In search of the very best locations to go to within the South of France? You’ve come to the fitting 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. Whereas taking a Canal du Midi cruise on our luxurious houseboat with Le Boat, we had the possibility to discover a few of the lesser-known locations in Southern France.
Throughout this journey down the historic waterway, we had been reminded of all the attractive locations within the South of France that we’ve taken through the years. France actually has all of it. So, in case you are trying to department out from the extraordinary, take a look at the very best locations to go to within the South of France to create a vacation that can ignite all of the senses.
Prime Locations to go to within the South of France
Historic cities, the French Riviera, and delightful seashores; the South of France oozes with vitality and pleasure. However what are the very best locations to go to within the South of France? Are you on the lookout for a metropolis stuffed 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 conventional French delicacies, Southern France is a timeless vacation vacation spot, and it’s simple to see why.
This information will cowl every thing from the gorgeous pure sights within the South of France to nationwide parks and the very best cities. Are you able to get began? Let’s have a look.
Finest cities and cities to go to within the South of France
When on the lookout for the very best locations to go to within the South of France, an ideal place to start out 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 within the South of France, situated inland alongside the Spanish border. Town has the nickname ‘La Ville Rose’, that means the pink metropolis because of 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 in case you are visiting the genuine France with locals eating in outside cafes and college students enjoyable by the river’s edge. It’s what we think about Paris was like 50 years in the past.
A bustling college metropolis, Toulouse could also be small, however it’s stuffed with vitality. There are many 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 house trade in France and this museum showcases its historical past and improvement.
Should you go, be certain to choose up a Toulouse Move to actually discover the town. The Toulouse Move affords 1, 2, or 3-day passes that embrace public transport and free entrance into a lot of the metropolis’s hottest vacationer sights.
There may be an previous city to wander, loads of museums, and a reasonably cutting-edge trend scene. It’s also 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 preserve you entertained. Learn extra: Finest Issues to do in Toulouse France
Marseille is the oldest metropolis in Southern France. In truth, it’s the oldest metropolis in all of France and it’s second in measurement solely to Paris. Situated 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’d like a style of historical past and historic tradition.
A very powerful a part of Marseille is its Vieux Port. It’s right here that fisherman as soon as bought their catch, and a whole bunch 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.
We recommend spending a minimal of three days in Marseille so that you simply 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 Depend of Monte Cristo written by Alexander Dumas.
When visiting Marseille, we propose getting a Marseille Metropolis Move – Town 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 Vacationer prepare to Notre-Dame de la Garde or by way of the Previous 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 many reductions, entry to municipal museums, and a guided metropolis tour. See particulars right here.
Who hasn’t heard of Cannes? In case you are visiting Southern France and craving a metropolis expertise, you need to go to Cannes. Town is maybe essentially the most well-known spot on the French Riviera due to the glitz and glamour it exudes on an annual foundation. It’s beloved by celebrities, and adored for its annual movie pageant, The Cannes Worldwide Movie Pageant. It has many beloved seashores and cultural sights as nicely.
A lot of Cannes and its sights could 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 many who need luxurious, resort-style ambiance. After we visited Cannes, we couldn’t afford the luxurious motels and as an alternative stayed at a campsite simply out of city. However we nonetheless had the possibility 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.
Good is the largest metropolis on the French Riviera which makes it one of many prime locations to go to within the South of France. It has essentially the most city really feel out of all of the locations on our record and is right if you wish to really feel in the course of all of the motion. A sensible choice for a resort is Lodge Good Riviera. This 4-star resort is one block from the seaside with cheap costs.
Like Cannes, Good has a scenic stretch of highway alongside its shoreline. Promenade des Anglais stretches 7 km and is the place you’ll discover nearly all of sights and the very best ocean views. It’s on the Promenade des Anglais that you simply’ll discover the Good Carnival, which takes place each February or March. You need to stroll the promenade, Previous City, and make time to go to the Fortress Hill of Good – an previous medieval fortress overlooking the town.
Apparently, Good can also be surrounded by quite a few lovely cities and villages – a lot of which date again to the Center Ages. You possibly can spend days enjoyable within the metropolis and on its lovely seashores, taking the odd day journey to a medieval city for the very best of each worlds. Learn extra: 24 Hours in Good – Generally You Solely have a Day to See it All
5. 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 anticipate of a metropolis in southern France. It has class, class, and historical past by the bucket masses. The previous capital of Provence is ideal for vacationers who worth tradition when selecting a vacation vacation spot. Aix en Provence has quite a few nicknames, together with “Town of a Thousand Fountains” and “The Metropolis of Counts”. It’s full of 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 good painter Paul Cezanne. Town is pleased with this historic reality and traces of Cezanne could be discovered in every single place within the metropolis. The Cezanne stroll is your finest strategy to see every thing Cezanne. This can be a enjoyable and attention-grabbing self-guided tour that Dave and I did on a sunny afternoon throughout our go to. Our strolling tour took us across the Previous City, visiting Cezanne’s Studio, and Camp De Milles.
Among the finest issues to do in Aix en Provence is to discover its artwork galleries, museums, and different historic sights. Count on a vigorous nightlife scene and loads of short-term exhibitions and occasions.
6. Saint Tropez
Craving to be steps away from the ocean? Saint Tropez is the best candidate. Saint Tropez is ideal if you’d like glamour and wonder, but a quieter really feel than large cities like Good. The small city sits on the French Riviera and was as soon as somewhat fishing village.
The fishing village shot to reputation after getting used as a filming location for And God Created Lady starring Brigitte Bardot in 1955. Because the Sixties vacationers have been flocking to probably the most widespread locations to go to within the South of France, however Saint Tropez has nonetheless retained a few of its most charming village qualities. You possibly can nonetheless spot some little fishing boats within the Previous Port, and La Ponche Quarter remains to be filled with slim streets with cobblestones.
The very best seashores in Saint Tropez are Plage de Pampelonne, Plage St. Tropez and Bouillabaisse Seaside. Nevertheless, when you’ve spent a day on the seaside be certain to expertise the city’s hospitality scene, and don’t miss testing the central sq. on the market at Place des Lices. It has a status for scrumptious meals and improbable regionally owned eating places; positively attempt the contemporary seafood and regionally grown olives.
7. Saint Paul de Vence
Saint Paul de Vence is likely one of the oldest medieval villages on the French Riviera. Image a walled city with cobblestone streets and historic, overhanging buildings. The whole lot is constructed from conventional stone and Saint Paul de Vence is the form 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’s comparatively simple to go to as a at the moment journey from Good however, if you happen to can, it’s best to attempt to keep within the city itself. Saint Paul de Vence appears like someplace out of a fairy story. Simply strolling by way of its cobbled streets and Previous City (bear in mind a digital camera) 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 considered one of its prime sights, the Cimetière de Saint-Paul-de-Vence, you will note his grave.
You also needs to dine at La Colombe d’Or, the place the Roux household as soon as let artists similar to Picasso, Braque, Calder, and Matisse dine in change for now well-known work. Consuming scrumptious meals is even higher if you end up surrounded by artistic endeavors 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 to not embrace. This hilltop village remains to be protected by medieval partitions and makes an exquisite, memorable getaway. In truth, it’s so lovely that the town is deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Web site.
The highest sights within 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 art work projected onto the disused quarry’s limestone partitions. Artwork fans will love the novelty of a digital exhibition, and the art work displayed adjustments ceaselessly which retains the quarry thrilling to go to.
Positive, 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. In order for you 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
Saint Remy de Provence is one other attractive, rural city situated on the outskirts of the Alpilles Pure 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 very fashionable 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 Evening. Whether or not you’re a Van Gogh fan, artwork fanatic, or simply intrigued, Saint Remy is a good place to be taught extra about artwork historical past.
Musee Estrine Presence Van Gogh is the very best attraction for studying extra concerning the artist. Glanum is the very best attraction for historical past and is an previous Roman city and in depth archeological web site. You can too go to the Monastery Saint Paul de Mausole – the psychiatric asylum the place Van Gogh was admitted. Saint Remy de Provence has heaps to maintain you entertained.
10. Vers Pont Du Gard
Vers Pont Du Gard is one other small city and, like Saint Remy, has a number of surrounding Roman heritage. Probably the most well-known Roman attraction is the Pont du Gard bridge and aqueduct, which have been protected and maintained to nonetheless stand at the moment. I bear in mind taking our highway journey within the South of France and making a detour for the only goal of seeing this bridge. Vers Pont Du Gard is filled with spectacular structure, and if you happen to like visiting locations with character, you’ll definitely be in for a deal with.
When you’ve visited the city’s bridge, the Pont du Gard Museum and Chapel Notre Dame de Laval are the very best sights to take pleasure in. You can too swim and fish within the River Gardon. Regardless of being inland, being situated subsequent to a river makes Vers Pont Du Gard an satisfying vacation spot even within the top of summer time. You aren’t sacrificing a lot by skipping seaside days for river days, and taking a dip is refreshing on a scorching day.
Arles is our last suggestion and simply the most effective locations to go to within the South of France. Within the historic Roman interval, Arles was as soon as a provincial capital. Right now, most of the structure and historic websites stay – together with Arles Amphitheater.
We suggest 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 number of spiritual and creative historical past, so enable a number of time for sightseeing.
Town itself sits on the banks of the Rhone River. It’s flanked by the Camargue Nature Reserve and, whereas situated inland, is lower than an hour’s drive from a few of the finest seashores on the Riviera. In case you are trying to rent a automotive and discover a number of France, Arles is a superb base.
Finest pure locations to go to within the South of France
Now that we’ve coated the very best cities and cities let’s take a look at the very best 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 Pure Regional Park
Verdon Pure Regional Park is likely one of the finest locations to discover pure sights, not simply mountain climbing trails and delightful views. Situated 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. Count on 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 possibly 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’ll take your decide to seize a chunk to eat and go for a swim.
13. Calanques Nationwide Park
Calanques Nationwide 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. In case your concept of heaven is coastal hikes with hidden coves and dramatic cliff faces, then Calanques is an ideal spot. It’s the solely 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 – mainly dramatic pale gray or white sea cliffs. The park is filled with these lovely areas and it’s best to positively spend money on a superb high quality digital camera so that you’ve got footage to cherish after your vacation.
Hold your eyes peeled whereas mountain climbing as nicely, because the marine reserves are widespread spots for pods of dolphins. The park has over 140 species of protected animals and vegetation, which is a nature lover’s dream.
14. Pure Reserve of the Courant d’Huchet
In comparison with the opposite spots on this record, the Pure Reserve of the Courant d’Huchet is tiny. Nevertheless, it has a few of the most hanging landscapes and is definitely the most effective pure locations to go to within the South of France. It’s 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 accommodates excessive hills of sand dunes that superbly distinction the surrounded marshes and forest. Guests can head to the seaside to swim and climb the sand dunes.
You can too hike the community of trails, recognizing native animals and flora as you stroll. In order for you one thing actually completely different although, we suggest a ship tour. You possibly can rent a ship to discover independently or take a tour for a extra informative expertise – whichever takes your fancy.
15. Baronnies Provencales Regional Pure Park
Have you ever ever seen these artsy lavender area pictures plastered throughout Instagram? Properly, Baronnies Provencales Regional Pure Park is the place you’ll be able to take your very personal. Aside from its distant villages and low-lying mountains, Baronnies Provencales is filled with lavender fields. Should you go to the South of France between June and September, it’s best to positively make your strategy to the park to see them.
Baronnies Provencales Regional Pure Park is about an hour and a half drive from Avignon. You can go to on a day journey or discover lodging in one of many park’s villages. Aside from the lavender fields, you’ll discover 1000’s of mountain climbing 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 probably the most historic horse breeds on this planet. Whereas breeding is strictly regulated now, you may nonetheless be fortunate sufficient to identify a semi-feral herd.
Aside from the horses, Camargue Pure Regional Park options wetlands, tough grazing areas, and a marine reserve. It’s also situated alongside the shoreline, simply outdoors of Marseilles and close to the town of Arles.
The very best issues to do in Camargue are animal associated. You possibly can spot flamingoes at Ornithological Park of Pont de Gau and go to a ranch to take a horseback trip out to identify the semi-feral horses from afar.
17. Alpilles Regional Nature Park
Fancy getting lively? Alpilles Regional Nature Park has essentially the most to supply by way of biking, mountain climbing, and horseback driving trails with loads of equestrian facilities. With all its limestone rock formations and cliffs, there’s loads of climbing alternatives as nicely.
Alpilles has an ideal mixture of actions. Whether or not you need historical past, tradition, a health problem, or a brand new profile image, Alpilles has sufficient range to match your wants. It’s a walkers paradise with mountain climbing trails by way of pine forests, olive groves, and vineyards.
You can too 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 Pure Regional Park
Sainte Baume Pure 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 an ideal vary of climbing routes to discover, ranging in issue and magnificence. Sainte Baume additionally holds a number of spiritual significance. Guests will discover a grotto the place Mary Magdalene allegedly lived. The positioning is widespread amongst pilgrims and could be reached by way of a reasonably forest path in round forty minutes.
19. Pyrenees Nationwide Park
Pyrenees Nationwide 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 at all times 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. In order for you an thrilling, lovely place to go to in Southern France, Pyrenees Nationwide Park is bucket record 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.
Aside from the Cirque de Gavarnie, the park is filled with mountain climbing trails, limitless outside actions, and climbing alternatives. Should you love mountaineering particularly, you’ll adore it right here.
20. Landes de Gascogne Regional Pure Park
Landes de Gascogne Regional Pure Park is a nature reserve at first, which we love. The park caters to tourism however in environmentally pleasant methods, and there are sights 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. Guests 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. Guests can cherish being surrounded by a whole bunch of various species of natural world.
21. Narbonnaise en Mediterranee Pure Regional Park
Narbonnaise en Mediterranee is a various area. You’ll discover seashores, cliffs, forests, and even vineyards. The vineyards are notably widespread, and a few individuals discuss with the park because the land of wine.
You possibly 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. In order for you someplace to wine style and discover, it’s a small, lovely, and simple pure place to go to in Southern France.
22. Mercantour Nationwide Park
A shocking 167,297-acre park, Mercantour is a combination of alpine lakes, irregular mountain ranges, and many scenic mountain climbing trails. Even higher? It’s simply an hour’s drive away from Good.
The park is various and comparatively unvisited in comparison with France’s different nationwide parks. For those who make the journey although, there are limitless rewards. You’ll uncover tiny villages and mountain communities the place many individuals nonetheless dwell off of the land. You possibly can pattern decadent cheeses and luxurious honey and possibly even convey some house as a memento.
After appreciating the cultural aspect of Mercantour, you’ll be able to dive straight into its outside actions. Hike, bike, climb, swim, and trip till your coronary heart is content material.
It’s no secret that the South of France is mesmerizing. That is simply the tip of the iceberg of locations to go to within the South of France.
We hope that this helped provide you with a way of what you’ll be able to 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 value visiting. Glamorous, historic, and naturally lovely, the South of France is bound to ensure reminiscences for a lifetime.
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