Living in Provence-Verte

Four years ago I moved my young family from the glamorous, cosmopolitan and touristy Côte d’Azur to the slow-moving, vine-growing, peaceful life in Provence, in the heart of the Var department of France. What I expected was boredom, isolation, a country-bumpkin life-style with equally parochial people, dull and most of all very French. To my pleasant surprise, however, I had it all topsy-turvy.

This little village called Cotignac turned out to be a mini Utopia – with friendly, cultivated, cultured, educated, international, and helpful people all working and buzzing around, leading the dinner-party-suave, truffles-and-olives-kinda-life, not forgetting of course, all that Rosé and English (so many people speak English) to go with it.

Rosé aside – even though that is a big, big part of life here (most local vineyards concentrate on producing rosé over any other kind of wine), my experience of living here has surpassed all my expectations and I find myself occasionally pinching my cheeks in case it’s all a dream from which I might wake-up from. It just seems too good to be true. I even catch myself being humble and conservative when it comes to sharing what life is like here to old friends on the Riviera – as if telling them the truth might snap me out of this idyllic setting.

Summer market in Cotignac

The A-Z List of Benefits for living in Cotignac, France:

Picture this if you will: a stress-free life where you can exit your home on foot, in a pretty little village dating back one thousand years, to:-

a) shop for groceries
b) shop for clothing and nice shoes
c) see a doctor (generalist and sports med specialist) and pharmacist
d) see a dentist
e) buy the perfect gift for your friends’ birthdays
f) walk your kids to school (or let them walk to school themselves)
g) see your messeuse, Kinesthesiologist, or Osteopath
h) get a facial
i) get a satisfactory haircut (so rare in France)
i) buy fresh fish, even wild salmon or tuna
j) buy fresh meats
k) meet a friend for coffee or a drink
l) have a business lunch at a fantastic and reasonably priced restaurant (there are 16 restaurants to choose from)
m) take an easy walk alongside caves and vineyards, old forts and waterfalls
n) have a game of tennis or boules
o) go wine tasting at any of the numerous wine domaines around
p) get married at the new fancy wedding room next to the town hall and rent the Grainage town party room for just 100 euros a day
q) have the choice of three bakeries for your daily bread, croissants, or fancy cakes
r) go swimming in a neighbour’s pool
s) go fishing for crayfish, hunting for wild boar, picking wild figs, plums, cherries and other fruits, hunting for truffles…all in one day

The waterfall in Cotignac

Or you opt to DRIVE to:

t) Cannes or Marseilles airport within one hour
u) 15 minutes to one of many giant supermarkets, chain stores, specialty stores, kids’ amusement parks, and all that Brignoles has to offer
v) 45 minutes to get to one of the largest shopping malls in the area (La Valette) and IKEA, Aix-en-Provence, and Manosque
w) have several Michelin-starred restaurants within a 20 mins drive
x) have the incredibly gorgeous Lac St Croix (pictured below) within 35 mins drive
y) the beaches of St Tropez, Hyères, and Cavalares, all within an hour’s reach
z) world class skiing in the Trois Vallées just under 5 hours away while Valberg is 2.5 hours drive

If that’s not enough to tempt you to want to move out here, I’m sure nothing will. The selfish part of me wants to keep this place a secret. But, oh heck, the social big mouth in me says this place needs to be seen by more people. It’s almost too good to be true but maybe if interesting people like our readers join us, it will even improve some more. Need help and more info? Ask me for a consultation.  -Susana