Top Lodgings in Provence Côte d’Azur

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Just three minutes from the beach is this perfectly serene lodging, a late 19th-century villa with a garden and pool. You'll be loath to leave the grand salon, a perfect picture of 19th-century grace and elegance. The poolside restaurant, Le Riaumont, cooks up delicious fare with a Provencal twist. $$$-$$$$ Roquebrun-Cap-Martin

La Bastide St-Antoine
Old stone walls, shaded walkways, an enormous pool and a mansion to die for, this grand 18th-century estate is one of the most beautiful lodgings in the region. Guest rooms cheerfully balance Louis Seize-style chairs, Provencal bedspreads, and high-tech gadgetry. $$$$ Grasse

La Ferme de la Huppe
In the charming village of Gordes you'll find this utterly charming hotel set in an 18th-century farmhouse. The rooms retain their old world charms, and some even have enormous medieval fireplaces and wood-beam ceilings. The kitchen serves up delicious fare, and in the right season the family chef will serve lunch poolside. $$-$$$ Gordes

Hôtel Les Belles Rives (pictured right)
Once the haunt of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, this legendary hotel is still turning heads. The original Art Deco furniture remains (though it's been lovingly refurbished), rooms have fresh, updated fabrics, and the sea views are magical. There's no pool, but the private beach is just steps away. $$$$ Juan-les-Pins

Hôtel Le Cagnard
What better way to experience Old Haut-des-Cagnes's grand castle views than to stay in a 13th-century manor perched on the ramparts of the Grimaldi fortress? Maintaining a discreet sense of medieval atmosphere---pastel-rubbed beams, restored murals and vaulting, a few four-poster beds---this enchantingly romantic inn offers regal comfort (bathrooms are ablaze with modern luxe) and storybook allure. $$$-$$$$ Hautes-des-Cagnes

Hôtel de la Mirande
An erstwhile cardinal's palace is now one of the region's most sumptuous lodgings. The enclosed garden is a breakfast and dinner oasis, the central lounge---with skylight---a heaven of a space. Guest rooms are both beautiful and comfortable and the luxurious marble bathrooms have deep soaking tubs and elegant touches. $$$$ Avignon

Hôtel Negresco
This famous hotel has hosted everyone from the Beatles to the Burtons. You'll feel like a celebrity yourself amid the Old Master paintings and the Gustave Eiffel glass ceiling. The rooms are devoted to eras from French history---Napoleon III on the fifth, Louis XV on the third, and so on. Each room is decorated differently, and with many fine unique touches. Le Chantecler restaurant ranks among the best in France. $$$$ Nice

Lou Cagnard
Inside a lovely enclosed garden courtyard is this pretty auberge. Five ground-floor rooms open onto the flowered and manicured garden, where breakfast is served in the shade of a fig tree. Most rooms have tile baths, quarry-tile floors, and Provencal fabrics. If you're willing to share a toilet down the hall, five of the rooms are real bargains. $-$$ St-Tropez

Le Pigonnet
This Shangri-la property comes with an elegantly French estate park and vistas that would please any artist. If you don't mind your Provence glossed up, you'll love the spacious light-filled rooms adorned with plush rugs, beautifully preserved antique furniture, and impressive marble bathrooms. $$$-$$$$ Aix-en-Provence

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