Departments and cities to discover in the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur regionThe Alpes-Maritimes department: the jewel of the French Riviera
The Var department, a colourful and unique Provencal area
Bouches-du-Rhône, an authentic Provencal area!
Vaucluse, the land of Provence santons
Alpes de Haute-Provence: life-sized region
Year-round sunshine, with the lovely smell of rosemary floating in the air and the Mediterranean Sea stretching as far as the eye can see...there is no doubt, you are in Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur. The region offers many surprises and magical views in a vast land covering 31 400 km².
Bordered on the west by the Rhône river and on the east by Italy, the area is divided into three distinct sectors featuring a variety of landscapes, each as scenic as the next. Which one will seduce you the most and make you willing to invest in an apartment or a house in Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur? The choice is yours…
Departments and cities to discover in the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region
From the shoreline chiseled by the erosion of waves to the high mountains of the Alps through the vast plains, the landscapes of Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur are stunning and unique. The land and the coast are dotted with the remains of an extraordinary historical heritage bringing even more authenticity at the heart of Provence, a region very dear to Pagnol.
Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur attracts many visitors, for a day or forever. It is a great place to live, between sea, countryside and mountains. But the landscapes are not the only reason that push the newcomers to settle down here permanently. Innovative, inspiring and open to the world, the region is very famous for the quality of its schools and its research and development technology centres.
Built with 6 departments each with a well-defined character, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur will keep surprising you. Whether it is just for holidays or to actually move here and buy a house or apartment, the area will seduce you and leave you with memorable experiences and souvenirs. Let yourself be carried away by the charm of this warm land...
Welcome to the French Riviera! It is in this picture-perfect landscape that you could settle down into a new house, with your feet in the water and your eyes contemplating the beauty of the sea. Despite the limpid blue colours extend as far as the eye can see, you cannot stop looking at the beautiful coastline.
The coast runs along the department, creating varied panoramas of wild nature, where the rocks carved by the chisel of the surf throw themselves in the peaceful waves of the Mediterranean sea in beaches of pebbles and fine sand. The sea spray floats in the air and tickles the nostrils of visitors amazed by this stunning landscape.
The region is a perfect blend between land and sea, from Roquebrune-Cap-Martin to Menton, the border towns of our Italian neighbours, to Cannes and its famous Croisette, and Nice and its famous Promenade des Anglais with its iconic palm trees. These beautiful cities have a strong identity and are as lively during daytime, when you can enjoy a refreshing sea dip, as at nightfall when you can go out with family and friends in a relaxed atmosphere.
Relaxation is indeed essential in the seaside resorts where the daily rhythm is marked by the endless rhythm of the waves stranding on the beaches. The other treasure of the Alpes Maritimes region is of course the bay of Villefranche sur Mer. Made of several Provencal villages attracting the wealthiest investors, this peaceful area is one of the most popular ones on the French Riviera.
If you wanted to buy an apartment or a house in Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region, this could be the right choice!
Further inland, olive trees and pines reclaim the land. Life here is peaceful and quiet. The hills are high enough to overlook the bay and offer a stunning landscape built on amazing contrasts. Nature has created a picturesque scene where men have built their houses in the traditional Provencal way. Ochre tiled roofs emerge in the middle of the green foliage without distorting this lovely picture.
Mougins, Biot, the artists villages, Mouans Sartoux and Grasse, the city of perfumes, have inherited this magnificent natural wilderness. Surrounded by the sea and the high mountains creating a natural border for the department, the towns and villages of the countryside have an undeniable charm. The peace of life is definitely ensured. The ideal location in the region allows the possibility to do several sea or mountain activities. The question is, will you bring your beach towel or skis? It is better to take both!
The Var can be defined through the scope of a beautiful and colourful painting. From the red rocks of the Estérel uplands to the gradient blue of the Mediterranean sea, the garrigue also presents various shades of green, from the light ones found in the countryside to the dark ones of summit trees. This explains why the department is designated as one of the greenest in France. Full of traditions, scent and flavour, the area is located between the French Riviera and the Hautes Alpes department, and offers exceptional landscapes.
The region is at the start of the Var’s heights where wild mountains mingle with valleys and rivers. As long a you get closer to the coast, the valleys soften towards landscapes of hills dotted with pine forests and vineyards. In some places like Anthéor, the red cliff of the Estérel uplands flows directly into the sea. In others, the pine forests border the creeks and small coves.
The main cities of the region compete in beauty to attract the most visitors, presenting modest but picturesque coastal villages. Agay and its harbour welcome you in a breathtaking panorama overlooked by the Rastel uplands. All have an invaluable treasure: long sandy beaches inviting you to relax.
The Corniche d’or, an iconic road in the region, overlooks the coast, skirting the whims of the cliffs. From there, the view flows inexorably onto the clear sea beds of the successive bays. A prime example of a seaside city, Saint-Raphaël deploys its charms facing the sea, with the natural scenery of the Estérel uplands in the background. Backed by Fréjus and its former military port which hosts historic fleets, it marks the entrance to the Var from the French Riviera, extending its appeal to the edge of the Estérel defined by Saint Aygulf and Théoule-sur-Mer.
The famous golf courses are further along the Var coastline. Ramatuelle, Port Grimaud, Saint-Tropez: inspiring city names where fishing ports became must-sees for tourists and where the real estate market took off when celebrities chose to settle down here in the 60s. Nowadays, luxury yachts are more popular than the fishermen’s barquettas, but the seascape stayed as splendid and authentic as ever. Can you imagine hearing the song of cicadas, well seated under your arbour, with a glass of rosé in your hand?Discover the Gulf of Saint-Tropez in detail
Find out more about the mythical department of Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur and the benefits of investing in the Var deparment!Discover the Var department in detail.
- Massif of Estérel
- Gulf of Saint-Tropez
- Saint Raphaël
Bouches-du-Rhône, an authentic Provencal area!
We are now travelling to the last coastal department of the region. The Bouches-du-Rhône sector presents a very colourful palette between sea and mountains, same as its neighbours Alpes Maritimes and the Var. Here however, the strong identity of the local people is mainly defined by a culture rooted in tradition. The Feria d'Arles and the pilgrimage of gypsies to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer are unmissable events to immerse yourself in the heritage of this vibrant department. You have to see it to believe it! Now, if you want a taste of the splendour of this territory, below is what you need to know...
The department is surrounded by gorgeous mountains with the typical charm of the Provencal landscapes. Sainte Victoire, Sainte Baume and the Alpilles are the mountain range of the territory. The scenery is completed with the breathtaking views that extend far into the Mediterranean sea. The contrast between land and sea is also very present here with a cut coastline on one side and wild and dense nature on the other.
The first side features an alternation of creeks, including the stunning Cassis ones, small isolated coves and wide sandy strips. The other side is wilder and defined by dense forests, alternating with steep rock building the vertiginous summit. Between the two, green hills form a rolling landscape, planted with vineyards and almond trees where meandering rivers can be found.
The urban areas are spread out generously and then disappear in favour of coastal villages of rare beauty. Cézanne wouldn't have said otherwise, loving this department from which he has drawn many works. Marseille, a major city in France and famous for its Cannebière highlighted by Pagnol, wants to be cosmopolitan and oriented towards a global cultural and industrial growth. Its Mucem is the ultimate proof of this intention.
More preserved, the Camargue lodges in the northern corner of the department and completely changes the coastal face. Refuge of flamingos, cormorants and herons, this land is located in a natural park of 85 000 hectares. Between sea and marshy areas, it maintains many traditions and remains the land of gypsies where bulls rise and grow surrounded by guards seated on their white horses.
Vaucluse, the land of Provence santons
The Vaucluse region is very unique and full of history and delicate scents. Here, it is pointless to tell about the history of the region as the past heritage is all around. Time has been suspended and the preserved landscape is a tale on its own. The smell of lavender invading the whole area is that heady because of the surrounding landscapes. The vast and welcoming houses are outlined in the patchwork of lavender fields and vineyards.
The sun-soaked plains all year round are conducive to cultivation, but do respect and preserve the beauty of Mother Nature. In fact, islands of dense oaks and cedars forests unfold in the middle of this purple and green landscape.
The typical Provencal villages scattered on the rocky outcrops of the surrounding mountains, including the famous Mont Ventoux, leave no doubt regarding the origins of the Santons de Provence. They sting the flanks of gray rock, sporting the rubble of the country as drawn by the hands of an artist. You next holidays could truly be inside a real life movie.
The panorama and beauty of the landscapes will keep surprising you. In Provence and more specifically in the Luberon, you might feel as if you were walking on the great American plains. The Pays d'Ocre is named thanks to its large cliffs with specific colours. This unusual landscape is reminiscent of a small Colorado, offering you an exotic scenery without leaving France. Will you be conquered into extending your visit and become a permanent resident of the region?
Rich in natural heritage, the department naturally exhibits the vestiges of the past. More than just remains, the monuments are remarkably preserved. From fortified villages to the majestic and imposing “Cité des Papes” of Avignon, the old stones do have a story to tell you: the history of their land. And if the City remains an essential jewel of the heritage of Vaucluse, it would be a shame not to stop at Orange or Vaison-La-Romaine, cities full of history that will seduce and charm you.
In this region, the pleasure of the eyes comes with the pleasure of the other senses, particularly through gastronomy at great tables. More colours to devour not only with the eyes, but with the taste buds! From the garnet red of the Mont Venasque cherries to the bright red of the Carpentras strawberries and the black truffle, you will definitely fall in love with this colourful land of a thousand flavours.
Alpes de Haute-Provence: life-sized region
Bordered with Italy and surrounded by the other departments of PACA, the Alpes de Haute-Provence region is a green lung of the area. Nature is the main focus, and is powerful and dominant. It is also quite spectacular that, only within a few hours drive, we can go from the coastal fringe of the French Riviera to a wild and unspoilt natural area. The territory is divided into 4 sectors, each with their own identity and character.
The most northern one peaks at 2,000 and 3,000 meters above sea level and offers snow-capped slopes for snow sports enthusiasts. The valleys of Ubaye and Haut-Verdon count in the ranks of mountain villages, such as Barcelonnette or Castellane. This department also shares a special place with its neighbour Alpes Maritimes: the Mercantour Park. This park is a gigantic nature reserve spanning no less than 210,000 hectares. It is a great wild playground for those who love raw nature and white water. But beware! You are in high mountains.
The slope begins to be less abrupt and the rocks give way to greener valleys... you are now in the second sector of this green department: Gorges du Verdon. They mark the entrance to the Var. A lush forest awaits you, dotted with more or less impetuous water sources that make this place a perfect setting for canyoning and hiking. The air is pure, the birds are singing and the sun can be seen through the thick foliage of the oaks and cedars that mark the paths. Deers and wild boars cross your path without panicking, and mushrooms bloom in the autumn, hidden under the fragrant moss of the undergrowth.
The last two sectors that we are going to mention are less wild, but remain nevertheless very green. Here, what makes the Provence region unique begins to reclaim the land. Lavender fields and vines are showing up, especially in the valley of the Durance, portrayed by Jean Giono through his writings. The cities of Manosque or Sisteron are the central points crossed by the Durance valley and its multiple tributaries. Nature still retains its domination and punctuates the cycle of the seasons. It is also the place where the witnesses of the past speak through the eloquent stones of open-air archaeological museums.
Hautes Alpes, the roof of the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region
Adjoining the Italian peaks of Piedmont, the Hautes-Alpes region welcomes you in a high mountains environment. This department, mainly made of mountains, overlooks the other departments of a region featuring beautiful and exceptional landscapes, in a temperate climate. The mountain summits of the area can reach an altitude of 4000 meters. Moreover, it is here that you will find the highest town in Europe, Saint-Véran, at 2040 meters.
The natural sectors that make the department all have their own identity. The mountain villages follow each other far and wide, but are not alike. Wooden chalets of Saint-Véran, the Provencal’ houses of Buech, the contrast is striking. Here, it is nature which dominates and flourishes in all its splendour. The Ecrins, Briançonnais or Brochaine are some of the natural territories that compose the region. Breathtaking feelings are to be expected in this full-scale playground.
The panoramic views are also especially breathtaking. A thick forest covers the massifs alternating with verdant valleys where herds of sheep graze peacefully in the sun. This type of landscape is undoubtedly the living proof of the word picturesque, and to complete this Epinal picture, only rivers and streams are missing.
Some of them lounge between the mountains and valleys, throwing themselves into a tumultuous dance against the rocks planted in the middle of the riverbed, while others flow peacefully through the pastures. But it is definitely the majestic lake of Serre-Ponçon which attracts the most curiosity. This gigantic 3,000 hectare stretch of water seems to appear straight out of nowhere.
Clean air, healthy living away from the pollution of the big cities and soothing calms of the mountains all make this area particularly remarkable. The typical flora of the high peaks, such as the Edelweiss, colour the green flowers and mingle with the waltz of colours, everyday becoming more intense as time passes by. Some cities, planted in this totally atypical scenery for visitors who live in major cities, punctuate the horizon. A total escape is guaranteed.
Gap, the capital of the department, or Briançon, are among the 5 cities to have bloomed in the valleys but don’t overlap each other and therefore preserve this natural heritage of beauty. This could definitely be the place for your future holidays or a potential real estate investment...
Dicover the region Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur in video!
13, rue des Etats-Unis06400 CannesFrance
Phone +33 4 93 68 64 72Fax: +33 4 93 68 73 67