A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE AREA
Provence is the area between the Rhone river on the west and the Italian border on the east, up to the southern alps in the north. However, we generally think of Provence as the region to the west of the French Riviera. It’s the more modest but just as attractive cousin to the glittering Riviera. More mysterious too. To the east of this area is the Var, which is sandwiched between the west of Provence and the Côte d'Azur.
The pull of Provence and the Var is strong for both French and foreigners and has been since the Phocaeans landed in Marseille over two thousand years ago. What’s the attraction? Difficult to put into words really because it’s an atmosphere, a way of life... but undoubtedly the climate, the light, the sea, the terrain, and the relative ease of living are in part responsible.
The region is large and includes easy access to the Mediterranean, hills and valleys, mountains and gorges, perched villages, and cosmopolitan cities. Not to mention the acres and acres of vineyards, olive groves and lavender fields. You can feel alone in the world on a walk in the forest, be part of the action on one of the many beautiful beaches, get the buzz from city life, or explore troglodyte caves. Something for everyone is often a cliche, but here it really is true.
LIVING IN PROVENCE AND THE VAR
Provence - slow living, great eating, culture and countryside. It has everything. If the idea of a relaxed pace of living tempts you, a taste of “la belle vie” in your very own vineyard or chateau, then you really couldn’t do better than considering investing in one of our luxury properties in Provence and the Var.
Your home is your castle, as they say. That’s surely what you’ll feel when sitting on your terrace with family and friends. The famous Provencal light which so inspired great artists makes everything around you golden. The cicadas ‘sing’ their typical song. As far as you can see are hills and typical Provencal ‘garrigue’ - scrubland covered in wild thyme, rosemary and lavender.
If you feel like a taste of city life, you’re never too far from the buzz of cities like Aix en Provence or Avignon. A beach day? The charming sea ports of Cassis, St Tropez or the Islands of Porquerolles not far from Toulon are a drive away. You definitely also need to discover the Gorges du Verdon, one of Europe’s most beautiful river canyons, and Moustiers Sainte Marie, a gorgeous village to the west of the gorges.
Though the area is a real magnet for visitors, you can always get away from the crowds if you need to. The weather is good year round. You can sip your cappuccino in outdoor cafes and savour a platter of oysters in restaurant terraces even in November, December and January. Okay, you might keep your jacket on at this time of year, but still, the sun is shining and all is well.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SOCIAL CALENDAR
As you can imagine, there are too many to list, but here are some main events to put in your diary.
- Les Hivernales Dance Festival, Avignon ~ February
- International Art & Antiques Fair, Isle sur la Sorgue ~ Easter Weekend
- Les Carrières de la Lumière, Les Baux de Provence ~ March to January
- Avignon Theatre Festival, Avignon ~ July
- Festival d’Aix (opera), Aix en Provence ~ July
- Opera Festival, Orange ~ July to Aug
- International Piano Festival, La Roque d’Antheron ~ July to Aug
- Les Rencontres d’Arles (photo festival), Arles ~ July to Sept
- The Roman Legions, Orange ~ Sept
OUTSTANDING PROPERTIES FOR SALE
The big dilemma is which to choose. A family home? A chateau? A vineyard?
It’s no mistake this large family home in Le Val is one of a kind. It’s close to the village but in a secluded seven hectares of land. Would you believe, as well as a splendid swimming pool, it has a river and waterfall? A rare find in the area. It’s a three-bed, three-bathroom property which also has separate two-bed caretaker’s accommodation, an artist’s atelier, and a number of outbuildings if you have ambitions of creating other living or working spaces.
An 18th century Provencal chateau is your dream? Check this one out near the village of Flayosc, only one hour from Nice. It’s set in 34 hectares, three of which are already dedicated to wine production, and there’s lots of room to increase that. There are 2000 sq metres of living space needing renovation which means you can let your imagination run wild about what you want to create. A luxurious family home? A fantastic boutique hotel? A retreat? Set at the end of a plane-tree-lined driveway, the chateau has 10 bedrooms, staff quarters, and a swimming pool.
Or you could invest in a fully operational vineyard in Lorgues in the Var, 45 minutes from St Tropez. The 90 acre property already produces a distinguished wine which is bottled on site and sold world-wide. The estate comprises a handsome bastide, offices, tasting centre, wine-making facilities, staff and guest quarters, olive groves and a swimming pool. The finishing touch is that it has its own helipad.
INVESTING IN PROVENCE REAL ESTATE
Living in Provence is not only a fabulous personal objective; it is also a wise investment. It will always be on the radar for buyers should you ever decide to sell, though be warned, it’s a very difficult place to leave. Just think about it:
- A climate which is unrivalled anywhere in the world - summer temperatures in the 30s, an average of 15 degrees celsius in winter (though it can get much colder inland of course), only 60 days of rain per year, balmy days even in January and February and rarely any snow (though the southern alps are very close for those regular winter skiing trips).
- Over 30 million tourists visit the region per year, making it highly desirable for resale of your property or for holiday rental, should you decide to invest for that reason.
- International airports at both ends of the region - Marseille in the West and Nice in the East. There are also over fifty aero-clubs and aerodromes in the area, as well as innumerable private and corporate helipads.
- Excellent transport infrastructure.
- Skiing in the winter, sailing and watersports in the summer.
- Dining to die for - French Michelin starred restaurants, as well as modest but excellent local restaurants focussing on the fresh Mediterranean ingredients - tomatoes, olive oil, fish, wine, accompanied with a glass or two of pastis followed by a bottle of Cassis or Bandol wine.
ARRANGE A VIEWING
If you’d like to find out more about living in this area, or you’d like to know more about any of our Provence and Var luxury real estate for sale, feel free to get in touch with us.
We’d be more than happy to introduce you to paradise!