5 reasons for loving

the Provence, the Alps and the French Riviera

If you still can’t make up your mind, we’ve pinpointed 5 good reasons to love winter in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and we just can’t resist sharing them with you. Winter sports weekend in the southern French Alps, a city break in Provence, or the New Year on the French Riviera, there’s everything you need for a great winter! Are you with us?

1. Fill up with calories

There’s no better season than winter to enjoy the food specialities of the South of France; the perfect opportunity to compose your Christmas and New Year’s Eve menus. You could go for the savoury specialities such as tourtons du Champsaur, which were once served for the Christmas meal. There are many different fillings for tourtons: mashed potato, goat’s cheese or meat as a starter, or apple purée, prunes, blueberries and even chocolate-hazelnut spread for dessert. For the main dish, fish is a tradition: salmon, monkfish, daurade, cod à la raïto, and also snails with spinach, soups, and seasonal creamy vegetable soups… As for desserts, tradition imposes a wide variety for the meal, and pays homage to the famous “13 desserts provençaux”, which include white and dark nougat, mendiants, calissons d’Aix-en-Provence, candied fruit, and prunes or delicacies from the Christmas market… You’ve got it, spending winter in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region is the promise of a host of tasty pleasures!

2. Off to the mountains, quick!

The winter season has started and with it the opening of winter sports in the mountains! The many ski resorts in the French Southern Alps open their doors to introduce you to skiing or snowboarding on the runs in picture postcard settings! To get off the beaten track, you can try Nordic skiing, a sport which is made up of different skiing methods from Scandinavia, such as ski jumping or cross-country skiing. Daredevils can try the Snow Parks and test their creativity! After a day on the slopes, the group splits into two teams: the cold beer, ready for the aperitif or the hot chocolate for comfort.

3. Make the most of a City Break in the South

If your first choice isn’t the mountains for your winter holiday this year, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur offers a whole host of alternatives! You can do a walking tour of the South of France towns, and opt for a city break in cities such as Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Avignon, Toulon, Arles or Nice, to see the wealth of their heritage and thousand-year-old history, and discover towns such as La Seyne-sur-Mer and Saint-Raphaël through their modern street art frescoes. In winter, the Côte d’Azur is full to the brim with wonders to discover such as the towns of Cannes and Sainte-Maxime, where you can visit the many Christmas markets set up there at this time of year or its unique events such as the lemon festival in Menton or the Nice Carnival. And don’t forget to stop off in one of the region’s most beautiful villages in France, and enjoy the unique atmosphere that winter gives these places at Christmas time. Sometimes located on hilltops, in the middle of unspoiled landscapes or forests and with panoramic views, these villages are the pride of Provence, the Alps and the Côte d’Azur. Even at this time of year, the warmth of the Mediterranean climate is good for discovering them in the best possible way!

4. Unusual snowy experiences

Make the most of your winter holidays in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur to try some unusual mountain activities. For example, you can choose an outing in the forest with sled dogs, or try skijoring, (a Scandinavian sport which is somewhere between horse- or sled dog-skiing), to appreciate the snowy views of the region better. The kids can have fun sliding down the slopes on toboggans to get a real feeling of a skiing holiday. Guaranteed tumbles and laughter! If you’re more into hiking as a way to make the most of the landscapes and the peace and quiet of the mountains, have a go at snowshoeing. A good way of getting more out of nature and getting your best photos of the French Southern Alps (and don’t forget to share them with #purealpes)… And a real breath of fresh air at the same time!

5. Celebrating the New Year in the South

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is the ideal place to see the New Year in with family or friends. Whether it’s a festive do in town as you watch the fireworks in Aix-en-Provence over the Rotonde, or in Sanary where the anchored boats take on a multitude of colours for the occasion, the South is good at launching the New Year. The back-country also has just as warm an atmosphere for seeing in the New Year and you can make the most of the calm of the countryside and a comforting wood fire, with a traditional meal and its local products such as tapenade, socca, fougasse, and other Provencal delights! The end-of-year celebrations in the backcountry may be an opportunity to choose an authentic and traditional holiday rental, in the middle of the vineyards or nearer the Coast. And to recover from all these festivities, why not cycle round your destination on one of the region’s many itineraries? Head for the most beautiful spots in the South of France!