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FRANCE: Provence, including the Cote d’Azur


Situated in the south-east of France, Provence’s coastline stretches from Bandol to Menton, on the Italian border . The region, covering an area of approximately 30,000 sq km, contains five ‘departements’ [counties] – Bouches-du-Rhone, Vaucluse, Alpes de Haute-Provence, Var and Alpes-Maritimes — and has a population of some 4,275,000 people. The region has some 300 days of sun per year.

Considering purchasing a Property?

Costs involved in purchasing property include expenses due to the public notary [invoices settled by the public notary on behalf of the purchaser], transfer tax [taxe de mutation]equal to approx 5% of the selling price, property registration, stamp duty, and VAT on a new construction. Costs amount to between 8% and 10% of the selling price. In addition, an annual amount of property tax, called Taxe d’Habitation , similar to ‘rates’ in the UK, is payable each year on January 1. There are exemptions for people over 60 years

Swimming pools and safety measures:

If you’re thinking about purchasing a property that has a swimming pool, you should be aware of the new French law concerning safety measures. Not only must all children be supervised by an adult when at a [private] swimming pool, but every pool must either have fencing around it or have an alarm system. In each case, the system must be approved by the appropriate French authorities. The local Mairie [town hall] will have details.

Setting up a business in the south of France?

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Nice has established a specific department, La Maison des Enterprises [Companies Association] to help companies in setting-up an organisation on the Riviera.

The British Chamber of Commerce Cote d'Azur is well worth contacting and their website is BCC Cote d'Azur


With the exception of the superb red wines from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Provence has not traditionally been noted for its great wines. only recently gained its status for fine wines. Formerly it had carved itself a reputation for agreeable wines and in particular for its rosé. But, more recently, an increasing number of wine growers are making first-rate products to challenge those from Burgundy and Bordeaux. Particularly good are the reds and rosés from the Bandol area, located between Marseille and Toulon.


There are many first-rate golf courses in the region. Here is a selection: The Monte Carlo [33 (0)4 93415070] boasts some wonderful holes and has dazzling views; Golfe de Sainte Maxime [33 (0) 4 944926], with magnificent views over the bay towards St Tropez; Esterel [33 (0)4 94 825500] designed by Robert Trent Jones; the challenging Saint Endreol [33 (0)4 94992299]; the longest established golf course in the south of France, the Cannes Mandelieu Old Course [33(0)4 92973200];

The Riviera Golf Club [33 (0)4 92974949]close to Mandelieu, where accuracy is of the essence; the pricey and dramatic Royal Mougins [33 (0)4 92924969]; the pleasurable Saint Donat [33 (0)4 93097660], also designed by Robert Trent Jones; Cannes Mougins [33 (0)493757913] is an satisfying and fairly demanding course; Close to Grasse at 600 metres is Claux-Amic [33 (0)4 93605544], which offers fine views and excellent golf. The Gary Player designed Taulane [33 (0)4 93603130] is considered by some to be the greatest course in the south of France.


Especially popular in Provence, boules is played throughout the year. Most villages throughout the region boast at least one ‘piste de boules‘. Although many of the players are in their 60s and 70s plus, the game is attracting an increasing number of young players. Pastis, Marseille’s most famous drink, is synonymous with the game as the après-match drink but chilled rosé is as popular.

Museums and Galleries:

For art lovers, Provence is also a delight. Those who have left some of their treasures from their lives in this region include leading lights of the Impressionist movement, Paul Cézanne and Pierre Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, cubist Fermand Léger, Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso. The tourist office in each town supplies full information on what’s on, where and when but here is a small selection to consider: Musée Picasso in Antibes; Musée National Fernand Léger in Biot, Musée Fragonard in Grasse, Musée Matisse in Nice, the Fondation Maeght in Saint Paul de Vence and the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain also in Nice.

What’s On:

Additional to the plethora of museums, many of which have constantly changing exhibitions, there are a multitude of events throughout the year. For those with eclectic tastes, time will be the only limiter to around the clock entertainment.

January has The Monte Carlo Rally

February the Mardi Gras Carnival in Nice

March the International Flower Festival in Cagnes-sur-Mer

April the Féria Pascale in Arles to celebrate the beginning of the bullfighting season

May the Cannes Film Festival, the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters and the F1 Monaco Grand Prix

June the Son-et-Lumière in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, Juan les Pins and Nice devote much of July to their celebrated Jazz Festivals

August the Fete du Jasmin in Grasse and sparkling firework displays all over

September the Montgolfiades Internationales in Haute Provence for balloonists

October the Foire international de Marseille with music, folklore, arts and crafts, Monaco celebrates its National Day with spectacular firework displays in November, and the Fete du Vin in Bandol in December. And those mentioned are but a fraction of this feast of events throughout the year.

©jml property Services August 2004

How did the South of France look in the 1920s and 1960s? Click Here for photos

See also

Departments and Regions in FranceCLICK HERE

Biot — South of France Picture GalleryClick Here

Buying a Property in France CLICK HERE

Nostagia in France — Photos of the 1960's and 1970's Click Here for photos

Riviera realty French Property News article from September 2006 by Karen Tait CLICK HERE

Buy to Let Europe CLICK HERE

Fact File Nice CLICK HERE

Biot — Cannes — Monaco Côte d'Azur, South of France CLICK HERE

Places to Visit in the South of France CLICK HERE

Taxe de séjour CLICK HERE

Buying and selling cars in France CLICK HERE

Tax Declarations in France CLICK HERE

Tips and Topics in France CLICK HERE

Holiday Home Property Insurance for France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Malta, Cyprus, England, Scotland and Wales — visit our Holday Home Insurance section.

jml Property Services are members of The British Chamber of Commerce – Cote d’Azur – France