Var - Provence / France
62 miles from Marseilles airport, 47 miles from Toulon airport, 700 miles from Calais
Tuesdays (evening markets on Wednesdays and Fridays in high season)
Walking, cycling, wine-tasting, water sports, sight-seeing
This beautiful medieval town has long been a favourite with tourists. Dominated by a limestone cliff studded with troglodyte caves, and surrounded by green hills, lavender fields and vineyards, you would be hard pushed to imagine a more typical Provençal destination.
It’s a little over an hour’s drive south to the beautiful beaches of the French Riviera, and less than an hour’s drive north to the Verdon National Park and the beautiful lake at Sainte Croix du Verdon — a paradise for swimming and water sports.
There’s a huge variety of walks in the Cotignac area, including the Rocher climb and the Vallon Gai walk to the waterfall and lagoon. Here are just a few of the others.
Sillans La Cascade - Drive to Sillans La Cascade (about 7km) and park at the castle. From there the walk is signposted through the olive groves to the bottom of the fabulous double waterfalls and the turquoise river below. It’s about a 30-minute walk from the castle to the falls.
Cotignac circuit walk - There’s a marked walk around Cotignac, which is a great way to get your bearings. At a leisurely pace, it should take less than an hour, although there are some steep climbs. More info
Quinson hike - Just a 25-minute drive from Cotignac, at the village of Quinson. There are some beautiful walks from the bridge just before you enter the village, but be warned: the paths cling to the edge of the gorge and may not be suitable for those who do not like heights. If you would prefer to stay lower down, you can hire a kayak at the bridge, or swim in the beautiful turquoise pools. More info
Take a trip to the Gorges du Verdon to try aqua-trekking — exploring the canyon by swimming in the rapids, hiking and jumping into the river. You need to be over 14 years of age, fit and able to swim for this adventure. Bring a picnic, a swimming costume and trainers. Helmets, wet suits and safety equipment will be provided. It’s a good idea to book ahead, and some activities are weather dependent.
Other activities include kayaking, rafting (for ages 7 and above) and a canyon expedition! More info
Gréoux-les-Bains bike ride - An hour’s drive from Cotignac, you’ll find the beautiful spa town of Gréoux-les-Bains, in the Verdon Regional Park. One of the best ways to explore the town and the surrounding lavender fields is by mountain bike or electric bikes, which can be hired from the tourist office. They will also provide you with a map of bike trails. More info
Valensole lavender fields - It’s a spectacular hour’s drive north to Valensole, which is famous for its lavender fields. These are best seen in July, when the flowers are in bloom, filling the air with their wonderful aroma. While you are there, pick up some lavender honey — a real treat for the tastebuds. The summer sees several lavender-related festivals: the Fête de la Lavande in Valensole in July, and the Corso de la Lavande and Foire de la Lavande in nearby Digne-les-Bains in August.
Golf de Barbaroux - Drive a ball across a vineyard to the freeway, try to avoid three lakes on one hole and challenge the biggest green in Europe. This stunning Champions course, built by Pete Dye and PB Dye, is ranked among the top 50 courses in the world by Golf World. Non-golfers can enjoy the spa facilities at the hotel. More info
Golf de la Sainte Baume - This course near Nans les Pins was designed by Robert Berthnet and sits at the foot of the Sainte Baume Massif. Offering water obstacles, raised tees and greens, the course is surrounded by the Domaine de Châteauneuf****. More info
Go-karting - Kids aged seven and above will appreciate a day racing go-karts at Brignoles Karting Loisir (15km from Cotignac), which offers a range of vehicles. More info
Tree-top adventure - Head for Aoubre, the woodland adventure centre with tree-top walks, zip lines, an animal park and a butterfly garden.
Renowned for its food, Provence is a food-lovers' dream. From rustic Provençale dishes to fine dining, you’ll be spoilt for choice in and around Cotignac.
Hotel du Cours, Cotignac - Enjoy lunch from as little as €13.50 and dinner from €19. Expect rustic Provençale cooking and efficient service. More info
Le Bellevue, Moissac Bellevue (22km from Cotignac).
Le Clos des Vignes, Cotignac - Fine dining in the middle of a vineyard with tables outside in good weather. Set menu €43.
Le Temps de Pose, Cotignac - This delightful restaurant in the Place de la Mairie has outside tables, some of which are shaded by a tree. It’s a great place to people-watch! Expect good home-made food at reasonable prices.
Buses The number 1404 bus stops at Place Sigaud in Cotignac, and links the village with Aups, Salernes, Sillans la Cascade, Entrecasteaux, Carcès, Montfort, Correns, Le Val and Brignoles. More info
Taxis - Try the following numbers:
Olivier taxi: 04 94 04 71 06
Gilles taxi: 06 84 90 43 72
Frédérique taxi: 06 79 62 12 76
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