Best places to stay in Provence
If you're looking for a city in Provence that has it all, Avignon is the place to stay. Surrounded by 800-year-old stone ramparts, this is a city where you'll find all kinds of historical buildings, art galleries, shops and restaurants lining its ancient cobbled streets and leafy squares. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Avignon is an excellent base for visiting the Provence villages, although Avignon has so many interesting things to see and do, that you may never set foot outside the city during your stay.
From the Pont d'Avignon, made famous in the nursery rhyme, to its museums, art galleries and city walks, it's a great destination for art and culture lovers, especially as it's home to the Opéra Théâtre, which has a full programme of operas, plays, chamber music and ballet throughout the year.
When you need a break from all the art and culture, you'll find that there's fantastic shopping on the pedestrianised streets, plus the city is filled with all kinds of restaurants, cafés and bars, particularly around the Place de l'Horloge, which is packed with alfresco terraces. There's also a superb selection of holiday accommodation to choose from, ranging from small guesthouses through to luxury hotels.
>> Hotels and places to stay in Avignon
The fifth largest city in France, Nice is known all over the world for its grace, its sophistication and its style, and so is perfect if you're looking for an upmarket holiday in elegant surroundings.
It combines an outstanding climate and a classic splendour which draws holidaymakers to the terraces along the Promenade des Anglais, lined with luxury hotels on one side and smart private beaches on the other, to enjoy an aperitif or two while people watching.
However, there's more to Nice than just an elegant seafront. Behind the seaside facade, you'll find Baroque influenced houses in ochre-coloured hues housing upmarket boutiques and shops, plus a thriving arts and culture scene. In fact, only Paris has more museums, making it an ideal holiday destination if art and culture are an integral part of your holiday desires. Packed full of classy restaurants and sophisticated bars, you can expect some of the best French gastronomy, but make sure you taste some of the local specialities while you're here too.
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Probably most widely known for its international film festival, Cannes grew from a modest fishing village to being placed very firmly on the celebrity map. The festival not only attracts a myriad of film stars but an international audience too. While you may not be lucky enough to be included in the celebrations, you'll still find lots to see and do in this chic city, and it's the ideal destination for couples looking for a sophisticated and glamorous holiday.
During your stay, make the climb up Mont Chevaleur to the old town of Suquet, which is well worth the effort for the wonderful views down onto Cannes and across the Mediterranean. The Old Port is also high on the list of places to visit; here you'll find all kinds of pleasure craft and fishing boats moored up along the Quai St. Pierre. One of the most famous promenades in the world, La Croisette stretches out for over 3 km along the seaside.
Lined with some of the most exclusive hotels, shops and boutiques, it's the venue for the Cannes Film Festival, together with a wonderful programme of classical music concerts, dance and theatre which takes place throughout the year. It's also an ideal holiday destination if you love sophisticated nightlife and the thrill of gambling, as it has no less than four casinos.
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This upmarket resort has held a magnetic appeal for international tourists since the 1950s when the celebrities of the day came to stay. Popular with artists such as Picasso and the glamorous sex kitten Bridget Bardot, St. Tropez embraced the movie stars and jet-set together with chic Parisians looking for a bolt hole away from the capital.
This is the ultimate holiday destination if you're looking for a glamorous and sophisticated beach holiday. With at least 40 beaches, it's easy to see the attraction and wherever you go you'll be greeted with the trappings of luxury, from huge yachts in the marina to sophisticated restaurants and ultra luxurious hotels.
However, while St. Tropez really is a playboy's paradise, it still retains some of the old world charms of the traditional French Riviera with a typical Provencal market being held at the Place des Lices every Tuesday and Saturday.
>> Hotels and places to stay in St. Tropez