Forcalquier, Alpes de Haute Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France – HiSoUR Art Culture History (2023)

Forcalquier is a French commune located in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Formerly the capital of a flourishing county, founded in the 11th century, it is now the capital of a district. Forcalquier is located between the Lure mountain and the Luberon, on the edge of the Via Domitia. Its name would mean either "the source of the rock", or, more likely, "lime kiln". It is a historic city built according to a semi-concentric plan on the slope of a hill. The Citadel, in the center of the city, is a set of fortifications, surmounted by the Notre-Dame-de-Provence chapel. The picturesque old town, dating back to the 13th century for some residences, is made up of narrow streets and squares and has a rich architecture.

The motto of the small town is "Pus aut que leis Aups" ("higher than the Alps") and the nickname "Cité comtale". Its main monuments are Notre Dame de Bourguet (13th and 17th centuries), the Cordeliers convent (13th century) and the Notre-Dame de Provence chapel dating from 1875 and located on the former site of the citadel from where the view dominates. Haute-Provence. Forcalquier has the particularity of having “the purest sky and air in France, if not in Europe”.

At equal distance from the Rhône, the Alps and the sea, halfway between plain and mountain, meeting the Alpine world and the Mediterranean world – while receiving the latest Atlantic scents – the country of Forcalquier is a middle of the Provence, and a middle Provence. It is located there at the point of balance of the continuous movement between Haut and Bas-Pays which punctuates the history of the Provençal populations, and sees the harvesters and shepherds, peddlers and workers, day laborers and maids, descending then ascending without respite. rhythm of the seasons, also bringing wood and cheese, salt and fish on the way back.

From the end of the second century. Romanization had as its essential axis the Domitian Way, the main road from Italy to Spain which crosses the country of Forcalquier diagonally. Christianization will in turn follow this path, and its organization will renew the Sogionte country for more than twelve centuries, since the bishopric (double from the 11th century) of Sisteron-Forcalquier takes its contours.

It was at this time that between the 11th and 13th centuries. the country of Forcalquier has dominated the largest space in its history. In a political context where the counts of Toulouse and those of Barcelona (also kings of Aragon and counts of Provence), but also incidentally the Republic of Genoa and the Germanic emperor, dispute the domination of the Occitan space, the Alps in the Pyrenees, the counts of Forcalquier play on these rivalries to play their game out of the game, and make their city the capital of an independent state, with its sovereigns, its laws and its currency, from Mont Genèvre to the Monts de Vaucluse and from the Durance to the Col de Cabre. L'Argentière, Embrun, Gap, Sisteron, Manosque, Pertuis, Apt, Sault, Séderon or Veynes are then pourcalquiérens, and even part of Isle-sur-Sorgue and Avignon.

A marriage will finally bring together the counties of Forcalquier and Provence, and the two states will be reunited after 1209, while retaining a certain autonomy which will only gradually disappear.

Late 13th century. sees the beginning of an economic and demographic crisis. It is on this ground that in 1348 the black plague strikes and settles for centuries, wreaking havoc from which Haute Provence will have difficulty in recovering. While some of the villages deserted then some were repopulated before the 16th century, others had to wait until the 17th or 18th century. or even the Revolution.

Forcalquier is perhaps no longer the capital of Viguerie, the attractiveness of the city at the end of the Middle Ages continues to be exerted beyond the mountain of Lure: a draper from Forcalquiéren of the 14th century, whose journal book has come down to us (it is also the oldest trade register in France), to customers coming from Curel or Omergues.

In 1481, Provence was annexed to France, against the sentiments of the Forcalquiérens. Louis XI will send them an army, which will bombard them from the top of a hill which has since been called the Bombardière.

As in the Middle Ages the Jews (Forcalquier and Reillanne have their synagogue) then the Vaudois, Protestants will be numerous in the country in the 16th century. (besides Forcalquier, Ongles has a temple).

After the Revolution, the new regime (which immediately found fervent supporters among us) allowed Forcalquier to retain some of its power and its urban functions by installing the sub-prefecture there, and maintaining a court there.

Contemporary period
With the Revolution, Forcalquier became the capital of the district, then sub-prefecture under the consulate. Between 1806 and 1813, the sub-prefect Latourette razed the ramparts, which were replaced by boulevards and avenues.

In 1851, Forcalquier and his country were among the main actors in the republican revolt against Napoleon III's coup. Despite the fierce repression that followed, the city remained until the war of 1914 the intellectual and artistic capital of the high country, as well as one of the poles of the Provençal renaissance. Forcalquier remains an intellectual center. In 1867, the Literary Athenaeum was created. The Floral Games in 1872, the celebrations of the inauguration of Notre-Dame de Provence in 1875, the founding of the École des Alpes in 1876 and the international festivals of Latinity in 1882, revived great hopes.

The city was hard hit by the First World War. During the Second World War, Forcalquier was a center of resistance. The Allies liberated Forcalquier on August 19, 1944. The town was awarded the Croix de Guerre.

Today, the country of Forcalquier remains remarkably articulated in its city center: one of the smallest sub-prefectures in France still hosts one of the largest markets in all of Provence, and Forcalquier, a micro-city but a veritable city, largely retains its role as a cultural beacon of the high country of Provence.

The sunniest sky in France allows the installation of the Haute-Provence observatory near the city, more precisely in Saint-Michel-l’Observatoire. The hydroelectric development of the Durance and the creation of the Laye reservoir renewed the vitality of the country, allowing widespread irrigation of crops and a secure supply of drinking water.

The old Town
According to Pierre Magnan, “Forcalquier was the most beautiful country in the world and thank God no one but us knew it”. Place Saint-Michel, located in the old town, is famous for its Saint-Michel fountain, a listed historical monument. This gothic-style fountain was erected in 1512. The present round basin replaced the original octagonal basin in 1912. The part above the drawers was redone identically in 1976. The base is famous for the curious sculpted scenes that would represent the vices that Saint Michael seeks to crush. Its construction gave rise to a real urban planning operation: construction of a 3 km aqueduct (first studies in 1492, completed in 1511), a water tower and settling basins for the fountains, but also drilling of a street and two squares (the second fountain, known as Saint-Pierre,

Place du Palais: the former Palais de Justice (1842 facade) succeeds the former palace of the Counts of Forcalquier. The square was also formerly called the Granatarié (grain square), a name preserved by the original staircase (1853) which connects it to Bérenger street. Saint-Pancrace and Bombardière districts, listed site; in this area, the chapel of St Pancras, named after the patron saint of the town (17th century). Isolated on a hill, it has lost its north side. The path opens in front of an oratory from the same period. A hermitage is attached to the chapel. In 1733, major restorations were made to the building. The path is paved. It is listed in the supplementary inventory of historical monuments. The bell tower of Saint-Pierre is a campanile built by the municipality in 1859.

Historical legacy
Les Mourres, located north of the town of Forcalquier, is a landscape of limestone rocks with a marl base thinned by erosion: the Mourres proper, followed upstream by the Petits Mourres and, downstream, by the Mourreisses. All these rocks extend over a hundred meters. The highest rocks reach a height of more than twenty meters. Twenty-five million years ago, that is to say at the end of the Oligocene, the site was a marshy environment. Since then, the water has completely disappeared and the landscape is made up of thorny bushes and downy oaks. In addition, some plants grow on the rocks. On the site, you can discover fossils: limnea (molluscs of (freshwater snails).

The citadel, whose management (circulation of visitors, protection of remains, park on foot, link between the city and the citadel) has been entrusted to the Regional Natural Park of Luberon, offers a panorama of the whole surrounding country. On this site once stood the castle of the Counts of Forcalquier. Its plateau is a classified site. Today, there is the Notre-Dame de Provence chapel: in Roman-Byzantine style, it was erected from 1869 to 1875 on the initiative of Canon Terrasson and adorned with statues of angel musicians and saints of Provence. On the edge of the summit terrace, a carillon from the 1920s made up of 18 bells, allows the traditional game with the fists. Ringing: every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. as well as at major festivals, including the “Nadalet” for Christmas.

A development program for the citadel site has been studied. At the same time, the felling of 37 cedars, large trees, is planned.

The cemetery is a site classified as one of the most beautiful in Europe: the new cemetery, created in 1835, became famous thanks to its lower terrace, decorated with pruned yews from the beginning of the 20th century. These are cut at a height of 4 m, thus creating walls of greenery cut into arcades, offering beautiful perspectives.

The importance of the numerous archaeological remains, present and presumed, in the commune of Forcalquier, led the State services to delimit the perimeters of archaeological protection into 5 zones within which all the permit application files construction, demolition and authorizations for installations and miscellaneous works must be sent to the regional prefect.

The dolmens of Clau-deï-Meli (or Clos du Meli) are the oldest monuments in the town.

military architecture
The Porte des Cordeliers, from the 14th century, is the last vestige of the six gates that possessed the city. The gate of the citadel, dating from the previous century, also remains. It is the only remains of the medieval fortress, known as the citadel, with a tower that still has two vaulted rooms.

There are also some vestiges of the castle of the bishops, at the top of the city, integrated into more recent constructions: bases of towers, sections of walls, part of the main building.

Religious architecture
The Notre-Dame-du-Bourguet cathedral (13th and 17th centuries), also known as Notre-Dame du Marché, comprising the nave, the choir, the transept and the bell tower date from the first years of the 13th century and constitutes the first attempt to adapt Gothic art to the Pays d'Oc. The bell is from the 16th century, the aisles and the second floor of the tower are from the 17th century. The bell dates from 1609. The great organ, whose first stops date back to 1627, is classified as a historical monument.

The convent of the Récollets was installed in 1627 in the church of Saint-Pierre, one of the four parishes of the city; the Roman oculus can still be seen. Transformed into a prison in 1851, the sub-prefect and the gendarmes rallied to the coup d'etat of Napoleon III were locked up there.

The Cordeliers convent (13th century), probably founded around 1236, is one of the first Franciscan foundations in Provence. He moved into a house donated by Raymond Bérenger V of Provence, Count of Forcalquier.

Damaged during the wars of religion, poorly maintained thereafter, it collapsed, and had only two religious during the Revolution. It was sold as national property, transformed into a farm before being restored in the 1960s. The facade of the church is “buried” under the building of the old post office. There are still around the restored Gothic cloister (early 14th century), all the monastic rooms and a secondary chapel from the 15th century, an ossuary and a crypt. The oratory houses a 15th century carved wooden Virgin and Child. The convent is currently the seat of the European University of Scents and Flavors. It is listed in the supplementary inventory of historical monuments.

The convent of the Visitation and its cloister, which served as a college: the convent and the cloister date from 1634, the chapel (or church) of Sant'Angelo dates from 1687. It has a classical facade with two orders and a triangular pediment l Marseilles architect Jean Vallier. Removed, he was replaced by Jean Vallon for the rest of the construction, vaulted with ribs and decorated with liernes and trefoils, in the Gothic style. The convent buildings were rebuilt in 1883 to house the town hall. The church, listed in the additional inventory of historical monuments, is currently a cinema.

The facade of the old temple (end of the 16th century) remains: the door is placed under a low arch, with a central station. The pediment surmounting it bears an inscription taken from the book of Isaiah: “Co (n) spanks the Lord and thus invokes (n) no (m)”. The beautiful residence of the temple on the right (17th century) was that of a large Protestant family, GASSAUD.

The Saint-Promasse priory church dates from the 12th century. The convent building dates from the 13th century: to the northeast, it was transformed into an agricultural building at the beginning of the 20th century).

The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, a former 12th century cathedral (historical monument). There are remains of the former Saint-Mari cathedral of the 12th century remains, joined the episcopal castle (tower of the bishop dating from the 13th century).
Synagogue: supposed location, we know that in the Middle Ages Forcalquier housed a large Jewish community.

The Saint-Jean church, on the southern slope of the hill: it is the first of the four parishes of Forcalquier in the 13th century, and was held at Notre-Dame-du-Bourguet with other parishes in 1415. it belongs to the blue penitents of the XVII and XVIII centuries. It cannot be dated with certainty. It is listed as a historical monument.

Notre-Dame des Fougères has a vaulted, ribbed apse dating from the 16th century. Its 1746 bell was reassembled in 2013. It is also nicknamed Notre-Dame de Vie.

The chapel of Saint-Paul, built on a square plan, is the vestige of a priory.

The 17th century Charité chapel was that of an Augustinian convent, which in 1720 gave way to the Charité Saint-Louis hospital.

16th century Saint-Marc chapel, rebuilt in the 17th century and restored in 1994 by the Friends of the rural chapels and oratories of Forcalquier. Every April 25, the women of the region made a pilgrimage to the chapel, a bag containing eggs of silkworms in order to obtain protection against the diseases of the saint.

Architecture civile
The Autane hotel offers a beautiful facade (exceptional by Raymond Collier), with two large pointed arches (XIV century): it is listed in the inventory of historical monuments. The Dauphin's dwelling is from the same period: arcades and twin bays.

From the following century, there remain at least three buildings, a house behind the Hôtel d'Autane, a passage Roubaud and the Jean Rey house. In cut stone, with an interior courtyard and a spiral staircase, its facades are pierced with mullioned windows. There remains a door with a paneling in the shape of a folded napkin. It belonged in the 16th century to Jean Rey, the family of the lords of Nails. Its roof is protected by registration in the additional inventory of historical monuments.

The Sebastiani hotel, rue des Cordeliers, dating from the 17th century, is distinguished by its rafters on the shear walls. The beams of its vestibule are coated with plaster, and the cornices are also plaster.

Rue Bérenger, a particular house has a door with raised and split piles, and surmounted by a broken pediment. Dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, enlarged at the beginning of the 17th century, its vestibule has a ceiling decorated with plaster (the beams are coated). Former sub-prefecture until 1851, it then served as a prison. It is listed in the supplementary inventory of historical monuments.

The Hôtel Arnaud (17th century), a former Protestant church (former reformed temple), is listed in the inventory of historical monuments for its facade and the roof on the street side.

The Castellane-Adhémar hotel is in the Louis XIII style. A former gendarmerie, behind a partition, a fireplace has been discovered there, the mantle of which is decorated with plaster: two molded pilasters frame a garland crown, under a frieze bearing a coat of arms, all dating from between 1650 and 1700. The house de Tenda, Place Saint-Michel, belonging to the de Tenda family, has a wide facade, from the 18th century.

The countryside is a villa in the Clementis Palladian style, from the end of the 17th century; the mantle of its plaster fireplace is decorated with cut sides.

The municipal museum (old furniture, costumes from Haute-Provence, archeology section founded in 1919) is located on the second floor of the town hall.

Utility architecture
The Latins or Viou viaduct was built in 1882-1887, for Apt in Volx and a road. The lack of security at the site led to the collapse of a scaffolding and the death of seven workers. Built on a curved path 36 m high, 136 m long, it rests on seven arches of 13 m. As soon as the train stopped running in 1955, in 1960 sidewalks were added. As the inauguration coincided with the Fête des Latins, the viaduct bears in dedication inscriptions written in all the Romance languages ​​and the various Occitan dialects. It also bears a plaque in memory of all those who committed suicide there.

The bridge over the Beveron, where the national road 100 passes, dates from 1902. Built on a low vault, with a helical vault, it has a bias of 62°. The opening of the vault is 16 m; the bridge is 5 m wide.

The fountain of the four queens consists of an obelisk in the middle of the basin and dates from 1832.

La Bonne Fontaine: set of fountains and washhouses on an old site.
Joan of Arc fountain: this fountain, built in 1900, replaces the Saint-Pierre fountain built at the same time as the Saint-Michel fountain. A statue of Joan of Arc surmounts the fountain. Eugène Bernard wrote an avenging poem in which Saint-Pierre complains of having been chased away. It is located on Place Jeanne d'Arc.
pointed shelters: dry stone huts (or Bories) made famous by postcards in the first half of the 20th century.

Cultural events and festivities
Forcalquier is the scene of several cultural and festive events throughout the year:
In April: the “Festival de la Randonnée” takes place on the last weekend of April. About twenty hikes are organized with guides, to discover the landscapes and the rural heritage of the country of Forcalquier and the mountain of Lure. These hikes can be done on foot, on horseback, by mountain bike, day or night.
End of the fourth week of May: the “Patronal Feast of Saint Pancrace”. It is characterized by the presence of a fairground.
Every summer since 1989, the Rencontres musicales de Haute-Provence are held in July, a classical music festival created at the instigation of the Queyras family, and currently artistically co-directed by the famous cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, his brother Pierre – Olivier Queyras (violinist) and their respective wives Gesine Queyras and Véronique Marin, both cellists.

Outdoor activities

Hiking and walking trails
Long walk, Nordic walk, secret walk with breathtaking landscapes, snow hike in the Lure mountain or bistro hike with regional breakfast. From a one-hour family hike to a challenging 7-hour hike, anything is possible. In the heart of a preserved natural site, more than 470 km of marked trails await you.

Le Pré du Fau – Montagne de Lure
Departing from the Lure ski resort, cross the forest before setting foot at the top of the Lure mountain. Open your eyes wide and praise the spectacular view of Haute-Provence, the Alps and even the sea on clear blue sky days. “The practice of food harvesting on the territory of yesterday and today”. Find out why Jean Giono wrote “The embankment that borders the road is richer than Oceania”. No other quote could better describe this territory where thyme, savory or santolin or lavender fill the regional paths with perfumes.

The road to the Roman bridge – Lure
This historic path, located on the road to Santiago de Compostela, allows you to discover Lure, classified as: 'the town-village with character', the bishop's path leads to the Notre-Dame de Vie chapel and the ancient Roman bridge. The walks on the Durance valley and the Pays de Forcalquier are breathtaking.

The famous Santiago de Compostela trail passes between Céreste and Lure via Forcalquier to reach Sisteron, the Alps and finally Italy. Hikers, pilgrims for a day or several weeks or simply strollers / moccasins, this path is made for you.

Lavender Route
Enjoy the lavender fields visible only once a year. In the Forcalquier region, the lavender fields are spread over many different villages. It would not be fair to point out the exact locations because these fields change every year depending on the farmer. Wild, next to a perched village, at the bend of a path, you will certainly find them in the villages of Montlaux, Cruis, Saint-Etienne-les-Orgues, Ongles, Lardiers, Saint-Michel l'Observatoire, Banon, Simane la Rotonde and many others. Observe it then close your eyes, smell, listen: everything is there and nothing else exists, maybe this delicious smell reminds you of childhood.



What are the historical facts about Provence Alpes Cote d Azur? ›

The Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region is a major prehistoric site. In fact, several million years B.C. the region was already inhabited by man. Three areas, where traces of prehistoric human activity, can be emphasized: 400,000 years B.C. the first homes were built around the beaches of Terra Amata in Nice.

What is Provence Alpes Cote d Azur known for? ›

Perhaps best known for the many fashionable resorts along the Côte d'Azur, the Provence's other main attractions include the Old Port of Marseille, the ancient cities of Aix-en-Provence and Avignon, as well as a plethora of sun-baked villages and mountaintop towns.

When was Provence Alpes Cote d Azur founded? ›

The first recorded traces of occupation indeed date back to around 1 million years BC!

What regions border Provence Alpes Cote d Azur? ›

It borders Italy (Liguria and Piedmont) to the east, Monaco (Fontvieille, La Colle, La Rousse, Larvotto, Les Moneghetti, Les Révoires, Saint Michel) in the south-east, and the French regions of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes to the north and Occitanie to the west.

What makes Provence famous? ›

Provence is famous for its picturesque and diverse landscapes with blossoming lavender in the summer months. It is also famous for the delicious wines and rosés that have been produced in the region for centuries.

What is the history of Herb de Provence? ›

Herbes de Provence (or herbs de Provence) is an aromatic blend of dried Provençal herbs and spices. It originated in the Provence region of Southern France, so it's most commonly associated with French cuisine.

Why is Provence so important? ›

Provence is famous for its beautiful scenery, light, and colors. Because of this, the region is associated with more than its share of gifted artists. Such great artists as Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso.

Why is the Cote d Azur called the French Riviera? ›

“Riviera” means “coastline” in Italian and therefore in English the “French Riviera” describes the area along the Mediterranean in the South of France. The “Côte d'Azur” was actually given its name by Stephen Liegeard in his book La Côte d'Azur which he published in December 1887.

Why is Provence called Provence? ›

Etymology. The region got its name in Roman times, when it was known as Provincia Romana, simply "the Roman province". This name eventually was shortened to Provincia (the province), and as the language evolved from Latin to Provençal, so did the pronunciation and spelling.

What is the difference between French Riviera and Cote d Azur? ›

The French Riviera, also known as the Côte d'Azur, is a dreamy French region that extends east along the coast from Menton and Monaco to Théoule sur Mer and up into the Southern Alps.

What languages are spoken in Provence Alpes Cote d Azur? ›

French is the official language spoken in Provence.

What is the difference between Cote d Azur and Provence? ›

The region is split into several distinctive parts, all of which were once administrative regions in their own rights in the decades gone by. While Provence is firmly located in the center south of France, the Côte d'Azur is situated in the southeast, between the Mediterranean Sea and the border with Italy.

What celebrities are from Provence Alpes Cote d Azur? ›

Famous people from the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur include (chronologically): the prophet Nostradamus, the Nobel Prize writer Frédéric Mistral, the painter Paul Cézanne, the novelist Marcel Pagnol, the actor Fernandel, and the singer Mireille Mathieu.

What is the meaning of the word Provence? ›

noun. a region in SE France, bordering on the Mediterranean: formerly a province; famous for medieval poetry and courtly traditions.

What does the flag of Provence Alpes Cote d Azur mean? ›

The flag of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) is a banner of its coat of arms. The left half consists of nine vertical stripes of yellow and red, representing Provence. On the right are the dolphin of the former province of Dauphiné (divided between PACA and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) and the eagle of the County of Nice.

What are people from Provence called? ›

Provençal. / (ˌprɒvɒnˈsɑːl, French prɔvɑ̃sal) / adjective. relating to, denoting, or characteristic of Provence, its inhabitants, their dialect of French, or their Romance language. noun.

What religion is Provence France? ›

The dominant religion in rural Provence is Catholicism; however, because of the significant numbers of Muslim Arabic residents, Islam represents an important religious force. The majority of people in Provence observe the holy days and participate in the cycle of festivities of the Catholic church.

What are the smells of Provence? ›

Add to that heady mix the scent of pine, herbal notes of juniper and the sweetest of flowering blossoms, and you have an intoxicating fragrance that is an assault on the senses. You'll find it carried on the Mistral wind down the Rhone Valley and through the Vaucluse.

Why is Provence known for Rose? ›

Provence is the oldest wine region in France, beginning 2,600 years ago when Greeks brought grapevine culture to what is now Marseille. The locals crushed red and white grapes, fermenting the juice in clay vessels, to create rosé.

Why do you put lavender in herbs de Provence? ›

Herbs de Provence became popular to many American cooks through the work of Julia Child in the 1970's. She introduced lavender in the mix. Lavender gives a light floral note that some find delightful and others think flowers have no business in this savory herbal blend. One trick we love is toasting the lavender!

What is herbs of Provence good for? ›

Herbs de Provence is considered an all-purpose seasoning blend. That said, it is most often used to flavor poultry or lamb—and sometimes fish—before they are baked or grilled. The blend is used in robust stews, and to marinate goat cheeses and olives.

What is Provence history? ›

Provence Becomes Part of France

During the 14th century, Provence was incorporated into France under the rule of King Louis XI, but the region was allowed to retain some autonomy and a parliament of its own. Things didn't go well though, and a major War of the Religions broke out in Provence in the 16th century.

Where is the poor man's Provence? ›

In Poor Man's Provence, Johnson settles in Henderson, Louisiana, to highlight the lives of ordinary people about the business of simply living.

What is typical for Provence? ›

Real Provençal cuisine is high-spirited but simple, focusing on preserving the taste and texture of seasonal, fresh ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, saffron, peppers, anchovies, olives, olive oil and wild herbs. It is above all Mediterranean and “familial”—la cuisine de grand-mère.

Is Nice France expensive to visit? ›

Nice is definitely less expensive than Paris. In fact, just about any city in Europe or around the World, save for Zurich and Hong Kong, is going to be less expensive than Paris according to the US News and World Report. And as validation, today (May 2023), I paid $80 USD per night for a *hostel* in Paris.

What does Cote d Azur literally mean? ›

Côte d'Azur, (French: “Coast of Azure”), cultural region in southeastern France encompassing the French Riviera (see Riviera) between Menton and Cannes in Alpes-Maritimes département and extending into southern Var département.

How many days do you need in French Riviera? ›

It's recommended that you spend at least five days on the French Riviera, as this will give you enough time to explore the area and get a good feel of it.

What is the symbol of Provence? ›

The bee was part of that effort. Since Napoleon was from Corsica, his symbolism was used more in the provinces along the Mediterranean Sea, such as Provence. More recently, the bee has become a symbol not only of France, but of the region of Provence.

What is the heart of Provence? ›

Located in the heart of Provence, Avignon has everything needed to enchant you with its art de vivre and rich architectural heritage.

Who founded Provence France? ›

The Romans made the region the first Roman province beyond the Alps and called it Provincia Romana, which evolved into the present name.

Which is better French or Italian Riviera? ›

Both locales offer charming places to relax, but in this edition of French Riviera vs. Italian Riviera, the latter has the upper hand. The Italian Riviera is much more laid-back—its villages are gorgeous and historic but are less glamorous than their French counterparts.

What's better Cannes or Nice? ›

In general, Cannes is a great option for those looking for a luxury getaway, sandy beaches and a thriving nightlife. On the other hand, Nice is a great choice for those looking for a laid-back option that is a bit more family and budget-friendly.

Do people still speak Provençal? ›

Occitan is a very old language spoken by about 1.5 million people across Europe. One of its dialects, Provençal, is still very much alive and kicking in the south of France today.

Which is the largest French speaking province? ›

The proportion of the population whose first official language spoken is French is the highest in Quebec, followed by New Brunswick and Yukon.

Do people speak French in the Alps? ›

Answer and Explanation: The four languages spoken in the Swiss Alps are: German, French, Italian and Romansh.

Which fashionable city is on the Cote d Azur? ›

“Carrés d'Or” on the Côte d'Azur!

Cannes, Nice and Monaco have one thing in common: they all have their own “Carré d'Or” where all the chic boutiques are concentrated. In Cannes, it is limited to two long parallel streets: La Croisette and rue d'Antibes.

Is Aix-en-Provence better than Marseille? ›

You're Going to Love Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence, often simply called Aix by locals, is one of the most appealing destinations in the South of France. Richer than Marseille, cheaper than Paris, and 300 days of sunshine each year - it's perfect for romantic breaks and languid summer vacations.

Why is Aix-en-Provence special? ›

At its core, Aix-en-Provence is a small Provençal town brimming with quaint cafes and vibrant markets. But its university students — tens of thousands of them — keep this southern French city young, exciting and cosmopolitan.

Where do celebrities stay in Nice France? ›

For the true celebrity experience, Hotel-Du-Cap-Eden-Roc is in a stunning location and has been visited by what seems like nearly every star under the sun (Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks & Cate Blanchett to name a few).

Where do famous people go in France? ›

The French Riviera has been a favourite stomping ground for the rich, the famous and the wannabe's since the 1850s. For decades, they've been flocking to this stunning corner of the world to be seen and to party at some of the most exclusive and legendary nightspots on the Côte d'Azur.

What famous people live on the French Riviera? ›

Here is the list of the coolest ones we know about:
  • Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie, Var.
  • Bono, Eze-sur-mer.
  • Elton John, Nice.
  • Rod Stewart, Saint-Paul-de-Vence.
  • Tina Turner, Villefranche-sur-mer.
  • Johnny Depp & Vanessa Paradis, Plan De La Tour.
  • Roman Abramovich, Cap d'Antibes.
  • A list of its own.

Was Provence part of Italy? ›

It was conquered by Rome at the end of the 2nd century BC and became the first Roman province outside of Italy. From 879 until 1486, it was a semi-independent state ruled by the Counts of Provence. In 1481, the title passed to the Louis XI of France and in 1486 Provence was legally incorporated into France.

Is Provence considered south of France? ›

Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône River on the west to the Italian border on the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the south.

Is Provence in France or Italy? ›

Cornered by Italy and the Mediterranean Sea, Provence is the southeasternmost region of France. Officially part of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, it is also known as Région Sud.

What is Provence Cote d Azur known for? ›

Known for its seaside resorts, yachts, the rich and famous, Romanesque and medieval architecture and wine. An inland territory named after Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. It is particularly famous for the Luberon, picturesque villages sought after by foreign visitors for its laid-back lifestyle.

Does Cote d Azur mean blue coast? ›

The French Riviera (known in French as the Côte d'Azur) is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France. It covers about 550 miles and acquired the nickname Cote d'Azur or Blue coast in 1887. This nickname comes from the turquoise Mediterranean sea, and the word Riviera means coast in Italian.

What are the two flags of France? ›

Since 1976, there have been two versions of the flag in varying levels of use by the state: the original (identifiable by its use of navy blue) and one with a lighter shade of blue.

What is the history of Provence? ›

Provence was inhabited by Ligures since Neolithic times; by the Celtic since about 900 BC, and by Greek colonists since about 600 BC. It was conquered by Rome at the end of the 2nd century BC and became the first Roman province outside of Italy.

What does Provence mean in history? ›

/ prɔˈvɑ̃s; English prəˈvɑns / PHONETIC RESPELLING. noun. a region in SE France, bordering on the Mediterranean: formerly a province; famous for medieval poetry and courtly traditions.

What is the brief history of Aix en Provence? ›

Aix passed to the crown of France with the rest of Provence in 1487, and in 1501 Louis XII established there the parliament of Provence, which existed until 1789. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the town was the seat of the Intendance of Provence.

What is the origin Cotes de Provence? ›


It was a Greek colony, settled in Marseille, that brought with it the cultivation of the winee, and developed it around the Phocaean city, Nice, Antibes and Saint-Tropez.

What are people from Provence France called? ›

Provençal in American English

2. a native or inhabitant of Provence. 3. Also called: Occitan. a Romance language once widely spoken in southern France, still in use in some rural areas.

What did the Romans call Provence? ›

The Romans made the region the first Roman province beyond the Alps and called it Provincia Romana, which evolved into the present name.

What does Provence mean in France? ›

/prəˈvɑnts/ Definitions of Provence. a former province of southeastern France; now administered with Cote d'Azur. example of: French region. a geographical subdivision of France.

Do people speak English in Aix-en-Provence? ›

French is the official language spoken in Provence. As a hugely popular international tourist destination you may well find that in many restaurants, bars and hotels English is spoken.

What is an interesting fact about Aix-en-Provence? ›

Aix-en-Provence is often referred to as the “City of a Thousand Fountains” due to the numerous fountains located throughout the city. The famous post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne was born and raised in Aix-en-Provence, and the city features many sites related to his life and work.

What does Cote mean in French wine? ›

Côtes: Meaning wines from a slope or hillside. For example, Côtes Rôtie in the northern Rhône literally means ”burnt slope”. Cru: Indicates quality, where Grand Cru usually is the top, followed by Premier Cru.

Who founded Provence? ›

After the battle Sextus Calvinus destroyed the hilltop fortress of Entremont. At the foot of the hill, where thermal springs were located, he founded a new town, called Aquae Sextiae ("The Waters of Sextius"). Later it became known simply as Aix, then as Aix-en-Provence.

Is Provence the same as Cote d Azur? ›

The Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, often simply referred to as Provence, in southeastern France offers alpine adventures, rolling vineyards, olive groves and the French Riviera.


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