The charming village of Valbonne lies in the valley of the Brague river roughly 15 kms inland from the famous coast of the French Riviera and the towns of Cannes and Antibes. It’s also only 10 minutes from my home and is one of my favourite places on the Côte d’Azur. Come with me as I explore the streets of charming Valbonne.
Valbonne is my go-to place for a dose of Provençal charm. I’ll go when I feel like a mosey around the market, or to find a special present from one of the independent boutiques.
When my kid comes home from school needing an English book for the end of the week I’m grateful there’s an English bookshop to bale me out (and I always end up buying more than the required text!)
I go to Valbonne for a coffee with a friend or an evening meal out but I often go just to amble around the streets soaking up its unique atmosphere, for no other reason than to get a dose of Provençal charm.
Valbonne village is unusual for a medieval town in that it is laid out on a grid plan rather than winding up to a lookout point. It is 5 streets across by 10 streets up/down which makes it look like a minuscule Manhattan on a map!
Unlike the many ancient hill villages in the area it’s not steep so it’s very easy to walk around and its pedestrian streets (closed to all traffic except deliveries) are tarmacked (attractively) not cobbled making it accessible for all.
The village has just enough interesting, independent shops without being overwhelming. You’ll find a delicious cheese shop and a couple of patisseries, several very tempting interior design/home decoration stores, clothes boutiques and a delightful toy shop stuffed with colourful wooden toys. There are plenty of restaurants both in the main square and tucked away down side streets.
But what I love most about the village are the quiet residential streets where no two doors are the same and residents personalise their tiny street fronts.
Each house stamps its individual mark on its small street space by decorating its windowsills and steps with pots and plants, setting out small tables and chairs, and even cushions on tiny stone benches.
Most of the buildings are built in stone though some are rendered in warm southern tones. Windows are complemented with traditional painted shutters.
I can easily while away a couple of hours wandering around these alleys searching out little details, admiring the way the sun filters through a shutter creating an unusual shadow, or how the sky is reflected in a window.
I look up to see laundry drying in the breeze and down to see a contented cat snoozing in the shade. I love photographing the village in different seasons and different lights, and every time I go I find something new.
I hope you enjoyed your stroll around charming Valbonne with me. It’s easy to visit by car (30 minutes from Antibes and Cannes, 15 minutes from Grasse, 45 minutes from Nice). There is a large free car park on the edge which only gets full in the height of the summer and there are busses from Cannes and Antibes (1.50€ per ride).
For more pictures of charming Valbonne take a look at these posts:
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Picture tells the whole story. Looks like a great place to visit with family and friends. French countryside is so charming and must be in our list.
Just beautiful. I’m a sucker for old French doors and shutters!
What a gorgeous part of France that is. I’ve never made it to the south of France yet. It looks super cute though. I love the traditional little alleyways and quaint doors and windows. It looks like the perfect place to amble around the independent shops and boutiques. Perfect.
Such gorgeous pictures, and good tip to go off season. We love visiting popular areas of France in Easter / May when the weather is still good but it’s so much quieter. #farawayfiles
Sold … by the unique doorways and the beautiful ambience. Added to the list of French towns to visit with pleasure.
A very eloquent tour of a what looks like a lovely town. You paint a beautiful & calming picture of somewhere you clearly love. I’m keen to visit now – I love a doorway too!
This is the third post I find today about the French Riviera (or almost there). I think that fate is telling me to just get a car and go there for a few days. And Valbonne looks like a magnific relaxed and beautiful location to disconnect for a few days. Thank you for sharing!
This looks beautiful and I now want to go. Could a train be taken from Cannes to a nearby station?
Hi Angela, you can take a bus from Cannes (630 I think), there’s no train to Valbonne. Friday is market day and always good to visit especially out of season.
I find this part of France irresistible, I’d return every year if I could. I’ve added Valbonne to my list. I still find it incredible how some of the little streets are empty, you just wander a couple of lanes back and you are all on your own. #farawayfiles
Yes even in high season you only need to step away from the main drag to find yourself alone perhaps with a cat or 2.
French countryside is so charming! Endless cute streets with tons of photo opportunities. I could spend weeks there!
Tell me about it! I live nearby and take far too many photos!!
Such a pleasant reading. Absolutely loved the pictures. Such a laid back feel to this small place, would love to vivit it sometime 🙂
Thanks Richa. These pictures were taken recently (Oct/Nov), for this laid back feel best to avoid June-August when it’s pretty hectic.
I am a francophile and love all of France but must admit I shy away from the South – too hot too crowded, however, now I am thinking that it is just a matter of when you go and where. Valbonne looks like a charming town and the perfect depiction of this region!
It really is a matter of timing. The Côte d’Azur is gorgeous out of season, for instance right now the temperature is around 20° (c) and sunny with very few people about. It’s not always hot and crowded!
Whenever I see small cute houses like this, I feel an urge to paint my frontdoor and my windowsills in a new colour 😀
Oh how lovely, go on, do it!
This sounds like such a lovely spot. I haven’t been to the south of France for years but you’re really tempting me back with those lovely doors and windows. And the idea of cheese shops is rather tempting too!
It’s a very family-friendly destination Annabel, do add it to your travel wish list!
I loved your tour! Valbonne is aAfavourite of mine. 😍Hoping to explore again during our next visit to Lou Messugo!
Looking forward to showing you a couple of new places Christine
Oh Phoebe, I feel positively sunny now that I’ve been on your tour of Valbonne. All that glorious colour and charm. Just imagine living only ten minutes away from such a gem! I especially love the way the residents have pimped up their home fronts. Love those blue cushions! Thanks for inspiring me on #farawayfiles
All the little details in the windows sills and on steps are lovely, it’s such fun spotting them all.