Villes et Jardins (Towns and gardens to visit)

Renée

Villes et Jardins (Towns and gardens to visit)

South of France Towns
Charming towns to visit for half-day or day-trip.
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Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
129
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372
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Aix-en-Provence
372
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71
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Eze Village
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293
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Nîmes
293
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525
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Avignon
525
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225
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Arles
225
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479
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Pont du Gard
400 Route du Pont du Gard
479
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273
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Cannes
273
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229
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Nice
229
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146
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Villefranche-sur-Mer
146
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224
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Antibes
224
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116
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Juan-les-Pins
116
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107
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Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
107
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204
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Monaco
204
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343
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Saint-Tropez
343
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327
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Uzès
327
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161
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Lourmarin
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Along with Gordes, Roussillon is the most popular destination for visitors in the Luberon area of Provence. Set at the top of a cliff on the world’s largest ochre vein, it offers an awe inspiring example of the beauty of this rust-coloured rock, which is perfectly complemented by mountain vegetation and charming 17th– and 18th–century dwellings. The rugged panoramas have attracted a succession of artists over the years, meaning that the town now has an impressive art scene for its size and a number of galleries. Tourists can also explore ochre through a variety of activities, such as cycling tours along the cliff and pigment-making workshops.
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Roussillon
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Along with Gordes, Roussillon is the most popular destination for visitors in the Luberon area of Provence. Set at the top of a cliff on the world’s largest ochre vein, it offers an awe inspiring example of the beauty of this rust-coloured rock, which is perfectly complemented by mountain vegetation and charming 17th– and 18th–century dwellings. The rugged panoramas have attracted a succession of artists over the years, meaning that the town now has an impressive art scene for its size and a number of galleries. Tourists can also explore ochre through a variety of activities, such as cycling tours along the cliff and pigment-making workshops.
The small mountain community of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is a must-see destination for art and history lovers. Not only does it have sun-soaked medieval walls, ornate fountains and one of the oldest arcs de triomphe in the country, it can also claim to be the place that inspired some of Van Gogh’s most celebrated works. While living here as a patient of the local asylum, he produced The Starry Night (1889); his famous The Wheat Field series (1889–1890); numerous depictions of roses, irises and forest trees; and some haunting views of the hospital itself. It is also possible to visit the birthplace of another legendary town resident, the philosopher Nostradamus, and enjoy some excellent cuisine in the cosy cafés.
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Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
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The small mountain community of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is a must-see destination for art and history lovers. Not only does it have sun-soaked medieval walls, ornate fountains and one of the oldest arcs de triomphe in the country, it can also claim to be the place that inspired some of Van Gogh’s most celebrated works. While living here as a patient of the local asylum, he produced The Starry Night (1889); his famous The Wheat Field series (1889–1890); numerous depictions of roses, irises and forest trees; and some haunting views of the hospital itself. It is also possible to visit the birthplace of another legendary town resident, the philosopher Nostradamus, and enjoy some excellent cuisine in the cosy cafés.
Perched on a steep ridge near the dazzling Nesque river canyons, Venasque is yet another Provençal destination considered to be one of France’s most beautiful villages. As well as easy access to the magnificent rock formations, it offers picturesque houses, ramparts and churches from the Middle Ages, and one of the oldest shrines in France, the pre-Romanesque Baptistère de Venasque. These historical attractions have remained in incredible condition thanks to their isolated, rural location, which has escaped external influences over the centuries. Another of the town’s enticing features is its renowned cherry and grape industry. Local farms produce some of France’s most desirable fruits, perfect for savouring under the hot Mediterranean sun.
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Venasque
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Perched on a steep ridge near the dazzling Nesque river canyons, Venasque is yet another Provençal destination considered to be one of France’s most beautiful villages. As well as easy access to the magnificent rock formations, it offers picturesque houses, ramparts and churches from the Middle Ages, and one of the oldest shrines in France, the pre-Romanesque Baptistère de Venasque. These historical attractions have remained in incredible condition thanks to their isolated, rural location, which has escaped external influences over the centuries. Another of the town’s enticing features is its renowned cherry and grape industry. Local farms produce some of France’s most desirable fruits, perfect for savouring under the hot Mediterranean sun.
Formerly a nautical village, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is now a major attraction for antiques lovers and anyone wishing to experience the scenery of a bygone era. It hosts vibrant traditional markets every Sunday and its yearly antiques fair is considered to be one of the best in the world. Over 450 dealers come laden with curiosities, making for hours of fascinating browsing for those who love learning about the art and fashions of the past. Even if the fair is not for you, you can explore the classic riverside cafés, the quaint clusters of shops or the winding stretches of water with their historic boats, which have earned the town its nickname of ‘the Venice of Provence’.
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L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
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Formerly a nautical village, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is now a major attraction for antiques lovers and anyone wishing to experience the scenery of a bygone era. It hosts vibrant traditional markets every Sunday and its yearly antiques fair is considered to be one of the best in the world. Over 450 dealers come laden with curiosities, making for hours of fascinating browsing for those who love learning about the art and fashions of the past. Even if the fair is not for you, you can explore the classic riverside cafés, the quaint clusters of shops or the winding stretches of water with their historic boats, which have earned the town its nickname of ‘the Venice of Provence’.
With its dignified 18th-century homes, sturdy medieval ramparts and verdant, hilly surroundings – the ‘sea’ on which it proudly floats – Ménerbes is a fascinating place. It is not surprising, then, that so many famous artists and writers chose it to be their home, including Nicolas de Staël, the Marquis de Sade, the British author Peter Mayle (who used Ménerbes as a base for writing his best-selling novels about Provence) and, most famously, Picasso. The village is also renowned for its high-quality wines and truffles, making it a retreat for culture lovers and gourmets alike.
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Ménerbes
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With its dignified 18th-century homes, sturdy medieval ramparts and verdant, hilly surroundings – the ‘sea’ on which it proudly floats – Ménerbes is a fascinating place. It is not surprising, then, that so many famous artists and writers chose it to be their home, including Nicolas de Staël, the Marquis de Sade, the British author Peter Mayle (who used Ménerbes as a base for writing his best-selling novels about Provence) and, most famously, Picasso. The village is also renowned for its high-quality wines and truffles, making it a retreat for culture lovers and gourmets alike.
The island of Porquerolles is found off the coast of Toulon. While it is still relatively unfrequented by tourists, it has a huge amount to offer, including gleaming beaches, exotic plant life, sparkling, transparent waters and, due to the French government’s work in protecting the island’s unique ecosystem from too much external intervention, one of the most peaceful environments imaginable. The island has a selection of hotels and restaurants to suit all budgets and plays host to popular cultural events, including yearly jazz and sailing festivals. Porquerolles is another magical hideaway to explore before everyone else discovers it.
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Porquerolles
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The island of Porquerolles is found off the coast of Toulon. While it is still relatively unfrequented by tourists, it has a huge amount to offer, including gleaming beaches, exotic plant life, sparkling, transparent waters and, due to the French government’s work in protecting the island’s unique ecosystem from too much external intervention, one of the most peaceful environments imaginable. The island has a selection of hotels and restaurants to suit all budgets and plays host to popular cultural events, including yearly jazz and sailing festivals. Porquerolles is another magical hideaway to explore before everyone else discovers it.
Considered by many to be one of France’s most beautiful villages, Gordes is a remote delight amid the rugged landscapes of the Luberon Regional Nature Park. Cobbled streets and golden stone houses wind their way around a mountaintop, culminating in the majestic 16th-century château. The village has been home to several celebrated French painters, including André Lhote, Marc Chagall, Jean Deyrolle, Victor Vasarely and Pol Mara. With the sun-baked greenery and jagged rocks surrounding it, it is easy to see how it could provide inspiration. Highlights for visitors are the Pol Mara Museum; the ancient, preserved settlements known as ‘bories’; and the joyful summer music festival.
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Gordes
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Considered by many to be one of France’s most beautiful villages, Gordes is a remote delight amid the rugged landscapes of the Luberon Regional Nature Park. Cobbled streets and golden stone houses wind their way around a mountaintop, culminating in the majestic 16th-century château. The village has been home to several celebrated French painters, including André Lhote, Marc Chagall, Jean Deyrolle, Victor Vasarely and Pol Mara. With the sun-baked greenery and jagged rocks surrounding it, it is easy to see how it could provide inspiration. Highlights for visitors are the Pol Mara Museum; the ancient, preserved settlements known as ‘bories’; and the joyful summer music festival.
Favorite Sites
Favorite sites to visit in the area
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Verdon Gorge
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Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
1 Avenue Ephrussi de Rothschild
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Olivaie Garden
1-3 Rue Jean Bracco
Les Jardins De Ventabrun
16 Chemin des Treuyes
Jardins du Musée Masséna
30 Rue de Rivoli
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The Exotic Garden
20 Rue du Château
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Saint-Martin Gardens
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GARDEN OF ARENAS CIMIEZ
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Jardin botanique de Nice
78 Corniche Fleurie
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Exotic Garden of Monaco
62 Boulevard du Jardin Exotique
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