Provence in the south of France is a region of diverse landscapes and lots of sunshine. Some places are well known like wonderful Avignon with its 14th century Palace of Popes. Other places are hidden gems, known mostly to the French but not to visitors…
Lac St Croix, Gorges du Verdon
The great nature reserve around the Lac St Croix is a visitors’ paradise. The landscape resembles that of the great nature parks of North America. It even comes complete with a huge Canyon filled with lagoon green water called “Les Gorges du Verdon”, between St Moustiers Marie and Castellan.
There are endless walking, boating and sporting possibilities in the area. The best time to go is during the hot summer months, when it feels a little fresher and less crowded rather than by popular spots by the coast.
Secret Provence | Bauduen
Make for picturesque Bauduen, a village by the lakeshore with its back built into the rock. There is a little pebble beach perfect for kids and you can hire pedaloes and paddleboards. Take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Lac, which is actually a drinking water reserve. You can also hire a sailboat if you’re feeling more energetic.
A few crèperies and cafés line the lake-shore. Head up to the Café Du Midi which has a small but lovely menu and perfect views of the lake. The staff are friendly and kids can roam around the boules square next to the restaurant. Note that booking is essential in high season. The village is tiny with charming stone houses, but has many cute and photo worthy corners. If you’re making a day of it, pop to the neighbouring artists’ village of Moustiers-St-Marie where you can enjoy a culinary feast at Alain Ducasse’s Bastide de Moustiers. It’s pricey but oh so lovely.
Read more about hidden Provence in our free ezine: The Good Life France Magazine
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Susana Iwase Hanson runs the popular Provence Living website. Jeany Cronk is co-founder of award-winning Mirabeau Wines; she writes widely on the Southern French lifestyle and has been featured regularly in the international press. Both live in Cotignac, Provence.