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A region of rugged coastline, sprawling valleys, snow-dusted peaks and pristine lakes - Provence, France, is one of the country's most alluring regions. Artists have been capturing its beauty since prehistoric times, evidenced in the caves concealing art that dates back to a phenomenal 27,000BC. Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso have all found the region irresistible and if you stay at one of our hostels here you will too. Head to the cities of Arles and Nîmes to discover what life was like in ancient Rome. See how arenas, temples and theatres left over from the past civilisation dot the landscape alongside bold, modern constructions. The city of Marseille was once frequented by pirates but now it's a colourful blend of cultures, bustling with markets and nightlife. The dramatic scenery of Verdon Natural Park will take your breath away. Hike or kayak through Verdon Gorge, a startlingly beautiful canyon filled with turquoise water.
The French take Bastille Day very seriously - it's a national holiday and the previous evening (13 July) sees all sorts of entertainments, usually with a closing fireworks display. Check your local village tourist office for details of the event.
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