- Uzès (Languedoc-Roussillon): Uzès is a gem; with lofty towers and narrow streets, it feels like it belongs to a different era. Racine once lived here and was inspired by the town to write his only comedy, Les Plaideurs. Don't miss the delightful medieval heart of the city, the place aux Herbes.
- Pézenas (Languedoc-Roussillon): Time has barely moved on in the medieval center of Pézenas, where Molière once called home. This pretty town in the Hérault Valley had been the seat of the Languedoc parliament in the 15th century. Even though its importance has waned in the intervening centuries, it's still as charming as ever.
- Roussillon (Provence): Northeast of Gordes, Roussillon stands on a hilltop in the heart of ocher country, where the earth is a bright red. This ancient village has houses in every shade of burnt orange, dusty pink, and russet red -- they take on a particular brilliance at sunset. Roussillon, however, is no longer the sleepy village described in Laurence Wylie's Village in the Vaucluse, yet it's still very beautiful.
- Mougins (French Riviera): Only 8.1km (5 miles) north of Cannes, the once-fortified town of Mougins is about a thousand years old, and it's still a place to come enjoy the good life. Picasso chose a place nearby, Notre-Dame-de-Vie, to spend his last years. This hilltop town is known for its cuisine, with Michelin-starred chefs Sébastien Chambru at Le Moulin de Mougins (tel. 04-93-75-78-24; www.moulindemougins.com) and Serge Gouloumès at Le Mas Candille (tel. 04-92-28-43-43; www.lemascandille.com) vying for top position.
- Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (French Riviera): This medieval hill village southwest of Menton is the finest along the Côte d'Azur. It has been extensively restored, and not even the souvenir shops can spoil its charm. Steep stairways and alleys lead up to its feudal castle crowning the village. But before heading here, take in rue Moncollet, flanked by houses from the Middle Ages. This castle, dating from the 10th century, is the oldest in France -- in fact, it's the only Carolingian castle left standing.
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.