With its feet in the Mediterranean and its head in the Alps, the region has an extensive palette of colourful landscapes. The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, a welcoming land of sunshine and easy living has always attracted large numbers of artists, from Van Gogh to Picas via Marcel Pagnol, Auguste Renoir and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Its light is exceptionally bright, and its landscapes are wonderfully varied: from rocky inlets with their parasol pines and turquoise water to the Camargue plain, from the Vaucluse vineyards to the summits of the southernmost Alps or the plateaux of Haute-Provence with their scents of thyme and lavender.
This historic region was a major crossroads for different civilisations, and has a wealth of sites which are worth the journey in themselves: Avignon, the home of the popes from 1309-77, and its Palais des Popes; Arles whose amphitheatre is one of the finest preserved examples from the Roman world; Orange where the spirit of ancient Rome can still be felt.
Just south of Arles is the meeting place of the Rhône and the Mediterranean. A natural and protected park of 85,000ha, the Camargue is composed of vast plains of wetlands, ponds and rice paddies all watched over carefully by its natural inhabitants the pink flamingos, herons and cormorants. Wild Camargue remains with its gypsies, cattle breeding and the Camargue cowboys on their white horses.