The South of France is known for its diverse and magical landscapes, ranging from the rolling hills and vineyards of Provence to the pristine sandy beaches and azure waters of the French Riviera.
It’s also peppered with extraordinary architecture – as this bumper batch of architect-designed holiday homes attests.
So whether you’re looking for a beachside St Tropez villa, or a contemporary farmhouse in Luberon, here are the best holiday villas in the South of France.
Le Mas du Fer-à-Cheval, the Luberon
Sitting in the vineyards and valleys of Provence, a 1.5 hour drive from Marseille, this former farmhouse in Luberon dates back to the 1700s and has been completely restored as a contemporary country holiday home. The striking hallway features a soaring ceiling, stone walls and rustic beams, while the kitchen is been built from reclaimed oak. Le Mas du Fer-à-Cheval’s exterior spaces are just as striking: courtyards give way to landscaped gardens and a heated outdoor swimming pool with an outdoor lounge for entertaining. The six-bedroom maison starts from $2,034 a per night via Luxury Retreats.
Domaine Des Parcs, St Tropez
Master of minimalism John Pawson designed this sleek St Tropez retreat, capitalising on its beach views and sublime light. The British designer – who recently transformed the Design Museum’s new HQ in Kensington, London – honed a simple palette of stone and wood across the Les Parcs de Saint-Tropez complex, which comprises a four-bedroom main house and separate four-bedroom guest house. Sight lines have been choreographed to frame views of the cork-tree lined landscape and Bay of Canoubiers. It’s available via Ama Selections, with price upon application.
Meta Fort, the Luberon
Located in a small village in Méthamis in the Vaucluse, in the heart of Provence, Meta Fort dates back to the 17th century and has been lovingly restored as a small five-bedroom B&B. But you don’t need to share: owners Isabelle and Philip turned the property’s ground floor into a self contained apartment – available to rent for approximately $2,000 per week – with views of the Nesque Valley and Mont Venoux.
Villa Tulum, St Tropez
This 1970s hilltop home offers a dose of French Riviera glamour. Available to rent via Le Collectionist from €1,620 per night, the four-bedroom South of France villa unfurls around an Aboriginal-inspired garden that is studded with cacti and orange trees. An infinity pool looks across the Pampelonne beaches, out towards Île du Levant.
Villa Jones, Haut Var
This garden villa sits on an ancient olive grove overlooking a woodland valley near Bargemon in Haut Var, Provence. Husband-and-wife architects Margot and Edward Jones designed the 200 sq m property in 2003 as their family holiday villa in the South of France, and it’s now available to rent direct from £2,500 per night. Villa Jones features a series of dramatic spaces arranged enfilade: a huge loggia and courtyards extend interior spaces, while glass doors open the dining room onto a sweeping 60m-long pergola which runs the entire length of the Haut Var holiday home’s façade. It has four double bedrooms.
Mas de la Roubine Residence, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Parts of this rural Saint-Rémy-de-Provence holiday home date back to 1664 but it has been recently refurbished and extended by its current owners. The Mas de la Roubine Residence has over 4,000 sq ft of living space, sleeping 12 in the main house and up to six in a separate guest cottage. Interiors are easy-going with oversized sofas and furniture collected from various flea markets in the surrounding area. The 2.5-acre plot has landscaped gardens, a swimming pool, fish ponds and a soccer pitch for kids (big or little). It’s available via Kid & Coe from €575 per night.
The Alouettes Residence, Hyères
Scandinavian and French styles fuse at the Alouettes Residence, which dates to 1912 and is owned by a Danish couple. Period features inside the Cote d’Azur villa include lofty ceilings, tiled floors and huge picture windows have been paired with a minimal colour palette and modern furnishings. The showstopper is a marble staircase that rises through the property, which sleeps up to eight, and available to rent via Kid & Coe from €240 per night. This villa in the South of France is ideally located for design and art pilgrims visiting Hyères’ Villa Noailles for the annual Festival International de Mode et de Photographie (April) and the Design Parade (29 June – 2 July).
G House in Bonnieux, the Luberon
Yves Saint Laurent museum designers Studio KO crafted this concrete villa in the South of France, which leaves rustic at the door. The Brutalist bolthole is 3km from Bonnieux, and perches above a wooded valley with views of the Luberon landscape. Huge pivoting windows naturally ventilate the 2,152 sq ft home, which sleeps up to five people, and is dotted with antique furniture and artworks. Rent it via The Perfect Hideaway from $800 per night.