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The Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region of France

Location:

The Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region is located in south-eastern France and is comprised of six departments: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and Vaucluse. It’s bounded to the east by the Italian border, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea and by the principality of Monaco, to the north by Rhône-Alpes, and to the west by Languedoc-Roussillon, with the Rhône River marking its westernmost border.


Climate:

A Mediterranean climate prevails along the coast, but in winter the cold, dry northerly wind known as the mistral may bring sudden cold spells to a significant portion of the region.


Geography:

The region is characterized by an extreme diversity between sea and mountain with high alpine peaks. The area boasts a wide range of landscapes made of mountainous areas, coastal reliefs, plains and marshlands. The Mediterranean Sea borders its southern part offering offers 518 miles of coast and seashore. The Alps is its frontier with Italy in the north east is the mountainous part of the region.


History:

Traces of inhabitants have been found in this area dating as far back as 30,000 BC. Traders from the Eastern Mediterranean had been sailing the waters along the Provençal coast from at least 1000 BC, but it was not until 600 BC that Phoenician navigators founded a Greek colony called Massalia , now Marseille. The area was also inhabited by the Celts until it came under Roman rule around 121 BC. The decline of the Roman Empire was heralded by invasions from the Visigoths, Burgundians, and Ostragoths. After c.536, the Franks controlled the area. Subjected to frequent invasions by Moors in the 8th century, the area was defended by the Frankish king Charles Martel, who defeated the Arabs at Poitiers in 732. From 855 until 863 the area was part of the First Kingdom of Provence, and from 879 until 933 it became part of the Kingdom of Arles. In 1032, Provence was absorbed by the Holy Roman Empire.In 1113, The House of Barcelona gained control and brought about the highest period of Provençal literature and culture. The Anegvin dynasty of Naples ruled most of the area after 1246; the popes took up residence at Avignon in 1309, remaining until 1376. During the Angevin period the Estates, or assembly, provided some local autonomy. In 1481, Provence was willed to the French crown.


Culture:

Throughout its history, Greek, Roman, Germanic, Catalan civilizations have influenced the area. Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur has been a cultural crossroads since Antiquity, when grapevines and olive trees were already being cultivated. Today, though, new technologies and research are the motors of regional economy. From azure-blue sea and skies to lavender landscapes, whether on the mountainside or by the sea, the French Riviera is full of great delights.



The Official Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Site
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