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A Practical Guide to the South of France

Sweeping fields of lavender, glitzy cities, beautiful hidden coves, a hint of the Alps... The south of France is a region almost without parallel for its incredible diversity and natural beauty, not to mention architectural and historical riches. The decision to visit is an easy one. But before you set off, we have a few pointers to help you make the most of your stay in the south of France.

A Practical Guide to the South of France - Provence

Frequently Asked Questions about the south of France

What are the different regions that make up the South of France?
 
The South of France is essentially composed of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur (PACA) region. The PACA region extends east of the Rhone Valley, south of the Alps, and along the Mediterranean coast, bordering Italy. It is divided into 6 departments: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and Vaucluse. Its regional capital is the metropolis of Marseille

A Practical Guide to the South of France - Provence

How do you get to the south of France? How do you get around once there?

Plane, train or ferry: in the region the main airports are in Nice, Marseille and Toulon-Hyères and Avignon. You can also arrive by sea via ferry; the main ports are Marseille, Toulon and Nice.
 
The easiest way to get around the region is by hiring a car. It's a great way to visit the hilltop villages, mountains, rivers and everything else the region has to offer. In the larger towns, bicycles and public transport are available for the convenience of tourists and locals. 
 
Villanovo offers concierge services to help you organise your stay. Ask us about car, motorbike, boat, bicycle and other rentals

A Practical Guide to the South of France - Provence

​When is the best time to visit the South of France?

Every season in the south of France offers a rich assortment of landscapes and moods.

Spring is the season of flowers and rebirth. It is a great time to see the fields in full bloom - with sunflowers, poppies and lavender. It is neither too hot nor too cold, which makes it the perfect season for walks by the sea, in the mountains or in the forest.
 
Summer is ideal for a jovial and festive atmosphere. It's the season of festivals, swimming and never-ending aperitifs. However, it is also the high season, so if you are not fond of big crowds and want to escape the tourists, it may not be the best time... But if you settle in a mas provençal or a villa far away from the tourist trails, you will still be able to enjoy the song of the cicadas while under the southern sun.
 
Autumn in the south is a festival of colour, as well as the season of the grape harvest. For wine lovers, this is the time to discover the secrets of wine harvesting and oenology. The weather is clement, quite mild often accompanied by a light breeze.
 
Winter is not the same in Provence as it is on the Côte d'Azur. On the coast, winter doesn't really exist, the temperatures hovering between 10 and 12 degrees, which is still quite manageable for walking and visiting. In Provence, especially in the interior of the country, nature puts on its white coat and the temperatures are colder. The ambiance is still lively, as people gather at Christmas markets and drink hot chocolates. It is even possible to ski on the Mont Ventoux or in the Hautes-Alpes.

A Practical Guide to the South of France - Provence

Key Events:

Many traditional festivals, carnivals and celebrations take place in the south. Villanovo has selected the following events as not to be missed. 
 
Les Chorégies d’Orange: This festival, offering classical music and opera performances, is the oldest festival of its kind in France. It takes place in July and August each year and is held in the legendary antique theatre in the town of Orange.   

The Festival of Cannes: Created 70 years ago, and usually taking place over two weeks in the spring, it is the biggest cinematic event in the world. The entire international jet set is present for the awarding of the famous Palme d'Or. A unique cocktail of parties and film culture, not to be missed. 

The Festival of Avignon: Held every year in July, this festival of theatre and contemporary shows allows you to enjoy the performing arts either in the small chapels of the city or in the large main courtyard of the Palais des Papes. 

F1 Grand Prix: The Paul Ricard circuit is an iconic F1 Grand Prix race that takes place every year around June in Le Castellet. While, another iconic Grand Prix, the Monaco Grand Prix which is held every year in late May/early June. 

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez: It is a legendary regatta held every year in the famous Gulf of Saint Tropez. To see the race: traditional sailing boats compete in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez up to the coast of Cannes, and modern sailing boats between the Moutte, the Salins (exiting of the Gulf) and Cavalaire. 

Rencontre d’Arles: Held each summer, the Arles Encounters offer art and photography exhibitions in unique and historic sites around the city. Here you can expect to find the best in contemporary photography. 

Les ferias d’Arles: These are bullfights that take place in the mythical bullring of Arles. In April: the Easter ferias. In September; the ferias of rice. 

The carnival of Nice: Held in February, it is the largest carnival in France, with a unique theme assigned each year. The programme includes a carnival parade and the "battle of the flowers", in which men and women of the parade through flowers over the spectators.
 

Discover our selection of luxury villas for your next trip Provence

Villa Bellara

6 Bedrooms

Villa Masia

6 Bedrooms

Bastide Memoria

6 Bedrooms