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The South of France

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The South of France is renowned the world over as a sophisticated holiday area, France's top vacation destination. It's warm climate and the Mediterranean coast has long made it the place to go - and of course inevitably it is not the cheapest place either. One glance at the luxury yachts lining up in their hundreds along the quays of the marinas and you know that deep pockets are in abundance!

The Côte d'Azur is shared between two departments, the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var, not forgetting the independent but very much French Principality of Monaco.

Behind the Côte d'Azur lies Provence, a warm - even hot - and dry area of red-tiled villages and towns, well explored by the tourist, particulary since it was popularised by the book "A Year in Provence".

Through this area runs the great river Rhone, and the Mistral wind which sweeps down the Rhone Valley dominates the weather, particularly in November to April. The Mistral is often blamed for outbreaks of temper and rash decision-making.

Our South of France guide also includes the area of Languedoc - Rousillon, and the amazing Carcasonne, one of the most complete walled cities in the world. Languedoc reminds us that this region spoke the "Langue d'Oc" for centuries, a romantic language that exists in many forms across the southern stretches of France. Indeed it would still be the main language today if De Gaulle had not decreed that the language of France would be French - and forbid its use in schools. Today its vestiges still remain, spoken by an older generation and introduced in schools to young children learning about the history of their land.

And history it has - oozing from every town and village. The area's close proximity to Italy means that the Roman influence is very strong - evidence of their civilisation abounds - and the turbulent Middle Ages left their mark everywhere too.

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Activities in the South of France
Presenting the sports and leisure activities available in the South of France
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Hotels, B&B and property
Areas
Menu of areas covered by this guide
Magazine
On-line magazine covering the South of France
Things to see in South France
Presenting the monuments, tourist attractions and other sites in the South of France
Towns
Presenting our full list of towns and villages in the south of France
Transport
How to get to the South of France

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