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Window On France – La Provence and Côte d’Azur

The irresistible charm of this region makes it abundantly clear why so many aspire to call it home. With a climate and quality of life that rank among the finest in France, it’s no wonder people are drawn to its allure. The captivating landscapes of inland Provence boast stunning rock formations and vibrant, captivating soils that paint the scenery with a kaleidoscope of colors. Nestled amidst the rugged hills and majestic mountains, you’ll discover deep gorges, fertile valleys adorned with lavender carpets, flourishing almond groves, ancient olive trees, and sprawling vineyards. Everywhere you turn, the air carries the delightful fragrances of wild herbs like lemon verbena, rosemary, thyme, and basil. It’s no wonder that perfume production thrives as a significant local industry in this fragrant land.

The Côte d’Azur, also known as the “Coast of Azure,” is a captivating cultural region nestled in the southeastern part of France. It encompasses the renowned French Riviera, stretching from Menton to Cannes in the Alpes-Maritimes department and extending further into the southern region of Var department. It is known as the ultimate holiday destination, offering white sandy beaches, a warm climate as well as world-class shopping and dining scenes.

Provence, a dream holiday destination, captivates visitors with its azure-blue skies, stunning natural scenery, remarkable heritage, melodious chirping cicadas, and charming hilltop villages. One cannot overlook the enchanting lavender fields of Provence, whose sight and scent have become an iconic pleasure, defining the essence of a visit to this region. Equally famous are Provence’s picturesque hilltop villages, and among them, the unmissable Les Baux-de-Provence. Nestled on a hill, it gracefully rests just below the magnificent ruins of an ancient castle, offering an experience that is truly awe-inspiring, or even Roussillon and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.

The region of Provence and Cote d’Azur in France is not only renowned for its stunning landscapes and cultural treasures but also for its exceptional cuisine.

From fresh and vibrant Mediterranean flavors to hearty rustic dishes, the culinary offerings of this region are a true gastronomic delight and rely heavily on garlic and locally produced olive oil.

One iconic dish not to be missed is Ratatouille, a delightful medley of seasonal vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and tomatoes, stewed together with aromatic herbs and olive oil. This vibrant and fragrant dish perfectly captures the essence of Provencal cuisine, showcasing the region’s love for fresh produce and Mediterranean flavors.

As you explore the villages and towns, make sure to sample the renowned Herbes de Provence. This aromatic blend of dried herbs, typically including thyme, rosemary, oregano, and marjoram, adds a distinct flavor to many dishes, from grilled meats and roasted vegetables to hearty stews.

Cheese enthusiasts will rejoice in the vast array of regional cheeses to discover. From the creamy and pungent Banon to the tangy and crumbly Picodon, Provence and Cote d’Azur offer a delightful selection of goat cheeses that reflect the region’s diverse terroir.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, indulge in the irresistible delights of Provencal desserts. Sink your fork into a slice of Tarte Tropézienne, a luscious cream-filled pastry with origins in Saint-Tropez, or savor the delicate flavors of Calisson, a traditional almond-shaped candy made with ground almonds, candied fruits, and a hint of orange blossom.

Provence, the oldest wine-producing region in France, specializes in Rosé. With a fantastic climate of ample sunshine, balanced rainfall, warm days, and cool evenings, the region benefits from the moderating influence of the Mediterranean and the famous “Mistral” wind, ensuring optimal grape growth.

Côtes de Provence, the largest Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the region, holds the distinction of being the primary producer, accounting for approximately 75% of wine production, with a notable 89% dedicated to Rosé wines.

This diverse region also showcases a range of renowned references, including Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Côteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, Cassis, Bandol, Palette, Côteaux des Baux, and Côteaux Varois.

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French Shopping, Dining & Lifestyle guide in Singapore