The house is ideally located for exploring the many attractions within the Provence & Cote d'Azur regions, with numerous options for both short trips to local  villages / towns and diverse attractions within a 30-45 minute drive - two highlights being the fantastic Gorges du Verdon/Lac du Saint Croix and the renowned coastal resorts.

GORGES DU VERDON / LAC ST. CROIX:

A way of finding solitude, even during the busier months of July and August, is to head in-land to the lakes and the French 'Grand Canyon', the Gorges du Verdon.  These attractions are a painless 40 minute drive away from the house along deserted country roads.  The Gorges offers walks, water sports (including canoing / white water rafting) and breathtaking views, which are best appreciated by photographs rather than words.  The Lac St. Croix is a vast man-made lake at the head of the Gorges, with the surface taking on a distinctive blue/green colour as a result of the limestone particles suspended in the water.  It has many quiet, beautiful picnic spots, is perfect for swimming or water sports and is largely ignored by tourists who mainly head for the coastal strip.  The ancient village of
Moustiers, which nestles between two limestone cliffs and is very near to the lake, is also highly recommended.

COASTAL RESORTS:

The Cote d'Azur stretches from Menton, on the French border with Italy, to Toulon in the west of Provence.  The coastline along this stretch is extraordinarily beautiful and varied, ranging  from rocky sections (ideal for fishing / scuba diving) to vast expanses of sandy beaches where the beautiful (and some not so beautiful!) people choose to bake in the sun and frolic in the sea.  There are also many walks along this coastline, which enables one to escape the madding crowds and find a secluded spot even in the height of summer

The choice of attractions less than an hour's drive from the house is staggering.  Many of these need no introduction or further description, including the world famous Cote d'Azur resorts of  Nice, Cannes Antibes, and St-Tropez.  A visit to any one of these will leave a lasting impression on you.  Slightly further afield, but still within easy reach for a day trip, is Monaco / Monte Carlo, where you can also watch the millionaires at play in this tax free haven.  Although the lifestyle in some of these resorts can sometimes seem removed from reality, the same is not the case of Toulon. This is a vibrant working city and port set below an impressive backdrop of limestone crags.  A walk around the daily produce market, which stretches up the main shopping street from the port, or watching the fishermen land their catch whilst having a coffee at one of the harbour side cafés makes Toulon a very interesting and different destination.

The nearest coastal resorts to the house (around 30/40 minutes drive) are
Frejus  (with its Roman Amphitheatre &Theatre plus zoo and waterpark),  St Raphael  and St. Maxime.


LOCAL OPTIONS:

Should you wish to stay locally, you can choose to visit one of several renowned Provencal village morning markets (most villages have daily market days - there are details in the house), stroll around the shops or relax with a coffee or something stronger in the cafés and bars.  Why not stock up with some local produce in the morning, have a BBQ for lunch and relax during the heat of the day with a book on the terrace whilst the children (or husbands) play in the pool?  Whatever you decide, here are some of the local options:

The local village, Flayosc, is about 1km or a couple of minutes drive from the house.  It is one of the many historic hilltop villages in the area and has a typical plane tree shaded square, essential shops, cafés/bars and restaurants and a very relaxed atmosphere.  The local market in the main square is on Monday mornings.

Draguignan is a 10 minute drive from the house and is the capital of the Upper Var region of Provence.  It is the regional and administrative centre for the surrounding villages and, as would be expected, contains all essential services.  There are several large hypermarkets in Draguignan selling everything from melons to mopeds - these are a necessary stop at the beginning of the holiday to stock-up on essential items, including the locally produced rosé wine, which is excellent and far too easy to drink!!  There is an excellent array of quality shops, cafés, bars and restaurants in Draguignan and (in summer) a daily Provencal food market in the main square of the old town.

Tourtour village (one of the most beautiful in France) is known locally as the village in the sky - for obvious reasons.  It is located on the side of a hill and enjoys enviable views to the south over the rolling Provencal countryside.  The village centre has a square which is surrounded by restaurants, cafés and antique shops.  These are several recommended walks around the village, much of which is inaccessible to traffic, making them safe for younger children.

Les Arcs is located a short 15 minute drive to the south of the house along a quiet picturesque road lined with vineyards.  Although the main village square has all the essential amenities (including a Wednesday morning market), the main attraction of Les Arcs is the medieval village. As you walk up the hill to the old town, it's like stepping back in time.  The steep narrow streets are traffic free and, unlike many other medieval hilltop villages in France, remarkably uncommercialised.  A stroll amongst the immaculately preserved houses and church, whilst admiring the views and cooling off at one of the natural springs, makes for a memorable experience.

Lorgues is a larger village, renowned locally for its bustling markets on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.  This is where local artisans, farmers and vendors come to sell their wares, often vying for space with travelling street entertainers.  There is always a vibrant mix of colours, smells and sounds at Lorgues market, which is guaranteed to entertain you whatever your age. There are also several restaurants and cafes to be found in Lorgues.

There are many other local villages which are well worth a visit.  These include ChateaudoubleAups, CotignacLe Muy, Villecroze and Salernes, all of which are within a 20 minute drive from the house.  Other local attractions include a roman bridge just outside Flaysoc and the impressive Gorges du Chateaudouble.


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