It's hard to imagine a more perfect triumvirate of regions than Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur - one all romantic countryside, one stunning mountains and the third some of the most glamorous and beautiful coastline in Europe. It's a beguiling mix. Provence is scented sunshine, fragrant with lavender and wild herbs, scenic with verdant vineyards and sprawling olive groves and medieval hilltop towns with bustling markets. Of these, Aix-en-Provence, impossibly romantic and picturesque and the ancient papal seat of Avignon are among the most charming.
Just south of this gorgeousness lies the Côte d'Azur, or the French Riviera. A more glittering coastline is hard to imagine, with the Mediterranean sparkling bright blue and the cities along it as chic as they come, with Cannes and Nice in particular dazzlingly glamorous luxury destinations. Marseilles provides a contrast, but although it's rough cut, it too is a gem, full of history and culture - it's the oldest city in France and almost certainly the most intoxicating one.
This stretch of seashore is sun-drenched almost year round, and warm too, as the mountains to the north keep out those chillier northern temperatures. The Alps are the ultimate European mountains, and the French Alps are especially stunning, with Mont Blanc and its fellow snowy peaks adding real drama to the skyline near Chamonix, a destination for serious skiers in winter and outdoor adventures in the summer months. The pretty lakeside town of Annecy and sophisticated Grenoble are also perfect bases for alpine adventures at any time of year.