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Five Dream Summer Getaways in the Hills of Idyllic Provence

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A land of fine weather, timeless architecture, and ample natural beauty, the French region of Provence has been drawing summer residents from far afield for centuries. Impressionist painters Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso all spent considerable time in the area, which inspired some of their most famous paintings. While the famous coastline of the Cote d'Azur receives much of the attention—and most of the attention, the tourists, and the foreign buyers—the interior of Provence has plenty to offer vacationers, including quintessential French country homes. In Maussane-les-Alpilles, east of Arles, this 37-acre equestrian estate is currently offered for $8.45M. Highlights include an elegant gated driveway, a horse barn, a riding ring, lush gardens, a picturesque stone patio, and 13 bedrooms spread among three historic structures.

? Those willing to sacrifice some acreage for more modern amenities should be satisfied with this impeccably updated country house, also in Maussane-les-Alpilles. The six-bedroom, nine-bath main house sits on 11 park-like acres, along with an expansive swimming pool, fastidiously-trimmed shrubberies, a garage, and a guest house. The 4,800-square-foot home and its environs are listed for $6.4M.

? In search of something a bit more regal? This $7.93M listing in Cucuron features a castle-like turret on one end, but the interiors leave much to be desired, with some ugly tiling and dated railings circa 1970. At least the property is gigantic, totaling 168 acres, with 118 of those acres dedicated to vineyards. The historic stone outbuildings, not yet restored, offer the opportunity to create a guest house should the main house's six bedrooms prove insufficient. The tennis court, in need of some TLC, provides a sporting outlet, but it's hardly Roland Garros.

? Nestled on 37 acres on the outskirts of St. Remy, this estate may look traditional—and well restored—from the exterior, but the interiors have been outfitted in a far more modern style. Listed for $5.85M, the seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom country manor retained its country fireplaces, but the recent renovations brought a sleek modern kitchen and fresh white walls. The grounds are done up with elegant formal gardens and an assortment of trees, but are lacking the vineyards.

? Potential buyers of Provençal properties can save a bundle by opting for one of the region's many charming villages, like the striking hilltop redoubt of Roussillon. Perched on one of the town's highest points, this village house has views over the rooftops and down into the valley, plus an up-close look at a historic nearby church steeple. Space is limited—with just two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a galley kitchen—but so is the price, at least compared to the others on this list. The cute cottage is currently asking $964K.

· Exceptional property with equestrian facilities [Knight Frank]
· A fabulous Estate located on the outskirts of Maussane [Knight Frank]
· Magnificent vineyard and estate with significant land [Knight Frank]
· A stunning authentic Mas of character for sale in St Remy de Provence [Knight Frank]
· Magnificent village house for sale in Roussillon [Knight Frank]