the perfect destination any time, but there are certain periods of the year where they truly shine. Here we’ve assembled a list of our top 10 favorite annual events in Provence, as wide-ranging and delightful as the province itself.
1. Lemon Festival, Menton
The Lemon Festival is a feast for the eyes – and taste buds
Located in the “Cité des Citrons” – City of Lemons, for non-French speakers – the Lemon Festival is a visual feast and a pungent experience for your taste buds. Lasting throughout February and March, the festival displays hundreds of thousands of lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits shaped into astounding floats and sculptures in the spirit of each year’s theme. The city of Menton has been hosting this annual event since 1929 to advertise the region’s bountiful harvest, and the Lemon Festival has only grown in popularity over the course of its eight decades. We’d advise you to arrive by train; transportation hubs in Nice or Marseilles will connect you to the local lines leading to Menton. While you’re at the festival, be sure to visit the Salon de l’Artisanat, an arts and crafts showcase – some of the products (jams, soaps, fragrances) are bound to use the lemons that gave the fest its name! Here are some other artisanal souvenir suggestions from the area to get your shopping jump-started! Read the entire story here…»
What makes something “French?” Simply originating from France isn’t quite enough. For most people, there’s an indescribable attitude to the idea, a certain quality of je-ne-sais-quoi suggesting perfection of the art of living. Many pilgrims in search of this quality find themselves on the doorstep of Paris. They’re dazzled by the art and glamour of the City of Lights. But when Parisians think of warmth and simple comforts – of living the “French” experience – they think of Provence
Provence is a province of southeastern France, bordered by the Rhone River, the Mediterranean Sea and Italy. It was the first Roman province beyond the Alps (hence the name) and formed the seat of the Languedoc region. For centuries it was self-governed by the Counts of Provence from their capitol in Aix-en-Provence before finally merging with the rest of France in 1481. As such, it has a distinct cultural and linguistic identity that makes it a popular destination for both national and international tourists. Not sure where to start? Check out the Top 10 Villages in Provence.
Sadly, every trip must end. But you can bring a little bit of Provence with you when you go, a few key items to inspire those quiet memories of the sun, air, and the sense that somewhere life’s secrets have been figured out.
Calissons & Other Sweets
Calissons are a traditional Provencal candy. They’re candied fruits and almonds, rather like melon-flavored marzipan. About two inches in length, they’re usually almond-shaped and topped with a thin layer of royal icing. Calissons are historically associated with the town of Aix-en-Provence, and as such that is where some of the best in the world can be found. While they can be stored at room temperature and preserve well, they are best served cold. Just driving through? See what else you can do in Aix-en-Provence in under 48 hours. Read the entire story here…»
Sunshine, a summer breeze and a glass of cold rose wine on a deckchair next to the strikingly blue water of your own swimming pool… If this sounds like your idea of a proper summer holiday, then this article is for you! The South of France is a fantastic destination for a summer vacation. There’s the French Riviera, Provence, the Mediterranean Sea, picturesque villages, delectable food, wine, and plenty of sunshine to go around! If you choose to stay in a vacation apartment or villa, you’ll be able to enjoy all these things and more like a true local. Of course there are countless fantastic accommodations to stay in the South of France. That’s why we chose to compile a list for you with apartments and villas in Provence and the French Riviera that offer a little something extra, namely a swimming pool! Discover how you can enjoy the perfect summer holiday in the South of France.
Four-bedroom vacation villa in Salernes, Provence
This villa in Salernes is a typical Provencal ‘Bastide’ with a gorgeous swimming pool and terrace
To start things off, this 4-bedroom villa in Salernes is a wonderful accommodation for a vacation with the entire family. The kids will go nuts for the gorgeous swimming pool, which has a salted water system so it’s just like the sea! The villa itself sleeps up to eight people, and is a typical Provencal ‘Bastide’, but with a surprisingly modern and stylish interior. The four bedrooms and upstairs playroom ensure there’s enough space for the whole family. The downstairs living room offers splendid views of the sunny terrace furnished with a swimming pool and of the garden, which is planted with olive and laurel trees. The fully-equipped kitchen makes it easy to cook your own meals with fresh, local ingredients. You can choose to eat dinner inside or outside al fresco on one of the two terraces.
The villa is located less than a kilometer (half a mile) away from the village of Salernes, where you can find shops for all your daily needs. Furthermore, there are many vineyards nearby where you can enjoy learning more about the winemaking process. The nearby town Lorgues has a fantastic farmers market where you can pick up fresh ingredients to take home with you. Check out Provence’s Food Culture and Southern French Cuisine for some culinary inspiration! Read the entire story here…»
Welcome to the first article of our new series ‘Apartments with a View’! One of the best things about staying in a local’s apartment is that it’s quite often either right in the city center or in the best possible neighborhood of the area. This also means that the apartment sometimes comes with a hell of a view. That’s why we’ve selected some of our favorite apartments in Provence and the French Riviera that offer a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean Sea! These apartments not only have the view of your dreams, but also offer something extra. We’ve chosen a broad selection of small studios, apartments for the whole family, city apartments and provincial estates, so you can be sure there’s one exactly right for you!
One-bedroom vacation rental apartment in the beautiful French Riviera town Cap d’Ail
This classic holiday apartment in Cap d’Ail offers a splendid view of the Mediterranean Sea!
This tasteful Cap d’Ail 1-bedroom apartment is located in a magnificent former palace mere steps away from one of the most beautiful beaches of the Cote d’Azur. The palace was built in 1897 to receive British and Russian nobility, and it is now a secure residence with several apartments. The 1-bedroom apartment is perfect for a couple, but can sleep three if necessary. The sunny living room features a semi-open kitchen and two big French windows that give a splendid view of the Mediterranean Sea. The bedroom has another set of windows that open onto a small balcony. The beach of Cap d’Ail is one of the prettiest in the area, and even won an award for the cleanliness of the water! The center of the village is about a ten-minute walk from the apartment, and here you’ll find restaurants, cafes and shops. Monte-Carlo in Monaco is just a short drive from the apartment, and makes for a fantastic cosmopolitan day trip.
Provence boasts some of the most picturesque villages in France, if not all of Europe. From cozy stone houses with terracotta rooftops to astounding castle ruins atop rocky outcrops, the South of France has it all. Often outshone by the famous cities in the area, these lesser-known villages make amazing holiday destinations for every visitor. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil village among fields of lavender for a relaxing holiday, or a seaside village with beautiful beaches and amazing seafood restaurants, you’ll find them in Provence!
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite villages in the area that all have something special to offer. Without further ado, here are our top 10 villages to visit in Provence:
The striking ochre deposits near Roussillon in Provence
To start off with a quintessential Provence town, try Roussillon, a community which epitomizes of provincial life. The town is located east of Avignon on a hilltop, providing the most beautiful views of the surrounding National Park du Luberon. The town only has about 1,300 inhabitants, but it is very popular among tourists for the ochre deposits, or ‘sentier des ocres’ that surround the village. Though the ochre is no longer mined, it is possible to visit a former mine and walk through the ochre-infused landscape. It’s easy to see why the area is referred to as the ‘French Colorado’! The town itself is basically one big homage to the ochre that surrounds it, as the houses all have hues ranging from yellow to orange to red. The best time of day to visit this picturesque village is right before sunset, as you’ll get to see the houses change between the most brilliant of colors in the last sunlight of the day. Read the entire story here…»
The picturesque town Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in the South of France
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is the quintessential Provencal town: it is filled with narrow winding streets and sun-filled squares, and surrounded by fields of sunflowers and the Apilles mountain range. The town was immortalized by Van Gogh in his famous painting The Starry Night, painted during his stay in Saint Rémy. Nowadays, you can see what inspired the celebrated post-impressionist painter by walking down the streets of the historic city center!
Avignon is a great center of culture and art located in the Provence, South of France. It’s often called the “City of Popes”, because Avignon was the seat of papal power for over 70 years in the 14th Century. It’s been centuries since the Popes returned to Rome, but you can still see their influence in the beautiful architecture and art that you can find in Avignon to this day. The grand Palais des Papes is an ever-present example of the influence of the Popes in the city. Avignon is also one of the few cities left in France that still has its original medieval ramparts that encircle the city center. Inside the historic city you’ll find a vibrant cultural life, which reaches its climax in July when Avignon plays host to one of the biggest performing arts festivals in Europe. During the rest of the year, the Mediterranean climate, sunny squares filled with café terraces and amazing southern French cuisine make Avignon a city to remember!
The Promenade des Anglais and Mediterranean Sea in Nice
Nice is one of the most beautiful cities of the French Riviera. Located roughly between Cannes and the Italian border, Nice lies right beside the Mediterranean Sea. The city was named after Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, by the Greeks who founded the city around 350 BC. Today, Nice is considered to be the most popular city in France among tourists after Paris. It’s not difficult to see why: from its sun-filled avenues and lovely climate to its famous Promenade des Anglais and amazing location right on the Mediterranean coast, Nice makes a fantastic holiday destination!
In this article we’ll show you around Nice in just 48 hours to give you a sense of what holidaying in one of France’s most famous resorts looks like! Read the entire story here…»
Aix-en-Provence is one of France’s most beautiful cities. Located in the South of France just 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Marseille, the city is known for its gorgeous architecture as well as its vibrant culture. Aix-en-Provence’s large student population (the city has 3 different universities) explains its abundance of cafes, bars and clubs in the city center. When it comes to culture, Aix-en-Provence has a lot to offer, as it was the hometown of famous painter Cézanne.
In this first video tour of the South of France, we’ll explore the thriving city of Montpellier! Montpellier is located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, just 200 kilometers (125 miles) northeast of the border of Spain.
The city is well known as a summer holiday destination, but Montpellier is also very attractive to visit off-season as well. Because of the mild climate it never gets too cold, and every year a winter holiday market is held in the city. Culturally there’s also a lot to see and do in the city, from museums to beautiful architecture. When it comes to shopping Montpellier definitely has a lot to offer, as the city boasts many boutique stores and big department stores. Lastly, Montpellier is also a student city, so the nightlife is very diverse. In this article we’ll expand on the Montpellier video tour and show you what Montpellier has to offer during the milder days of the year!
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