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Main towns & cities - Provence French Riviera

Discover the major cities of Provence

Discover the charm of the cities and towns in Provence and the Riviera: from Marseille to Nice, from Hyères to Aix en Provence, via St Tropez, Antibes, Arles and Cannes. Museums, markets, monuments, etc.

You'll find plenty of practical information, things to do and see, to organise your stay in one of the cities in Provence and the Riviera. Useful addresses and great ideas in Provence.

Le vieux port de Marseille.

The charm of towns in the South of France

South-east France is a treasure trove of picturesque towns and villages, each with its own charm and character. Marseille, for example, offers an unrivalled wealth of culture, with its museums, Old Port and local specialities such as bouillabaisse.

Nice, the star city of the Côte d'Azur, is also a must-see. With its sandy beaches, famous Cours Saleya and Promenade des Anglais, it's a destination of choice for sun and sea lovers.

And let's not forget Avignon, a city of art and history, one of the most beautiful cities in Provence, and its Popes' Palace, a testament to its glorious past.

  • Marseille: rich cultural heritage, local specialties

  • Nice: sandy beaches, Cours Saleya

  • Avignon: historic heritage, Popes' Palace

Avignon dans le Vaucluse.

Each city has its own charm, depending on its history, architecture and geographical location. Take your time to discover them.

Which is the most beautiful large city in the South (PACA region)?

When it comes to determining the most beautiful large city in the PACA region, several cities stand out. Marseille, the Phocaean city, shines for its authenticity and cultural diversity, with emblematic landmarks such as the Vieux-Port and the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde.

Nice, on the Côte d'Azur, seduces with its blend of glamour, history and natural beauty, with the famous Promenade des Anglais and the charm of the old town.

Aix-en-Provence, with its superb squares, elegant boutique-lined streets and rich cultural heritage, is also a serious contender.

  • Marseille: Old Port, Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica, Panier district

  • Nice: Promenade des Anglais, old town, Colline du Château

  • Aix-en-Provence: Cours Mirabeau, Mazarin district, Cézanne studios

Aix en Provence.

Each city has its own assets and deserves to be explored for its specific features.

Our favorite: Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence, a city of art and history, is our favorite. Known for its rich cultural and architectural heritage, this city offers a unique visitor experience.

  • Stroll along the Cours Mirabeau, a famous avenue lined with plane trees and private mansions.

  • Discover the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur, a site with a style unique in France.

  • Immerse yourself in post-impressionist art by visiting the Atelier Cézanne, the home and garden of the famous painter.

  • Admire the Musée Granet's art collections, from ancient heritage to modern art.

For the full experience, opt for a guided tour to see all the city has to offer. Finally, don't forget to savor Provencal gastronomy during your visit. Aix-en-Provence has so much to offer, it's impossible not to fall under its spell.

What are the main towns in Provence?

Provence, a region rich in culture and history, is home to several major towns that contribute to its authentic charm. These cities are

  • Toulon: Known for its military port, Toulon offers a lively neighborhood scene with colorful markets and an opera house.

  • Cannes: Famous for its international film festival, Cannes is also appreciated for its Croisette and beautiful beaches.

  • Menton: Located on the Italian border, Menton is renowned for its exceptional gardens and lemon festival.

  • Saint-Raphaël: This seaside resort is appreciated for its sandy beaches and old port.

  • Orange: A city of art and history, Orange is famous for its ancient theater.

Each city offers a unique experience to its visitors, thanks to their specific cultural and historical features.

Where to live in the South of France?

Provence is a region offering an exceptional quality of life. Several towns stand out for their gentle way of life and cultural heritage.

Aix-en-Provence is a city of art and history, renowned for its pleasant living environment and rich cultural offering. In fact, Aix-en-Provence was ranked as the most livable city in the Bouches-du-Rhône region.

Toulon is Provence's highest-ranked city in the Top 500 of towns with over 2,000 inhabitants, closely followed by Hyères and Marseille.

Mairie d'Entraigues.

Other towns such as Plan-de-Cuques, Entraigues-sur-la-Sorgue and La Londe-les-Maures are also highly appreciated for their living environment.

The villages of Gordes, Roussillon, Aurel and Lourmarin are jewels of Provence, renowned for their picturesque lanes and Provencal charm.

Finally, if you're looking for close proximity to nature, the town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, located in the heart of the Camargue, could be just the place for you. Its breathtaking environment of plains, ponds and rice fields makes it a unique place to live.

Every town and village in Provence has its own charm and offers a unique living experience to its inhabitants.

Which Provence village to visit?

Don't miss our page devoted to the villages of Provence. There are many superb villages that make Provence so charming: Gordes, Roussillon, Lourmarin in the Luberon, Eygalières and Les Baux de Provence, Menton, Cassis and Saint-Tropez, to name but a few.

It's in the villages that the Provençal soul and the gentle way of life of our beautiful southeastern region are most keenly felt.

Here's a closer look at some of our favorite villages:


Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, located at the foot of the Alpilles mountains, is a real gem in the PACA region. Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, this charming town boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage that appeals to all visitors.

Collégiale Saint Rémy.

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is famous for the Site Archéologique de Glanum, an exceptional testimony to antiquity, and the Monastère Saint-Paul de Mausole, where Vincent van Gogh stayed and created many of his works.

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is also appreciated for its Wednesday morning market, a veritable local institution where you can find quality regional products, including olive oil produced at the Moulin du Calanquet.

The Promenade Van Gogh is also a must, allowing you to follow in the famous painter's footsteps through the town.

Last but not least, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence offers a pleasant living environment, with picturesque lanes, shady squares and fountains that bear witness to the Provencal art of living.


The Baux-de-Provence, in the heart of the Alpilles mountains, is another jewel of Provence. Recognized as one of France's most beautiful villages, it attracts almost 1.5 million visitors a year. Its location on a rocky outcrop offers an exceptional panorama of the Provencal landscape.

Baux de Provence Bouches du Rhône.

Don't miss the Château des Baux-de-Provence, open all year round, and the partly troglodytic church of Saint-Vincent. The Musée des santons and the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs are also well worth a visit.

For art lovers, the Carrières de Lumières offer immersive digital exhibitions in a place steeped in mystery: the Val d'Enfer. Finally, immerse yourself in local history by strolling through the village's narrow cobbled streets and discovering its remarkable architectural features.


Salon-de-Provence, the town of Nostradamus, is one of Provence's must-see places. This historic town is famous for its Château de l'Empéri, which houses a museum of military history. You'll also discover the Maison de Nostradamus, where the famous astrologer lived.

The town is also renowned for its Marius Fabre soap factory, one of the last traditional soap factories in Provence. Here you can discover the history of Marseille soap and the artisanal production of black soap.

You can also take advantage of the surrounding nature, with walks and bike rides around the town. You can discover the region's hidden treasures, such as the Gorges de Régalon.

Don't forget to stop off at the Fontaine Moussue, the town's mascot, ideal for a relaxing break on the terrace.

Salon-de-Provence is a multi-faceted town, combining history, tradition and nature for an enriching and enjoyable visit.


L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, known as the “Venice of Comtadine”, is a picturesque town in the heart of Provence. It is crossed by several branches of the Sorgue river, giving it a unique charm. The town is particularly renowned for its antique and second-hand market, the third largest in Europe.

L'Isle sur la Sorgue dans le Vaucluse.

The Villa Datris Foundation is an essential stop for lovers of contemporary art. You can also stroll along the Parcours des roues to admire the paddlewheels that once powered the town's mills.

Don't miss a visit to the Collégiale Notre Dame des Anges, a historic monument housing many treasures of sacred art. Finally, for a unique experience in L'Isle sur la Sorgue, head for the Partage des Eaux, a place where the Sorgue divides into two arms, offering an impressive natural spectacle.

We hope you have found this information on Provence's towns and villages useful.

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Hotels in Provence
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Provence departments

Alpes de Haute Provence
Alpes Maritimes / French Riviera
Bouches du Rhône
Drôme Provençale
Hautes Alpes

Exceptional tourist areas