Provence is one of the most widely known areas of France and has retained a certain cachet about it. However, its ongoing popularity means that some areas can get quite busy, especially in the summer months. So, where can you go in Provence to get away from the madding crowds?
Practically every village or town you come across is steeped in history and beauty. Take a look at these 5 beautiful, quieter spots where life is tranquil and relaxing; the perfect escape from the rat race in the UK.
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Cucucron is in the Luberon, part of the Vaucluse region of Provence. The Luberon is well known for its quaint ancient villages with pretty cafes and restaurants, market squares, medieval churches, art galleries and boutiques.
Cucuron is a stunning village surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. The entrance is via a medieval archway through to a 13th century church, as well as many lovely cafes and restaurants set around the town square. There is a weekly Tuesday market at the pond and a flea market every July selling all manner of household items, great for a leisurely browse.
Whilst there are some fantastic luxury properties in Cucuron, for those on a smaller budget, there are still some lovely renovated village houses to be found at around €250,000.
A little off the beaten track, Lacoste is a small village in the Petit Luberon consisting of one main street, along which are several small alleyways. The street is gorgeous: think timber framed ancient buildings. Lacoste is utterly unspoiled and a true hidden gem, ideal if you want to get away from it all. There are no shops or cafes here but plenty of surrounding villages with amenities. The best thing is that you can pick up a renovated house for under €200,000. Lacoste is the perfect place for a quiet relaxing life.
Lourmarin definitely deserves to be included in our list! Officially “one of the most beautiful villages in France”, this is a simply gorgeous village, dominated by the 15th century Chateau de Lourmarin. Boasting a fantastic Friday market, here is where you will find your classic Provencal goodies: olives, lavender bags, perfumed soaps, home grown fruits, herbs and spices. Albert Camus lived here for a while and is buried here.
The sky is the limit when it comes to property buying here. You can pick up a 1-2 bedroom holiday home for around €250,000.
Eze is just the prettiest village, perched on a lofty hilltop with fantastic views over the Mediterranean Sea. Have fun exploring its narrow, cobbled, medieval streets and meandering around the quaint boutiques and art galleries.
There are some fabulous properties here for those with an unlimited budget. But, you can still find some lovely 1-2 bedroom houses and apartments for around the €400,000 mark.
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Lauris in the Luberon is another stunning hilltop village with jaw dropping views across the Durance Valley and the mountains. A quiet village, the locals take pride in decorating their houses in eye catching colours, pretty vines and Mediterranean plants.
A budget of around €150-200,000 will buy you a 2 bedroom home here.
Why is Provence a firm favourite?
Home to so many artists/writers/musicians/actors over many years, Provence still has a huge ‘glam’ factor and probably always will. Think fields brimming with lavender, stone coloured ancient buildings, picture postcard villages, deep green vines and golden sunshine. The climate is Mediterranean and the beaches are long and sandy.
This area is well known for its hot summers and mild winters and many of its resorts were established in Victorian times, frequented by rich Parisians. There are 5 departments in Provence: Bouches du Rhone, Vaucluse, Var, Alpes de Haute-Provence and Hautes Alpes.
The property market thrives here even when much of the rest of France is struggling to increase property value. Prices here either hold their own or increase. So, if you are looking for a decent and safe investment, this could be the place for you. Cannes has a year round rental market due to the famous Film Festival held there every year in May and there is a good tourism industry around the coastal villages and vineyards. The most expensive properties are to be found on the coast or in the centre of Nice or Cannes.
If you are looking for a decent and safe investment, Provence could be the place for you.
Access from the UK
Provence is easily accessible by all means of transport from the UK and other parts of France. It is close to the A7 motorway and high speed TGV trains to Avignon and Aix en Provence make it a little over 2.5 hours from Paris. By air, the nearest airport is Marseille Provence. Avignon airport also offers flights to and from the UK. Consider also Nimes and Nice airports.
Buying property in Provence will always be an excellent investment. You may get less for your money here than many other areas of France, but you can make your property pay for itself by renting it out. Buying a property a little further inland is a good option since access to the coast is easy by road.
In short, this is an area which is likely to remain very popular to buy in for those who can afford it. Provence not only has a Mediterranean climate and fabulous sandy beaches but it also is rich in history and remains surprisingly unspoilt, considering its continuing popularity with holiday makers and property buyers from around the world. A trip to this area is always going to be a winner, especially when exploring some of the more off-the-beaten-track villages – a property purchase even more so.