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Village House, Chateauneuf Le Rouge (Bouches-du-Rhone)
Self-catering Village House with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathrooms. Sleeps 6. Saturday changeover.
Built in local stone, this first-floor property is located in a residential neighborhood, in the...
In the south western portion of Provence is the département of Bouches-du-Rhône. It is boarded by mountains and to the south is the Mediterranean. Perhaps its most famous feature is the Camargue with its pink flamingos, grazing bulls and cowboys. There is also the stunning coastline of the Calanques with its dramatic cliffs, glittering sea and small creeks.
Bouches-du-Rhône is home to France's second largest city, Marseille. A cosmopolitan city, that is home to a thriving community of artists and writers, and is blessed with a rich cultural and gastronomic heritage - some exquisite restaurants can be found amongst the chic boutiques.
If you wish to escape the coast, then head inland to experience the chic city of Aix-en-Provence and further west is Arles, which has a Roman and Dark Age history.
Why you should visit Bouches-du-Rhône for your next holiday in France
Bouches-du-Rhône is interestingly diverse - from its towering mountains of the north and east to the vast plains of Camargue, and from the long quiet Mediterranean coast to the bustling city of Marseille - there is a holiday here to suit every holidaymaker.
The mini-mountains of the Alpilles together with an interior of gentle hills provides an extremely picturesque and dramatic landscape filled with hill villages, lush valleys and rough terrain, perfect for escaping to the sunny countryside. On the other hand if you prefer to explore charming villages there are many to choose from, St. Rémy, Maussane, Paradou, and Fontvieille, to name but a few. In fact drive for 10 minutes in any direction and you will encounter another village that has something special to offer, including its own weekly open-air market.
To the east of Marseille along the coast is the charming port of Cassis. In a popular Mediterranean setting it is close to the towering Calanques, accessible to beaches and plays host to a banquet of local seafood. At one time it was the summer haunt of great painters such as Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy.
What to see and do in Bouches-du-Rhône
There are 160km of hiking trails along the unique stretch of coastline known as the Calanques, an outstanding wild region of creeks, inlets and rocky escarpments from Marseille and Cassis. The Natural Park of Camargue is a huge wetland plain filled with paddies and ponds, and dotted with flamingos, herons and cormorants. Both regions are fascinating places to walk and admire the scenery and wildlife.
The Mediterranean coast of Bouches-du-Rhone has magnificent sandy beaches, providing plenty of excuses to relax, swim and sunbathing. However, for the more active traveller, the tennis, horse riding and hiking facilities are top class, with a multitude of terrain and sights to inspire you. There is also plenty of scope to play a round or two of golf. The Pont Royal, Servannes, Les Baux and Fuveau Golf Courses are of a very high standard, and are open to the public.
Aix-en-Provence is a thoroughly unique and charming town. Located in Bouches-du-Rhône just to the north of Marseille it is one of the largest and most sophisticated towns in the region. Aix is flowers and fountains, sun-dappled, tree-lined boulevards, neat little dwellings and narrow shaded streets. It is not hard to picture one of Aix's most famous residents, Paul Cézanne, relaxing there. It is also a university town and brings with it a youthful population.
Arles is a small city on the banks of the Rhône with a bustling market and well-preserved Roman ruins. Vincent Van Gogh spent just over a year in the city and painted more than 300 canvases there. Les Arenes is an ancient amphitheatre and is now used for bullfights, which begin at Easter time and finishes the second Saturday in September. St. Trophime is a Romanesque church with elaborate tapestries and an exquisite cloister. It is situated in the Place de la République, a sunny square with benches scattered around a central fountain.
Places to visit
- Marseille - head to the quai du port where you will find restaurants serving tasty 'bouillabaisse' fish soup made from the day's catch.
- The town of Aix-en Provence, home to Paul Cezanne until 1906.
- Relaxation on the Cote D'Azur at Cassis and the 'calanques'- take a boat trip from Cassis to the 'calanques' for white cliffs and dazzling turquoise waters.
- Explore the Camargue - hire a 4x4 vehicle or take a river trip to explore the Camargue's fragile eco-system that supports wild white horses, black bulls and pink flamingos.
How to get to Bouches-du-Rhône
Flights to Nimes (FNI), Avignon (AVN) or Marseille (MRS) International Airport will allow you the easiest access to Bouches-du-Rhone.
Eurostar has made the journey easy from London, St Pancras International to Paris, Gare du Nord is just 2 hours 15 minutes.
From Paris (Gare Montparnasse) there are TGV trains to Marseille and the whole journey will take approximately 7 hours.
Marseille is very well connected to most French cities through numerous highways. As always in France the Autoroutes are toll roads but are practical, comfortable and fast. Marseille is around 8 hours from Paris by car.
Marseille has a big harbour however there are no direct ferries from the UK. There are direct ferry routes from Marseille to Ajaccio, Bastia, Porto Torres, Porto Vecchio and Propriano. If you are planning a boat trip from Marseille note that there are several piers at the harbour, so it is advisable to check well in advance from which pier you are departing.