Some of the most attractive architectural features of Provence are the perche village or perched villages and Le Castellet is no exception.
The truly picturesque Medieval Village is set 300 meters above sea level on its own promontory with panoramic views across the renowned vineyards of this area and down to the shores of the Mediterranean.
Le Castellet is wrapped in thick stone ramparts and is entered by two fortified gates and one can stroll through the small squares lined with beautiful old houses and admire the architecture and stone work of these buildings. Bougainvillea and wisteria are abundant in colour red, orange, fuscia and violet grow in every part of the village. Winding ones way through the narrow twisting lanes you are likely to succumb to the aromas of the delicate and much varied Provencal cuisine. Jewellers, leather craftsman, perfumed candles add to the ambience.
At the top of the village the esplanade has a glorious 15th Century Church and Chapel.
A few miles from the village is the well known Paul Ricard Formula One Motoring Racing Circuit that hosts major car racing and the Bol d’Or Motorcycling event
Mirroring the Village of Le Castellet, high above and on the other side of the valley La Cadiere is a truly traditional Provencal Medieval village that has retained its authenticity and is steeped in history. The 16th Century Church of St Andre built on the ruins of a 12th Century Church has the oldest dated bell in the Var region: 1458.
Surrounded by pine scented trees La Cadiere has wonderful views across the renowned Bandol wine vineyards. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and admire the architecture. The faded shutters, door furniture and ornate balconies create a very romantic feel to this Provencal village. Antique shops, specialist crafts including hand made pottery, weavers, painters, dressmakers all produce very personal and highly professional work. Numbers of restaurants offer top quality A La Carte cuisine. All of this without overbearing crowds and uncontrolled tourism, makes La Cadiere unique.
History lovers will be satisfied. The 12th Century Romanesque Chapel on the top of the hill of Le Beausset Vieux, can be reached by taking the old mule trail. Many offerings are exposed in thanks to Notre Dame Du Beausset Vieux. Its stepped approach offers a wonderful panorama over the coast and surrounding hills and from here a sundial indicates the distances and directions and pinpoints towns and villages in the region.
Below is the town of Le Beausset classified as a station verte (nature resort) This pretty Provencal Town with many shops, two large supermarkets, bank, post office and tourist information office and a colourful twice weekly market offer all your day to day requirements.
Winston Churchill learned to paint here. The Romans and Greeks liked it too and many artists such as Dufy and Matisse were inspired by this lovely little port tucked into the limestone hills.
A favourite summer resort and the most alluring Les Calanques with narrow inlets bounded by sheer white cliffs some 400 meters high drop vertically into the tempting blue water. Pine and oak trees grow on the rocky slopes which are home to woodland birds such as owls. There are breathtaking beaches to visit, some of which are accessible by foot or by daily boat trips from the small harbour. Cassis is known for its excellent seafood and fresh sea urchins. One can enjoy lunch or evening meal at one of the many restaurants that line the harbour square enjoyed with a glass of the famous Cassis wine.
Known for its clear blue waters and the diver Jacques Cousteau’s experiments to develop the modem aqualung Sanary-Sur-Mer is a delightful place to visit. Diving and fishing mainly for tuna and swordfish are popular pursuits. Sanary has a natural bay excellent for top class Sailing and windsurfing. Beautifully picturesque and lined with pastel coloured pink and white houses, Sanary offers plenty of diverse restaurants and shops. On the quayside there is a daily fresh fish catch and fruit/vegetable market. Every Wednesday Sanary holds a very colourful and extensive market Producers and vendors bring their wares from all areas of Provence.
Traffic free and to the East of Sanary, lies des Embiez, a conservation Island, having an oceanographique centre. The island has many wonderful beaches, tucked into coves and perhaps quieter than some of those on the mainland, all of which are accessible for snorkelling swimming and sunbathing. There are several restaurants on the island and a supermarket. This delightful island is a perfect place to go for the day. The small ferry runs from early morning to late evening everyday.
A coastal resort with a palm fringed and tree lined promenade, casino, yachting harbour, fishing boats for hire, shops and market. Bandol is sheltered by the encircling hills and this makes for excellent grape growing conditions indeed Bandol has produced excellent wines since 600BC. Bandol has superb water sport facilities and a lively nightlife programme.
Aix en Provence is famous for its fountains. The largest and most famous is on the Cours Mirabeau, the main avenue through town, as well as a moss-covered fountain which draws its water from a hot spring.
Along with searching out the dozens of fountains sprawled around the city, Aix is known for its architecture. The varied and often intricate doors are a key feature, as well as the bell towers.
The city market runs multiple days a week, but the largest and most colorful is the Saturday market which includes a flower market at the Place de l’Hotel de Ville and the main food market is at Place Richelme.
There are plenty of things to do in Aix en Provence. Most of it involves meandering around the small streets of the inner city observing the crooked Roman architecture, elegant fountains and beautiful boutiques, or watching the world go by in many of the wonderful cafe’s or for an authentic taste of Provence, Le Pastis.
It has also become known as the home of Cézanne’s later works. You can see his atelier with some of the original objects he painted into his still lives. The Bibémus Quarries allow you to see Mt. St. Victoire, the mountains he captured in many of his paintings. You can also visit the Manor of Jas de Bouffan, which houses many of his masterpieces.