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Amazing Places to Visit in the South of France

Every inch of France is beautiful but we’d like to pay tribute to some of the incredible towns and sights in the South of France. First off, there’s no singular way to describe this incredible piece of France – it has beaches galore, tons of incredible resorts and unforgettable historic attractions that gaze out over the Mediterranean.

Le Midi, as the locals call it, also has the hills of Provence where plunging gorges, tranquil rivers and unbelievable scenery fill the landscape. Looking for another change of pace? Southern France has you covered yet again with the Pyrenees where ancient towns with historic beauty are home to amazing castles and mountains that will take your breath away.

There’s an unbelievable array of places to visit and things to do in the South of France – definitely a worthy addition to your travel wish list. From perusing the idyllic lanes and tucking into some French cuisine, discovering exquisite natural features or enjoying a glimpse into the area’s history, you’ll never run out of places to visit on your South of France vacation. Take a look at our list of the best places to visit in the South of France, and what you can get up to while you’re there.

 
Planning an amazing French vacation with sun, sights and cuisine to remember? Take a look at our list of the best places to visit in the South of France.

Charmant Som, France

While most travellers have the Mediterranean in mind when dreaming about the South of France, it’s often overlooked that the French Alps are also part of this broad region. The mountain ranges are stretching from Switzerland until Nice by the sea and are a very popular ski region in winter but also a great place for hiking in summer.

If you are not up for climbing the Mont Blanc summit, there are also plenty of short hiking trails. One of the nicest lays within the Chartreuse Mountains, the Charmant Som. Located just 20km north of Grenoble, it’s a perfect destination for a day trip and makes a good stop on a road trip through the South of France.

The loop trail is moderate in difficulty with an uneven path, but as the roundtrip takes just about 90 minutes, it’s doable even for kids or not so sporty folks. The summit of the Charmant Som reaches only 1867 meters, high enough for great views but still too low for high sickness or dizziness.

Apart from the stunning views over the Chartreuse mountain range, another highlight of this hike is the way back to the parking. There are a few different ways down, but the most memorable one crosses a meadow full of cows – and they are all wearing cute cowbells!

Make sure to plan in some extra time after the trail and visit the cheese dairy and the Chalet close to the parking – their blueberry pie is delicious!

 
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France South
Hayley from Ms. Blissness
 
Nice, France

Nice is the glittering and cosmopolitan capital of the French Riviera. Associated with the elite, and attracting hundreds of celebrities each year, everyone wants a taste of this glitzy city. Nice is pretty much where everyone thinks of when the South of France is mentioned.

As the fifth largest city in France, there are plenty of things to keep you busy in this dreamy seaside destination. The world-renowned shoreline of Nice is just a small part of its beauty. Thanks to its picturesque landscapes and culturally enriched heritage, travellers can’t get enough of this world-class French city.

From basking in the sun on one of its amazing beaches – Beau Rivage is one of the best – to exploring the old town and spending time at Promenade des Anglais, Nice has it all. We visited in winter so didn’t do many “beach” things, but this place has so much more to offer. I’ve also visited Paris for the weekend, but Nice is the French city that stole my heart.

Parc Du Mont Boron is another great attraction. Offering hiking trails, lush greenery and mesmerizing landscapes, it’s the perfect spot for a peaceful picnic. You also have to check out Place Massena, which is the city’s main square. And let’s not forget about indulging in the southern French cuisine – Nice is a “foodie” haven.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Nice, the Old Town is a great choice. This is the heart of the city and where you will find colourful buildings, charming shops, quaint coffee shops, and historic landmarks. Gambetta, found on the west side of Nice, is also a good option. Le Port, Jean-Medecin, and Cimiez are also great areas to check out.

A beautifully picturesque city, with a history dating back to the Roman era, Nice is a fascinating and incredible city to visit. It’s truly one of the best places to go in the South of France.

 

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France south

John Paul from The Hangry Backpacker

Arles, France

The small city of Arles is one of the most interesting cities in the South of France. Arles is the idealized French town that has come to life, with plenty of history and culture for the enjoyment of any traveler.

History in Arles is evident with the remarkably well-preserved Roman ruins in the city. The Arles Amphitheatre is a massive Roman structure that once hosted crowds of more than 20,000 spectators. The Amphitheatre is in very good condition, and the towers along the rim offer a great view of the city.

Nearby is the ancient Roman theatre of Arles. It is less grand than the amphitheatre, but an impressive testament to the might of the Romans. There are also other Roman ruins scattered in the immediate area around Arles.

From a cultural standpoint, Arles is the setting of hundreds of paintings by Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh lived in Arles for over a year and painted some of his most recognizable works in the city and along the banks of the Rhone.

There are a lot of small (often expensive) hotels in Arles. Many are conveniently located in the center of town. Nearby cities such as Avignon are easily reached by train and offer more options for accommodation.

Even with plenty of history and culture, there is still much more to Arles. It is the perfect place for wandering. When imagining a sleepy, quaint town in the South of France, complete with winding stone streets, it’s hard to believe such a place exists outside of films. In reality, that place is Arles.

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South of France

Ayngelina Brogan from Bacon is Magic

Marseille

Marseille may be the most underrated city in France or even all of Europe. While it is beautiful with fantastic architecture, as a port city, it has never received much attention except for cruise ship passengers who stop in for the afternoon and then scurry off to the next stop. However, it has incredible food. After all, Provence is home to pistou, ratatouille and of course Marseille serves up classic bouillabaisse.

The best way to spend the day is wandering the streets, there are lots of cute shops in the historic area along with modern art and if you fancy learning the classic game of petanque there are plenty of spots outdoors where you can watch or you can visit Maison de la Boule, a quirky museum dedicated to the history of the sport.

The best place to stay is in the Old Port, La Residence du Vieux Port Marseilles has amazing views of the port, tourists strolling and the weekly fish market. If you leave early you’ll beat the tourists and the fishermen don’t mind posing for photos!

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France South

Heather Raulerson from RaulersonGirlsTravel

Saint-Paul de Vence, France

Saint-Paul de Vence is one of those sleepy little medieval villages on the top of a hill in the South of France that nobody knows about, but should. Did you know that this is the center of Impressionism in the South of France? I didn’t until I visited and explored this photogenic village.

When you first arrive you notice the village high up top the hill surrounded by fortified walls.

Saint-Paul de Vence is one of the most preserved and oldest medieval villages in the French Riviera. This town has plenty of art galleries, artist studios, boutiques, and craft shops to keep you occupied all day long. And there are numerous restaurants for you to quench your thirst or grab a quick bite to eat. In addition, you are free to walk along the rampart walls which will provide you with some stunning views of the countryside and the Mediterranean Sea.

If you are looking for where to stay, Nice is a great central city to park your suitcase. Public transportation is super easy and Saint-Paul de Vence is only a short hour bus ride away. For those who want to stay closer, there are many hotels and charming Bed & Breakfast places to choose from in and around the Saint-Paul de Vence area.

With the sunlight reflecting off the azure blue of the Mediterranean Sea, the vivid greens from the vineyards and olive trees sloping down into the valley, the yellow and ochre colors of the rampart walls, the flower shaped designs in the cobblestone streets, the embedded art statues designed into the walls, and the statues, flowers, and memorials gracing the town cemetery there is so much to see, experience, and photograph within the walls of Saint-Paul de Vence.

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South of France

Hayley Lewis from A Lovely Planet

Moliets et Maa

On the west coast of France, just north of Biarritz, is the peaceful town of Moliets et Maa. Surrounded by forest and with stunning sandy beaches, it’s the perfect place to spend a week or two.

There are plenty of things to do in Moliets et Maa, so those looking for an active holiday will not be disappointed. Its location on the Atlantic coast means there is great surf, suitable for both beginners and expert surfers. Out of the water, you can horse ride along the beach and through the forest, or head to the Adrenalin Park for high ropes, quad biking and paintballing. There’s also a 27 hole golf course.

Stay at Villas la Clairière aux Chevreuils – a collection of beautiful villas with private swimming pools in the woodland. The area is best explored via bicycle, which is available to hire and can even be delivered to your accommodation. There are plenty of off-road trails to explore and it’s an easy 10-minute cycle from the villas to the beach.

There are cafes and shops right on the beach and in the summer months, a folklore festival takes place every Tuesday in the main square with traditional games, dancing and local food and wine.

Planning an amazing French vacation with sun, sights and cuisine to remember? Take a look at our list of the best places to visit in the South of France.
Veronika Primm from Travel Geekery
 

Villefranche sur Mer

Villefranche sur Mer, a small seaside town near Nice, France, is one of the best little places to visit in the South of France, especially if you’re based in Nice for your holidays.

The town features a sloping buildup of houses forming a maze of narrow winding streets. The front of them is usually occupied by restaurants so that you often have a view over the sea.

The small seaside promenade leads onto a clean pebble beach. Don’t be distracted by the railroad right above, the beach is still beautiful and worth relaxing on.

For fans of history and culture Villefranche takes pride in a Citadel from the 16th century and a whole complex of fortifications. Of course, the area provides wonderful views over the harbour. Often times there are cruise ships anchored nearby, which is also quite a sight to see. Imagine a large building-like behemoth occupying half of Villefranche’s Bay.

I’d recommend everyone to stay in nearby Nice and visit Villefranche on a day trip from Nice, since it’s just 30 minutes away.

If you choose to stay overnight in Villefranche, you’ll have the town in the evenings pretty much just to yourself, though. It’s one of those magical places that truly reveal its character once it gets dark and locals flock the streets.

One of the nicest places to stay in the mid-range Hotel Welcome Villefranche sur Mer, since it’s all about the views and is an amazing value for money there.

 

Planning an amazing French vacation with sun, sights and cuisine to remember? Take a look at our list of the best places to visit in the South of France.

Gillian from Bucket List France

Cassis

It’s just a short drive from the busy metropolis of Marseille, but the picturesque fishing village of Cassis is a world away. An array of colourful fishing boats and pleasure boats fill the pretty harbour, where several relaxed restaurants serve locally caught seafood. The photogenic architectural jumble of buildings in this area are painted in shades of Provence adding to the eclectic feel.

Very close to the harbour area is a clean sandy beach which has a restaurant terrace with glorious sea views. And if you fancy a little shopping, then it’s just a short walk back from the seafront where there is a great selection of interesting boutiques to explore. We visited on a Friday and there was an authentic market in the church square, where you can pick up fresh local produce and interesting crafts & artworks.

The area is famous for its excellent white and rosé wine and on your drive down to the Mediterranean, you can stop at one of the many vineyards to sample some the best. For many though, the highlight of a visit to Cassis will be a boat trip to see the famous Calanques national park. The Calanques are stunning natural bays carved deep into rocky cliffs with crystal clear aquamarine water. Boat trip operators are based at the harbour with a choice of trips available and priced accordingly.

We stayed in a character Airbnb apartment (save $45 off your first booking) near the harbour for that ‘feel like a local’ experience. It came with parking and was a short walk to the restaurant and a boulangerie for a morning croissant. Bliss!

 

Planning an amazing French vacation with sun, sights and cuisine to remember? Take a look at our list of the best places to visit in the South of France.

Nadine from Le Long Weekend

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence, known simply as ‘Aix’ (pronounced ‘X’) by the locals, is a beautiful golden-hued city in the heart of Provence. Known as the capital of culture, it’s the place to go if you love galleries, museums and the history of some of France’s most famous artists. Indeed, you can visit Cezanne’s studio that remains as a perfectly preserved moment in time, or see works by Granet at the aptly named Musée Granet.

But if art isn’t your thing, there’s plenty more to lure you to this Provençal town. The famous Aix markets take place most days during summer and span the length of the majestic Cours Mirabeau as well as the nearby plazas. In fact, it seems every spare square in the city is bustling with market stalls selling everything from beautiful linens to the freshest and most delicious strawberries.

Be sure to take your time to walk around the old town, savouring the sights and smells wafting out of curbside cafes as you go. And visit the gardens of the Vendôme Pavilion for a respite from the sun. Aix is also ideally located for day trips, with the Luberon, Marseille, Avignon, the iconic Provence lavender fields within an hour or so drive.

I’d recommend staying central to make the most of the city & its atmosphere. The conveniently located Hôtel des Augustins is a popular choice by those ‘in-the-know’.

 

Planning an amazing French vacation with sun, sights and cuisine to remember? Take a look at our list of the best places to visit in the South of France.

Priyanko Sarkar from Constant Traveller

St Tropez

Add glamour and beach and what do you get? St Tropez of course. This fishing hamlet-turned-exotic playground of the rich and famous is one of the most popular beachfront areas not just in Europe but across the world. That in itself makes St Tropez compelling enough to visit on the French Riviera. After all, who wouldn’t want to feel like they’re living like royalty for a few days?

Make sure you stay near the Old City port as the region has access to everything in close proximity. If not, look for a place in nearby Ramatuelle. I stayed at Hotel Dei Marres in Ramatuelle and would say it wasn’t a bad option for the price. Of course, if you’re rich or lucky enough to plan in advance, be sure to check other hotels as well. Public transport is quite infrequent in the area so be sure to plan your visits in advance – or try to hitchhike on one of the glamorous cars that keep passing by.

Once you explore the port side of town, make way to the actual beachside that’s about 8-10 kilometres from St Tropez. The beach stretches for a good four to five kilometres and is divided into several parts. The must-visit beaches include Nikki Beach, Pampelonne Beach and the most famous one, Tahiti Beach that was popularised by Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman. This movie is the single biggest reason for St Tropez turning into a glam destination so it only makes sense to visit this place.

Feel free to indulge in water activities like windsurfing and canoeing from the many licensed operators along the beachfront. Finally, don’t forget to respect the laws at nudist beaches unless you want to be met with death stares!

 

Planning an amazing French vacation with sun, sights and cuisine to remember? Take a look at our list of the best places to visit in the South of France.

Brie-Anne from Brie-Anne

Montepellier

Montpellier is a beautiful city on the Southern Coast of France. It’s the 3rd largest on the Mediterranean after Nice and Marseille. Montpellier is an international student city. It’s vibrant, full of life and one of my favourite places to visit in France.

The historical old town streets and beautiful landmarks such as the Porte du Peyrou may lead you to believe this city is all about its history, but in fact, compared to many French cities it’s actually one of the younger ones. The city features a range of different architecture styles from the old medieval era to the new, unique modern structures, meaning, there is so much to see and explore in the city center.

But that’s not the only reason you should visit. Montpellier is one of the happiest cities in France. Be it due to the fantastic weather (300 days/2618 hours of sunshine) or the cities liberal attitude you’ll find it hard to avoid smiling in France’s 2nd happiest city (falling just short after Bordeaux).

Another reason the residents and tourists of Montpellier could be so happy is due to the abundance of nature. Just a tram ride away from the city centre you’ll find beautiful lakes, green spaces and, a bus ride away, are the phenomenal Mediterranean beaches.

There are many places to stay during a Montpellier visit and we’ve always found some amazing apartments on Airbnb for a reasonable price in the city center. However, if you’re looking to stay on the outskirts and take advantage of nature then definitely look into some of the beachside campsites Montpellier has to offer like Le Palavas Tohapi Campsite.

 

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France South

Jenny & Steven from Tales From the Lens

Biarritz

In the 19th century, Biarritz, a harbour of corsairs and whalers, shifted into the capital of the European aristocracy when Napoleon III’s wife – Eugénie de Montijo – settled here for her summer vacation. Since the little resort of the French Basque Country has grown around its 4km long coastline and is now regarded as one of the most sophisticated towns in France.

The beautiful establishments built during the “belle époque” offer elegant stays with luxurious spas and trendy restaurants which draw upmarket tourism to the town. But Biarritz also appeals to international surfers. La Côte des Basques, situated on the southern side of town and facing dramatic yellow cliffs shaped by the strength of the Atlantic Ocean, attracts hundreds of surfers from beginners to professional on a daily basis during the summer. It is the best place to learn how to surf and start exploring the town.

Biarritz is about 15 minutes from Bayonne where most national trains coming from Paris or Bordeaux to the Basque country stop. It is also only 50 km away from San Sebastian in Spain by car. Biarritz is a gorgeous place for a weekend and the perfect town to use as a base to discover the French side of the Basque country. From there, it is easy to take day trips along the coast or into the countryside and the Pyrenees.

Learn more about all the best things to do and see in Biarritz and also the best day trips or hikes in the region.

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South of France

Elisa from France Bucket List

Cathar Country (Occitanie region)

The Catharism was an old religion which existed in Southern France in the 12th and 14th centuries. This religion preached the detachment of anything physical and material and it was especially critical with the life of luxury and excess of the Catholic Church. Pope Innocent III declared the Cathars heretics and launched two Cathar Crusades to exterminate them.

It was a period of war and horror which ended with the Catharism in France. Today the historical Cathar Country consists of 22 Cathar sites and it is a beautiful area to explore in Occitanie region in Southern France. Take a Cathar Country Road trip to learn about Catharism and the Cathars in France.

The sites include abbeys, medieval villages and Cathar castles which protected the Cathars during the terrible crusades against them. Some sites like the fortified city of Carcassonne and the cities of Toulouse and Albi are known by most of us while others, like Montsegur Castle or the picturesque village of Mirepoix, are off the beaten path gems to be discovered.

Some of these sites are easy to visit by train while others, especially the Cathar castles, are poorly served by public transportation. That’s why we recommend visiting the Cathar Country on a road trip.

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France South

Wendy Werneth from The Nomadic Vegan

Toulouse

Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France and is located in the southwest of the country, near the Pyrenees mountains. It’s often called La Ville Rose, or the Pink City because of its many brick buildings.

In addition to its architecture, another thing Toulouse is famous for is violets. This purple flower is made into all kinds of products, ranging from shampoos to liqueurs. You can even buy sugar-coated violet petals, which make an unusual and very sweet snack!

There are a couple of religious buildings in the city that are definitely worth a visit. One is the Basilique St-Sernin, a church built in the 11th century, and the other is the Ensemble Conventuel des Jacobins, which was built a couple of hundred years later and contains a very peaceful cloister.

If you’re in town on a Tuesday or Saturday morning, be sure to visit the organic market near the tourism office. The Marché des Carmes is another colorful market filled with fresh local produce.

My top dining recommendation in Toulouse is La Belle Verte, an organic and mostly vegetarian restaurant that serves an amazing brunch. Reservations are essential, as they fill up quickly.

The highlight of my visit to Toulouse, though, was the charming AirBnB where I stayed. It was actually a renovated attic of an 18th-century building and was just bursting with character.

Planning an amazing French vacation with sun, sights and cuisine to remember? Take a look at our list of the best places to visit in the South of France.

Carcassonne

This stunning town makes for a perfect addition to your South of France trip. With its unbelievable architecture and incredible history, Carcassonne looks like it was taken straight out of a medieval painting.

Carcassonne is one of the best places to visit in France and with good reason. Meander through its idyllic streets lined with historic facades and structures that date back to the 4th century. La Cité is the ancient fortified city that gazes out over the rest of the city. It is adorned with watchtowers that give you a glimpse into the building’s incredible history and you can enjoy a tour through La Cité’s fantastic exhibits.

With fascinating architecture and an impressive 52 towers, it’s earned its spot at the city center. Carcassonne is also home to a number of amazing castles including the nearby Cathar Castles and Château Comtal (the Count’s Castle), which is worth a visit whether you enjoy a walk through the interior, or would prefer to admire it from outside. There is also nearby Lac de la Cavayère to discover, which is a stunning artificial lake.

This incredible city is unlike any other with its medieval look and detailed history, it’s worth discovering every corner of this hilltop spot before enjoying a walk through the Lower City. Experience this centuries-old city as you admire exquisite architecture like the Basilica of Saint Nazaire, ivy-laden buildings and even enjoy a memorable barge ride through the Canal du Midi where the views are plentiful.

If you love a little history (this place has a lot) and you won’t easily forget a visit to Carcassonne.

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France South
 
Gábor Kovács from Surfing the Planet

Collioure

There are many charming villages in Southern France, but Collioure, on the coast just a few kilometres from the Spanish-French border, deserves special attention. Compared to the French Riviera, this part of the coast is characterized by much more offbeat places, where only in summer weekends you can find considerable tourism. When you travel to Collioure, you will find a medieval village with cobbled streets and charming little restaurants.

It’s a really romantic experience just to stroll on the pebbled streets of Collioure full of art shops and windows decorated with flowers. The nicest area is the neighborhood of Moré, which was once a fishing village. Amongst the main highlights, you can’t miss out on the picturesque Notre-Dame-des-Anges Church and the impressive hilltop fortress of Château Royal de Collioure, which changed hands many times throughout the town’s history between several important European royal families.

If you are interested, insights related to more recent history, you should also check out Antonio Machado, the famous Spanish poet’s tomb, who escaped from Franco’s dictatorship and lived his last years here. There are many viewpoints in Collioure from where you can enjoy the special lights at sunset.

There are many cozy restaurants to eat out, and you shouldn’t leave Collioure without trying the local anchovies.

 

Planning an amazing French vacation with sun, sights and cuisine to remember? Take a look at our list of the best places to visit in the South of France.

Corinne Vail of Reflections Enroute

Pont du Gard, France

Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, is a perfect site to visit in the South of France. Originally built in 50AD to move water to Nimes and later used to collect tolls on the river, this stone edifice has lots of things to do.

The aqueduct itself is a reason to stop by, but there is also a fantastic museum on site with interactive displays, movies, and annual special events, including lights and concert displays that make a visit that much more enticing.

If there’s nothing special going on, however, many people just bring their swimsuits and a picnic and enjoy the natural wonder of the river as well. Once you’ve experienced this site, you will want to return again and again.

 

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South of France

Kate Storm from Our Escape Clause

Annecy

With its winding canals, lovely lake, and storybook-worthy streets, Annecy creates the perfect setting for a destination in southern France!

Tucked away south of Geneva and near the Alps, Annecy seems a world away from the glamour of the Riviera or the rustic charm of the hilltop villages in the Luberon Valley–in fact, when exploring Annecy, it’s hard to believe that you’re just a few hours from those famous French destinations!

When in Annecy, be sure to take a walk along the shores of Lake Annecy (often considered the cleanest lake in Europe!), admire the pretty Palais de l’Isle and the towering Chateau d’Annecy, and wander through the narrow streets of Vieille Ville.

Annecy’s outdoor markets come to town three days a week, and shopping at them is easily one of the best things to do in Annecy! Because of these markets, Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings are the best times to visit Annecy: vendors crowd the streets and even the bridges over canals selling wares, including plenty of local food.

When you sit down for dinner, be sure to indulge in plenty of cheese! Fondue is popular in Annecy, as is raclette. Don’t leave without trying a tartiflette: this local dish comprised of potatoes, bacon, onions, and local reblochon cheese is a complete delight (and also incredibly filling).

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France South

Priya Vin from Outside Suburbia

Saint-Remy

When we were in Southern France, we drove through a canopy of plane trees on a beautiful summer morning from Aix-en-Provence to Saint-Remy. We stopped in town for lunch and loved the magical little town bathed in beautiful light.

Walking around we saw some ateliers and the artists setting up shops on the main street. Strolling along the boulevards under the shade of century-old plane trees you will find narrow little streets, filled with squares and water spouting fountains. Many famous artists have loved and lived in this little town.

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is extremely popular with artists for its charming boulevards lined with plane trees, the pretty streets are filled with quaint shops, cafés and restaurants. It was the market day when we visited, and we enjoyed browsing through all the art on display.

A little outside the town of Saint Remy is The Saint-Paul-de-Mausole monastery, which is a hospice since the 18th century. It is famous for having welcomed Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh voluntarily had admitted himself to the asylum of St. Paul de Mausole after an incident in Arles in December 1888 in which Van Gogh cut off part of his left ear.

We were able to see the bedroom and treatment room where Van Gogh spent his days. St Remy gave Van Gogh a structure and he was able to focus on his work, it was his most creative period. Inspired by surrounding nature, the painter produced some of his most famous works there, such as the Sunflowers (Les Tournesols) and the Cypress (Les Cyprès).

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South of France

Carol Perehudoff WanderingCarol.com

Grasse, France

It may be the most fragrant city you’ll ever visit. If you love perfume, the city of Grasse is a must-see destination in the Riviera. The perfume industry goes back hundreds of years here and flower growing is a major production. Located approximately 20 kilometres northwest of Cannes, and 40 kilometres west of Nice, France, it’s a walkable city of about 50,000 where perfume factories abound.

Visitors can tour a variety of perfume factories to try out scents, learn about the history and complex art of creating fragrances and, of course, buy a souvenir of French perfume to take home. The most popular factory to visit is the Fragonard Perfume Factory on 20 Boulevard Fragonard, but other options are Galimard, the longest-running parfumerie in Grasse, and the historic Molinard. There is also an International Perfume Museum that opened in 1989.

Sweet smelling as it may be, there is more to Grasse than scent. For lovers of fine art, the Fragonard Museum at Hôtel de Villeneuve 14 on the rue Jean Ossola is dedicated to the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard who was born in Grasse and became a symbol of the Rococo style of painting. For history buffs, the 13th-century Notre Dame du Puy’s Cathedral has some historic painting by Rubens as well as a Fragonard.

If you want to stay overnight, La Bastide St-Antoine at 48 av. Henri-Dunant is the top hotel in town. With so much to do, see and sniff, Grasse makes a great place to visit in the French Riviera.

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France South

Marie from Temples and Treehouses

Avignon

Avignon is a beautiful city in Provence. Inside the charming old town, surrounded by medieval fortress walls, you’ll find honey-coloured stone buildings and tree-lined squares lined with cafes, restaurants and pastry shops.

One of the city’s most loved attractions is the Palais des Papes — the imposing palace that was the home of the Catholic popes in the 14th century. Along with the rest of Avignon’s historic centre, the Palais is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There’s also the medieval Bridge of Avignon, also called the Pont d’Avignon, a 13th-century bridge that ends halfway across the Rhone river. You can take a free ferry across the water to take in incredible sunset views of the bridge and the city stretching beyond it. Also worth seeing are Avignon Cathedral, a host of museums, and the Les Halles Market — an amazing food market where you can sample French cheeses, bread, cakes and other delicacies.

The best place to stay in Avignon is within the historic Old Town. There’s a modern (and still quaint!) city surrounding this area, but most of the famous sights are within its walls, all within walking distance of each other.

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Cannes

While the dazzling city of Cannes is well-known for its star-studded film festival, there is even more to this glamorous spot in southern France. With its riot of colorful buildings in hues of pink and orange along with houses the color of rosé, Cannes is a gorgeous feature along the coastline, and one of the best cities in France.

If you’re looking for some top-notch shopping, Boulevard de la Croisette is the perfect place to find it. From boutique stores to high-end restaurants as well as unbeatable nightlife, strolling along this waterfront lane lined with palm trees and full of Joie de vivre. For a more casual shopping experience, enjoy a meander through the Marche Forville farmer’s market, which is quite a firm favorite in the city. Don’t miss a walk through Le Suquet, where ancient cobbled streets are lined with fantastic bistros, perfect for a bite to eat in Cannes.

Cannes has no shortage of golden and gorgeous beaches either (what more could you expect from a city on the French Riviera?). You could even jump on a ferry to the Lerins Islands where sun-kissed shores and an untouched paradise awaits.

For a touch of history along with seaside bliss, visit Île Sainte-Marguerite, the largest and closest island to Cannes. The island is home Fort Royal where you can find Musée de la Mer and the cell of the Man in the Iron Mask.

This famous and luxurious city is packed with incredible things to do, whether it’s beaches or shopping you’re in the market for.

Cannes is just one of the many stops on this incredible Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona.

France South | South France| South in france| southern france| south of france map | south of france

Porquerolles Island

When you think of France, the wine lands of Loire Valley might pop into your head, or even the glittering lights of Paris. When you think about where to go in the South of France, it could be the almost-tropical islands off the shimmering coastline of southern France?

Just a short ferry ride away from Hyeres, Porquerolles Island awaits with is ivory sandy beaches and incredible sights to explore. Porquerolles is the largest of three in the Golden Islands archipelago, all complete with pearl-white coastlines and gorgeous vineyards. This 4-mile long island is filled with an endless tapestry of marked trails which you can explore on a bicycle, making it beyond easy to enjoy.

Of course, the island is covered with incredible beaches, including the Plage Notre Dame with refreshing turquoise waters and an untouched feeling. The Plage d’Argent is also a winner which gets its name from the white quartz in the sand and is one of the few beaches on Porquerolles with its own restaurants. You can even go scuba diving or snorkeling off the coast.

If you’re looking for something more than stunning beaches, head for Carmignac Foundation which houses an array of original sculptures as well as amazing art installations and paintings. Don’t forget to snap a few photos at the iconic Porquerolles Lighthouse, one of the most beautiful spots on the island. If you’re looking to stay on Porquerolles, there are a collection of stunning hotels in the central village, including some fantastic options for families.

France South | South France| South in france| southern france| south of france map | south of france

Wrapping up the Best Places in the South of France

Whether you’re looking for ancient architecture and historic landmarks to explore, tasty French cuisine or a stunning coastline awash with waves, the South of France has it all. There’s something for everyone on a trip to this incredible destination, which has become a favorite for A-listers and locals alike. Take in the quaint cobblestone streets, the sun-kissed valleys and unforgettable monuments as you enjoy a trip to the best places to visit in the South of France.

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France South | South France| South in france| southern france| south of france map | south of france
France South | South France| South in france| southern france| south of france map | south of france
France South | South France| South in france| southern france| south of france map | south of france
France South | South France| South in france| southern france| south of france map | south of france
France South | South France| South in france| southern france| south of france map | south of france
France South | South France| South in france| southern france| south of france map | south of france
France South | South France| South in france| southern france| south of france map | south of france

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