Celebrities Enjoying Their Year in Provence

A guide to property in inland Provence and the celebrities that own homes there

Property in Provence in the past

Once upon a time, the inland countryside of Provence (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Property Guide) was an agricultural area, a place where hard working farmers tended their vines, made their honey and harvested the lavender. They lived in unassuming farmhouses, old stone villages devoid of glamour, although admittedly benefiting from the natural beauty of the land and the sunny, Provençal weather. (Weather in France.)

Property in Provence today

To those peasant farmers, the Provence of today must seem like another world. The old grand houses, once homes to the wine estate owners for whom many of the peasants laboured, are now even grander, sporting shimmering azure swimming pools (Installing a swimming pool in France), tennis courts, billiard rooms and fleets of flashy cars. The farmsteads have a new lease of life, renovated beyond anything originally conceived by the first builders (House Renovations in France), and pressed into service as homes and holiday homes to celebrities, or ordinary people wealthy enough to afford them.

Celebrities owning property in inland Provence

Celebrities change their homes as often as they change their shoes, and sometimes, their partners. However, one thing is sure, since Peter Mayle's iconic book "A Year In Provence" brought to the world's attention the glories of inland Provence, areas of the Var (Var Property Guide), the Luberon, and around Aix en Provence (Aix En Provence Property Guide) will attract the rich and famous to seek and purchase property. Current Provençal property owners include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, David and Victoria Beckham, John Malkovich and Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp.

Why choose property in inland Provence?

There are as many reasons why the celebs who seek property in inland Provence choose the area as there are celebrities living there, but for starters we could say that the overriding appeal lies in the stunning natural beauty of the region. Add to that the fabulous properties that are available: old wine grower's houses (French properties with vineyards), Maisons de Maitre, chateaux (Owning a chateau in France), and the grand residences of the one time incredibly wealthy officials of the Catholic Church. These types of properties are set within their own grounds, often vast and walled, making them the perfect choice for security and privacy conscious celebs wanting to avoid prying eyes, paparazzi and more sinister invaders.

Heart stoppingly beautiful with a wonderful climate

They are also quite lovely, built from local honey-coloured stone, with the sort of proportions that invite entertaining. The land of Provence is heart stoppingly beautiful, with a delightfully sunny climate, all of which adds to the appeal. Brad and Angelina's place, which reputedly cost a cool 35 million, is a listed Historical Monument located in a village called Brignoles (Brignoles Property Guide). The gorgeous estate has its own forest, a lake, vineyards and olive groves. Just the place to provide peace and security!

Privacy laws in France

Speaking of paparazzi, French privacy laws are tighter than in many countries too, a welcome relief for celebrities often unable to leave home to buy a loaf of bread without a flash bulb going off. The law forbids the taking of photographs in a private place without consent. Relative anonymity is another boon, as deep in the French countryside, the stars are less likely to be recognised than in most places, and even if they are, the natural reticence of the majority of Provençal people means that they are unlikely to accost them or even to show much interest!

A perfect place for those who wish to stay out of the limelight

Perhaps this is why the celebs who love inland Provence the most are those who prefer to stay out of the limelight, at least in their private lives. It is said that the Beckhams, who are known to court publicity, although owning the most fabulous property in Provence, prefer to stay with Elton John at his home in Nice, while the more private characters such as John Malkovich or Johnny Depp revel in the anonymity afforded by inland Provence.

Property in Provence can be affordable

It isn't all movie stars and oil magnates in inland Provence, and although it is an expensive area for property, there are affordable alternatives to be found. Village houses offer one possibility, and are frequently more spacious and luxurious than they may appear from the outside. Many larger houses have been converted into apartments, and prices can be quite reasonable. Certain areas are less expensive too, so consider the lesser known villages, parts of the Bouches-du-Rhône department (Bouches-du-Rhône Property Guide) or the Haute-Alpes (Hautes-Alpes Property Guide) rather than the Luberon or the Var.

Join the celebrities and buy property in inland Provence

Inland Provence is now one of France's most desirable destinations, and although prices can be high, the advantages are enormous. Trust the judgement of the celebs! You may not be able to beat them, in terms of money and fame but you may just be able to join them in sunny Provence.

Additional articles which may be of interest:

French Riviera Property - an insider's guide
Provence Property (coastal Provence) and Celebrities
French Wealth Tax
The Sale of State Owned Property in France
French Property Prices
Alps property
Property in the south of France
French connections - Travel to Provence and Côte d'Azur in South-East France

About the author

Joanna Simm moved to the Languedoc area of south-west France in October 2004 having found her property through French Property Links.

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