LaCure’s wide selection of Provence villas includes a variety of properties strategically located to take advantage of the many riches for which this French region is so well known. Whether it’s sunbathing on the French Riviera, hiking the rugged interior, exploring caves, sampling wines, soaking up culture and history, or feasting on the famous cuisine, LaCure’s Provence Villas can provide even the most discriminating traveler with a luxury retreat tailored to meet his or her needs.
The region of Provence in France offers a landscape of many contrasts. Bordered on the west by the Rhône river, Provence stetches to the Italian border in the east, from Serre-Poncon in the north of Alpes-de-Haute Provence, and to the islands south of Hyères on the Mediterranean. Provence is largely mountainous, being crossed by the Provence Alps for most of its length, and by the Maritime Alps on the Italian border. Inland are found Mont Ventoux, the highest peak in Provence, and the ridges of Montagne Ste Victoire, made famous by painter Paul Cézanne. To the east and north of the Verdon are the beautiful Maures and Estel and the mountain wall of the pre-Alps. The meeting of water and land in Provence has carved spectacular caves and gorges, notably the Verdon Gorge in Haute Provence. This area is home to many spectacular luxury villas.
The French Riviera comprises the relatively flat coastal area. The coast offers as many striking contrasts as does inland Provence. Stretching eastwards from Marseille are the Calanques, bays with sculpted limestone cliffs and spectacular luxury villas. The sheltered harbors near Toulon, and the Presqu’ile de Giens, lie farther to the east. The mountains meet the sea at the Maures Coast! Spectacular roads running along ledges cut out of the rock of the Alps overlook the turquoise waters of the Côte d’Azur. LaCure’s selection of fabulous Provence Villas consists of both ocean view and beachside villas on this stunning coast.
Most of Provence has a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot, dry summers, mild winters, little snow, and abundant sunshine. Soft-leaved scrubland rooted in limestone soils around the Mediterranean Basin along with Juniper and stunted holm oaks are typical. The mountainous landscape has shaped Provencal cuisine, which can be enjoyed throughout the region and one of the many reasons people rent villas in Provence. Aromatic shrubs such as lavender, sage, rosemary, wild thyme and Artemisia are abundant and provide the typical aroma and taste of Provence. Few milk products are used but goat cheese, olive oil, garlic and olives are often combined liberally with the famous Herbes de Provence. Many Provence villas feature kitchens which are built to accommodate the preparation of traditional Provencal style cuisine.
The seafood of Provence is also famous. Renowned Mediterranean cities include Marseille, Nice, Toulon, and Cannes. The fish frequently found on menus in Provence are the rouget, a small red fish usually eaten grilled, and the loup, (known elsewhere in France as the bar), often grilled with fennel over grapevine wood. These can be enjoyed in restaurants, but are often also prepared by private chefs at luxury villas in Provence.
The most famous seafood dish of the likely sea- food capital of Provence, Marseilles, is bouillabaisse. Marseilles is the second-largest city in France and cosmopolitan with its metro and its Parisian-style arrondissements. The flavors of Marseilles are blended from its antiquity, seaport, seafood, museums and history. The city of Cannes is centered around the old port. The famous “Croisette” encloses the east side of the port, and other fine sandy beaches are also found to the west. Nice is ancient and the city retains its medieval heritage in its narrow winding streets and closely-packed red-tiled roofs. Toulon features a pretty and active port area with the naval base, and a fascinating “old town” with squares, terrace cafés, trompe l’oeil murals and wrought-iron balconies.
Further inland, Avignon, northwest of Marseilles, is also full of history but features the vibrancy of youth, art, music and activity. This area is home to a vast area of luxury villas. Avignon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where visitors can spend days roaming narrow streets inside the fortified walls. Aix-en-Provence is the city of art, and a city of light and activity and home to many of the most magnificent villas in Provence. Aix is also a home of art schools and several universities. Briancon is the center of one of the principle lavender regions of Provence. Many Provence villas in this region are in fact, surrounded by lavender fields. Its fortified walls are entered via one of two drawbridged entrances. Small canals, the gorgoille, run down the centers of some of the ancient streets.
Bandol, not far from Toulon, produces the most characteristic grape of Provence wines, the mourvèdre. The great majority of the wines produced in Provence are rosés. Cassis is the only area in Provence known for its white wines. Travelers often rent villas in Provence for the explicit purpose of enjoying the region’s wonderful assortment of wines
The Alpilles spread out from south of Avignon at its peak to the borders of the Camargue near Arles and the Crau plain. St. Remy in the Alpilles is the land of Van Gogh who was inspired by its light, its sunflowers and its famous cypress trees. Arles, on the banks of the Rhone river, is the gateway to Camargue, land of the Gypsies, bull fights and bull runs.
Whether you seek a majestic mansion in the Alpilles or a cozy coastline retreat; a culinary adventure or a cultural excursion; LaCure has a vast selection of Provence villas that are sure to suit your needs.