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French Riviera & Provence

Choose from our selection of romantic French Riviera hotels, Côte d'Azur hotels and Provence hotels and accommodation by clicking on the map on the right. These will highlight a collection of interesting, different and charming accommodation catering to a variety of tastes and budgets including romantic Provence hotels, unusual and stunning Bed and Breakfasts on the Côte d'Azur and luxury French Riviera hotels amongst others.


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Boutique & Romantic Hotels in French Riviera & Provence, France

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French Riviera & Provence


Provence-Alps-Côte d'Azur is located between the Mediterranean coastline and the Alps and stretching from the Italian border at Menton to just the other side of Marseille, then north to the Haute-Alpes. Not bad we say! Its location and climate are extremely attractive with a warm weather, clear light and varied landscape.

The Cote d'Azur is a long succession of fashionable resorts, marinas and beaches, with a wide choice of activities for all tastes, which can be enjoyed throughout the year. Magnificent scenery combined with a rich historical past of remarkable archaeological and architectural interest, together with a multitude of celebrations and festivals make it a very interesting area to visit.

Every city, town, village and resort is perfectly prepared to accommodate and cater to the needs of the tourist trade with a wide choice of places to stay – from a luxury city hotel to a charming country bed & breakfast.

The seaside resorts are the last word in aquatic sports – and they also offer other entertainment. The mountain type and the trekking enthusiast will find a varied countryside, from flat lands to the majesty of the Southern Alps. It is surely one of  the foremost European tourist regions. In less than two hours you can travel from the palms and lemon trees of the coast to the nearby Alpine peak, for coolness in the summer and snow sports in winter. A place to spend quality time any moment of the year.

Gastronomy Provençal food is perhaps best described as a series of exquisitely prepared dishes using seasonal local produce; a plate of olives with a sprinkling of thyme, an onion and anchovy tart, a bowl of green figs, farm cured mountain ham with sweet butter, a dish of artichokes, lamb cooked slowly on a spit, Arles sausage, ewe's milk cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves. The natural caves near the ochre and red village of Roussillon are used for the cultivation of mushrooms. Le Thor supplies the region with grapes. And Carpentras is the centre of the lively market for black truffles. The proximity of Provence to Italy has had an influence and there are excellent pizzas, drizzled with chili oil to bring out the taste. In the mountain areas there is fresh water fish grilled or baked with herbs and in the south bouillabaisse, a fish soup that belongs to Marseilles.

History Greek colonies were established in the area by the 6th century BC – Massilia, now known as Marseille, was amongst them. In 125 BC the Massiliots appealed to the Romans for help against a coalition of neighbouring Celts and Ligurians. The Romans defeated the coalition but remained there, occupying the region. By the end of the 2nd century BC, Provence formed part of Gallia Transalpina, the first Roman province in current France. Marseilles was established as the main centre of Greek studies in the west and by the late 5th century, during the disintegration of the Roman Empire, Provence was successively invaded by the Visigoths, Burgundians and Ostrogoths. Then came the turn of the House of Barcelona, ruled by the Spanish from Catalonia, that ran these parts for more than a century, until Louis XI annexed it to France. During the French Revolution it was divided into the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône, Var, and Basses-Alpes. Today, the population of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is heavily concentrated along the coast and lower Rhône River. Following the Algerian war, repatriated pied-noirs from North Africa accounted for much of the population increase. Many retirees have also been attracted by the Riviera.

Culture Avignon – its bridge made famous by the nursery rhyme – was the residence of catholic Popes for most of the fourteenth century until they returned to Rome, and there are many architectural legacies from that period. There are medieval villages clustered among the olive groves in sun-baked countryside.

Places we recommend visiting:

• The coast (Cote d'Azur / Riviera), especially to the east of the region and including such renowned resorts as St Tropez, Nice, Antibes and Cannes;

• The Gorges du Verdon, a dramatic gorge cutting through the centre of the region, a perfect place to see wildlife and spectacular scenery;

• The fortified mountain town of Briançon, as well as the Parc des Ecrins;

• The villages of the Luberon and others perched–over–a–hill villages across the region;

• The Roman Theatre at Orange;

• Arles and its Roman monuments

Activities Almost everywhere in the countryside is excellent for walking, riding and cycling. There are well marked hiking routes for short walks – yellow and red signs – lasting between one and four hours. Or walks – white and red signs – lasting several days, that can include if one requires it a mountain guide. If you are a rock climbing enthusiast there are more than seventy canyons to choose from.

This is an outstanding gliding country and there are several bases that provide beginner and intermediate courses with qualified instructors. More experienced pilots fly towards the Alps as far as Mont Blanc or Mont Viso. The thermals provide excellent conditions for hang-gliding, paragliding and ballooning. Good fishing in the lakes, perch, carp, char, gudgeon and in the mountain streams, wild trout.

In winter, the combination of sun and exceptional snow cover, make excellent skiing and there are many resorts to choose from. Pra-Loup and Foux d'Allos are linked together to form one of the largest ski areas in the southern Alps. Chabanon, Grand-Puy, Soleilhas-Vauplane and others are more family oriented.

Boutique Hotels and Places to Stay in French Riviera & Provence

Romantic & boutique hotels by city in French Riviera & Provence

Secretplaces

Secretplaces is an independent hotel guide to some of the most beautiful and charming hotels and guesthouses, independent of price. Over the years, we have visited thousands of lodgings of which only a few have made it into this fine selection