1. Find your house
Choose from a beautiful selection of hand picked Provence rental properties we know and love, photographed and described by us.
2. Use our local know-how
We live and work in Provence – we give you insider knowledge and tailored add-ons for the perfect Provence stay.
Provence in the movies
There’s no better way to get in the mood for a trip to Provence, or indeed to reminisce upon your return home, than through the medium of the movie. Here are our favourite films set in Provence to whet your appetite. To Catch a Thief (1955) Cary Grant & Grace Kelly (Côte d’Azur) Classic Hitchcock crime caper on the Côte d’Azur in the golden era, with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly messing about on the Riviera. It was while promoting this film that she met the prince of Monaco, who would quickly make her his Princess Grace. And God Created Woman (1956) Brigitte Bardot (St Tropez) The film that launched Brigitte Bardot and put St Tropez on the map, taking it from sleepy little fishing village to the place to be seen. Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources (1986) Gerard Dépardieu, Daniel Auteuil, Yves Montand (Aubagne, Vaugines, Ansouis, Mirabeau) A wonderful pair of films, faithful to the books of Marcel Pagnol, that made quite a splash on release in the 1980s – these films forged the idealised image of Provence and the region has never looked more beautiful on film. La Gloire de mon Père (1990) […]
4000 sheep go window shopping in St-Remy-de-Provence
The elegant Provence town of St-Remy-de-Provence will be transformed on 16th May by a tidal wave of sheep (not forgetting goats and donkeys) sweeping through the streets accompanied by their shepherds, sheepdogs and a cacophony of bells! For this is the Fete de la Transhumance – an enduring tradition marking the day that the sheep leave the drying lowlands and head for pastures new in the high Alps. During winter in Provence, flocks of sheep and goat are moved around the fertile lowlands – often keeping the grass at bay in vineyards and orchards, but as the ground begins to dry they are moved back up to the mountains. The journey used to take 10 days on foot, but is more likely to be done by truck today. To join in you’ll need to park outside of the old town of St-Remy-de-Provence by about 10am and find your spot along the side of the road. Festivities carry on for the whole day with sheepdog trials, cheese market and bric-a-brac stalls. To really feel part of the action, join the lunch held on the Plateau de la Crau – buy tickets in advance from the Mairie (Town Hall). Timings for Fete […]
Provence alive to the sound of music
If you haven’t sat outside under a starry sky listening to live music, you haven’t truly experienced Provence. For this is a musical land and in the balmy summer nights wherever you turn you will find it. Whatever your musical bent there is something for everyone in Provence this summer, from jazz to opera, steel bands to baroque. Many concerts are free, ticketed events start at around 15€ and you can usually book tickets online. Here are our favourites: Jazz dans les Vignes, Vaucluse 25 June – 6 July A series of concerts set in some prestigious vineyards just to the north of Avignon. Sit back with a glass of Gigondas or Vacqueyras and let the music wash over you.http://www.jazzdanslesvignes.fr/ Aix Festival, 30 June – 20 July A huge festival with 3 main components: Opera – this is serious stuff – most evenings are in the stunning Grand Theatre De Provence and it kicks off with Così fan tutti. Also works by Debussy, Handel, Stravinsky. Tickets start at 30€, expect to pay 270€ for top tickets. Concerts – in a variety of venues in and around the city. There are many free concerts and a huge choice of music from […]
A Year in Provence: 30 years on
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle was written 30 years ago – the book had an initial print run of three thousand copies, and Mayle was assured by his publisher that there would be plenty left over unsold. Since then it has sold over six million copies, in forty languages: an astonishing success for any book. Peter Mayle and his wife moved to Menerbes in the Luberon region of Provence in 1987 with the idea of writing a novel. However he kept being distracted by his new life and these distractions became the subject of A Year in Provence, retold in Mayle’s witty, warm and anecdotal way. A Year in Provence was followed by two more best-selling sequels – Toujours Provence and Encore Provence – but it also accidentally spawned a whole new genre of travel writing, one of relocation and renewal, allowing other best-selling writers like Frances Mayes in Italy (Under the Tuscan Sun) and Chris Stewart in Spain (Driving Over Lemons) to find a huge, ready market. How Provence has changed Since the publication of A Year in Provence, Peter Mayle has been accused of ‘spoiling’ Provence but, living here, it’s hard to see how. It’s true […]
The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence – Officially!
Which are the most beautiful villages of France? It’s a fun discussion to have over a bottle of rosé. Or you could just look it up. Because in France there is an official body that confers on villages the status of being one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France (Les Plus Beaux Villages de France). To earn the status of one of ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France’ is not easy. A village is judged on 27 different criteria. For a village to make it on the list, it must have an outstanding heritage as well as a beating heart. Consequently in all of France, with its 30,000+ small villages, there are only 156 that make it on the list of Most Beautiful, and 19 of those are in Provence. They come in all shapes and sizes and given the rather excitable medieval history of this region, most are perched up high, affording a good view from which to spot the next marauding tribe passing through. Some villages stretch along a high ridge, sometimes only a couple of houses wide, offering cool shade on one side while the other basks in the sun. Views of vineyards and fruit orchards […]
Come and taste the Black Diamond of Provence!
“Food-lovers of all eras have never been able to utter the word ‘truffle’ without tipping their hat” – Alexandre Dumas It’s winter in Provence, and one of the consolations of colder days and longer nights is that it is also truffle season. France produces more truffles than any other country, and 80% of them come from Provence. So if you love truffles there is no better place to be at this time of year. In the middle ages, monks were banned from eating truffles due to their apparent aphrodisiac effect. Today you are free to indulge. Pigs, dogs and goats are used to hunt for the truffles, though small flies may also mark the spot. The Ancient Greeks believed that a strike of lightning on damp soil created a truffle. In fact they are fungi that grow around the right sort of tree, like an oak, but they were right about the dampness of the soil, as truffles grow best after rain. The location of fertile truffle grounds is highly secretive, you will never be told where to go and look, unless you are being deliberately sent in the wrong direction. Fortunately you can buy truffles more easily than finding […]
Café like a local
If your school French has long faded, but you want to make some kind of effort when you stop for a coffee, here’s our guide to getting by… Never feel bad about just having a single coffee in a bar, it’s perfectly normal. The most important rule is the simple “Bonjour”. Launching into any kind of request before saying hello is considered impolite. In the morning many cafes will have a basket of croissants to choose from, if not, it’s usually OK to bring your own from the bakery. Busy cafes will ask you to pay up front, others will leave the bill when they deliver. Leftover change is the ideal tip. You don’t tip as much here as in the USA or UK for example. The French tend to drink a coffee in the morning and one after lunch. This means an espresso: small, black, simple. If you expect anything else when you ask for a coffee you will be disappointed with what is brought to you. Here are some useful terms: Un café a small espressoUne noisette a small espresso with a dash of milk (macchiato)Un café allongé a long coffee (americano)Un grand crème a coffee with heated, […]
Persimmons – a Provençal ‘Christmas tree’
If you’re lucky enough to be in Provence between October and January you will probably catch sight of a bare-leafed tree hung with bright orange globes. These fruit are about the shape and size of oranges and very festive they look too. But they aren’t oranges, they’re persimmons, or kakis as they’re known here: a wonderful and healthy winter fruit. Smooth-skinned and ranging in colour from orange to deep red, persimmons are an exotic fruit from Asia and not native to France, but much prized by connoisseurs here. Persimmons are ripe when they are so soft that the skin is almost translucent and liable to squish in your hand as you pick them. In this state they are very fragile so it is unlikely you will be able to buy them fully ripe in a shop or market – you can ripen them in a warm room or in a paper bag with some apples. And they must be perfectly ripe (and squishy!) when you try them, so for ones you have bought you will need to wait a few days before cutting them in half and scooping out the sweet flesh with a spoon. That’s really the only way […]