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
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.
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
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.
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.
(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.
are many other local villages which are well worth a visit.
These include Chateaudouble, Aups, Cotignac, Le 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.