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Provence and Île de Ré: in the heart of the 2 most stunning regions in France

Written on : 07 November 2018
Provence and Île de Ré: in the heart of the 2 most stunning regions in France

Want a holiday in the great outdoors? Villanovo transports you to two intact and authentic regions in France: Île de Ré and Provence. Opposed on the map, both destinations have their own strengths. And yet, while one is characterized by a warm Mediterranean atmosphere and the other enjoys a mild Atlantic climate, the two seemingly different regions have similarities in their resources. Both rich in crafts and natural areas, they open the possibility to many local outdoor activities. Without artifice, they know how to conquer the heart of thousands of tourists each year, thanks to their authenticity and their naturalness. Completely clear, the vastness and purity of their magnificent hectares of nature reveal a sense of change of scenery, offering a guaranteed rest.

You only have to define if you are more noise waves or singing cicadas, salt marshes or fields of lavender, as well as smooth oysters or tapenade. Judge by yourself!

>>> Your luxury villa in Provence

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Crafts for quality products

Crafts for quality products

Preserved and authentic, the two regions preach the natural and have maintained craftsmanship, providing natural products of excellence.
As French regions, Île de Ré and Provence both produce wine known for its pre-eminence. However, from different vines - some matured under a dry Mediterranean climate, others under a mild Atlantic climate - these wines have many nuances. To get behind the scenes of viticulture, you can participate in wine tourism and visit acres of vineyards by meeting experts who will reveal all their secrets.

In south of France, you’ll find passionate growers who transcribe key elements of their sweet life in Provence through their work. Indeed, just like its region, Provençal craftsmanship, is simply a mixture of beautiful colors and smells. Admire the ceramic artisans who paint the famous hand-colored cicada, or see the local producers working with perseverance to deliver the best of nature: olive oil and tapenade, aromatic herbs, or its sweet pleasures such as honey and calissons. Obviously, you can not leave Provence without bringing in your suitcase the famous Marseille soap offering a wide range of tone and scents. Finally, do not miss a stopover in Aubagne, the village of Marcel Pagnol but also santons. Meticulously made, these small clay figurines model the local Provencal and their living environment.

In Île de Ré, craftsmanship bears witness to a surprising creativity, patience and listening to nature. The artisans like to tell and share their work around which a real exchange is created. Impossible to cross the island without passing by one of its oyster beds, collectible during low tides. Meet oyster specialists who work on the water and the tides, and who will be happy to deliver you the secrets of tasty oysters. Also, try the exceptional salt, straight from the salt marshes, jam and honey produced from its fruits and flowers, or even refreshing authentic and tasty beer.

While walking in the pleasant little streets of the two regions, you will find small typical and welcoming shops where you can find these local products, to bring back to yourself or to your loved ones some souvenirs!

An undeniable charming setting

An undeniable charming setting

Île de Ré represents a real paradise in France, mainly, thanks to its idyllic location by the sea! Indeed, its relaxing beaches, far from the usual tourist bustle of cities enjoying such an environment, deserve their reputation. Although the temperatures vary, the calm and the cleanliness found in its spaces is incomparable. Among them, La Couarde-sur-Mer in the center of the island, and Rivedoux-plage, in the south-east. Both perfect for families, you will appreciate the authentic nature of the first one, and the fine sand and the charming house bordering the second one. Finally, the salt marshes are undeniably not to be missed during your stay on the island. Composed of 3 large sets of ponds dug in natural clay, salt marshes are a specific technique and offer an unusual and sumptuous landscape. And for those who would like to discover more, the ecomuseum of the marsh even offers a guided tour!

Provence, meanwhile, is famous for its varied landscapes. Between the Southern Alps, the plains of Camargue and its vineyards through lavender fields and pine forests, there are various natural areas of undeniable beauty. With a typical Mediterranean charm, you could enjoy this immersion in nature to reconnect with the latter the time of a trip. Also, the picturesque villages are numerous and will conquer the travelers in search of authenticity. Mountains, flowers, waterfalls and breathtaking views of the fields at sunset, is the promise made by this wonderful trip in Provence.

So, sea and water excursions or walks in the middle of olive groves and views of the lavender fields?

Outdoor local activities

Outdoor local activities

If you like to remain active, even on vacation, be aware that both destinations offer a multitude of choices in terms of activities! While the Ile de Ré will give priority to the visit of villages and water sports - ranging from simple surfing to the most sensational experiences such as a microlight flight - activities in Provence are more conducive to hiking, walking and exploring natural parks. Thus, in Île de Ré, you can enjoy the sea air with a boat trip to Fort Boyard, indulge in shore fishing or jet ski. A dream destination for browsers, many professional clubs offer introductions to all these practices, whether you are a beginner or a confirmed professional.

In Provence, the terrestrial nature is in the spotlight. Indeed, there are magnificent natural parks waiting for you: the Mercantour National Park, the Luberon Massif, but above all, the Gorges du Verdon. This last one is a canyon dug by the Verdon River and invites you to discover sumptuous cliffs as to indulge in kayaking. Also, do not miss a walk in the lavender fields of Valensole, typical tourist attraction of the region as the scents and the color of these mesmerizing flowers are appreciated by the general public. Finally, for culture lovers, be aware that the two destinations will allow you to discover museums testifying to the local richness of the two regions: the fortifications of Saint Martin de Ré and the famous Whale Lighthouse are among the family trip must-sees in Île de Ré. In Provence, the lapidary museum of Avignon gathering the archaeological collections of the city and the Calvet museum which presents a sublime collection of fine arts are absolutely not to be missed.

The opinion of our expert in Ile de Ré


Villanovo invites you to discover the opinion of Véronique, our expert in Ile de Ré

“I spent all my childhood holidays in Ile de Ré, and I haven’t hesitated to finally settle on this paradise corner. Ile de Ré is a concentrate of authenticity through its villages and of beauty through its beaches, which you notice as soon as you arrive. Its sweetness is uncomparable. On 100km of coasts lie landscapes, fragrances and tastes which leave an indelible mark. One never leaves Ile de Ré, but always come back. Each village has its specificity. They are all worth the visit. Saint-Martin-en-Ré, emblematic ; La Flotte and its medieval market; Saint Clément des Baleines and its lighthouse. How not to succumb to the charm of this island? With these typical houses of green shutters and its hollyhock. Ile de Ré, by foot or by bike, but under the sun of course!

What I like the most:

This small island is fascinating by the variety of its landscapes. You can find yourself in a totally different universe overnight (ocean, beach, forest, marshes, village…) There is everything there: a fascinating history, activities for all, natural protected landscapes. Kitesurf, sailing, horse riding… Ile de Ré allows the practice a multitude of sports. It is a parenthesis, ideal for families and friends seeking peaceful vacations.”