Destination Guide

13 Best Places to Visit in the South of France

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Discover the 13 best places to visit in the South of France. From the glamorous beaches of the French Riviera to charming old towns and stunning natural landscapes, this guide will help you plan your unforgettable trip.

Uncover the region’s remarkable magic by immersing yourself in its stunning medieval history and Mediterranean beaches. In this article, you can dive into the captivating world of Southern France and uncover its remarkable essence.

1. Saint-Tropez

Saint-Tropez is a small town situated on the French Riviera, once a tiny fishing village, which has become a hotspot for tourists since 1955 when it was used as a filming location for the movie “And God Created Woman” starring Brigitte Bardot. 

It is the perfect destination for glitz and glamour seekers looking for a more relaxed holiday than in cities like Nice. Plage de Pampelonne, Plage St. Tropez, and Bouillabaisse Beach are some of the best beaches in town, perfect for swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean.

2. Porquerolles Island

Experience the beauty of Porquerolles, just off the coast of Hyères, for a tranquil and renewing adventure. Spend your days here basking in the warm sunshine while lounging on secluded beaches, taking a dip in the tranquil Mediterranean Sea, trying various local wines, cycling through the gorgeous countryside, and exploring the ancient forts.

Whether you’re looking for an exciting holiday or a peaceful retreat, Porquerolles is the ideal place to go. With its mesmerizing beaches, delectable cuisine and wine, and vibrant cultural heritage, it’s sure to leave you feeling invigorated and recharged.

Nice, French Riviera
Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

3. Nice

Boasting world-class art and classic architecture, Nice is the perfect destination for travelers looking to experience the beauty of the French Riviera. The vibrant city is full of pedestrian-friendly attractions, such as breathtaking waterfront promenades, grand plazas, and open-air markets.

For art lovers, visiting the Musée Marc Chagall and Musée Matisse is a must. Here, visitors can admire hundreds of works by the two famous French artists. If you’re visiting Vieux Nice, start with a walk along the Promenade des Anglais, then meander through the small alleyways and take in the colorful facades. 

4. Camargue

Located between Arles and Montpellier, Camargue is a haven of natural beauty and wildlife. It is a popular destination for birdwatchers due to the many species of birds found there, including majestic pink flamingos. The Ornithological Park of Pont de Gau is great for spotting these birds.

If you’re looking for an adventure, consider a 4×4 Camargue Safari, which takes you through the region’s scenic landscape. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day in nature, bird-watching, or an exciting day of exploration, Camargue is one of the best places to visit in the south of France.

best places to visit in south of france
Photo by Jim Thirion on Unsplash

5. Cannes

Cannes is a beautiful destination situated in the south of France. It is famous for its annual Cannes International Film Festival, which has been running for over 70 years. Along with its renowned film festival, Cannes also offers many attractions, such as its beloved beaches, cultural attractions, and the city’s charming streets. One of the great ways to explore these attractions is by a Vespa with an expert guide. 

It is also known for its luxurious atmosphere and resort-style living, with its long stretches of sandy beaches and almost 300 days of sunshine each year, it is the perfect destination for sun-lovers. In addition, the Boulevard de la Croisette stretches along the coastline of Cannes, providing stunning views of the Bay of Cannes on the Mediterranean Sea. 

6. Aix-En-Provence

Provence is a stunning region in the south of France, and Aix en Provence is a city that should not be missed. Nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Fountains,” the former capital of Provence is a cultural and historical powerhouse. It is the birthplace of the great painter Paul Cezanne, and his influence can be felt all over the city.

Aix en Provence is also known for its lively nightlife, art galleries, museums, cafes and other attractions. There are always temporary exhibitions and events to enjoy, so be sure to check out what’s happening during your visit.

Whether you are looking for a cultural experience, a night on the town, or just a relaxing day in the sun, Aix en Provence is sure to be one of the places worth visiting in the South of France.

7. Saint-Paul-De-Vence

Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a picturesque village on the French Riviera that looks like something out of a fairy tale. It features a walled town with cobblestone streets and overhanging buildings constructed out of traditional stone. The town sits atop a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, making it a popular destination for tourists. 

Once home to famous painter Marc Chagall, Saint-Paul-de-Vence has many attractions to explore. The top sight is most definitely the Cimetière de Saint-Paul-de-Vence, where you can find Chagall’s grave. 

La Colombe d’Or is also a must-visit. This renowned restaurant is where the Roux family allowed artists such as Picasso, Braque, Calder, and Matisse to dine in exchange for now-famous paintings. Enjoy a delicious meal while being surrounded by works of art – it’s an experience you won’t forget.

8. Arles

When it comes to places to visit in the South of France, Arles is one of the best. It is a cultural and trading hub full of historical and architectural sites, such as the Roman Théâtre Antique and Arles Amphitheater.

Additionally, Arles is a mecca for art lovers, with many Van Gogh walking tours highlighting locations that inspired some of his most famous works, such as “Starry Nights Over the Rhône.” Plus, the cloisters of St. Trophime offer a glimpse into the city’s religious and artistic history.

Not to mention, Arles is conveniently located on the banks of the Rhone River, with the Camargue Nature Reserve nearby and beaches on the Riviera only an hour away. So, if you want to experience the best of what the South of France has to offer, consider visiting Arles.

9. Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a wonderful destination for anyone seeking to explore the history of the Cathars, a group of heretics who were believed to be at odds with the Catholic Church.

Located in the south of France, Carcassonne has become a popular Cathar country road trip destination due to its majestic Citadel, which was built by the Romans in the 3rd century and has seen occupation by the Visigoths, Crusaders, and the French. 

Those seeking a more modern experience can also explore the ville basse, located near the River Aude. Here, visitors can find a variety of one-of-a-kind shops and dine at any of the tasty eateries situated along the canal’s towpath. Carcassonne offers something for everyone, making it one of the top landmarks in France.

10. Avignon

Avignon is one of the most iconic cities in the south of France. Sitting on the banks of the Rhône River, it is home to one of the most impressive Gothic palaces in Europe, the Palais des Papes. This magnificent structure was built in the 14th century and is a must-see attraction for any history lover. The city is also home to the only Van Gogh painting in Provence, housed in the Musée Angladon.

Whether you’re looking for culture, history, or entertainment, Avignon is one of the best places to visit in Southern France. From exploring the Medieval Town to attending the theater festival, it’s the perfect destination for a truly memorable experience.

11. Monaco

While Monaco is a city-state independent of France, its prime location makes it an attractive destination for visitors to the south. Earning a reputation as a playground for the wealthy and privileged, it’s also a great destination for budget-minded travelers.

Vacationers can spend their day exploring the memorial rose garden dedicated to the Princess of Monaco and actress Grace Kelly, take in the changing of the guard, and tour the royal palace’s “Les Grands Appartements.”

The city is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs to choose from. For those seeking a more relaxed experience, Monaco’s beaches are perfect for sunbathing or swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. With its stunning architecture and spectacular views, Monaco is one of the best places to visit in the south of France.

12. Calanques of Marseille-Cassis

If you are looking for a great way to spend some time in nature near Marseille, The Calanques of Marseille-Cassis is a great destination. This is a French National Park located on the beautiful Southern coast West of the French Riviera.

Along with the stunning scenery, there are plenty of activities to do, such as beaches, hiking paths, and even climbing some of the cliffs. You can also explore 

the area by taking a catamaran tour from Marseille. The water is a stunning blue color, and it contrasts perfectly with the sandy beaches. Make sure to plan a day trip here during your time in Southern France, and you will be sure to make some amazing memories.

13. Lavender Fields of Provence

Provence is a stunning destination in the south of France, especially during the summer months. The beautiful lavender fields are a sight to behold, and they provide a unique opportunity to explore the region. The vibrant purple flowers have a captivating scent that is sure to relax even the most stressed of travelers.

The lavender season in Provence is from the end of June to the early days of August, so if you want to visit during the best time of year, it’s important to plan ahead and know where the best fields are located. The lavender fields provide a special opportunity to explore the region.

These 13 best places to visit south of France promise memories that last a lifetime, whether you seek artistic inspiration, gastronomic delights, or simply to discover new horizons. Pack your bags, soak up the romance of this region, and write your own chapters in the enchanting tale of the South of France.

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