In central Provence, it’s the landscapes rather than the towns that dominate. The gentle hills and tranquil villages of the Haut-Var make for happy exploration by car or bike, before the foothills of the Alps close in around the citadelle town of Sisteron and Dignes-les-Bains further east.

The most exceptional geographical feature is the Gorges du Verdon – Europe’s answer to the Grand Canyon. So long as you have your own transport, good bases for exploring the majestic peaks, cliffs and lakes of this spectacular area include the small market town of Aups, south of the Gorges, and to the northeast, Castellane, a centre for sports and activities.

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