Sun & Sea | Gastronomy | Natural splendour | Sports
Behind the touristic and enjoyable Côte d’Azur coast, the hinterland offers you an abundance of tranquillity and scenic beauty. The Provence is admired for its special light that attracts so many artists, not to mention the many Roman and medieval sights.
Provence is characterized by endless vistas stretching beyond low oaks and shrubs, and, above all, fragrant herbs. Just close your eyes on a hot summer’s day, and breathe in the heavenly scents… Lavender. Rosemary, Laurel. And every now and then, the strong, unmistakable scent of fig trees and eucalyptus. Once you have breathed in the Provence, you will never forget the rich bouquet of fragrances. These herbs have been used for centuries, and numerous delicious Provençal dishes are prepared using them. Wherever you go, its always picture-perfect. The tiny villages on the slopes of the Haute-Provence mountains are particularly impressive. These are the ‘villages perchés’ (perched villages), also called ‘nids d’aigles’ (eagle’s nests).
The beautiful Provençal town of Lorgues has nearly 9,000 inhabitants, and is bustling with life all year round. Many picturesque streets with beautiful fountains, lots of medieval houses and a central street with outdoor cafes. You will find all the facilities here, like bakers and confectioners, butchers, the ‘Tabac’, banks with ATMs, post office, doctor, pharmacies, and such. There are several supermarkets in and around the edge of the city centre. The Intermarché is open from 8:45 am to 19:30 pm, from Monday to Saturday, and the Casino is open from 8:00 am to 20:00 pm, also from Monday to Saturday and on Sunday morning from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. The weekly Provencal market takes place on Tuesday mornings. This market is very extensive, fun and quite crowded; a must visit. Lorgues is surrounded by beautiful forests, hills and vineyards, and lovely villages like Flayosc, Entrecasteaux (beautiful castle). Another must is the Abbey du Thoronet at Thoronet.
The huge expanse of water, Lac de Sainte Croix and Grand Canyon du Verdon are around 45 km away. The scenic beauty of the area is magnificent, and many sporting activities can be enjoyed. The authentic villages of Salernes, Villecroze, Tourtour, Taradeau and Flayosc are just a few kilometres away. The city of Draguignan is about 10 km away. Saint-Tropez (a 45-60 minute drive) market takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The Saturday market in particular, is highly recommended. Stop at the market first, very early in the morning, then enjoy ‘un café’ at ‘Clemenceau’. Cities like Cannes, Nice, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille are just an hour’s drive away.
The Mediterranean Sea is just a stone’s throw away. Sainte-Maxime and Frejus are about 25 minutes’ drive away, and are characteristic of the Côte d’Azur; beautiful beaches, lots of restaurants and a great port. Saint Tropez certainly is a must visit. Visit the port with huge yachts nestled next to weathered fishing boats. Or drink a glass of pastis under the plane trees while enjoying the French game of pétanque at Place des Lices. The beautiful beaches of Saint-Tropez (Plage des Salins, Plage de Tahiti, plage de Pampelonne) are in the direction of Ramatuelle.
Here, you can enjoy the ultimate in culinary masterpieces, as the region is famous for its excellent restaurants. Herbs have been used for centuries, and numerous delectable Provençal dishes are prepared using it. Real Provençal cuisine with excellent menus from around €25.00 abound in the immediate vicinity. The Lorgues culinary hotspot is Bruno, famous for the frequent use of truffles, among others. Le Chrissandier is also great and very well priced. Numerous wine cooperatives and Domaines can also be found here. Buy your fine wine ‘and bouteilles’ or ‘en vrac’ (a box of 5 or 10 litres).
You will find the breathtaking Grand Canyon du Verdon, one of France’s greatest natural wonders, in Provence. Bird lovers will have a magical time in the Camargue, with the most spectacular sight of course, the large groups of coral-pink flamingos. A writer once wrote about the Luberon Mountains: ‘Nature just can’t be greater.’ Due to the mild climate and clear air, you can observe amazing contrasts in the rich and versatile scenery: strips of purple lavender, alternating with different nuances of lush green forests, flamboyant ochre cliffs and rugged white limestone formations. The low rainfall is responsible for the Mediterranean character of the landscape. Another advantage: it’s not too touristy. The small towns and villages are beautiful – like the dazzling, high-altitude Gordes – which is sure to leave a lovely lasting and picturesque impression.
Hiking, jogging and cycling can be done directly from Villa la Douce Provence. There are plenty of possibilities for sports activities in the immediate vicinity, like swimming, hiking, running, climbing, mountain biking, rafting, canoeing and kayaking. Lorgues has a tennis club with numerous tennis courts. There are also a number of golf courses near Lorgues, including:
- Sainte Maxime 18 holes 6,155 m Par 71
- Saint Raphaël 18 holes 6,051 m Par 68
- La Motte 18 holes 6,.219 m Par 72
- Flassans – Brignoles 18 holes 6,367 m Par 72
In winter, you can enjoy skiing in Gréolières-les-Neiges, 87 km away. On a clear day, you have a fantastic view over the Mediterranean Sea, and you can look deep into Italy. Other nearby ski resorts are Auron and the expansive old world Isola 2000. La Colmiane is ideal for snowboarders. Valberg is a perfect ski resort for families with children.
Provence is a beautiful region to spend your holidays in. You will find endless plains, beautiful mountain landscapes, wild canyons and also the most beautiful beaches in France. Something for everyone and to discover endlessly. Do you prefer to look for the dynamics of a big city? Enjoy art and culture and go shopping and strolling in world famous cities such as Saint Tropez, Cannes, Monaco, Nice and Aix en Provence.