Looking for the finest locations to go to in the South of France? You’ve come to the proper place. It had been fairly a while since we’d traveled the South of France, however this summer time we had the luck of spending almost a month revisiting this lovely area. While taking a Canal du Midi cruise on our luxurious houseboat with Le Boat, we had the likelihood to discover some of the lesser-known locations in Southern France.
During this journey down the historic waterway, we have been reminded of all the lovely locations in the South of France that we’ve taken over the years. France actually has all of it. So, if you’re wanting to department out from the bizarre, take a look at the finest locations to go to in the South of France to create a vacation that may ignite all the senses.
Top Places to go to in the South of France
Historic cities, the French Riviera, and delightful seashores; the South of France oozes with vitality and pleasure. But what are the finest locations to go to in the South of France? Are you on the lookout for a metropolis full of elegant structure and cultural points of interest? Or maybe one of the lovely medieval villages, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea surrounded by olive groves? Be it sandy seashores, artwork galleries, or conventional French delicacies, Southern France is a timeless vacation vacation spot, and it’s simple to see why.
This information will cowl all the things from the beautiful pure points of interest in the South of France to nationwide parks and the finest cities. Are you prepared to get began? Let’s have a look.
Best cities and cities to go to in the South of France
When on the lookout for the finest locations to go to in the South of France, an awesome place to begin is with the area’s city areas. South France has some unimaginable cities and cities. Let’s dive straight in.
Toulouse was an surprising metropolis in the South of France, positioned inland alongside the Spanish border. The metropolis has the nickname ‘La Ville Rose’, which means the pink metropolis due to the pink bricks used to construct most of its buildings. Toulouse is France’s fourth largest metropolis after Paris, Marseilles, and Lyon and but it’s simple to discover on foot. When visiting Toulouse, you’ll really feel as if you’re visiting the genuine France with locals eating in outside cafes and college students stress-free by the river’s edge. It is what we think about Paris was like 50 years in the past.
A bustling college metropolis, Toulouse could also be small, however it’s full of vitality. There are a lot of points of interest to see in Toulouse like the primary sq. of La Capitole, Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse, and the Musee Aeroscopia. Toulouse is the middle of the aeronautics and house trade in France and this museum showcases its historical past and improvement.
If you go, be certain to choose up a Toulouse Pass to actually discover the metropolis. The Toulouse Pass affords 1, 2, or 3-day passes that embrace public transport and free entrance into most of the metropolis’s hottest vacationer points of interest.
There is an previous city to wander, a lot of museums, and a reasonably cutting-edge style scene. It can be the start line of the Canal du Midi which winds its manner down 240 km to the French Riviera. Toulouse is a incredible place to go to in South France, and will certainly preserve you entertained. Read extra: Best Things to do in Toulouse France
Marseille is the oldest metropolis in Southern France. In reality, it’s the oldest metropolis in all of France and it’s second in measurement solely to Paris. Located on the Gulf de Lyon, which is a component of the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille is the good mix of African and French tradition. A buying and selling hotspot and port hub since 600 BC, Marseille is one of the finest locations to go to in the South of France if you’d like a style of historical past and historic tradition.
The most necessary half of Marseille is its Vieux Port. It is right here that fisherman as soon as bought their catch, and tons of of years later, many nonetheless do. You must also go to the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, the Musee des Beaux-Arts, and Palais Longchamp.
We counsel spending a minimal of three days in Marseille so that you just expertise the seafood scene, and its finest points of interest together with a day journey out to Chateau d’If made well-known by Alexander Dumas in The Count of Monte Cristo written by Alexander Dumas.
When visiting Marseille, we propose getting a Marseille City Pass – The metropolis move is legitimate for 1-3 days and allows you to hop on hop off to see all the prime vacationer points of interest. With limitless entry to public transportation plus a tour on the Tourist practice to Notre-Dame de la Garde or by way of the Old Marseille. You’ll have entry to MUCEM, and Regards de Provence Museum, plus crossing Frioul Island, or If Island with entrance to Chateau D’If. There are a lot of reductions, entry to municipal museums, and a guided metropolis tour. See particulars right here.
Who hasn’t heard of Cannes? If you might be visiting Southern France and craving a metropolis expertise, you have to go to Cannes. The metropolis is probably the most well-known spot on the French Riviera thanks to the glitz and glamour it exudes on an annual foundation. It is cherished by celebrities, and adored for its annual movie competition, The Cannes International Film Festival. It has many beloved seashores and cultural points of interest as nicely.
Much of Cannes and its points of interest will be skilled by strolling (or driving) alongside the Boulevard de la Croisette. The boulevard spans the Cannes shoreline, with beautiful views over the Bay of Cannes on the Mediterranean Sea. The Boulevard de la Croisette is lined by luxurious motels, boutiques, and eating places and caters completely to an upscale crowd.
Cannes is finest for individuals who need luxurious, resort-style ambiance. When we visited Cannes, we couldn’t afford the luxurious motels and as a substitute stayed at a campsite simply out of city. But we nonetheless had the likelihood to brush shoulders with the wealthy and well-known as we visited the seashores to work on our tans and revel in a style of that five-star hospitality.
Nice is the greatest metropolis on the French Riviera which makes it one of the prime locations to go to in the South of France. It has the most city really feel out of all the locations on our checklist and is good if you’d like to really feel in the center of all the motion. A sensible choice for a lodge is Hotel Nice Riviera. This 4-star lodge is one block from the seashore with cheap costs.
Like Cannes, Nice has a scenic stretch of highway alongside its shoreline. Promenade des Anglais stretches 7 km and is the place you’ll discover the majority of points of interest and the finest ocean views. It is on the Promenade des Anglais that you just’ll discover the Nice Carnival, which takes place each February or March. You ought to stroll the promenade, Old Town, and make time to go to the Castle Hill of Nice – an previous medieval fortress overlooking the metropolis.
Interestingly, Nice can be surrounded by a quantity of lovely cities and villages – many of which date again to the Middle Ages. You can spend days stress-free in the metropolis and on its lovely seashores, taking the odd day journey to a medieval city for the finest of each worlds. Read extra: 24 Hours in Nice – Sometimes You Only have a Day to See it All
5. Aix en Provence
The area of Provence is one of the most magical areas in France, and Aix en Provence is all the things you’d anticipate of a metropolis in southern France. It has class, class, and historical past by the bucket masses. The former capital of Provence is ideal for vacationers who worth tradition when selecting a vacation vacation spot. Aix en Provence has a quantity of nicknames, together with “The city of a Thousand Fountains” and “The City of Counts”. It is filled with issues to do and see, and it has a noble ambiance to match.
Aix en Provence is an artsy college city simply 20 minutes north of Marseille. It was additionally the birthplace and residential of the nice painter Paul Cezanne. The metropolis is proud of this historic reality and traces of Cezanne will be discovered in every single place in the metropolis. The Cezanne stroll is your finest manner to see all the things Cezanne. This is a enjoyable and fascinating self-guided tour that Dave and I did on a sunny afternoon throughout our go to. Our strolling tour took us round the Old Town, visiting Cezanne’s Studio, and Camp De Milles.
Some of the finest issues to do in Aix en Provence is to discover its artwork galleries, museums, and different historic points of interest. Expect a full of life nightlife scene and many of short-term exhibitions and occasions.
6. Saint Tropez
Yearning to be steps away from the ocean? Saint Tropez is the splendid candidate. Saint Tropez is ideal if you’d like glamour and wonder, but a quieter really feel than large cities like Nice. The small city sits on the French Riviera and was as soon as just a little fishing village.
The fishing village shot to reputation after getting used as a filming location for And God Created Woman starring Brigitte Bardot in 1955. Since the Sixties vacationers have been flocking to one of the hottest locations to go to in the South of France, however Saint Tropez has nonetheless retained some of its most charming village qualities. You can nonetheless spot some little fishing boats in the Old Port, and La Ponche Quarter remains to be full of slim streets with cobblestones.
The finest seashores in Saint Tropez are Plage de Pampelonne, Plage St. Tropez and Bouillabaisse Beach. However, when you’ve spent a day on the seashore be certain to expertise the city’s hospitality scene, and don’t miss trying out the central sq. at the market at Place des Lices. It has a fame for scrumptious meals and incredible domestically owned eating places; positively strive the contemporary seafood and domestically grown olives.
7. Saint Paul de Vence
Saint Paul de Vence is one of the oldest medieval villages on the French Riviera. Picture a walled city with cobblestone streets and historic, overhanging buildings. Everything is constructed from conventional stone and Saint Paul de Vence is the kind of place the place each inch of rock feels prefer it has a narrative to inform.
The city sits on a hill overlooking the French Riviera. It is comparatively simple to go to as a as we speak journey from Nice however, in the event you can, you need to strive to keep in the city itself. Saint Paul de Vence appears like someplace out of a fairy story. Just strolling by way of its cobbled streets and Old Town (bear in mind a digicam) is sufficient to preserve you entertained for a full day.
It was as soon as the house of well-known painter Marc Chagall and once you go to one of its prime points of interest, the Cimetière de Saint-Paul-de-Vence, you will notice his grave.
You must also dine at La Colombe d’Or, the place the Roux household as soon as let artists reminiscent of Picasso, Braque, Calder, and Matisse dine in change for now well-known work. Eating scrumptious meals is even higher when you’re surrounded by works of artwork whilst you eat.
8. Les Baux de Provence
Okay, we could also be concentrating on cities and cities however the village of Les Baux de Provence was too lovely not to embrace. This hilltop village remains to be protected by medieval partitions and makes an exquisite, memorable getaway. In reality, it’s so lovely that the metropolis is deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The prime points of interest in the village are, The ruins of Castillo de Los Baux, a Twelfth-century fortress, and Carrieres de Lumieres. Carrieres de Lumieres (the quarry of lights) is a singular attraction with paintings projected onto the disused quarry’s limestone partitions. Art lovers will love the novelty of a digital exhibition, and the paintings displayed modifications regularly which retains the quarry thrilling to go to.
Sure, Les Baux de Provence is quiet and distanced from the Mediterranean Sea, nevertheless, the village has a movie set really feel and is bursting with historical past and allure. If you need a quaint, lesser skilled impression of Southern France, Les Baux de Provence is a incredible place to go to. You may like Enchanting Medieval Villages in France – The French Riviera
9. Saint Rémy de Provence
Saint Remy de Provence is one other attractive, rural city positioned on the outskirts of the Alpilles Natural Regional Park. Not solely does Saint Remy de Provence have lovely structure and quiet city surroundings, however its pure magnificence was additionally the muse of a extremely popular artist.
Vincent Van Gogh lived in Saint Remy for a yr, the place he checked himself right into a psychological hospital and started one of his most prolific working durations. It was in Saint Remy that he painted The Starry Night. Whether you’re a Van Gogh fan, artwork fanatic, or simply intrigued, Saint Remy is a good place to study extra about artwork historical past.
Musee Estrine Presence Van Gogh is the finest attraction for studying extra about the artist. Glanum is the finest attraction for historical past and is an previous Roman city and in depth archeological website. You can even go to the Monastery Saint Paul de Mausole – the psychiatric asylum the place Van Gogh was admitted. Saint Remy de Provence has heaps to preserve you entertained.
10. Vers Pont Du Gard
Vers Pont Du Gard is one other small city and, like Saint Remy, has heaps of surrounding Roman heritage. The most well-known Roman attraction is the Pont du Gard bridge and aqueduct, which have been protected and maintained to nonetheless stand as we speak. I bear in mind taking our highway journey in the South of France and making a detour for the sole objective of seeing this bridge. Vers Pont Du Gard is full of spectacular structure, and in the event you like visiting locations with character, you’ll actually be in for a deal with.
Once you’ve visited the city’s bridge, the Pont du Gard Museum and Chapel Notre Dame de Laval are the finest points of interest to take pleasure in. You can even swim and fish in the River Gardon. Despite being inland, being positioned subsequent to a river makes Vers Pont Du Gard an pleasant vacation spot even in the top of summer time. You aren’t sacrificing a lot by skipping seashore days for river days, and taking a dip is refreshing on a sizzling day.
Arles is our remaining suggestion and simply one of the finest locations to go to in the South of France. In the historic Roman interval, Arles was as soon as a provincial capital. Today, many of the structure and historic websites stay – together with Arles Amphitheater.
We advocate catching a efficiency at the Arles Amphitheater, taking a Van Gogh strolling tour to see the areas which impressed well-known works, and visiting the cloisters at St. Trophime. Arles has heaps of spiritual and creative historical past, so enable heaps of time for sightseeing.
The metropolis itself sits on the banks of the Rhone River. It is flanked by the Camargue Nature Reserve and, whereas positioned inland, is lower than an hour’s drive from some of the finest seashores on the Riviera. If you’re looking to rent a automotive and discover heaps of France, Arles is an excellent base.
Best pure locations to go to in the South of France
Now that we’ve coated the finest cities and cities let’s have a look at the finest pure locations to go to in the South of France.
Southern France is full of superb pure locations to go to, whether or not you need to use them as a day journey or simply organize to keep close by. You finest have a Google Maps account since you’ll want offline maps to head to these spots. These locations are the creme de la creme.
12. Verdon Natural Regional Park
Verdon Natural Regional Park is one of the finest locations to discover pure points of interest, not simply mountaineering trails and delightful views. Located in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, the 180,000-hectare park is most identified for the Gorges du Verdon and Lake Croix.
The Gorges du Verdon is a 25 km (15.5 miles) lengthy river canyon with a superb milky blue river. Expect white water rapids and steep cliffs reaching up to 700 meters (0.4 mi) on both facet of the river. This pure marvel is the deepest gorge in France. You can hike to quite a few viewpoints, and even e-book a rafting expertise for a bit of additional exhilaration. The Gorges du Verdon is a giant deal and is called France’s reply to the Grand Canyon.
After exiting the Verdon Gorge, the river runs straight out into the Lake of Sainte-Croix. There are three villages alongside its shores and you’ll take your choose to seize a chew to eat and go for a swim.
13. Calanques National Park
Calanques National Park covers each ocean and land, and the 128,000-acre reserve is located on the shoreline an hour’s drive from Marseilles en route to Cassis. If your thought of heaven is coastal hikes with hidden coves and dramatic cliff faces, then Calanques is an ideal spot. It is the solely nationwide park in Europe that’s positioned close to city areas and is each on land and sea.
The phrase ‘Calanques’ describes a dolomite or limestone inlet – mainly dramatic pale gray or white sea cliffs. The park is full of these lovely areas and you need to positively make investments in an excellent high quality digicam so that you’ve got photos to cherish after your vacation.
Keep your eyes peeled whereas mountaineering as nicely, as the marine reserves are in style spots for pods of dolphins. The park has over 140 species of protected animals and vegetation, which is a nature lover’s dream.
14. Natural Reserve of the Courant d’Huchet
Compared to the different spots on this checklist, the Natural Reserve of the Courant d’Huchet is tiny. However, it has some of the most hanging landscapes and is well one of the finest pure locations to go to in the South of France. It is positioned an hour’s drive north of Biarritz and makes for a incredible day journey.
The reserve is primarily marshland however has a seashore in the midst of the park. The seashore accommodates excessive hills of sand dunes that superbly distinction the surrounded marshes and forest. Visitors can head to the seashore to swim and climb the sand dunes.
You can even hike the community of trails, recognizing native animals and flora as you stroll. If you need one thing actually completely different although, we advocate a ship tour. You can rent a ship to discover independently or take a tour for a extra informative expertise – whichever takes your fancy.
15. Baronnies Provencales Regional Natural Park
Have you ever seen these artsy lavender subject images plastered throughout Instagram? Well, Baronnies Provencales Regional Natural Park is the place you possibly can take your very personal. Apart from its distant villages and low-lying mountains, Baronnies Provencales is full of lavender fields. If you go to the South of France between June and September, you need to positively make your manner to the park to see them.
Baronnies Provencales Regional Natural Park is about an hour and a half drive from Avignon. You might go to on a day journey or discover lodging in one of the park’s villages. Apart from the lavender fields, you’ll discover hundreds of mountaineering trails and different outside actions.
16. Regional Park of Camargue
Camargue Park is legendary for a lot of issues, together with the as soon as wild herds of Camargue horses. The Camargue horses are extremely prized in France and are thought-about to be one of the most historic horse breeds in the world. While breeding is strictly regulated now, you may nonetheless be fortunate sufficient to spot a semi-feral herd.
Apart from the horses, Camargue Natural Regional Park options wetlands, tough grazing areas, and a marine reserve. It can be positioned alongside the shoreline, simply exterior of Marseilles and close to the metropolis of Arles.
The finest issues to do in Camargue are animal associated. You can spot flamingoes at Ornithological Park of Pont de Gau and go to a ranch to take a horseback experience out to spot the semi-feral horses from afar.
17. Alpilles Regional Nature Park
Fancy getting energetic? Alpilles Regional Nature Park has the most to provide in phrases of biking, mountaineering, and horseback driving trails with a lot of equestrian facilities. With all its limestone rock formations and cliffs, there’s a lot of climbing alternatives as nicely.
Alpilles has an awesome combine of actions. Whether you need historical past, tradition, a health problem, or a brand new profile image, Alpilles has sufficient variety to match your wants. It is a walkers paradise with mountaineering trails by way of pine forests, olive groves, and vineyards.
You can even simply go to the fortress, and quarry artwork show in close by Les Baux de Provence which we already talked about above.
18. Sainte Baume Natural Regional Park
Sainte Baume Natural Regional Park is the place the alpine meets the Mediterranean. The park is full of dramatic limestone mountains, ridges, and pine tree forests.
Climbers will love Saint Baume, which is centered round an extended mountain ridge. There’s an awesome vary of climbing routes to discover, ranging in problem and magnificence. Sainte Baume additionally holds heaps of spiritual significance. Visitors will discover a grotto the place Mary Magdalene allegedly lived. The website is in style amongst pilgrims and will be reached by way of a fairly forest path in round forty minutes.
19. Pyrenees National Park
Pyrenees National Park is one of the finest locations to go to in the South of France. The park sits on the French-Spanish border and we have been stunned to discover them in South France. We had identified the Pyrenees from our time in Spain, however we all the time thought of them as additional north. We have been stunned to see the mountains whereas cruising in 40-degree warmth to Carcassonne.
From alpine meadows and high-altitude lakes to towering, craggy mountains, the park is beautiful. If you need an thrilling, lovely place to go to in Southern France, Pyrenees National Park is bucket checklist worthy.
Cirque de Gavarnie is one of the most well-known points of interest in the Pyrenees of France. A cirque is a big cliff face that curves in form like an enormous, pure amphitheater. Cirque de Gavarnie is finest identified for its many waterfalls, which cascade down the cliff partitions.
Apart from the Cirque de Gavarnie, the park is full of mountaineering trails, limitless outside actions, and climbing alternatives. If you like mountaineering in explicit, you’ll adore it right here.
20. Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park
Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park is a nature reserve at first, which we love. The park caters to tourism however in environmentally pleasant methods, and there are points of interest like an eco-museum and chook sanctuary to go to.
The park sits in southwest France, together with some coastal areas and a few inland. Visitors can kayak down rivers, swim in pure lakes, or hike the quite a few trails. Landes de Gascogne is a serene, lovely park that’s bursting with nature. Visitors can cherish being surrounded by tons of of completely different species of natural world.
21. Narbonnaise en Mediterranee Natural Regional Park
Narbonnaise en Mediterranee is a various area. You’ll discover seashores, cliffs, forests, and even vineyards. The vineyards are significantly in style, and a few individuals refer to the park as the land of wine.
You can go wine tasting, take a hike, or go for a tenting getaway. Narbonnaise en Mediterranee is about an hour and a half’s drive from Montpellier and Toulouse. It sits on the Mediterranean shoreline and is ideally mixed with a seashore vacation. If you need someplace to wine style and discover, it’s a small, lovely, and simple pure place to go to in Southern France.
22. Mercantour National Park
A shocking 167,297-acre park, Mercantour is a mix of alpine lakes, irregular mountain ranges, and much of scenic mountaineering trails. Even higher? It is simply an hour’s drive away from Nice.
The park is numerous and comparatively unvisited in contrast to France’s different nationwide parks. For people who make the journey although, there are limitless rewards. You’ll uncover tiny villages and mountain communities the place many individuals nonetheless stay off of the land. You can pattern decadent cheeses and luxurious honey and possibly even convey some house as a memento.
After appreciating the cultural facet of Mercantour, you possibly can dive straight into its outside actions. Hike, bike, climb, swim, and experience till your coronary heart is content material.
It’s no secret that the South of France is mesmerizing. This is simply the tip of the iceberg of locations to go to in the South of France.
We hope that this helped provide you with a way of what you possibly can see and do from strolling cobblestone streets in medieval cities or lazing on sandy seashores on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. All of these locations to go to in the South of France are value visiting. Glamorous, historic, and naturally lovely, the South of France is certain to assure reminiscences for a lifetime.