Living in Provence
Provence, arguably the most seductive region in France, reaches from the snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps to the Mediterranean coast. Home to natural wonders such as the delta plains of the Camargue and Europe’s greatest canyon – the Gorges du Verdon. Its rugged interior remains remarkably intact while the sophistications of the Riviera have long attracted the rich and famous, the aristocratic and the artistic.
This is a historic region and evidence of its earlier visitors - Greeks, Romans, Saracens - are tangible. Borders here are fortified and villages perch dramatically on hilltops. As a centre of the Catholic Church in France for hundreds of years (seven popes have resided in Avignon) the resulting architecture, even in small villages, can be breathtaking and the towns and great cities of Provence abound with cultural riches.
Provence is an area of outstanding natural beauty and is protected by a number of PNR (parc naturel regional) consequently strict laws protect the scenery and heritage as well as establishing sustainable economic development in the area.
All these elements - history, natural beauty and current strict legislation - combine, meaning that today Provence offers its residents a uniquely protected luxury living experience that is nothing short of a privilege. There is an understated respect for this ‘privilege’ to be found among all the residents of Provence from farmer to billionaire.
To live here is to be captivated by the abundant sensual allures: sunshine, wine, food and the heady perfumes of wild herbs all around. For all its sophistications there is still to be found here a natural pace and rhythm of life making it truly the perfect foil to, or escape from, the demands of modern life.
Types of Property in Provence
• Rural Mas or Bastide
• Maison de Maitre
• Belle Epoque villa
• Contemporary villa
• Village house
Provence is well-served by efficient local and international transportation: Marseille Provence International Airport, Nice International Airport and the high speed TGV which links the region stopping at Orange, Avignon and Aix en Provence enroute to Marseille. The roads are excellent.
Provence has 4 seasons yet experiences on average 300 days of sunshine per year. In July temperatures easily reach 30ºC and beyond. Autumns are glorious with Indian summers often reaching into November though it can be stormy. Winters are cold and wet but do not tend to linger for long. Springs, which generally begin in early March, are warm and pleasant.
The mistral is a fierce wind that can occur throughout the year – it is particularly bitter in winter.
Provençals of all walks of life are virtuosos in the art of fine food and as a result the region overflows with weekly markets offering abundant fresh, local, seasonal produce.
The cuisine of Provence bursts with Mediterranean influences: olives, olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, abundant vegetables, lamb (agneau de Sisteron being the most famous) and seafood make up the defining ingredients.
The best wines come from around the Dentelles, namely Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. To the east the wines are light and drinkable but not much of note is produced. The best wines of southern Provence generally come from along the coast.
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