This is the first in a series about the many pleasures of Provence, from hidden gems to the famous destinations:-

For those of you who think the Cote D’Azur is a crowded, noisy, posers’ paradise, there is ‘another’ Provence and it is typified by a small group of islands called the Isles d’Or  (the Golden Isles), which are a few miles offshore from Hyeres and Le Lavandou, comprising Ile de Levant, Porquerolles and the much smaller Port Cros sandwiched between them.


Postcard from Provence

The Golden Isles of Porquerolles, Levant and Port Cros

They are, thankfully, neglected by the masses, and pretty much preserved as the were 50 years ago, mainly because they have remained in private ownership, and in the case of Isle de Levant, it is used by the military, and also, in stark contrast, by a colony of ‘naturistes’ in the privately owned village of Heliopolis!

Porquerolles is the biggest of the islands and along the north coast you will find some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches fringed by maritime pine forests, with azure sea and crystal clear water, that can be seen anywhere in the Mediterranean.  It also has a bustling main square surrounded by tourist shops and restaurants.


Postcard from Provence

Inviting Crystal Clear Waters

However, my favourite is the smaller island of Port Cros, which is only one kilometre long and 3 kilometres wide, and extends to 690 hectares, but it is the hilliest and wildest of the three islands.

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Tuesday, August 7th, 2012