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4 Tourtour Tourtour is like a village in the sky, set on top of a windy hill (elevation 900 meters) with sweeping views all the way out to Frejus and the Mediterranean with the Mount St Victoire between. The population is just under 500 but the locals are a tight knit group who put on one of the most amazing festivals known as the Fête de l’Oeuf (egg Festival) around Easter every year. Tourtour is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France and is well worth a visit. Take a walk through tiny streets to admire the well-restored village houses with their manicured gardens. The restaurants serve simple yet freshly made food which of course goes rather well with a nice glass of chilled rosé. It’s about a 20 minutes’ drive from Cotignac, via either Aups or Villecroze which, by the way, are also both villages worth a detour should time allow. All the cafés and bars here serve casual food (great frites at La Farigoulette) but there is also the more distinguished “La Table” restaurant with one Michelin star where you will find dishes like sautéed Ray or Guinea fowl. Prices here start at 28 euros per person). More information: Tourtour Tourist Office
5 St-Maximin-la-St-Baume St Maximin is a mid size town surrounded by two impressive mountain ranges and boasts the largest Basilica in Provence. The cathedral is surrounded by a beautiful cloister complex. The small, charming roadsare lined with cafés and shops. A fantastic food and local produce market takes place every Wednesday, which attracts stallholders from far and wide. The Café de la Renaissance is situated in a good spot with a raised terrace at the Place Malherbe. The owner trained at a nearby Michelin star restaurant and by all accounts has transferred some of his skills to this more relaxed setting. Café de la Renaissance, 6, Place Malherbe Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume About the authors: Susana Iwase Hanson runs the popular Provence Living website and Facebook Page. Jeany Cronk is co-founder of award-winning Mirabeau Wines; she writes widely on the Southern French lifestyle and has been featured regularly in the international press. Both live in Cotignac.
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