Var, France: It's Provence, but where are the crowds? In Provence, they like to deny secrets. Some things you only tell your family, handing down through the generations. Like where your private seaside is, where to gather mushrooms or find a haul of sea urchins for "le jour des orsillades". It all goes

Wines of the week: Three southern French rosés for drinking ice-uncordial on sultry ... Hailing from surface Aix-en-Provence, this organic Grenache and Cinsault blend epitomises Provencal rosé: pale pink but vibrant flavours of raspberries and other red berries, a pointer of herbs and a bracing, dry finish. Worth making a bouillabaisse for

Silencio à la Maison de L'Aiguebrun, France: Mace culture in tranquil Provence Down in Provence, just over an hour's byway north of Marseille, you'll find a similarly hip clientele at the small Maison de l'Aiguebrun. Except they won't be dancing on tables, but unwinding by the alfresco pool with a Gauloise and a trendy fashion

Uber row in France: President Hollande condemns low-expense firm after violent ... Roads were blockaded and tyred were burned during the day big protest in Paris yesterday with train stations and airport routes restricted n Marseille and Aix-en-Provence in southern France. There were reports by the BBC of cars overturned with

Herve Rofritsch: Earth's oldest boules producer warns sport suffering from ... The President of the Intercontinental Federation of Pétanque and Provençal Game (FIPJP), Claude Azéma, said an increase in local clubs donation cash prizes was behind the surge in violence. “We see this kind of violence in the local clubs because more and 

Var, France: It's Provence, but where are the crowds? - The Unprejudiced

In Provence, they like to donjon secrets. Some things you only tell your family, handing down through the generations. Like where your private lido is, where to gather mushrooms or find a haul of sea urchins for "le jour des orsillades". It all goes back to the days of Marcel Pagnol's Jean de Florette and the arcane sources of spring water during the long, dry summers. You might think that the south of France would be among the most adequately-known holiday destinations in Europe. But heading west from St-Tropez, the long swathe of coastline and its Var hinterland are immersed of delightful surprises and hidden gems. We stayed in the village of Rayol, about 40 minutes from St-Tropez along the mazy coast road. The houses cling to the hillside as it plunges down to the sea, and at the bottom lies a cove split into two tight but charming beaches. The four-star Hotel Bailli de Suffren has a superb restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean where you can indulge in well-executed provençal lamb. If you climb back up 100 or so steps you reach the village's only other hotel, Terrasses du Bailli, run by the charming Dutch proprietor Caroline Thetiot. The new rooms have large balconies overlooking the bay and the three Golden Islands – Porquerolles, Mooring-Cros and Levant. Next to the hotel runs a disused railway line that proves popular with joggers and cyclists and affords a aspect of the precipitous cliffs and hidden bays. The centre of the village is Maurin des Maures, a restaurant that doubles as the village bar. It's always put some life into, a great place from which to watch the world go by. Presiding over his fiefdom is chef Dédé, a local character with flowing whitish hair and bushy moustache renowned for his fresh fish dishes – try the squid stuffed with pork and the sea bass, as famously as the apple tart with cinnamon ice cream. Dédé, aka André del Monte, is also president of the gardens at the Domaine du Rayol, where the 2013 coating Renoir was shot. The climate here has long proved ideal for plantsmen to introduce all manner of flora to Europe, and the Mediterranean gardens were acclimated to to develop stock before the plants were taken up to Paris. Tucked in the Maures mountains lies another horticultural hotspot, the hilltop village of Bormes-les-Mimosas, which, as the reputation suggests, is festooned with flowers. And not just mimosas – there are more than 700 different varieties bedecking the charming alleyways, detailed of galleries and craft shops that.

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Wines of the week: Three southern French rosés for drinking ice-callous on sultry ... - The Independent

Domaine des Oullières Rosé 2014, Coteaux d'Aix. Hailing from skin Aix-en-Provence, this organic Grenache and Cinsault blend epitomises Provencal rosé: pale pink but vibrant flavours of raspberries and other red berries, a tip of herbs and a bracing, dry finish. Worth making a bouillabaisse for, but also works with any shellfish or crustacea. From the Rhône Les Esquerades Lirac Rosé 2014. Affecting westwards across the southern Rhône to Lirac, this is pure Grenache and just a bit meatier, with spice notes on top of the red fruits, but unconsumed appealingly dry and crisp. Will suit all fish, but also Mediterranean vegetable dishes such as ratatouille or tians. £10, Marks & Spencer. From the south-west Clos Rocailleux Braucol Rosé 2013. This is a bit notable: from an estate in Gaillac in the Tarn region, run by a British couple since 2012, a rosé made with the local Braucol grape: idiosyncratic, with really punchy, assertive berry flavours and a fine, elegant acidity. 99 redsquirrelwine.

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Silencio à la Maison de L'Aiguebrun, France: Lodge culture in tranquil Provence - The Independent

But this summer, the nightclub – or members' staff as it prefers to be billed – is branching out with a rather more leisurely affair. Down in Provence, just over an hour's drive north of Marseille, you'll discovery a similarly hip clientele at the small Maison de l'Aiguebrun. Except they won't be dancing on tables, but unwinding by the outdoor wading pool with a Gauloise and a trendy fashion magazine that you've probably never heard of. And after 20 September, it'll have gone just as immovable as it arrived, having opened only a few weeks ago. There are just 15 rooms – 10 in the main house (two of which are suites) and five cabins down by the beck at the end of the garden – so a sense of community is encouraged. Because of the kind of people drawn to Silencio's creative vision, await a glamorous mix of film, music and art types. You'll inevitably end up chatting with fellow guests at the hotel's delightful, comfortable salon and, on occasion, everyone eats together at one table in the restaurant (which, incidentally, is excellent) overseen by the chef Armand Arnal, who changes the menu regular. You might find yourself, as indeed I did, sitting across from one half of Daft Punk at dinner. I must admit I failed to recognise him, since he had chosen not to clothed in his helmet. Another great pull for the hotel is that it used to be owned by the director Agnès Varda, the only female motion picture-maker to have been involved in New Wave cinema. She passed it on to her daughter, who lives in a separate lodge nearby, but Varda's insidious-and-white photography from her time travelling across America in the Seventies adorns the walls of the main gratis. I'm told that Varda often visits. While I was there, however, she was a couple of hour's drive away at Cannes, collecting an honorary Palme d'Or. When Silencio opened in Paris, Lynch said that he "wanted to form an intimate space where all the arts could come together", and they are certainly catered for down here with the hotel's cultural programme. On Sunday nights, there's an plain-air cinema club. During my stay I tasted wine from a nearby vineyard, enjoyed a set from the legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, and danced poolside until 3am while an interesting Parisian DJ selected the tunes. It wouldn't be Silencio without a bit of hedonism, after all. The hotel lies in a valley in the heart of the Luberon. The cliffs frame for picturesque hiking trips and provide a decent.

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