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Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: historical centers, lavender, mountains, sea and beaches

The French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur extends in south-eastern France, between the Alps, the Rhone and the Mediterranean Sea, to the east – along the Alps – it borders with Italy, to the north it borders with the region of Rhône-Alpes and to the west it borders with Languedoc-Roussillon, while the principality of Monaco is completely surrounded by the territory of the region. The most important city is Marseille which is also the capital of the region, as well as being the second largest city of France after Paris.

The region consists of six departments: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04) with capital of Digne-les-Bains; Hautes-Alpes (05) with capital Gap; Alpes-Maritimes (06) with capital Nice; Bouches-du-Rhône (13) with capital Marseille; Var (83) with capital Toulon; and Vaucluse (84) with capital Avignon.

The highest mountain in the region is the Barre des Écrins (4,102 meters) in the department of Hautes-Alpes. The region’s economy is highly developed, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is in fact the third economic region of France after Ile-de-France and Rhone-Alpes. Tourism is among the most important economic activities, the region is with Paris main tourist hub in France.

From the point of view of tourism, the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is full of attractions, there are the famous French Riviera with worldly renowned centers and resorts of Cannes, Nice, Antibes, Saint-Tropez and Saint-Raphaël. The Camargue with its desolate landscapes of ponds and marshes. Provence with historical and artistic centers of great importance (Arles, Avignon, Orange, Carpentras, Vaison-la-Romaine, Les-Baux-de-Provence, Aix-en-Provence) and the extreme southern Alps with renowned ski centers.

The region has five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 1) The historic center of Avignon, the Papal Palace, the Episcopal Ensemble and the bridge over the Rhone. 2) Arles, with its Roman and Romanesque monuments. 3) Orange with the Roman theater and the triumphal arch.

Are also part of the World Heritage of UNESCO also: 4) The two sites of the forts of Briançon and Mont-Dauphin, part of the system of fortifications of Vauban, a total of 12 fortifications scattered on the borders of France. 5) The sites of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in France (Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostella en France), one of which is located in the region (the church St Honorat in Arles).

Among the smaller towns most interesting to visit there are: the town of Sisteron, with its ancient citadel and medieval streets. Digne-les-Bains, with its thermal baths. Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, famous for ceramics and the scenic landscape. Grasse, known for perfumes. Saint-Paul de Vence, a town rich in art galleries. Among the natural attractions the region includes three national parks (Mercantour, Écrins and Port-Cros), and landscaped areas of great charm as: the Camargue, the Grand Canyon of Verdon, the Gorges de Daluis, the Gorges du Cians, the Gorges de la Nesque, the Mont Ventoux, the Luberon Natural Park, and the beautiful coast of Esterel.

Climate of Provence.

Climate of French Riviera.

  • Area: 31,400 km²
  • Population: 4,818,000 (2007)
  • Chief town: Marseille

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