the grounds in and around Château des Vignes. As well as the garden, discover the countryside around the house - vineyards, olive groves and woodland.
Visit Carcès, the nearest village, home to a good choice of shops and restaurants. It is a pretty place with medieval buildings and an open air theatre. Get fresh croissants for breakfast, pop in for lunch or a stroll before dinner.
The Lac de Carcès is close by
- enjoy a walk around the lake taking in the peaceful and tranquil setting. If you are a keen fisherman, fishing is allowed on the lake. Ask at the tourist office for more details.
Discover the local wines.
Carcès is on the 'Route des Vins de Côtes de Provence' and there are numerous vineyards in the area where you can stop to try the local product. Ask the owners of Château des Vignes - they are vintners themselves. The produce of their vines is taken to the local 'cave'.
The River l'Argens
is great for kayaking and canoeing. There are a few companies in the area that organise supervised trips. Ask at the tourist office in Carcès for further information.
Visit the chateau at Entrecasteaux, a rare example of Provençal architecture. With the look of a fortress but the allure of a bastide, the chateau has a particular charm about it. Open between Easter & October.
Be amazed by the 260 ft high cliff which forms the backdrop of the village of Cotignac, and is riddled with caves. Walk along the special 'Promenade' to view the troglodyte homes, or attend the Festival du Rocher in July and August, which takes places in the theatre built into the village walls.
Head north to the Lac de Ste Croix,
which is at the start of the Gorges du Verdon. The lake is truly beautiful - a shimmery greeny-blue colour. Access to the lakeside is easy, and you will find beaches and picnic spots. You can also go canoeing and sailing on the lake - head for the village of Bauduen at the southern tip of the lake, and the village of Ste-Croix-de-Verdon along the northwestern shore to find the companies that offer these services.
Head south to the coast
and take the boat across from Giens Peninsula to the Ile de Porquerolles. A National Park, it boasts white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, and you will find no cars on the island!
Go celebrity spotting
and enjoy the high life in St Tropez (approx an hour's drive). But be aware that there are often queues of traffic either trying to get into St Tropez or trying to leave!
Domaine du Rayol
Visit the Domaine du Rayol in le Rayol Canadel along the Corniche des Maures - a beautiful site of plants and flowers from all over the world that flourish in this mild and soft climate.
A 'little corner of paradise'
A few kilometres west of the village of Correns (not far from Carcès) lies the Vallon Sourn - a 'little corner of paradise' as the local inhabitants call it. The valley with the River l'Argens running through it is home to many species of flora and fauna, many of which are rare. Go for a walk along the riverbank or if you are looking for something more active, try the rock climbing (but only for experienced rock climbers).
One of the wonders of Provence
The Grand Canyon du Verdon is one of the wonders of Provence. For many years it was inaccessible but there is now a road that goes right the way around the canyon, offering fantastic views. It takes all day and there are some hairpin turns and narrow parts but it is well worth it to see this gorge in all its glory!
the village at the western gateway to the Grand Canyon, clings to the hillside, a jumble of stone houses with terracotta tiled roofs. It is famous for its 'faience' studios - the Provençal glazed ceramics. There are many places to buy the pottery as well as a museum of its history in the village.
If you want to go to the beach, try the pretty small coves along the Corniche des Maures (between le Lavandou and la Croix Valmer), the spectacular coastal road. There are a number of little villages and towns dotted along the coastline with small white sandy beaches, and beachside cafes and restaurants. Have a seafood lunch or 'moules et frites' at one of the beach cafes, with the sand under your feet and the sound of the waves in the background.
Massif des Maures
The countryside inland from the coast is called the Massif des Maures where the hills are thickly covered with cork oaks, chestnut trees and umbrella pines. The D14 from Pierrefeu du Var leads to Collobrières, a village in the heart of the Massif. On the way, you will pass La Marchande, a forest centre with arboretum, nature trails, outdoor activities for children, and picnic areas. In Collobrières you will find the Confiserie Azuréenne where they make sugared chestnuts or 'marrons glacés'.
Take the pile of novels that you have always been meaning to read with you to Château des Vignes and spend the week working your way through them.
Visit the basilica at Ste Maximin-la-Ste-Baume.
This huge Gothic building can be seen from a distance, dominating the town. Impressive from afar, the scale of the building, with its 95ft high nave, becomes even more amazing the closer you get. Guided visits are available, and many concerts take place throughout the summer in this great setting.
Abbaye du Thoronet
Nestling in a wooded valley near Carcès is the Abbaye du Thoronet, a beautiful 12th century Cistercian abbey. Join a guided tour around the building and museum to discover its history.
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