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Jewels of the south of France: Cannes, St. Tropez and where Keira Knightley got married

10 MAY 2013

As the French Riviera prepares to roll out the red carpet for Cannes Film Festival, here at HELLO! Online we've put together a glitzy guide of must-visit destinations in France's glamour region, where A-listers Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Blake Lively have all holidayed.

We head to the celebrity favourite destination to explore the best of its beautiful beaches, enviable landscapes and picturesque villages – and where Keira Knightley chose to tie the knot to rockstar fiancé James Righton last weekend. 

st tropez

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St. Tropez
Arguably one of the most famous and glamorous resorts in the world, St. Tropez is known as the playground of the rich and famous and celebrities just can't keep away. Stay in one of the luxury St Tropez holiday villas scattered along the coast and you'll feel like a star.

The iconic Pampelonne beach is a beautiful stretch of sand, or head for La Glaye, La Ponche and de la Fontannette for an equally spectacular beach experience at a fraction of the price. Les Caves du Roi is at the centre of the mix, where A-listers regularly head to enjoy a glass or two of champagne along with breathtaking sea views.

 

cannes



Cannes
Head for the chic and dazzling city of Cannes from 15 – 26 May when the glitz and glamour of the film world hits the beautiful French city and the red carpet is rolled out for stars of the big screen. You don't have to be part of the film world to soak up the wonderful atmosphere – watch films at the Cinema de la Plage, a cinema screen set up on the beach so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

With all the celebrities in town – Eva Longoria, Freida Pinto, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman are just a few who went last year – it would be rude not to enjoy some celebrity spotting. Take to the Palais de Festivals located at the end of La Croisette to watch as the stars gather upon the iconic steps before attending their latest premier. La Croisette is the exclusive tourist hub of Cannes, with the whole area filled with luxury hotels and small boutiques.

 



Where Keira Knightley tied the knot – Avignon and the Vaucluse
Picture-perfect hill villages, vineyards and chateaux complete this region of the south of France. So it's no wonder that English rose Keira Knightley chose this incredibly romantic setting for her intimate wedding. With just 11 friends and family in attendance the ceremony took place at a town hall in Mazan, a small town near Avignon.

Perfect for a fairytale wedding, the enchanting town with a population of just 4,500 inhabitants, still features the original wall of buildings that encircles the historic centre, dating back to the 14th century, along with narrow streets, ancient houses, churches and trickling fountains.

A reception is believed to have taken place at Keira's mother Sharman Macdonald's nearby estate, with guests reported to include actress Sienna Miller and designer Karl Lagerfeld. The eight-bedroom property, which is shielded by conifers, sits among 20 acres of vineyards and olive trees.


The lavender fields of Provence
Pippa Middleton got us all wishing we were in Provence with her latest column for Waitrose Kitchen. She wrote "I'm in Provence, in a field just off the beaten track, where we've parked the car and thrown a quilted rug across the dry, parched grasses," she writes. "The hazy sky is cobalt blue, cicadas hum around us and it’s hot, very hot. But not too hot for a picnic.

"Around us are plump peaches, figs and strawberries, oozing ripe cheeses and crunchy baguettes, torn and ready to mop up every last morsel."

The heady scent of lavender is at its best in the heart of the summer, from mid-June to early August, when the fine stalks wave in the wind and purple prairies stretch as far as the eye can see. Experience the true scent and colour of this beautiful part of France by taking in the stunning sight of the high plateaux in the Sault area, at the base of Mont Ventoux or in the Luberon and in the Valréas Enclave.

 



Grasse
Said to be the core of the French Riviera, Grasse is also a model of Provençal culture. Known as the capital of flowers and perfume, the historic city offers splendid vistas over the shores near Cannes as well as rooftops decorating the hilltops.

Here you can hop from village to village, stopping at the likes of Opio, Mouans-Sartoux, Le Rouret and Cabris – perched on the foothills of the pre-Alps – to enjoy breathtaking views of the hills rolling into the sea, delicious food and refreshing afternoon walks. Thirteenth-century gems such as dungeons, cathedrals and palaces are here for history-lovers, while perfume flower fields, a perfume museum as well as beautiful gardens make for splendid holiday meanders.

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