- Les Baux-de-Provence (Provence): Les Baux stands in a spectacular position on a promontory of sheer rock ravines. In the distance across the plain, you can view the Val d'Enfer (Valley of Hell). After a turbulent history, the town today is one of the great escapes for the French, who can gaze from their windows on the thousands of olive trees (many planted by the Greeks) that produce the best oil in France. Les Baux also has some of the country's grandest inns, notably Oustau de Baumanière, Les Baux-de-Provence (www.oustaudebaumaniere.com; tel. 04-90-54-33-07). After you and your loved one sample the ravioli with truffles, you'll understand why.
- Crillon-le-Brave (Provence): This tiny hamlet at the foot of Mont Ventoux had a proud history from the 14th to the 17th centuries. But decline set in during the 19th century and the place was in ruins by the end of World War II. During the 1970s, however, life slowly started to creep back, and now it's the home of one of the most idyllic hotels in Provence. Hôtel Crillon le Brave (www.crillonlebrave.com; tel. 04-90-65-61-61) has created a hamlet within a hamlet, with its luxurious bedrooms housed in a cluster of 16th- and 17th-century buildings overlooking wide vistas of vineyards.
- Roussillon (Provence): At least 17 shades of ocher were used to create this exquisite hilltop village in the Luberon, best seen when bathed in the warm light of late afternoon. Less crowded than its overrun neighbor Gordes, Roussillon retains its Provençal charm and friendliness. Lose yourself in the romance of the Luberon at Hostellerie Le Phébus & Spa (www.lephebus.com; tel. 04-86-60-80-12), a luxurious retreat with glorious views of the ocher canyons of the Colorado Provençal de Rustrel.
- Îles d'Hyères (Western Côte): If an off-the-record weekend is what you have in mind, there's no better spot than the "Îles d'Or," so-called because of the golden glow of the islands' rocks in the sun. This string of enchanting little islands is 39km (24 miles) southeast of the port of Toulon. The largest and westernmost island is Ile de Porquerolles, thickly covered with heather, eucalyptus, and exotic shrubs. Île de Port-Cros is hilly and mysterious, with spring-fed lush vegetation. The best spot for a romantic retreat is on this island -- Le Manoir (http://hotelmanoirportcros.monsite-orange.fr/; tel. 04-94-05-90-52), an 18th-century colonial-style mansion set in a park.
- Grasse (French Riviera): This back-country hideaway is the place to surprise loved ones with sweet-smelling gifts. You can also design your own perfume here. This perfumed town's shabby-chic character may not suit everyone, but a stay at La Bastide St-Antoine (www.jacques-chibois.com; tel. 04-93-70-94-94) should woo any cynics. Surrounded by parkland, this 200-year-old bastide lures diners with its Michelin-starred cuisine and 1,600-strong wine cellar.
- Peillon (French Riviera): Located on a craggy mountaintop 19km (12 miles) northeast of Nice, this fortified medieval town is the least spoiled of the perched villages and still guards its medieval look, with covered alleys and extremely narrow streets. For a cozy hideaway, try the Auberge de la Madone (www.auberge-madone-peillon.com; tel. 04-93-79-91-17). Dinner for two on the terrace set among olive trees is the best way to start a romantic evening.
- Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (French Riviera): With its Belle Époque palaces and legendary hotels dotted among its forested hills, this exclusive peninsula is the area of the Riviera that lives up to your imagination. Take a walk along promenade Maurice Rouvier past immaculate villas toward the earthy fishing harbor. The best place to combine luxury and romance is the Grand Hôtel de Cap-Ferrat (www.grand-hotel-cap-ferrat.com; tel. 04-93-76-50-50): the only hotel in southern France to be awarded the coveted "palace" label in 2011 under France's new hotel categorization system.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.