Surrounding areaTowns & Villages close to Castellaras le Vieux in the Provence and the French Riviera
Please find below a selection of useful information and website links of the surrounding areas, all easily accessible from Castellaras le Vieux.
Whilst we have no control over these links, we hope they will prove to be a very useful resource in helping you find some of the wonderful places in and around the South of France (and we’d like to thank those responsible for providing the information on each one!)
We would like to thank and acknowledge Frommers (www.frommers.com) for providing some of the information listed here.
The most local towns.
This is the closest village to Castellaras le Vieux and is just a few minutes away by car. It has a lovely square with lots of interesting eateries, ranging from take-away pizza & pasta places to wonderful local restaurants offering home made French cuisines. It has very quaint market every Friday as well the usual bakeries and coffee places. There is normally other activities within the town at various time like antique markets, exhibitions and during the summer a fantastic traveling circus!
Valboune Map | More info
This once-fortified town on the crest of a hill provides an alternative for those who want to be near the excitement of Cannes but not in the midst of it. Picasso and other artists appreciated these rugged, sun-drenched hills covered with gnarled olive trees. Picasso arrived in 1936 and, in time, was followed by Jean Cocteau, Paul Eluard, and Man Ray. Picasso decided to move here permanently, choosing as his refuge an ideal site overlooking the Bay of Cannes near the Chapelle Notre-Dame de Vie, which Winston Churchill once painted.
More info at firstforfrance | More info at frommers
- Restaurant Candille
With a gastronomic menu to rival the most acclaimed Cannes’ restaurants, the Michelin-starred Restaurant Candille promises one of the finest dining experiences on the French Riviera. Located just 25 minutes from Cannes’ La Croisette, the Restaurant Candille is the main restaurant at the luxury hotel, Le Mas Candille in Mougins and offers a gourmet experience to delight the connoisseur and satisfy the appetites of every persuasion.
The most charming center in all Provence, this faded university town was once a seat of aristocracy, its streets walked by counts and kings. Founded in 122 B.C. by a Roman general, Caius Sextius Calvinus, who named it Aquae Sextiae after himself, Aix (pronounced “ex”) has been, in turn, a Roman military outpost, a civilian colony, the administrative capital of a province of the later Roman Empire, the seat of an archbishop, and the official residence of the medieval comtes de Provence. After the union of Provence with France, Aix remained until the Revolution a judicial and administrative headquarters.
- Antibes and Cap d’Antibes
On the other side of the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels), across from Nice, is the port of Antibes. This old Mediterranean town has a quiet charm unique on the Cote d’Azur. Its little harbor is filled with fishing boats and pleasure yachts, and in recent years it has emerged as a new “hot spot.” The marketplaces are full of flowers, mostly roses and carnations. If you’re in Antibes in the evening, you can watch fishermen playing the traditional Riviera game of boules.
Known as Colonia Apta Julia, this was an important Gallo-Roman city and today is a large, bustling market town. Ignore the modern industrial area and head for the Vieille Ville to capture the beauty of Apt. Here you can walk long, narrow streets that wind between old houses where every nook and cranny offers something waiting to be discovered.
Often called the soul of Provence, this town on the Rhone attracts art lovers, archaeologists, and historians. To the delight of visitors, many of the vistas van Gogh painted so luminously remain. The painter left Paris for Arles in 1888, the same year he cut off part of his left ear. He painted some of his most celebrated works here, including Starry Night, The Bridge at Arles, Sunflowers, and L’Arlosienne.
In the 14th century, Avignon was the capital of Christendom — the popes lived here instead of in Rome. The legacy left by their “court of splendor and magnificence” makes Avignon one of the most interesting and beautiful of Europe’s medieval cities.
Protected from the cold north winds blowing down from the Alps, Beaulieu-sur-Mer is often referred to as “La Petite Afrique” (Little Africa). Like Menton, it has the mildest climate along the Cote d’Azur and is especially popular with the wintering wealthy. Originally, English visitors staked it out. Beaulieu is graced with lush vegetation, including oranges, lemons, and bananas, as well as palms.
Biot has been famous for its pottery ever since merchants began to ship earthenware jars to Phoenicia and destinations throughout the Mediterranean. Biot was first settled by Gallo-Romans and has had a long, war-torn history. The potters and other artists still work at their ancient crafts today. Biot is also the place Fernand Loger chose to paint until the day he died.
This romantic hill town, nestled in the heart of the Petit Luberon, commands views of nearby Roussillon, the whole Coulon Valley, and the infamous Chateau de Lacoste, whose ruins bear testament to the life of its disturbed owner, Donatien Alphonse Francois, comte de Sade (also known as the marquis de Sade), who lived there in the 1770s. The celebrated marquis, who gave us the term sadism, died in a lunatic asylum. Because of the danger of falling stones, the ruins of the chateau cannot be visited — even by the most devoted aficionados of de Sade — but merely admired from afar.
- Cagnes-sur-Mer/Le Haut-de-Cagnes
Cagnes-sur-Mer, like the Roman god Janus, has two faces. Perched on a hill in the “hinterlands” of Nice, Le Haut-de-Cagnes is one of the most charming spots on the Riviera. Naomi Barry of the New York Times wrote that it “crowns the top of a blue-cypressed hill like a village in an Italian Renaissance painting.” At the foot of the hill is an old fishing port and rapidly developing beach resort called Cros-de-Cagnes, between Nice and Antibes.
When Coco Chanel came here, got a suntan, and returned to Paris bronzed, she startled the milk-white ladies of society. Today the bronzed bodies — in nearly nonexistent swimsuits — that line the sandy beaches of this chic resort continue the trend started by the late fashion designer.
Near Provence’s north border, the Chateau-du-Pape was built as the Castelgandolfo, the country seat of the French popes of Avignon, during the 14th-century reign of Pope John XXII. Now in ruins, it overlooks the vast acres of vineyards that the popes planted, the start of a regional industry that today produces some of the world’s best reds as well as an excellent white.
- Eze and La Turbie
The hamlets of Eze and La Turbie, though 6.4km (4 miles) apart, have so many similarities that most of France’s tourist officials speak of them as if they were one. Both boast fortified feudal centers high in the hills overlooking the Provencal coast, built during the early Middle Ages to stave off raids from corsairs. Clinging to the rocky hillsides around these hamlets are upscale villas, many of which were built since the 1950s by retirees. Closely linked, culturally and fiscally, to nearby Monaco, Eze, and La Turbie each has a full-time population of fewer than 3,000.
Frejus was founded by Julius Caesar in 49 B.C. as Forum Julii; later, under Augustus’s rule, it became a key naval base. The warships with which Augustus defeated Antony and Cleopatra at the battle at Actium were built here in 31 B.C. By the Middle Ages, however, the port had declined. It began to silt up from disuse and was eventually filled in. Today the port lies more than 3km (2 miles) inland.
- Golfe-Juan and Vallauris
Napoleon and 800 men landed at Golfe-Juan in 1815 to begin his Hundred Days. Protected by hills, Golfe-Juan was also the favored port for the American navy, though today it’s primarily a family resort known for its beaches. It contains one notable restaurant: Chez Tetou.
Gordes is a colorful village whose twisted narrow cobblestone streets circle a rocky bluff above the Imergue Valley. By the turn of the 20th century, as its residents migrated toward cities and factory jobs, it suffered from the kind of attrition that was affecting agrarian communities all over Europe.
- Grand Canyon du Verdon
Over the centuries, the Verdon River, a tributary of the Durance, has cut Europe’s biggest canyon into the surrounding limestone plateau. The canyon runs from pont de Soleils to Lac Ste-Croix, a distance of 21km (13 miles) east to west. The upper section of the gorge, to the east, is between 210m and 1,605m (700 ft. and 5,350 ft.) wide; the lower section narrows to between 6m and 105m (20 ft. and 350 ft.). All along its length, the cliffs rise and fall. The gorge’s depth varies from 263m (875 ft.) at one point to 750m (2,500 ft.).
The broad avenues of Hyeres, shaded by date palms, still evoke the lazy belle Epoque. The full name of the town is Hyeres-les-Palmier, as it is known for its production of palm trees. Believe it or not, many of these trees are exported to the Middle East.
- Iles d’Hyeres
Off the Riviera in the Mediterranean is a little group of islands enclosing the southern boundary of the Hyeres anchorage. During the Renaissance they were called the Iles d’Or, from a golden glow sometimes given off by the rocks in the sunlight. Nothing in the islands today will remind you of the turbulent time when they were attacked by pirates and Turkish galleys, or even of the Allied landings here in World War II.
This suburb of Antibes is a resort that was developed in the 1920s by Frank Jay Gould. At that time, people flocked to “John of the Pines” to escape the “crassness” of nearby Cannes. In the 1930s, Juan-les-Pins drew a chic crowd during winter. Today it attracts young Europeans from many economic backgrounds in pursuit of sex, sun, and sea, in that order.
- La Napoule-Plage
This secluded resort is on the sandy beaches of the Golfe de la Napoule. In 1919, the once-obscure fishing village was a paradise for the eccentric sculptor Henry Clews, son of a New York banker, and his wife, Marie, an architect. Clews fled America’s “charlatans,” whom he believed had profited from World War I. His house is now a museum.
- Les Baux
Cardinal Richelieu called Les Baux a “nesting place for eagles.” In its lonely position high on a windswept plateau overlooking the southern Alpilles, Les Baux seems to be part of the mysterious, shadowy rock formations.
Bustling Marseille, with more than a million inhabitants, is the second-largest city in France (its population surpassed that of Lyon in the early 1990s) and France’s premier port. It’s been called France’s New Orleans. A crossroads of world traffic — Dumas called it “the meeting place of the entire world” — the city is ancient, founded by Greeks from the city of Phocaea, near present-day Izmir, Turkey, in the 6th century B.C. Marseille is a place of unique sounds, smells, and sights. It has seen wars and much destruction, but trade has always been its raison d’etre.
- Massif de l’Esterel
Stretching for 39km (24 miles) of coast from La Napoule to St-Raphael, this mass of twisted red volcanic rock is a surreal landscape of dramatic panoramas. Forest fires have devastated all but a small section of cork oak, adding barrenness to an already otherworldly place. This was once the stamping ground of a colorful 19th-century highwayman, Gaspard de Besse, who hid in the region’s many caves and terrorized local travelers until, at age 25, he was hanged and then decapitated by military authorities in the main square at Aix-en-Provence.
Menton is more Italianate than French. Right at the border of Italy, Menton marks the eastern frontier of the C�te d’Azur. Its climate is the warmest on the Mediterranean coast, and in winter it attracts a large, elderly British colony. The impact of these seniors on the population of 130,000 has earned Menton the sobriquet “the Fort Lauderdale of France.”
This once-fortified town on the crest of a hill provides an alternative for those who want to be near the excitement of Cannes but not in the midst of it. Picasso and other artists appreciated these rugged, sun-drenched hills covered with gnarled olive trees. Picasso arrived in 1936 and, in time, was followed by Jean Cocteau, Paul Eluard, and Man Ray. Picasso decided to move here permanently, choosing as his refuge an ideal site overlooking the Bay of Cannes near the Chapelle Notre-Dame de Vie, which Winston Churchill once painted. Here he continued to work and spent the latter part of his life with his wife, Jacqueline. Fernand Leger, Rene Clair, Isadora Duncan, and even Christian Dior have lived at Mougins.
The Victorian upper classes and tsarist aristocrats loved Nice in the 19th century, but it’s solidly middle class today, and far less glamorous and expensive than Cannes — the least expensive of any resort. It’s also the best excursion center on the Riviera, especially if you’re dependent on public transportation. For example, you can go to San Remo, “the queen of the Italian Riviera,” and return to Nice by nightfall. From the Nice airport, the second largest in France, you can travel by bus along the entire coast to resorts like Juan-les-Pins and Cannes.
Orange gets its name from the days when it was a dependency of the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau, not because it’s set in a citrus belt. Actually, the last orange grove departed 2,000 years ago.
This fortified medieval town is the most spectacular “perched village” along the Cote d’Azur. At 300m (1,000 ft.) above the sea, it’s also unspoiled, unlike so many other perched villages that are filled with day-trippers and souvenir shops.
- Roquebrune and Cap-Martin
Roquebrune, along the Grande Corniche, is a charming mountain village with vaulted streets. It has been restored, though some critics have found the restoration “artificial.” Today its rue Moncollet is lined with artists’ workshops and boutiques with inflatedly priced merchandise.
45km (28 miles) E of Avignon; 10km (6 miles) E of Gordes
- Salon de Provence
The hometown of Nostradamus is centered between Aix-en-Provence and Avignon, and makes an excellent stopover between these towns. Today a busy modern town, it grew up as a fortified hilltop fortress centering on Chateau de l’Empari. With a population of some 35,000.
This place has been called “Paradise Found” — of all the oases along the Cote d’Azur, none has quite the snob appeal of Cap-Ferrat. It’s a 15km (9-mile) promontory sprinkled with luxurious villas, outlined by sheltered bays, beaches, and coves. The vegetation is lush. In the port of St-Jean, the harbor accommodates yachts and fishing boats.
This is a beautiful hillside village and a MUST see when you are in the area. It hosts a wide variety of shops but mostly those with an ‘art’ theme in all of them. A lovely place to spend some time, icluding an ideal location for lunch, a cold afternoon drink or spending your time watching the locals play Boulles! 925km (575 miles) S of Paris; 23km (14 miles) E of Grasse; 27km (17 miles) E of Cannes; 31km (19 miles) N of Nice
Between the red lava peaks of the Massif de l’Esterel and the densely forested hills of the Massif des Maures, St-Raphael was first popular during Roman times, when rich families came to the large resort here. Barbaric hordes and Saracen invasions characterized the Middle Ages; it wasn’t until 1799, when a proud Napoleon landed at the small harbor beach on his return from Egypt, that the city once again drew attention.
We’re not alone in our enthusiasm for St-R my, for we’ve spotted Princess Caroline here several times. Nostradamus, the famous French physician/astrologer, was born here in 1503. In 1922, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas found St-R my after “wandering around everywhere a bit,” as Ms. Stein wrote to Cocteau. But mainly St-R my is associated with Vincent van Gogh: He committed himself to an asylum here in 1889 after cutting off his left ear. His “cell” was later occupied by an interned German during World War I — Albert Schweitzer. Between moods of despair, van Gogh painted such works as Olive Trees and Cypresses.
- St. Tropez
Sun-kissed lasciviousness is rampant in this carnival town, but the true Tropezian resents the fact that the port has such a bad reputation. “We can be classy, too,” one native has insisted. Creative people in the lively arts along with ordinary folk create a volatile mixture. One observer said that St-Tropez “has replaced Naples for those who accept the principle of dying after seeing it. It’s a unique fate for a place to have made its reputation on the certainty of happiness.”
Ste-Maxime is just across the gulf from glitzy St-Tropez, but its atmosphere is much more sedate. Young families are the major vacationers here, though an occasional refugee from across the water will come over to escape the see-and-be-seen crowd. The town is surrounded by the red cliffs of the Massif des Maures, protecting it from harsh weather.
This fortress and modern town is the principal naval base of France: the headquarters of the Mediterranean fleet, with hundreds of sailors wandering the streets. With its beautiful harbor, it’s surrounded by hills crowned by forts. A large breakwater protects it on the east, and the great peninsula of Cap Sici is on the west. Separated by the breakwater, the outer roads are known as the Grande Rade, and the inner roads are the Petite Rade.
Often called the “City of Violets” because of the small purple flowers cultivated in abundance beneath the olive trees, Tourrettes-sur-Loup sits atop a sheer cliff overlooking the Loup valley. Though violets are big business for the town (they’re sent to the perfume factories in Grasse, made into candy, and celebrated during a festival held each March), you’ll probably find the many shops lining the streets much more interesting. These small businesses are often owned by artisans who sell their own art — most notably hand-woven fabrics and unique pottery. Even if you’re not interested in buying, walking through the old town is worth the trip up the hill.
This scenically beautiful village is set on a limestone plateau that straddles the line between Provence and the Garrigues region, the severe though charming countryside along the foot of the ancient Massif Central. It is famous for the long-standing House of Uz’s, home of France’s highest-ranking ducal family, who still live in the ducal palace of Le Duch’ that dominates the town.
Travel up into the hills northwest of Nice — across country studded with cypresses, olive trees, and pines, where carnations, roses, and oleanders grow in profusion — and Vence comes into view.
According to legend, Hercules opened his arms and Villefranche was born. It sits on a big blue bay that looks like a gigantic bowl, large enough to accommodate U.S. Sixth Fleet cruisers and destroyers. Quietly slumbering otherwise, Villefranche takes on the appearance of an exciting Mediterranean port when the fleet is in.
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