When visiting France, most people only think about Paris. Even though it is unmissable, the South of France is of equal beauty and a totally different scenery that you are sure to love.
Here are my top 11 places to visit if you’re planning a trip to the south of France!
Cassis is a fishing village located in the Provence-Alpes–Cotes d’Azur region. It is my number one because of the cliffs and inlets called “Calanques” which are something I’ll never forget. Make sure you go to the Massif des Calanques and spend the day walking or swimming. Cassis is also known for its white and rosé wines, ideal if you’re visiting the town in summer!
Founded by the Greeks, Nice has always been a source of inspiration for artists. Home to a lot of museums, the architecture is stunning inside and outside. 4 million tourists visit this town every year: the fact that the city is situated between the sea and the mountains makes it a unique place to visit. You must discover the world-famous walk ” Promenade des Anglais” and the old town!
3. Saint Raphaël
This town is special to me because it shares the same name as someone very close to me, my sister. I have a lot of fond memories of spending my summers here with my family. It is a famous holiday destination because of its seaside and beaches. Visit the old town, the town centre and walk in the Bonaparte garden! Agay area is a favourite.
Nicknamed “The pink city”, Toulouse is situated on the banks of the Garonne river, in the Occitanie region. The nickname came from the pink terracotta bricks used in the construction of most of the town’s buildings. If you like museums, pretty gardens and old buildings, you’ll love it there! The most visited places are the Capitole, the Saint-Sernin Basilique and the Japanese Garden.
Famous for its film festival, Cannes is also home to an old port, fancy hotels and a famous walk “La Croisette” along its main beach. Don’t miss the Lérins islands, just a few minutes by boat from Cannes. Walk along the trails and enjoy the serenity of these preserved islands.
6. Aix en Provence
Birth town of painter Paul Cezanne, Aix en Provence embodies perfectly the “provencal” way of living. Its architectural patrimony and authentic provencal houses attract millions of tourists every year. Stroll through the Cours Mirabeau and let yourself immerse in this colourful town.
The third-largest city in France after Paris and Lyon. Famous for its sports and its huge port for commerce, the city was European Capital of Culture in 2013. The Muceum (modern civilisation museum) is not to be missed! Wander around Le Panier, the historical neighbourhood and have an ice-cream on the Old Port.
Birth town of artists Paul Valery and George Brassens, Sète is nicknamed “The Venise of Languedoc” (the region) because of its canal and its ideal location on a promontory, near a white sand littoral. Its fishing port and diverse sporting events make this town really touristic, especially in summer. Go up to Mount St-Clair and enjoy the view! Also, check out the timeless and impressive Saint-Louis lighthouse.
9. Pyrenees mountains
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in France, Spain and Andorra. Visit in summer for nice walks or in winter for skiing. These preserved landscaped include gorgeous landscapes, rarest wildlife and numerous walks. The “Pic du Midi” and “Cirque de Gavarnie” are to be on your “Visit before I die” list!.
Elegant seaside town, Biarritz has been a popular destination for European royalty and remains today a must-see. Known worldwide for its surf competition and vast beaches, his main sights include The Museum of the Sea, The Museum of Chocolate and two large casinos. The town’s emblem “The Rock of the Virgin Mary” is accessible via a nice stroll. You’ll enjoy a stunning view of the Basque coastline.
Nicknamed “the city of popes” because popes lived there in the 14th and 15th centuries, it’s one of the rare cities to have kept its battlements and historic centre. Known for its arts festival, people from all other the world come to visit this singular and rich in history town. Visit the “Palais des Papes”, the mythic “Saint-Bénézet” bridge and the “Place de l’horloge” for a travel back in time!
This list is definitely not exhaustive but hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll plan a trip to the gorgeous South of France to discover everything France has to offer!
Which of these places have you visited?