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Secret Provence | Cotignac and Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume


At first glance Cotignac wows visitors with its large limescale cliffs reminiscent of ancient troglodyte living. Houses are literally carved into the cliffs and anyone can climb the steps that lead up to the old cave dwellings for a 2 euros entry fee during visiting season.

The village has 2,300 inhabitants and is typically Provençale. The population quadruples to over 10,000 in the summer months when glorious sunshine, festivals, markets and concerts lure visitors.

Take a break at the Café du Cours, 23 Cours Gambetta, it serves steak tartare, tuna tataki, pastas, burgers, and pizzas fresh out of the oven. Service is always excellent and it’s a great place to people-watch especially on market day (Tuesdays). Just a few doors down is the Centre d’Art La Falaise where seasonal exhibitions of regional artists can be seen. Mirabeau Wine has a shop underneath where you can sample award winning rosé and buy beautifully selected locally produced home wares.

10 Photos of Cotignac that will make you want to va va voom there straight away!

More information about Cotignac: www.provence-living.net; Tourist office: la-provence-verte.net/ot_cotignac/; Mirabeau Wine Showroom: www.mirabeauwine.com


St Maximin is a mid size town surrounded by two impressive mountain ranges and boasts the largest Basilica in Provence.  The cathedral is surrounded by a beautiful cloister complex. The small, charming roads are lined with cafés and shops.

A fantastic food and local produce market takes place every Wednesday, which attracts stallholders from far and wide. The Café de la Renaissance (6, Place Malherbe) is situated in a good spot with a raised terrace at the Place Malherbe. The owner trained at a nearby Michelin star restaurant and has definitely transferred some of his skills to this more relaxed setting.

Tourist office: Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume

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