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The South of France

Image of an alpine chalet, PR-954 Sun meets snow on the alpines slopes of the South of France!

Among the many reasons why the South of France remains one of the world’s premier tourist destinations is its unique geography. Sandwiched between the dramatic peaks of the Southern Alps and the gentle sweep of the Mediterranean littoral, Provence and the French Riviera offer the best of both worlds: snow and sun. No time of year is better for enjoying that balance than the spring, when the fresh powder on the Alps makes for world-class skiing and the warm sun of the coast helps cut the winter’s chill.

Plan your trip to Provence for the springtime and you can enjoy unique recreation, world-famous events and a mix of weather that has something for everyone! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of street cafés in a Southern French town There’s nothing quite like enjoying a meal of fresh Provençal cuisine en plein air!

There is perhaps no national cuisine venerated more than that of France, and no French region more famous for its culinary prowess than the southeast, where the warm sun of the Mediterranean meets French savoir faire. One of the best parts about staying in a vacation rental on your trip to Provence, rather than in a hotel or resort, is that you’ll have a home with a full kitchen at your disposal to try your hand at the famous cuisine of Provence and the French Riviera. Keep reading through our gastronomic guide and get some ideas for ambitious cooking during your stay in a home-away-from-home in the South of France!

1. Herbes de Provence

Image of herbes de Provence, lemons, honey, and garlic on a rustic wood table Often packaged in small bundles, as seen above, herbes de Provence make a great souvenir.

Not so much a dish as a thread running through all the famous specialties of the region, herbes de Provence are as fundamental as they are simply beautiful. The bundle of seasonings, while not a fixed formula, is normally made up of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. For a dash of color, lavender is often included (see above), but doesn’t fit into the flavor palette. A special spice blend can make a great Provençal souvenir to commemorate your trip, bringing a bit of France home with you! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Villa Cézanne from outside by the pool Villa Cézanne welcomes guests with a lit pool, candles, and a warm interior at dusk.

Named for the grandfather of Post-Impressionism, Paul Cézanne, this luxurious four bedroom villa outside Aix en Provence takes its design cues from the modern art that the painter’s work inspired. With unique modernist furniture, sleeping space for the whole family and a beautiful poolside terrace outside, this Provençal villa is a dream come true!

The Great Room

Image of the living-dining room of Villa Cézanne Villa Cézanne’s great room offers a fireplace, dining table, sitting room, and more!

The heart of any home is its hearth. Gathered around the sleek fireplace in the living room of this villa, you’ll find space for the whole family to come together and relax! Tasteful wooden and black cloth armchairs, a long contemporary-style sofa and a faux fur rug beneath it all create a unique common area at the core of the villa. An enormous flat-screen TV provides entertainment. Read the entire story here…»

 

The South of France has been an international vacation destination for centuries, with admiring foreign visitors giving their names to prominent places such as the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. For your South of France trip, take part in the grand tradition of leisure and joie de vivre in Provence and the French Riviera with our vacation rentals! There are lots of options for recreation, relaxation, and everything in between. And with our wide selection of vacation rentals, you won’t have any trouble finding a unique home-away-from-home with features that the whole family will love!

1. Stunning Ocean Views

Image of two outdoor patio chairs on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea Picturesque views are just one of the many benefits of living by the sea

The Mediterranean Sea has always been a vital part of life in the South of France, as important to its culture as to its identity. Today, its warm blue waters are one of the biggest draws for visitors to the region. With hundreds of miles of craggy coastline and dramatic cliffs overlooking the sea, there are lots of options for enjoying the coastline. For one, you can take in amazing views of the water from right outside your door at our 6 Bedroom Rental in Bormes Les Mimosas, a hilltop vacation rental that will blow you away! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of tomatoes and herbs Fresh, local produce is used in many of the vegetarian restaurants you see down below!

Being a vegetarian may be tough, but being a vegetarian in the South of France is even more of a challenge. The vegetarian lifestyle has made its way to Paris, but isn’t quite as popular in the South of France yet. That’s why we’ve searched high and low to find the best vegetarian shopping and eating in the South of France for you! Keep reading to find out more!

Nice

The Nice Life International Café is everything you need rolled up into one peaceful café. If you’re looking for a place to sit back, enjoy a cup of coffee, meet some people, or possibly grab a bite to eat, then this is the café for you! The café focuses on serving fresh, local products, in addition to their own creations. Upstairs you’ll find the living room, which is perfect for sitting back, catching up on a good book, or studying for your exams. Located at 15 bl Lech Walesa, 06300 Nice, this café’s opening hours differ daily so be sure to check their website before you go! If you’re only in Nice for a short time, then check out our guide on how to spend 48 hours in & around Nice! And if you need a place to stay, we’ve got you covered! Click here to see some of our Nice vacation rentals. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Soaps Beautiful handmade perfumes and soaps at a street market in Grasse, France.

While many ancient societies commonly used perfumes, it was the French that made it a luxury item. Known as the perfume capital of the world, the town of Grasse in the South of France has the ideal climate to grow essential flowers, including jasmine and lavender. These ingredients are used to create the absolute best perfumes the modern world has come to know and love. Discover the top five perfumeries in the South of France where you can get a firsthand look at how these marvelous scents are created.

1. Galimard

Image of Grasse The lush greenery and flora on the hillsides in Grasse are used to make perfumes.

The Galimard Perfumery was originally founded by Jean de Galimard in 1747 and is the third oldest perfumery in the world. Yes, you read that right; this well respected perfumery is 268 years old! Since its founding, Galimard Perfumeries have maintained the original recipes that were used for King Louis XV, who reigned until his death in 1774. Its blend of jasmine, rose, lavender, orange flower and tuberose creates a scent that is loved by all. Did you know that you can take a tour of the factory and museum, which are located in Grasse? Offered 365 days a year, this guided tour will show you the laboratory where the perfumes are created from the extraction of locally grown fresh flowers. You can watch the bottling process and if you’re lucky, may even be told some of the company’s secrets to these time-honored scents! Stay in one of our vacation rentals in Nice, which have easy access to the town of Grasse and its perfumeries! Explore more about the city of Nice, France. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of the village of Les Baux-de-Provence A typical Provençal landscape outside Les Baux de Provence

Provence’s rich history, dramatic landscapes and charming cities have attracted foreign visitors for centuries. This region has lots to offer, with international festivals, special cultural events and ample joie de vivre—the perfect environment for a romantic trip with your significant other! Enjoy all of France’s cultural atmosphere and the warm sun of the South of France by escaping with your loved one to Provence for a memorable vacation in one of our furnished rentals.

Garden Studio Loft with Terrace and Pool Access

Image of a poolside garden terrace You can lounge poolside with this romantic studio in Boulbon

Have you always dreamed of living the good life in a peaceful village in the French countryside? This charming studio vacation rental gives you the chance to do so in style, combining convenient amenities (air conditioning, fridge, modern bathroom), the luxury of an outdoor pool and terrace, and a location in the bucolic village of Boulbon, complete with traditional outdoor markets and a medieval château. After climbing a set of spiral stairs up from the garden of the larger villa (inhabited by the owners), you’ll find a stone-floored studio with a sofa, eat-in kitchen and a double bed (140cm wide) in a mezzanine above the main room. The bathroom is stylishly modern, with a large mirror and rainfall shower head. This vacation rental is well-placed for trips to some of the top 10 villages in Provence, less than an hour’s drive away! Read the entire story here…»

 

Marseille is the second-largest city in France, after Paris, boasting a population of 850,000. Historically, it was the most important trade center in the region and functioned as the main trading port for the French empire. Learn more about the history of Marseille here. This city is currently the largest commercial port in France, and is the largest city on the southern French coast of the Mediterranean. Located between Montpellier and Nice, Marseille is also the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. It has a Mediterranean climate with mild, humid winters and warm to hot, mostly dry summers. Marseille has a vast public transportation system involving trams, metro, and busses, all under an easy ticketing system. There is also a very sophisticated bike rental system, which many argue is the best way to see the city. Residents of Marseille are known as Marseillais.

This article is the first part of a two-part series featuring Marseille; in it you will learn about some of the most popular destinations in town. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of handmade baskets Provence’s markets are known for their handmade goods, including these woven baskets

The Provencal region has beautiful beaches, beautiful residents, and a beautiful artistic legacy. It also happens to be the home of some of the country’s best shopping, particularly for produce, spices and handmade crafts. (To get you started, why not take a look at the southern French cuisine you’ll find in the area?) While it may be difficult for you to peel yourself away from the amazingly blue waters, trust us: the marketplaces are worth a few hours of your time – or multiple visits! C’est magnifique!

1. Aix en Provence

Image of a flower market Place de l’Hotel de Ville in Aix en Provence is famous for its flower market

Old Town serves as the central hub for many of the markets in Aix, with Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday being the most popular. (You can get a sense of what a Provencal market is like here.) Place de Prêcheurs is the setting for fruit and vegetable vendors (perfect for vegetarians looking to cook meat-free dishes!); Place de l’Hôtel de Ville is where you can pick up a fresh bouquet for your beloved and browse older tomes for your library. Craftier folks will find the markets for textiles and antiquities precisely to their liking at the Cours Mirabeau and Place de Verdun, respectively. If you are in town during the month of December, don’t pass up the opportunity to tour the exquisite Christmas markets. Aix en Provence has a lot more going on that just its markets, however – see what else you can accomplish in this city, even in a 48 hour trip! Read the entire story here…»

 

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

Image of the Lemon Festival 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…»