Written by Alexis Goldberg,
Last Modified: 15th March 2018

Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur (PACA for short) attracts more international buyers than anywhere else in France. Yet prices are far from being the cheapest in France. So why do we love it so? One reason is its appeal to the artist and writer in us all. The very word “Provence” evokes images of bucolic splendour.

It’s this aesthetic appeal, and Mediterranean sunshine, that has attracted artists including Van Gogh, Picasso and Rénoir. Writers, poets and film stars have all made their way to Provence’s rolling countryside, hilltop villages and lavender fields too.

It’s this aesthetic appeal that has for years attracted artists – including Van Gogh, Picasso and Rénoir – poets and film stars to the regions rolling countryside, hilltop villages and lavender fields.

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A Year in Provence

More recently, Peter Mayle’s bestselling book A Year in Provence led many of us to seek a more fulfilling lifestyle here. It chronicled his experiences settling into the small village of Ménerbes and renovating an 18th century farmhouse. Sadly Mayle passed away earlier this year. But his humorous, heart-warming account of encounters with French neighbours will go on inspiring others to follow in his footsteps for years to come.


Pretty hilltop villages aren’t in short supply around here.

In his own words: “I found myself completely distracted – much more taken up with the curiosities of life in Provence than with getting down to work on the novel. The daily dose of education I was receiving at the hands of the plumber, the farmer next door, the mushroom hunter and the lady with the frustrated donkey was infinitely more fascinating than anything I could invent.”

Property market

Provence consists of five departments: Vaucluse, Bouches du Rhone, Var, Alpes de Haute-Provence and Hautes Alpes. The Cote d’Azur contributes one department to the region: Alpes-Maritimes. It remains one of the most expensive areas to purchase property in France outside Paris. The average price per square metre is around €3,000. Although expensive, prices have actually decreased in some parts over the last few years. More recently the local property market has been gaining momentum and prices are expected to follow.

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Head away from well-known areas such as Nice, St. Remy de Provence and Grasse on your viewing trip and it’s possible to discover places which offer better value for money. Just look north and east of The Luberon and head off the beaten track. It is still perfectly possible to find a small house or apartment with a budget of around £200,000. Pricier but popular spots in Provence include Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Avignon.

Getting there

Getting to your bijou cottage around here is relatively simple. Provence is served by low-cost flights from international airports in Nice, Marseille, Toulon, Nimes and Avignon. The new-ish direct London to Avignon Eurostar service takes around six hours.

Buying a House in France Guide.

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