What luxury travel looks like in Provence

Provence is synonymous with the good life. But what does that really mean? Here's what luxury travel in Provence looks like.
What luxury travel looks like in Provence
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It’s no wonder that luxury travel in Provence has inspired as many books, films, and photographs has it has. As beauty, gastronomy, and lifestyle go, it’s hard to improve on what you can find in the South of France.

The region, stretching from the Rhône River to the Italian border, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Southern Alps and Camargue plains, has a great diversity of landscapes, culture, and ways to enjoy the good life. There is no shortage of ways to enjoy luxury Provence holidays.

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THE COUNTRYSIDE LIFESTYLE IN PROVENCE

As in most rural regions, life moves slowly in Provence. Quality of life is paramount, and simple pleasures are nurtured and savored. Many villages have farmers markets, fromageries, and other places for small-scale, local food shopping that also serve as social hubs. Then of course there are the hours spent cooking and then lingering over simple but impeccably prepared meals. (Of course, if restaurants are more your speed, it’s never hard to find a good one.)

But for all its slowness, Provence is also home to a vibrant cultural life. Throughout the year, there are festivals and cultural events such as the art-focused Festival d’Avignon, flower parades, lavender festivals, Les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles, and holiday markets in many villages in the winter.

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LUXURY TRAVEL IN THE GLAMOROUS FRENCH RIVIERA 

The flipside of the simple country pleasures that can be found in the interior of Provence, the Côte d’Azur is one of the most storied and sexiest resort areas in the world. Also known as the French Riviera, the coastal region is defined by opulent cities like Cannes and Saint-Tropez.

Part of what makes it so glamorous is its rich history. Although it started out as a health retreat in the 18th century, it soon attracted aristocrats, artists, and 1960s “jet-setters.” Coco Chanel got her famous suntan here, and now many celebrities, such as Elton John and Brigitte Bardot, have homes in the region.

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As for fashion, the resort towns of the Côte d’Azur have all the international designer labels you could wish for, especially quintessentially French brands like Chanel and Dior.

WINES IN PROVENCE

Luxury travel in Provence is practically synonymous with rosé wines. The region has been producing outstanding blush-hued blends for centuries. The primary grapes used in the production of rosé wines are Mourvèdre, Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Dozens if not hundreds of outstanding wineries across the region produce delectable blends.

Although rosé accounts for nearly 75% of the wine production in the region, the Cassis area produces some very fine white while Bandol produces the region’s most highly regarded reds. Some of the best wineries to visit include the historic Château Fontvert. Another would be the contemporary Château la Verrière in the Luberon, and the architecture-forward Château la Coste, just outside Aix-en-Provence.

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GASTRONOMY IN PROVENCE

It is obvious that luxury travel in Provence would involve some excellent food, whether you’re in the hilly north or the coastal south. One of the region’s most popular dishes is bouillabaisse. It's an aromatic stew of fish, seafood, and vegetables that is prepared with olives, anchovies, capers, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Beyond bouillabaisse, Provence has brought the world so many of its beloved foods: The Niçoise salad, with tomatoes, eggs, olives, and anchovies, was born in Nice. Ratatouille, the zesty stew of aubergines, courgettes, peppers, garlic, and herbs, is also said to have originated in Nice. The garlicky mayonnaise called aioli, the olive spread known as tapenade, and the licorice-y liqueuer Pastis all sprang forth from the region.

It was born in Marseille and many of the best restaurants to eat it are located in that city, but now you can also find excellent renditions all along the coast. Some of our favorite places to savour it are Chez Fonfon in Marseille, Chez Camille in Ramatuelle, and La Mère Germaine in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

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LIVING HISTORY IN PROVENCE 

Provence has been occupied since Neolithic times, and the Celts, Greeks, and Romans were all here. Between the 9th and 15th centuries, it was a semi-independent state ruled by the Counts of Provence. Although it has been part of France for more than 500 years, it still has a historical and cultural identity all its own.

Part of the luxury of traveling in Provence is immersing yourself in that history. Beautiful castles are dotted around the region. Meticulously preserved medieval villages are now home to modern life. Some of the prettiest include Gordes, perched atop a hill within the natural park of Luberon; Roussillon, with its lovely ochre-colored buildings; and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, tucked beneath an imposing mountain near the Gorges du Verdon. And then, of course, there is the Luberon, a world unto itself.

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NATURE AND LANDSCAPES IN PROVENCE

Although it costs no money, enjoying the beautiful landscapes is one of the best things to do in Provence. The region takes in a beautiful coastline, rolling vineyards, vibrant lavender fields, olive groves, and mountainous terrain.

There is also no shortage of glorious viewpoints. Some of the highlights include the Gorges du Verdon, Europe’s highest canyon; the wetlands and salt marshes of the Camargue (a bird watcher’s paradise); and the Massif du Garlaban, an easily climbable peak with stunning views over Marseille and the Mediterranean.

LUXURY DESIGN IN PROVENCE

There’s a reason that Provençal design has become a sort of shorthand for a certain style of dreamy, rustic decoration that’s heavy on pastel and natural colours reminiscent of the landscapes outside. It includes features like large farmhouse tables, stone floors, rough plaster walls, and flowers everywhere.

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WHERE TO STAY TO ENJOY LUXURY TRAVEL IN PROVENCE? 

With Le Collectionist, renting luxury Provence villas has never been easier. Whether you prefer homes by the sea side, traditional Provençal homes, or homes for families, the choices are endless for your next luxury holiday destination.

Check out our article on this luxury farmhouse in Provence transformed by a design couple to read more about Mas du Moulin.

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If a fairytale dwelling is more to your liking, check out this chateau-hotel in Provence.

Explore our collection to discover other luxury houses for rent in Provence.

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