Cézanne, Picasso and Van Gogh are three of the painters who chose the Provence scenery because of its light and landscape colors, dominated by mountains, blue sea and lavender fields. Located between the Alps and the Mediterranean, this French region is a network of small medieval villages like Gordes or Peillon, aristocratic beaches like Saint-Tropez, ski resorts such as Montgenevre and charming fishing ports like Nice or Marseille.
Vacationing in Provence is also a unique opportunity to sample fine wines and spirits with some traditional examples of French cuisine such as the bouillabaisse, the ratatouille—a vegetable stew with olive oil and herbes de Provence— or the rissoles, or stuffed croquettes. Both on the coast and the mountains, you will find elegant places to relax, enjoy a traditional pastis (Anisette) or organize a dinner with friends. Discover more travel options here.
Hôtel du Castellet
With a touch of Tuscan architecture, this luxury hotel is a 30-minute drive from the old fishing port of Cassis and close to the beautiful beaches of Bandol and Sanary-sur-Mer. The small village offers several amenities such as a spa, a golf course and other leisure activities available in the vicinity, including hiking trails and karting at the Paul Ricard circuit. The famous Bégude wines, produced in the area, are part of the cellar of the restaurant Le Montecristo— with two Michelin stars —which specializes in southern French cuisine under the helm of Chef Christophe Bacquié. See more world restaurants here.
L’Oustau de Baumanière
Georges Pompidou, Charles de Gaulle and Queen Elizabeth II are among the illustrious personalities who stayed in Baumaniére, a legendary hotel-restaurant in Le Baux de Provence, one of the most beautiful villages in southern Europe. The complex, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2015, consists of three buildings surrounded by gardens and classical fountains, and has a luxury spa. The restaurant— with two Michelin stars— follows a family tradition that focuses on simplicity, giving center stage to the products of the Alpilles Mountains.
La Colombe d’Or
Many celebrities have spent their holidays in Saint-Paul de Vence, the town where Yves Montand and Simone Signoret celebrated their wedding in 1951. The Colombe d’Or, opened in 1920, has been witness to this and other bohemian gatherings with Orson Welles, Joan Miró and Georges Braque. The Roux family keeps intact the charm of this legendary hotel, whose pool is adorned by a Calder mobile sculpture and the terrace exhibits a mosaic by Fernand Leger. It is a place to imbibe the bohemian spirit of a region full of joie de vivre. ■