The Mediterranean, 3 hours from Geneva
The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region is waiting for you, in all its diversity with the chalky hills of Vaucluse, from Avignon to Aix, from the coves of Marseille to the red-tinged Estérel Massif near Saint Raphaël, not forgetting the luxury hotels of Cannes or Nice… This is a land of history and culture too, with prominent writers such as Pagnol, Giono and Daudet, or painters Van Gogh and Cézanne and the museums devoted to them.
Things to do in the Mediterranean
- Avignon: Walk around the historic centre enclosed by ramparts, and discover the real showstopper, the Palais des Papes. Less than an hour away, you can visit the Fontaine de Vaucluse (Vaucluse spring), the largest spring in Europe and a magnificent natural site.
- Aix-en-Provence : Discover Paul Cézanne's workshop and artwork at the Musée Granet.
- Marseille : Make yourself comfortable on a terrace along the Old Port, opposite the fish market, with a glass of pastis, before taking the boat to the château d’If, on the Frioul archipelago, or to the Parc Naturel des Calanques. Sample the bouillabaisse (fish stew), before losing yourself in the passageways of the MUCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations) and Fort Saint-Jean.
- Saint-Raphaël : Go hiking in the Estérel Massif, impressive cliffs of red porphyry, which plunge down into the blue sea. Visit the Old Town, the Basilica of Notre-Dame des Victoires and the Musée d'archéologie sous-marine (Underwater archaeology museum).
- Nice : Stroll along the narrow streets of Nice's Old Town which has a certain Italian charm. Why not try a slice of pissaladière (onion and anchovy tart) or socca (chick pea galette).
The best time to visit the Mediterranean
- May - Festival de Cannes. The internationally-renowned Cannes Film Festival.
- July - Jazz à Juan. The greatest musicians in the world come together to give open air concerts in Antibes Juan-les-Pins.
- July - Festival d'Avignon. One of the world's greatest arts festivals. The city's streets become a theatre, transforming its architectural heritage into a stage…
- February - Carnaval de Nice (Nice Carnival). A flagship two-week long event in the Côte d’Azur in winter.
The climate in the Mediterranean
The climate in the Mediterranean is very mild and dry (the average monthly temperature never falls below 0°C), and scorching hot in the summer. With more than 2,400 hours of sunshine a year, the towns and cities of the Mediterranean enjoy an unrivalled quality of light. Rain is more frequent in autumn and spring, sometimes leading to flooding.
Did you know...?
- It was during the construction of Massilia (Marseille), around 600 BC, that the inhabitants, who had come from Greece, introduced wine to Celtic Gaul, a drink which would conquer Europe…
- It was in Sanary-sur-Mer, near Toulon, that Commander Cousteau tested the first autonomous diving suit, becoming the pioneer of deep-sea diving. Visit: the Frédéric Dumas Museum.
- Nietzsche spent many winters in Nice, where he wrote his novel "Thus spoke Zarathustra".
The Mediterranean in figures
Tourists, 20% from abroad, visit the region every year.
Days of sunshine a year in the region.
Inhabitants make Marseille France's second biggest city.