84.1591 | Maison de vacances Villelaure, France
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84.310 | Maison de vacances Cereste, France
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Provence’s old royal city, which has since 1409 been home for one of France’s finest universities. Aix-en-Provence is an elegant city with a rich cultural past. In the 17th an 18th century Aix was the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department, and a great many of the elegant buildings in the city date back to this period. Aix is an extremely pleasant city with a long broad boulevard, lined with plane trees. Here, there are numerous cafés and restaurants. Finally, Aix is Paul Cézanne’s city. Cézanne was born, worked and died in Aix. At the outskirts of the city one can find the mighty Montagne Sainte Victoire, which owes its fame to Cézanne.
An incredibly exciting town full of atmosphere and situated in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône. The old quarter lies in the heart of Arles and has numerous Roman remains. The greatest sight is Les Arènes, a Roman amphitheatre from the 1st century A.D. There is also a Roman theatre from the 1st century B.C., Théâtre Antique, which is often used as a centre for the town’s many cultural arrangements, and Roman baths from the 4th century and a cathedral from the 12th century with its cloister-garth.
Aubagne lies in the hinterland from the coast, east of Marseille. The town is famous for being the birth place of the Provencal author Marcel Pagnol. The Pagnol-society has dedicated a 3 hours walk into the hilly landscapes around the town to Pagnol so you can visit the universe, described in his books and the places where the films were made.
The medieval city, Avignon, is the main city of the department of Vaucluse. The inner part of town is still encircled by its 5 km long fortification walls with its 39 towers and 7 gates. Avignon has a great many attractions. The greatest sight is without any doubt the majestic Palace of the Popes: www.palais-des-papes.com; www.mairie-avignon.fr/en/musees/palaisen.php, which overlooks the Rhône river. Because of unrest and anarchy the Popes preferred Avignon to Rome for almost one hundred years (1309-77). Another of Avignon’s famous sights is Pont St-Benezet, immortalized in the children’s’ song Sur le Pont d’Avignon.
Bandol lies between Marseille and Toulon and is one of the most important beach resorts in the Var department. It is a nice town with a very attractive promenade and a lively marina. Bandol is also one of the oldest wine districts in France. It was the Romans who planted the first vines here, 2550 years ago. Bandol is most well known for its fine red wines, some of the best in Provence, but there are also outstanding white and rosé wines in this district. From the harbour there are boat trips to Ile de Bendor.
Cassis is a charming fishing port, situated between two large protected nature reserves: Cap Canaille, Europe’s biggest cliff (going directly into the sea) with its 416 metres and les Calanques, the protected rocky coast from Cassis to Marseille. There are twelve narrow deep inlets with crystal clear water. At the bottom of these inlets there are nice little beaches. From the harbour there are tour boats several times a day. Les Calanques is an absolute must. It is strongly recommended to take the Route des Crètes, which winds up and down, ending in la Ciotat. One fantastic view after the other – just fabulous.
Cavaillon is France’s biggest vegetable garden, primarily well known for its good melons. The local market competes with the market in Apt for holding the position of the biggest market in Vaucluse. The old quarter in Cavaillon has winding streets, small squares full of flowers, well-restored houses, one of Europe’s most beautiful synagogues from the 18th century, a Jewish museum, a cathedral from the 12th century with its monastery and a Roman triumph arch from the 1st century A.D.
Situated between Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Var. The breathtaking canyon, Gorges du Verdon, is one of Europe’s greatest nature wonders - an outstanding nature experience that one must experience. At the Verdon river, which is cutting 700 metres down into the cliff, one can go hiking, climbing, canoeing and rafting.
Istres is beautifully situated on the big lake, Etang de Berre, between Marseille and la Camarque. The old quarter, in the middle of the town, has a charm typical of Provence with narrow, winding streets, old stone houses and shady squares. One can also find several pleasant parks and flowery boulevards. From the tower of the church, Notre Dame de Beauvoir, there are magnificent panoramic views of the town and its surroundings.
La Camarque lies just south of Arles, in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône and still; you have the impression of being in another world. La Camarque differs completely from all the other regions in Provence. It is one of Europe’s biggest wetlands, covering a surface of 140.000 hectares, and one of the biggest bird sanctuaries in France. La Camargue is an exciting “world” with real cowboys, half-wild horses, black bulls, flamingos and big salt and rice fields.
La Ciotat lies beautifully in a bay, by an isthmus. Like Cassis la Ciotat also has some calanques, but they are far from being of the same interest as in Cassis. The old town with its many monuments testify to its rich historic past. It was here the Lumière brothers with their invention of the cinematograph in 1899 laid the ground for today’s film cameras. In La Ciotat one can also find the world’s very first cinema from 1895.
Manosque is a busy industrial town which houses the national French nuclear research centre, Cadarache. For this reason lots of scientists and their families have settled in the town, giving it a dynamic and modern touch. Luckily, it has not destroyed the town’s medieval character. Two gates from the 12th century lead into the very interesting old town (pedestrian area). The old town has narrow, covered streets, small pleasant squares, and old stone houses as well as a beautiful old church with its usual Provencal wrought iron campanile. It is in this town the important Provencal author Jean Giono lived all his life while writing his books about the laborious life in Haute Provence. In Centre Jean Giono his life story is told.
Marseille is France’s third largest and oldest city and today the country’s most important port. Despite what many people think, Marseille is a most fascinating town. The old port, Vieux port, is an exciting sight with lots of life and numerous restaurants. Here you can eat Marseille’s world famous fish soup, la Bouillabaisse, which is served with all its fish and variety of prawns.
The Lubéron Mountains consist of two massifs, Grand et Petit Lubéron, separated by a narrow canyon Combe de Lourmarin. The whole area was laid out as National Park in 1977. It covers 120.000 hectares and stretches from Cavaillon in the west to Manosque in the east and from Gordes in the north to Pertuis in the south. It is a fantastic region with unspoiled nature, perfect for hiking or bicycle tours.
Set in magnificent natural surroundings, 6 km northwest of Toulon. The medieval quarter in Ollioules is well known for its flowery streets and the town’s flower market is the biggest in France. Ollioules lies at the foothills of Le Gros Cerveau, a long mountain range, stretching from Ollioules to Bandol. From here, there are superb panoramas of the coast.
Salon-de-Provence is one of the oldest towns in Provence. Set on a small hilltop, the medieval quarter has a big charm with its narrow streets, old stone houses and shady squares. The town is dominated by an imposing castle from the 10th and 16th century. The castle was the former residence for the archbishops of Arles and is today home for the biggest military museum in France. It was in Salon-de-Provence that Nostradamus lived while he was writing his prophecy book.
A Pleasant holiday resort with a good atmosphere and a multitude of restaurants and cafés. The town is situated approximately 10 km west of La Seyne, at the other side of the peninsula Cap Sicié.
The town first of all offers an enormous basilica which is reputed to hold the relics of Mary Magdalene. According to the legend, Mary and her followers were wrecked and brought safely ashore at the coast off La Camargue. Built between 1296 and 1532, this big basilica is considered one of the most impressive examples of Gothic architecture in Provence. A little south of the town one can find the grotto, where Mary Magdalene is meant to have spent 30 years of her life until she died in St-Maximin. It takes a good walk through a thick forest to reach the grotto. The old town and the medieval Jewish quarter offer leisurely strolling, discovering the old houses with facades from the 13th century and the ancient fortifications from the 14th century.
This town is one of the biggest pearls in Bouches-du-Rhône. St-Rémy-de-Provence is very well known because of its very rich cultural and historic past. Here, one can find the remains from the Gallo-Roman city Comptoir de Glanum, founded in the 3rd century B.C. and later ruled by the Romans under Julius Cesar. There are still excavations going on. Les Antiques, at the outskirts of the town, has two unique Roman monuments, an arch from the 1st century B.C., and a very well-preserved mausoleum.
Originally St-Tropez was a small, humble, fishing village, until Brigitte Bardot, Françoise Sagan and other celebrities discovered the town in the 1950’s and pulled in the whole jet set. In high season (August), around 80,000 tourists arrive at this extraordinary holiday resort. Despite this “big circus” in the summer, the town is definitely worth a visit.
Toulon is the capital city of the Var department and the French Navy’s biggest port of the Mediterranean, but it is not of great interest, although, it has a nice old town, La Cité, with its labyrinth of winding streets and alleys. The greatest sight, the fort, Tour Beaumont, can be found out of town, on top of the mountain le Faron. A cable car goes up the mountain from the suburb Super Toulon.
An exciting medieval village, set between Montagne Sainte Victoire and the Auréliens mountain range. Trets offers a charming old town, enclosed by medieval fortification walls from the 12th and 13th century, narrow, winding streets and vaulted passages, a medieval château, a church from the 12th century and a synagogue from the 13th century.