Aix-en-Provence is the historic capital of Provence. It is a spa town, and famous above all for its rich cultural heritage and its university, founded in 1409. The town is sheltered by the Sainte Victoire mountain, immortalised in a large number of paintings by Paul Cézanne. Aix-en-Provence is the western gateway to Green Provence.
The city of Avignon is on the left bank of the River Rhône. It is one of the few towns in Provence to have preserved its ramparts. Avignon is often called the “City of the Popes” because of the palace that dominates the town centre. In fact, Avignon was the Holy See from 1309 to 1418. The city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is really not to be missed. Don’t forget to dance on the Saint Bénézet bridge, which once spanned the Rhône.
This naturally magical site contains nine calanques (rocky inlets). It is a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage site, and can be explored on foot or by boat from Marseille or Cassis. Fans of underwater diving will also be won over by the charm of its seascapes, which are just as breathtaking as the views on the land.
Originally Cannes was a village of fishermen and monks, but since 1946, it has been known above all for its stars, its glamour and the International Film Festival. You should also definitely visit the old district of Suquet.
Tourist Office: www.cannes-destination.fr
Camargue is something unique in Provence. In this marsh region, there are numerous waterways and endless landscapes. The symbols of Camargue are horses and bulls. The herdsmen raise and keep the latter, with the help in their work of the former. The region is rich in natural heritage, but also in local production: as well as bulls and horses, you can find rice and salt here. Camargue is also a paradise for bird-watchers.
Massalia, as the Romans called it, is a city that is rich in heritage and culture. From its varied roots the city has taken its rich, unique architecture. Marseille was the European culture capital in 2013.
Nice and Cannes form the French Riviera. But to understand Nice, you need to delve into its past. The city belonged to Provence, before joining the states of Savoy in 1388 and the kingdom of Sardinia in 1720. Nice definitively became part of France in 1860. A canny blend of cultures, it is a treasure trove from October to Easter. The Promenade des Anglais is a symbol of the city all over the world. The palaces, villas and mansions are the signs of the golden age of the French Riviera, when the winter visitors (rich and powerful families, nobles and royalty) brought life to the city.
A former military stronghold, the island of Porquerolles is known throughout the world for its protected natural coast. But the history of Porquerolles is intimately linked with a wonderful love story, of François-Joseph Fournier, who bought the island as a wedding gift for his wife. The wild landscapes were then changed by the introduction of large-scale agricultural production. But in 1971, the state bought 80% of the island, and entrusted its management and conservation to the Port Cros National Park. The island is considered as a little piece of the Caribbean in Provence.
You reach Saint Tropez along a picturesque road that winds through the Maures mountains. A former fishing village and a refuge, that was long kept secret by certain local personalities, it became famous in the 1950s, mainly thanks to Brigitte Bardot.
The third biggest city in the Provence Côté d'Azur region, Toulon is famous above all for its military arsenal, the main French naval base, and the home of the "Charles de Gaulle" aircraft carrier, and for its rugby team, double champions of France and Europe. But Toulon also has a rich cultural heritage, the fine sandy beaches of Mourillon and a pedestrian-only town centre, an ideal place for shopping.
Provence Verte , a territory with an area of 1/4 of the Var department , the green heart of Provence, within an hour of the largest sites in the PACA region . Discover 43 Provencal villages , unspoilt nature , a Country of Art and History , away from the summer crowds of the seaside .