With time-honored traditions, a rich history steeped in the arts, celebratory festivals and scenic villages, purchasing a French property in Provence feels like something out of a fairytale. Consider living in the Alpilles, the Luberon, the Provence coast or The Var for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Living in The Alpilles
Located in the northwest corner of the Bouches-du-Rhone, the Rhone and Durance rivers on either side, the Alpilles has gorgeous landscapes, a natural environment and preserved traditions, all with the style and refinement of Provence.
Renovated country houses and drystone farmhouses point to the area’s ancient agriculture industry. Simple, charming villages have houses huddled around churches. Here are six more reasons to purchase a home in the Alpilles.
1. The panoramas in the Alpilles look like they’re straight off a postcard.
2. Authors Alphonse Daudet and Frédéric Mistral once lived here.
3. Van Gogh once lived in Saint Rémy, which is where he was inspired by the sunflowers, cypress trees and beautiful light.
4. Annual festivals throughout the year mark the seasons, including the Christmas celebrations every December, complete with Christmas markets and large holiday suppers.
5. There are plenty of fountains, monuments and historical remains to keep you busy, especially when you first arrive.
6. Bullfighting is one of the popular modes of entertainment in the area, but not something that’s to everyone’s taste.
Moving to The Luberon
The picturesque villages of the Luberon are perched on hilltops and date back 1,000 years or more. Popular villages include Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, Lacoste and Ménerbes, and there are more unknown villages if you want to live in seclusion.
There’s plenty to do in the Luberon, whether you want to take in natural sights, shop for fresh produce, stroll around a bustling city, get a historical perspective or discover your surroundings by bicycle. Art lovers frequent the area’s museums, galleries and antique shops. From the simple to the gourmet, local cuisine features fresh tomatoes and flavorful olive oil. Visit a local market or winery when you prefer to dine in.
Outdoor enthusiasts spend their days hiking, kayaking and canoeing. Accrobranching is a common activity for adventure seekers. Obstacles courses are set 20 feet high between pine trees, connected via cable walkways, rope bridges, swings, zip lines and beams.
9 More Reasons to Purchase Property on the Provence Coast
1. Located on the southeast corner of France, Provence has everything from mountain peaks to valleys and rugged coastlines. The river Rhone is to the west and the Italian border is to the east.
2. Thanks to the Romans, who came to the Provence coast for the weather and the green hills, the area is ripe with olive trees and world-class wine.
3. Provence’s most alluring aspect is arguably the Cote d’Azur. This seaside town full of culture is heavily visited and the most action-packed area of Provence.
4. Cannes is well-known for hosting the Festival de Cannes, as well as having a number of stylish boutiques.
5. The small principality of Monaco hosts the Grand Prix, and you can also rent a Ferrari by the quarter hour or hop on a scooter to get around.
6. Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap Ferrat have ten beaches between them, not to mention several museums.
7. The coastal path that starts at the Plage de Passable and continues to the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat fishing village was once a custom officer’s trail. The hike takes four hours and you can stop to picnic, swim and snorkel along the way. There are four beaches you’ll pass, plus acres of figs, palms, Aleppo pines, wild herbs and cacti.
8. On the southwest coast, the Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue is the largest river delta in western Europe. It has shallow lakes, salt marshes, birds, indigenous bulls and Camargue horses. The area is perfect for discovering by bike or horseback.
9. The Plage de Gigaro on the Saint-Tropez peninsula is short on tourists, with soft sand and great camping.
Buying Property in The Var
Located in the central-southern region of Provence on the French Riviera between Bandol and Saint-Raphaël, the Var is ripe with interesting villages. With a gorgeous coastline and famous resorts, The Var’s coastal area attracts the most visitors, but there’s also a great countryside, plus mountains and forests.
A short distance from the coast is the Port-Cros National Park. Bormes-les-Mimosas is ideal for gardens and coastal scenery. Consider looking for property in the medieval villages of Gassin, Ramatuelle and La Croix-Valmer.
The area has a Mediterranean climate and hikers, climbers and kayakers frequent the Massif de Maures and the the Gorges du Verdon. There are vineyards and wineries in Bandol, and wine and olive festivals are among the many local exhibitions.