The south of France is known for its beautiful landscapes, easy access to the sea, glittering nightlife and charming mix of bling with old fashioned quiet villages. Whenever I return to the south, either for work or with family, I love to settle back into the southern mood, enjoy the warmth of the sunshine, take my time to drink a coffee on the terrace of a small café and of course shop the local markets.
If you come to the Cote d’Azur or to neighbouring Provence as an occasional visitor it can be confusing to know where to head for, in particular if you want to avoid the crowds. Today I’m taking you to a little hilltop town called La Garde Freinet. A place I love to pop into as I drive to visit friends, or as a meeting point for dinner. I thought you’d like to know some favourite spots.
La Garde Freinet is less than an hour from the coast, up a windy road that leads you into hills covered in rich deep green chestnut tree forests. There are villas to rent near to the town, individual houses nestled discreetly between the trees , and only a short drive into the village centre.
My favorite day in La Garde Freinet is on Wednesday for the weekly market. Not many vendors, but among the local fruit and vegetable producers there is also someone selling hats, or baskets or even offering to mend your broken chairs!
Coffee is best enjoyed when combined with a little people watching, and that is on the Place Vieille where there is a lovely mix of clothes stores, antique stores; art galleries and cafés with their terraces spilling out onto the street.
On the rue St Jacques there is a fun little store called Pure Design selling a mix of French and Scandinavian home decor, and on the Place du Marché (which confusingly is not where the market takes place) there is a cute little brocante store too.
This town is made for enjoying at a slower pace, for taking your time and forgetting your to-do list …. my kind of living.