The region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is a thriving area in south eastern France bordered by Italy to the east, the Mediterranean to the South, the Rhône-Alpes to the north, and the Languedoc-Roussillon region to the west. Cities you’ll want to visit in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur include Marseille, Nice, Toulon, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Cannes, and Grasse.
Marseille is a large city on the Mediterranean, home to France’s largest commercial port as well as being the administrative capital of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Marseille is very much of a cultural “melting pot”, as it is where many of France’s immigrants enter the country. It is also a regional cultural and entertainment center with an opera house, museums, art galleries, cinemas, and plenty of dining and dancing. The Musée de la Mode will appeal to the fashion enthusiast, and the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-Majeure, founded in the 4th century, and the 12th century parish church of Saint-Laurent are also well worth a visit.
Nice is among the oldest human settlements in Europe, and was officially founded around 350 BCE by the Greeks. It is considered one of France’s most beautiful tourist cities, with its Promenade des Anglais and gorgeous coastline. Many visitors to France say that Nice is their favourite French city because of its great beauty and mild climate.
Toulon, the location of the prison made famous by Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, is a center of naval building, wine making, fishing, aeronautics, armaments, and electronics. The old town area is full of small streets and fountains as well as the Toulon Cathedral, and is also the location of the daily Provençal market. Many of the numerous fountains in Toulon were first built in the 17th century. Mount Faron looms over the city and can be reached by cable car.
Aix-en-Provence came to France in 1487 with the rest of Provence, though archaeological excavations in the medieval suburb of Ville des Tours have found the remains of roman artifacts, including an amphitheatre. The Cours Mirabeau divides the town and is home of the famous Deux Garçons brasserie, which was built in 1792 and frequented by cultural icons like Emile Zola, Ernest Hemingway, and Paul Cézanne. Like Toulon, Aix is home to numerous fountains dating from the 17th century.
Arles was an important Roman city, and the Roman and Romanesque monuments in Arles were made UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1981. Arles is also famous for being home to Vincent Van Gogh, who lived there for two years and produced over 300 works of art during his time there. Important Roman sites include a Roman theatre, obelisk, and aqueduct, just to name a few.
Cannes is most famous for its annual film festival, and is a popular tourist city, home to plenty of luxury shopping, dining, and hotels.
The city of Grasse is the world’s perfume capital and also is home to the famous Notre Dame du Puy, founded in the 11th century, which contains works by Rubens and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The International Museum of Perfume is in Grasse, and the area is known for the many perfumeries and a micro climate that is well-suited for flower production for the industry.
There is so much culture in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur that it is hard to cover everything in a short space, but suffice it to say that any visitors will find plenty of wonderful things to see and do there.
The six departments of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France are: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var, Vaucluse.