Provence is the land of lavender fields, verdant vineyards, and glittering beaches. From the hilltops of Hautes-Alpes to the coastal cottages and sandy coves of Martigues, this area just oozes romance.
Marseilles is the obvious starting point for any tour of Provence. The city has been inhabited for almost 3000 years, and its history is evident everywhere, particularly around the old port area. Cottages by the sea near Marseilles are within easy driving distance of the most popular sights in Provence – head south along the coast to reach the beaches of La Ciotat, and north to see the artistic centre of Aix-en-Provence, the birthplace of Cezanne. This is a place which is bursting with history – Nostradamus lived in Salon-de-Provence, and Avignon was the capital of Christendom throughout the Middle Ages.
Seaside cottages near Arles offer an introduction to the past, with Roman ruins scattered throughout the town. More Roman ruins can be found at the UNESCO Heritage Site of Orange, and in the hilltop commune of Vaison-la-Romaine. Meanwhile, Vallon-Pont-d’Arc & Aubenas are both known for their prehistoric pedigree - the local Chauvet Caves feature the earliest known Palaeolithic artwork, dating back to before 32,000 B.C.
If you want to see more of the natural beauty of Provence, chose a sea view cottage near Aubagne, which borders on the stunning Calanques National Park, a protected marine area of tropical lagoons, rocky inlets and rugged cliffs. The famous purple lavender fields are in full bloom during the spring and summer months, and can be spotted all across the communes of Sault (near Carpentras) and or Forcalquier (near Manosque).
Provence is full of dense forests and national parkland, which are accessible via the remote towns of Apt, Bonniuex, Cavaillon, and Pertuis. Further north, discover the gruelling hiking trails around the hilly towns of Nyons, Montelimar and Valraes.
Coastal holiday cottages provide the perfect base for any tour around Provence, no matter what your reason for visiting.
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