Explore the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur – Luxury Vacation Guide
Snowy white peaks, rippling turquoise waves, long-lasting pink sunsets and endless lavender fields – the colorful world found in southern France’s Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region is nothing short of paradise. As one of the most popular luxury vacation destinations of all time, the French Riviera and its surrounding areas has enticed in-the-know travelers for centuries. Framed by the Alps in the north, the Mediterranean in the south, Italy to the east and the Rhône River to the west, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (or PACA) is abundant with diverse landscapes, endless activities and the rich flavors of French cuisine.
There is a quote about visiting the South of France’s beloved region that says “Provence is a country to which I am always returning, next week, next year, any day now, as soon as I can get on a train.” Indeed, the varied region has something for every taste all year round – skiing, sunbathing, sailing, wining, dining, hiking, relaxing … the list could go on for forever. There are the boldface cities overflowing with style, culture, art and history. Not to mention the quaint villages sprinkled across the hillsides and seashores, each one more beautiful than the last. Regardless of where you may find yourself – whether it’s a fashionable luxury hotel on the Riviera or a charming private villa in Luberon, your time spent in the PACA region will be filled with great food, friendly company and postcard-worthy scenery.
For les artistes – Provence’s southwestern coast captured the art world early on. The area in the Bouches-du-Rhône is home to rugged coasts with cliffs plunging into the sea as well as verdant hillsides overflowing with lush gardens. It’s no wonder that great artists like Cezanne and Van Gogh settled into the charming villages here to paint some of their most famous masterpieces. Arles, Saint Remy and Aix-en-Provence are the must-see communities in the area. The gourmet restaurant Alexandre in the village of Garons between Arles and Nimes offers a remarkable dining experience worthy of two Michelin stars.
For the adventurer – Although the seaside cities and rolling hills of vineyards may dominate the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur postcards, the northern mountain ranges are home to Alpine peaks that are prime locations for skiing, hiking, biking and exploring. The Northern Alpes-Maritimes region lifts off from the glittery seaside of Cannes and climbs into quiet mountainscapes in the northeast. The Mercantour National Park is a stunning protected park with verdant hilltops, pristine lakes and a healthy population of wildlife. It’s a great escape from the bustling streets of Nice and the Riviera and a fantastic spot for hiking. Rent a luxury chalet in the mountains to enjoy a quiet escape with your family and friends away from it all. The northeastern Alpes-de-Haute-Provence are home to top ski resorts like Serre Chevalier that are perfect for family ski vacations away from the crowds often found in the neighboring Rhône-Alpes region.
Vaucluse is in the northwest of Provence, rising above the artistic villages of Aix-en-Provence and Arles. It is home to Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail as well as a variety of noteworthy towns and villages known for their natural beauty and fantastic restaurants. Avignon is arguably the most popular city in the region. The heralded Restaurant Edouard Loubet in the boutique hotel La Bastide de Caplongue in Bonnieux is a hidden gem that offers haute cuisine in a romantic hideaway.
Book a Luxury Vacation in Provence
For the stylish seafarer – One of Provence’s highlights is undoubtedly the sparkling seashore and its chic cities that twinkle over the Mediterranean. The French Riviera not only has fantastic coastlines and world-renowned cities, it also is home to the Côte du Rhône wine region and romantic hillside villages just off the sea. Many well-heeled travelers forgo the hotel and rent a villa in Saint Tropez to make the most of their holiday with personalized itineraries and all the comforts of home. Others prefer the boldface names and effortless style found in Nice, Cannes and Antibes in the eastern coastal Alpes-Maritimes. Hyeres is another popular resort on the French Riviera and home to stunning shorelines sprinkled with thousands of palm trees.
Other must-see communities include the fragrant Grasse, the international capital of perfume, and Mougins, a quiet village north of Cannes famous for gastronomy and its breathtaking scenery. Check out these luxury villas in Mougins that are available for rent so you can enjoy your own private piece of Provence.
If you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten path or if you’re a seasoned Provencal traveler, you may like to discover hidden gems like Seillans, Moustiers, Tourtour or La Grave.
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