The pandemic has taken its toll. With months under restrictions, which seem to get ever more stringent, the winter months are even bluer. It is in these cold months, with snow on the ground and de-icing the car, that we turn our dreams to Summer.
For some, booking a Summer holiday is an essential psychological salve that helps them see through the short days and long, dark nights at this time of year. With such uncertainty hanging over international and even home travel, we cannot click our way to happiness and a better Summer ahead.
We can still dream. Even stuck in our homes, we have the freedom in our mind to wander and carve out a perfect getaway. Let’s give you a helping hand. Here we offer some destinations in Provence that you could choose at a moment’s notice and enjoy the beauty, decadence, and luxury of the region.
We are living a dream, so let’s dream big. Sure, St Tropez is known as the playground of the rich, with its luxury and decadence. In our imagination, we can tour the restaurants, visit the exclusive beaches, and enjoy £100 bottles of wine a night.
However, St Tropez shouldn’t feel exclusive. There is a St Tropez for all of us. It is a place of narrow cobblestone streets, endless beaches, the vibrancy of the lavender and some of the most beautiful scenery and heritage sites imaginable.
What is so appealing about St Tropez is the sleepy, French attitude of Provence mixed with the animated streets filled with fun lovers looking to make the most of their time in the sun. There are nightclubs, shops galore and an endless supply and spa and beauty facilities.
If you are going to design the perfect Summer holiday in your imagination – this is the place. And when the world opens, the businesses of St Tropez will be doing all they can to entice you back to this stunning shore. There will be last-minute deals where you could get all this at a bargain – even if this is a pipe dream, it a lovely pipe dream when your toes are cold on a February morning.
If it is beaches that float your boat… and boats that capture your heart… then your heart belongs to Marseille. There are twenty-one beaches in this famous French city. You can take the sandy beach option and head along the Corniche coast road. A bit of a road trip with the top down on your car could be just the perfect daydream right now.
Maybe you are okay with artificial beaches and some seclusion, then Le Prado with its fisherman’s cabins is perfect. You could imagine your trip with a romantic interest, living and loving on the Mediterranean coast.
If you are looking for details for your dream, think turquoise blue water lapping against the white sand. Imagine the water sweeping away to the horizon in ever rich shades of blue. There will be trees lining the beach and small boats bobbing from the jetties.
When you are bored of the coast, if this is even possible, you can head into Marseille and enjoy one of Europe’s cosmopolitan cities. There are shops and bars and restaurants and sights to see galore. Why not imagine a stay of three months, go on, you deserve it!
We are dreaming of a better life. Of course, when thinking of all the possibilities, you should embrace the coastline of Cannes. While you are going here for the shopping and the potential star spotting, you will also look to catch the sun’s rays on some of the finest sand this coastline has to offer. La Croisette in Cannes has thirteen beaches to choose from.
You’re thinking it is going to be busy. You might still have a bit of a post-pandemic hangover (because in our dream we have come out the other side). So, you might want a little seclusion and get away from that hubbub. Well, take a boat bus to Ile de Sainte Marguerite, and you feel like you have arrived on a desert island. It might not be now we have told everybody, but if we keep it between you and us, you will get some quiet getaway time. You will still be just 15 minutes from Cannes too, so it is a win-win.
If you have chosen to dream of a time away to Provence, then we know that these are not the resorts that will give you the region’s authentic experience. If tradition and enjoyment of the local outweigh the decadence of a top resort, you need to go a little deeper into the area.
First, we would recommend Gordes, a place where artists play because everywhere you look is beauty. Sprawling across the rocks of Mont de Vaucluse, you will be swept away in the romance of the narrow streets and white houses. And, when you stop for a moment at the end of a random alleyway, you will have to be quiet and breath a little, as the views exceed any words that are possible here.
Then, if you are a fan of fine wines and your dream is to experience the vineyards and the hospitality of the local, then Chateauneuf-du-Pape should be part of your daydream. Sure, you will be paying a lot of money for your wine and food – but this is daydreaming – the bank doesn’t get a say. You spend each day visiting tasting sessions and enjoying the hosts’ stories of life with grapes.
Finally, you should add a castle to this fairy tale trip. Lacoste has the most spectacular castle, the Marquis de Sade’s home, who wrote some risqué books in his time. It is a place where you will imagine you are lost in a John Le Carre novel or maybe James Bond seeking out the master criminal. Alternatively, you might just want some peace and quiet – and this is offered in spades.
Just a dream?
We are inviting you to dream about a storybook Summer holiday to get you through these winter blues. Enjoy the time that you have right now to imagine your perfect getaway. You never know, it could be your reality later this year.
Su Stephens is Owner of Olives & Vines. Olives & Vines is a luxury holiday company based in the South of France offering stays at their beautifully designed holiday house and boutique hotel in Le Castellet.