The Provençal way of life is one that’s deeply tempting for anyone who’s been feeling the need to get away from it all. This is a place where the Mediterranean weather turns fields of corn and lavender into picture-perfect backdrops, where you can sip your locally bought wine and enjoy the landscapes before heading out and tackling them head-on with a range of great activities for families, groups of friends and adventurous foodies. Better yet, our range of villas in Provence and chateaux and holiday homes in the Côte d’Azur make the perfect base to explore this enchanting region!
There’s a good reason why the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region is popular among fashionistas and film stars. Firstly, there are the impossibly blue seas that give the Côte d’Azur its name, then there are the glamorous towns that overlook them. Yet the size and diversity of this region make it a destination for all kinds of travellers, not just yacht owners. The mountains in the north promise action-filled holidays while the inland towns and cities like Arles, Marseilles and Avignon overflow with culture and history. Perhaps the best news for anyone considering a holiday to Provence-Alps is that that any experience here is sure to include mouth-watering cuisine and exquisite wine.
The Typical Sights of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region
- The Côte d’Azur – Take a drive down this famously glamorous coastline and visit St Tropez, Cannes, Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo.
- Pont du Gard – Stand beneath the giant arches of this immaculately preserved viaduct.
- Notre Dame Basilica – Enjoy the views from this iconic hilltop cathedral, which sits above Marseilles.
- La Croisette – Keep your eyes peeled for stars sunning themselves on Cannes beaches.
- Avignon – Explore historic streets, Roman ruins and a papal palace.
- Daluis and Verdon Gorges – Follow winding roads along the ‘Grand Canyon of Provence’.
- Luberon – Cycle through the lavender fields of inland Provence-Alps.
- Cassis – Explore the beautiful cliffs and winemaking pedigree (crème de cassis isn’t made here though!)
- Les Baux-de-Provence – A beautiful village set on a rocky outcrop and topped with a ruined castle
- Cap-Ferrat – A glamorous and exclusive town rich in history and culture
- Antibes – The museums here include ones dedicated to Picasso, Napoleon and even Absinthe.
When to Visit
The Mediterranean coastline becomes undeniably busy in summer as sun-seekers flock to the sandy shores, however that’s also when it’s at its hottest. Temperatures can easily reach 40 degrees Celsius in the middle of the day, so arm yourself with sunscreen and copious amounts of water. Unless you are a hardened cinéphile, okay with long queues and manic crowds, Cannes in May should probably be avoided as the film festival takes over the town. Head to the beaches in June and September, when the weather is still warm and dry but without the large crowds of high summer.
Inland the climate becomes milder and the attractions become quieter, and the region’s iconic lavender also comes into bloom during summer. In winter, the mountains are covered in snow from November to March and places like Briançon take on a magical atmosphere.
- Airports: Main airports in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur are Nice Airport, Toulon-Hyères airport, Marseille Airport and Avignon Airport.
- By train: The TGV system – an abbreviation that literally stands for ‘really fast trains’ – is the best way to get into the region from elsewhere in France. For travel within Provence-Alps, check the SNCF website for regular journeys between towns. And if you travel from the UK, Eurostar is a fantastic option to avoid the airport hassle.
- By bike: Cycling can be one of the most invigorating way of exploring the dramatic countryside, and See Provence collates all the bike rental companies in the region. Bike sharing has taken off in a big way in towns such as Avignon, Marseilles and Nice.
- By car: Hire a car for unrestricted access to Provence-Alps. This will allow you to travel unabated and take diversions into whichever town takes your fancy. Comparison sites like Easy Car pit rental firms against each other for the best deals.
- On foot: For a slow-paced journey between the sights of Provence-Alps, hit one of the Sentiers de Grande Randonnée. These historic walking routes link many of the towns.