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Valbonne - traditional Provence meets high tech Europe...

Valbonne is a small town that is located in the south-east of France, in the middle of that delightful part of Provence that is known as the Riviera. Redolent of the sophisticated pleasures of the post-war years, yet encapsulating the simple pleasures of the Provençal countryside, Valbonne is a fascinating place that blends ancient and modern to spectacular effect. The 16th century old town of Valbonne is pretty and tranquil with many historic features, while on the edge of the village lies the highest of high tech parks, that of Sophia Antipolis.

Traditional village

The old village is as lovely as any in Provence. The old drinking trough, that used to refresh the working horses and mules, is still there, as is the fountain. You can still see the rings in the walls of the buildings where the animals were tethered, and at the corners of the streets, still stand the "wheel catcher" stones that were strategically placed to stop the carts from careering out of control down the narrow roads of the village. The town also has an interesting selection of sundials, which are a typical feature of this part of Provence, and an abbey and church which are worth visiting.

Valbonne's old houses

Valbonne has some intriguing old houses too, many of which still clearly show how they were built to house the animals on the ground floors. Some of them display trompe l'oeil paintings of windows on their external walls instead of real windows too, a trick commonly employed to avoid the tax that used to be levied on the number of windows in a property.

Sophia Antipolis

This centre of technology was built in the late 1960's, and provides a high quality working site for thousands of people, in a wonderful environment. Many companies can be found here, including those involved with electronic sciences, telecommunications, and biotechnology. Guided tours are available.

Shopping and dining

There is a good social life going on at all times of year in the town, and this is in evidence around the bars and restaurants that grace the streets and offer a cosy welcome in winter and a cool place to relax and refresh in summer. Valbonne has no shortage of shops either, mixing the prosaic and necessary with the arty and crafty character boutiques to provide something for every need.

Excellent services and amenities

The town benefits from excellent services and amenities too, which is perhaps only to be expected as it is a home to so many of the people employed at the nearby Sophia Antipolis centre. There is a cinema, as well as museums and art galleries. The market day is Friday in Valbonne, with a second-hand market on the first Sunday in each month, a Provençal Christmas market in December and the Festival of St Blaise, on the last week-end in January.

Out and about

Provence is no slouch when it comes to offering ideas with places to go and things to do! The Riviera coast, with Cannes and Nice among other famous resorts is very close by, or you can travel inland to see the hills of rural Provence that so delighted Peter Mayle during his well documented "A Year in Provence".

Sports available

Sports fans will find they can access almost any sport they can think of here, as the area has been developed to cater for all tastes and to ensure that nothing is lacking. You can go horse-riding, go walking or swim in the open air pool. Then there are superb golf courses, great sea sports including the chance to enjoy the exhilaration of speedboats, jet skis, sailing dinghies and so much more.

How to get there

Flying to Nice airport is an ideal way to arrive at your destination from the UK. The airport is served by a number of airlines offering direct flights, so you can choose from British Airways, Air France, Aer Lingus, bmibaby, bmi, easyJet, flybe or Jet2. Drivers should take the A8 auto route which will bring them very close to Valbonne, or they can take the Eurostar to Paris and then the TGV from Paris to Nice.

Property prices and availability in and around Valbonne

It isn't cheap. There is little point in setting your heart on a big house in Valbonne if you are on a tight budget. This is one of the most desirable areas in France, and it is priced accordingly. If you do have a bob or two to spend, though, there can be few places that offer more than Valbonne, with some dream properties on the market and a location that makes them worth every penny.

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Valbonne AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Valbonne?

Valbonne is located in the south-east of France, near Nice and Monaco and the Mediterranean Sea. It lies in the very south-west of the Alpes-Maritimes department.

Valbonne Property Map

IN THE REGION OF PROVENCE-ALPES-CÔTE D'AZUR

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Guide

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Property Map

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF ALPES-MARITIMES

Alpes-Maritimes Guide

  Alpes-Maritimes Map


Population: 9,514


Access: By air: Fly to Nice direct from the UK. By rail: The efficient TGV network will get you to Nice. By road: The A8 motorway is the one to take.


Economy: The economy embraces both typical Provençal tourism and also state of the art technology.


Interesting fact: Valbonne has a high percentage of English-speaking residents.

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