Tips & Advices

22 Best Places to Visit within the South of France

Looking for the perfect locations to go to within the South of France? You’ve come to the correct place. It had been fairly a while since we’d traveled the South of France, however this summer time we had the nice fortune 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 prospect to discover a number of the lesser-known locations in Southern France.

During this journey down the historic waterway, we had been reminded of all the gorgeous locations within the South of France that we’ve taken through the years. France actually has all of it. So, in case you are seeking to department out from the strange, take a look at the perfect locations to go to within the South of France to create a vacation that can ignite all of the senses.

Top Places to go to within the South of France

Historic cities, the French Riviera, and exquisite seashores; the South of France oozes with vitality and pleasure. But what are the perfect locations to go to within the South of France? Are you searching for a metropolis crammed with elegant structure and cultural sights? Or maybe one of many lovely medieval villages, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea surrounded by olive groves? Be it sandy seashores, artwork galleries, or traditional French cuisine, Southern France is a timeless vacation vacation spot, and it’s straightforward to see why.

This information will cowl every thing from the gorgeous pure sights within the South of France to nationwide parks and the perfect cities. Are you able to get began? Let’s have a look.

Best cities and cities to go to within the South of France

places to visit in the south of france cities

When searching for the perfect locations to go to within the South of France, a fantastic place to start out is with the area’s city areas. South France has some unimaginable cities and cities. Let’s dive straight in.

1. Toulouse

places in southern france toulouse

Toulouse was an sudden metropolis within the South of France, situated inland alongside the Spanish border. The metropolis has the nickname ‘La Ville Rose’, which means the pink metropolis as a result of 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 straightforward to discover on foot. When visiting Toulouse, you’ll really feel as in case you are visiting the genuine France with locals eating in out of doors 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 crammed with vitality. There are loads of sights 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 area business in France and this museum showcases its historical past and growth.

things to do in Toulouse Pass

If you go, be sure that to select up a Toulouse Pass to actually discover the town. The Toulouse Pass presents 1, 2, or 3-day passes that embody public transport and free entrance into many of the metropolis’s hottest vacationer sights.

There is an previous city to wander, loads of museums, and a reasonably cutting-edge vogue scene. It can be the start line of the Canal du Midi which winds its method down 240 km to the French Riviera. Toulouse is a improbable place to go to in South France, and will certainly maintain you entertained. Read extra: Best Things to do in Toulouse France

2. Marseille

cities in the south of france marseille

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 part of the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille is the right mix of African and French tradition. A buying and selling hotspot and port hub since 600 BC, Marseille is likely one of the finest locations to go to within the South of France if you would like a style of historical past and historic tradition.

The most necessary a part of Marseille is its Vieux Port. It is right here that fisherman as soon as offered their catch, and a whole lot of years later, many nonetheless do. You also needs to go to the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, the Musee des Beaux-Arts, and Palais Longchamp.

Fun things to do in Marseille France Vieux Port

We recommend spending a minimal of three days in Marseille so that you just expertise the seafood scene, and its finest sights 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 advise getting a Marseille City Pass – The metropolis go is legitimate for 1-3 days and allows you to hop on hop off to see all the highest vacationer sights. With limitless entry to public transportation plus a tour on the Tourist practice to Notre-Dame de la Garde or by 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 loads of reductions, entry to municipal museums, and a guided metropolis tour. See details here.

3. Cannes

cities in southern france cannes

Who hasn’t heard of Cannes? If you might be visiting Southern France and craving a metropolis expertise, you need to go to Cannes. The metropolis is maybe probably the most well-known spot on the French Riviera due to the glitz and glamour it exudes on an annual foundation. It is liked by celebrities, and adored for its annual movie competition, The Cannes International Film Festival. It has many beloved seashores and cultural sights as effectively.

Much of Cannes and its sights may be skilled by strolling (or driving) alongside the Boulevard de la Croisette. The boulevard spans the Cannes shoreline, with gorgeous 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 environment. When we visited Cannes, we couldn’t afford the posh motels and as a substitute stayed at a campsite simply out of city. But we nonetheless had the prospect 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.

4. Nice

cities in south france nice

Nice is the most important metropolis on the French Riviera which makes it one of many prime locations to go to within the South of France. It has probably the most city really feel out of all of the locations on our checklist and is right if you wish to really feel in the midst of all of the motion. A good selection for a lodge is Hotel Nice Riviera. This 4-star lodge is one block from the seaside with affordable 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 vast majority of sights and the perfect 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 town.

Interestingly, Nice can be surrounded by various lovely cities and villages – a lot of which date again to the Middle Ages. You can spend days stress-free within the metropolis and on its lovely seashores, taking the odd day journey to a medieval city for the perfect of each worlds. Read extra: 24 Hours in Nice – Sometimes You Only have a Day to See it All

5. Aix en Provence

cities in south france aix en provence

The area of Provence is likely one of the most magical areas in France, and Aix en Provence is every thing you’d count on of a metropolis in southern France. It has class, class, and historical past by the bucket hundreds. The former capital of Provence is ideal for vacationers who worth tradition when selecting a vacation vacation spot. Aix en Provence has various 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 environment 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 good painter Paul Cezanne. The metropolis is pleased with this historic reality and traces of Cezanne may be discovered in all places within the metropolis. The Cezanne stroll is your finest method to see every thing 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 across the Old Town, visiting Cezanne’s Studio, and Camp De Milles.

Some of the perfect issues to do in Aix en Provence is to discover its artwork galleries, museums, and different historic sights. Expect a full of life nightlife scene and loads of non permanent exhibitions and occasions.

6. Saint Tropez

southern french cities saint tropez

Yearning to be steps away from the ocean? Saint Tropez is the best candidate. Saint Tropez is ideal if you would like glamour and wonder, but a quieter really feel than huge cities like Nice. The small city sits on the French Riviera and was as soon as a bit 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 fashionable locations to go to within the South of France, however Saint Tropez has nonetheless retained a few of its most charming village qualities. You can nonetheless spot some little fishing boats within the Old Port, and La Ponche Quarter continues to be stuffed with 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 seaside be sure that to expertise the city’s hospitality scene, and don’t miss trying out the central sq. on the market at Place des Lices. It has a repute for scrumptious meals and improbable domestically owned eating places; undoubtedly strive the recent seafood and domestically grown olives.

7. Saint Paul de Vence

places in south france saint paul de vence

Saint Paul de Vence is likely 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 straightforward to go to as a right now journey from Nice however, when you can, you must attempt to keep within the city itself. Saint Paul de Vence looks like someplace out of a fairy story. Just strolling by its cobbled streets and Old Town (bear in mind a digicam) is sufficient to maintain you entertained for a full day.

It was as soon as the house of well-known painter Marc Chagall and while you go to considered one of its prime sights, the Cimetière de Saint-Paul-de-Vence, you will notice his grave.

You also needs to 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 find yourself surrounded by artworks when you eat.

8. Les Baux de Provence

places in france south les baux provence

Okay, we could also be concentrating on cities and cities however the village of Les Baux de Provence was too lovely to not embody. This hilltop village continues to be protected by medieval partitions and makes a beautiful, memorable getaway. In reality, it’s so lovely that the town is deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The prime sights within the village are, The ruins of Castillo de Los Baux, a Twelfth-century citadel, and Carrieres de Lumieres. Carrieres de Lumieres (the quarry of lights) is a novel attraction with paintings projected onto the disused quarry’s limestone partitions. Art fanatics will love the novelty of a digital exhibition, and the paintings displayed adjustments ceaselessly which retains the quarry thrilling to go to.

Sure, Les Baux de Provence is quiet and distanced from the Mediterranean Sea, nonetheless, the village has a movie set really feel and is bursting with historical past and appeal. If you need a quaint, lesser skilled impression of Southern France, Les Baux de Provence is a improbable place to go to. You may additionally like Enchanting Medieval Villages in France – The French Riviera

9. Saint Rémy de Provence

places in france south saint remy de provence

Saint Remy de Provence is one other attractive, rural city situated 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 12 months, the place he checked himself right into a psychological hospital and commenced considered 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 perfect attraction for studying extra in regards to the artist. Glanum is the perfect attraction for historical past and is an previous Roman city and intensive archeological web site. You may also go to the Monastery Saint Paul de Mausole – the psychiatric asylum the place Van Gogh was admitted. Saint Remy de Provence has tons to maintain you entertained.

10. Vers Pont Du Gard

southern france places to visit Pont du Gard

Vers Pont Du Gard is one other small city and, like Saint Remy, has a lot 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 right now. I bear in mind taking our highway journey within the South of France and making a detour for the only real objective of seeing this bridge. Vers Pont Du Gard is filled with spectacular structure, and when you like visiting locations with character, you’ll definitely 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 perfect sights to get pleasure from. You may also swim and fish within the River Gardon. Despite being inland, being situated subsequent to a river makes Vers Pont Du Gard an satisfying vacation spot even within the peak of summer time. You aren’t sacrificing a lot by skipping seaside days for river days, and taking a dip is refreshing on a sizzling day.

11. Arles

south of france amphitheatre arles

Arles is our closing advice and simply top-of-the-line locations to go to within the South of France. In the traditional Roman interval, Arles was as soon as a provincial capital. Today, most of the structure and historic websites stay – together with Arles Amphitheater.

We advocate catching a efficiency on 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 a lot of non secular and creative historical past, so enable a lot 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 situated inland, is lower than an hour’s drive from a number of the finest seashores on the Riviera. If you wish to hire a car and discover a lot of France, Arles is a superb base.

Best pure locations to go to within the South of France

Natural Places to Visit in the South of France

Now we’ve coated the perfect cities and cities let’s take a look at the perfect pure locations to go to within the South of France.

Southern France is filled with wonderful pure locations to go to, whether or not you wish to use them as a day journey or simply prepare to remain close by. You finest have a Google Maps account since you’ll want offline maps to go to those spots. These locations are the creme de la creme.

12. Verdon Natural Regional Park

natural wonders in the south of france verdon nature park

Verdon Natural Regional Park is likely one of the finest locations to discover pure sights, not simply mountaineering trails and exquisite 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 an excellent milky blue river. Expect white water rapids and steep cliffs reaching as much as 700 meters (0.4 mi) on both aspect of the river. This pure surprise is the deepest gorge in France. You can hike to quite a few viewpoints, and even guide a rafting expertise for a bit of additional exhilaration. The Gorges du Verdon is an enormous 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 may take your choose to seize a chunk to eat and go for a swim.

13. Calanques National Park

southern france attractions Parc National des Calanques

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 path to Cassis. If your concept of heaven is coastal hikes with hidden coves and dramatic cliff faces, then Calanques is an ideal spot. It is the one nationwide park in Europe that’s situated close to city areas and is each on land and sea.

The phrase ‘Calanques’ describes a dolomite or limestone inlet – principally dramatic pale gray or white sea cliffs. The park is filled with these lovely areas and you must undoubtedly put money into an excellent high quality digicam so that you’ve photos to cherish after your vacation.

Keep your eyes peeled whereas mountaineering as effectively, because the marine reserves are fashionable 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

things to do in the south of france

Compared to the opposite spots on this checklist, the Natural Reserve of the Courant d’Huchet is tiny. However, it has a number of the most hanging landscapes and is well top-of-the-line pure locations to go to within the South of France. It is situated an hour’s drive north of Biarritz and makes for a improbable day journey.

The reserve is primarily marshland however has a seaside within the midst of the park. The seaside incorporates excessive hills of sand dunes that superbly distinction the surrounded marshes and forest. Visitors can head to the seaside to swim and climb the sand dunes.

You may also hike the community of trails, recognizing native animals and flora as you stroll. If you need one thing actually totally 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

lavender fields south france travel

Have you ever seen these artsy lavender discipline 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 filled with lavender fields. If you go to the South of France between June and September, you must undoubtedly make your method 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 find accommodation in one of many park’s villages. Apart from the lavender fields, you’ll discover 1000’s of mountaineering trails and different out of doors actions.

16. Regional Park of Camargue

places in france carmargue

Camargue Park is known 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 of to be one of the historic horse breeds on the planet. While breeding is strictly regulated now, you would possibly nonetheless be fortunate sufficient to identify a semi-feral herd.

Apart from the horses, Camargue Natural Regional Park options wetlands, tough grazing areas, and a marine reserve. It can be situated alongside the shoreline, simply exterior of Marseilles and close to the town 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 identify the semi-feral horses from afar.

17. Alpilles Regional Nature Park

Top places to visit in the South of France Alpilles Regional Nature Park

Fancy getting lively? Alpilles Regional Nature Park has probably the most to supply when it comes to biking, mountaineering, and horseback using trails with loads of equestrian facilities. With all its limestone rock formations and cliffs, there may be loads of climbing alternatives as effectively.

Alpilles has a fantastic mixture of actions. Whether you need historical past, tradition, a health problem, or a brand new profile image, Alpilles has sufficient range to match your wants. It is a walkers paradise with mountaineering trails by pine forests, olive groves, and vineyards.

You may also simply go to the citadel, and quarry artwork show in close by Les Baux de Provence which we already talked about above.

18. Sainte Baume Natural Regional Park

Natural Placers to Visit in the South of France Sainte Baume Natural Regional Park

Sainte Baume Natural Regional Park is the place the alpine meets the Mediterranean. The park is filled with dramatic limestone mountains, ridges, and pine tree forests.

Climbers will love Saint Baume, which is centered round a protracted mountain ridge. There’s a fantastic vary of climbing routes to discover, ranging in issue and elegance. Sainte Baume additionally holds a lot of non secular significance. Visitors will discover a grotto the place Mary Magdalene allegedly lived. The web site is fashionable amongst pilgrims and may be reached by way of a reasonably forest path in round forty minutes.

19. Pyrenees National Park

pyrenees south of france

Pyrenees National Park is likely one of the finest locations to go to within the South of France. The park sits on the French-Spanish border and we had been shocked to search out them in South France. We had identified the Pyrenees from our time in Spain, however we all the time considered them as additional north. We had been shocked 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 gorgeous. If you need an thrilling, lovely place to go to in Southern France, Pyrenees National Park is bucket checklist worthy.

Cirque de Gavarnie is likely one of the most well-known sights within 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 filled with mountaineering trails, infinite out of doors actions, and climbing alternatives. If you like mountaineering particularly, you’ll like it right here.

20. Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park

natural parks in the south of france

Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park is a nature reserve firstly, which we love. The park caters to tourism however in environmentally pleasant methods, and there are sights like an eco-museum and hen 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 a whole lot of various species of wildlife.

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 fashionable, and a few individuals consult with the park because 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 seaside vacation. If you need someplace to wine style and discover, it’s a small, lovely, and straightforward pure place to go to in Southern France.

22. Mercantour National Park

southern france mercantour

A surprising 167,297-acre park, Mercantour is a combination of alpine lakes, irregular mountain ranges, and plenty of scenic mountaineering trails. Even higher? It is simply an hour’s drive away from Nice.

The park is numerous and comparatively unvisited in comparison with France’s different nationwide parks. For those who make the journey although, there are infinite 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 perhaps even carry some dwelling as a memento.

After appreciating the cultural aspect of Mercantour, you possibly can dive straight into its out of doors 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 within the South of France.

We hope that this helped offer you 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 those locations to go to within the South of France are price visiting. Glamorous, historic, and naturally lovely, the South of France is bound to ensure reminiscences for a lifetime.

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