Living in ProvenceIyna Bort Caruso
Of the many riches of Provence, France, the quality of its light may be its greatest. The region famously captured by Impressionist masters is a Technicolor tapestry of lavender, sunflowers and azure-blue waters, drenched by the sun.
Impressionists weren’t the first to find their muses here although their works have left the world powerful and permanent images of this romantic southern French landscape.
The region spans small cities and villages from the banks of the lower Rhone River to the Italian border and encompasses a prime stretch of blue-chip towns along the Mediterranean coast from Nice to Marseille.
It is an area of Roman ruins, medieval hilltop villages and Gothic cathedrals. Palais des Papes, the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, is the largest Gothic palace in Europe.
For its renowned culinary tradition, moderate weather and range of prestige properties, Provence real estate is a popular investment for second-home owners from the UK, northern Europe and the U.S. International buyers can purchase properties here without restriction.
Cosmopolitan Marseille and Nice are the largest cities in the region and Provence has no shortage of showcase villages, like Gordes, built on top of a cliff, and Cotignac, surrounded by vineyards. Aix-en-Provence is known as the city of a thousand fountains. The Quartier Mazarin district is in the heart of the old town with historical buildings and homes that date back centuries. On the outskirts of the city classic Provencal homes, especially those with views of Montagne Sainte-Victoire, made famous by Paul Cezanne, are popular with international buyers.
Provence real estate includes modern urban mansions, villas and apartments. In the countryside, the mas, a humble stone farmhouse many a buyer has renovated into a luxury retreat, and bastide, or country manor house, represent traditional rural architecture. Land is also available for those interested in reimaging acreage for horse breeding, hunting and vineyards.