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If you enjoy beautiful beaches, adorable villages and delicious food, then the South of France should be on the top of your travel bucket list. This sunny and laid-back region of the country is glamorous and packed with top-notch resorts for travelers. With so many marvelous sights to see, here is a collection of great places to visit in the South of France.
Nice is a popular entry point to the French Riviera, with plenty of things to do around the main square in town. However, if you get off the main routes, you’ll find some really charming restaurants, beach bars, and shops. Castle Hill, the Promenade des Anglais, the Old Town historic walking area, and the Musee National Marc Chagall are all popular things to see in Nice. But of course, you’ll also want to spend some time here at the world-famous beach too.
The southeastern region of France that extends from the Mediterranean coast to the rolling vineyard hills is called Provence. There are stylish accommodations here to make your home base and check out the iconic lavender fields of the region. To get active in Provence, head to the Gorges du Verdon, which is a valley with great hiking trails that some visitors have called the “Grand Canyon of Europe.”
Saint-Tropez is a popular place for yachting, taking leisurely strolls down cobblestone streets, and browsing open-air markets. This place has been drawing in the wealthy and celebrities for many years. It’s been an international jet-setting destination since the 1960s and is still popular among people who love the beach, nightlife and art. You can also take a hike along the coast, pop into hot beach clubs, and find some prime people-watching spots here. Escalet Beach is a very popular beach to visit, as well as Plage de Pampelonne and Plage de la Ponche. Place des Lices Market is a great local street market to walk through, and there are numerous wineries in the area, including Chateau Minuty and Domaine La Tourraque.
Places like Avignon in the South of France are evidence that there’s much more than just beaches and film festivals here. Avignon is packed with history and fascinating architecture, making it an ideal destination for sightseeing. Pont d’Avignon is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and there’s a theater festival in July that’s worth checking out. The Pope’s Palace, the gardens at Rocher des Doms, and the Avignon Les Halles street market are all popular things to do when you visit Avignon as well.
One of the more off-the-beaten-path destinations in the South of France is Sète, which is a seaside fishing town about 30 kilometers from Montpellier. It has been referred to as “Little Venice” because of the lovely canals along the streets of this coastal town. This is a great place to enjoy some fish stew and mussels with fries. Then you can walk up Mont St. Clair, which is a somewhat strenuous climb that leads you to a spectacular view of the vineyards, waterways, and windmills.
Cannes is best known for its legendary film festival, but the town is worth visiting at any time of the year. Boulevard de la Croisette is the street between the beach and boutique stores, and the town really heats up after dark with an exciting nightlife scene. Some of the best things to see and do in this resort town are the historic sites and walking areas, such as Iles de Lerins, Le Suquet, and La Croisette. Also, make a point to see the Marche Forville farmers market and maybe even try your luck at the Le Croisette Casino Barriere de Cannes.
To see magnificent castles and walled structures in the South of France, look no further than Carcassonne. These structures date back to the fourth century and have been wonderfully restored since then. La Cité is the medieval citadel with watchtowers, and you can take a tour to see the exhibits. It’s also nice to check out the Cathar Castles, Lac de la Cavayere, and Chateau Comtal while you’re in the area.
Porquerolles Island is another great place to visit in the South of France, and this is just a short ferry ride away from Hyeres. Come here to experience white sand beaches and locally owned restaurants. But to really get into an island state of mind, rent a bike and pedal your way around the trails on the island to see the sights. The Plage de la Courtade is a popular beach here, and Fort Saint Agathe is a local historic site. This is more of a place to come to relax, rather than to party, so plan your next peaceful retreat on Porquerolles Island.
Aix-en Provence has a laid-back vibe that is perfect for vacationing in the South of France. This is a university city that was the birthplace of the painter, Paul Cézanne. Top things to do in town include a visit to the Hotel de Caumont Art Centre, while you can also take a walk around Vieil Aix, visit the Site Memorial du Camp des Milles, and check out the Atelier Cezanne historic site and museum.
Antibes is a town in Southern France between Cannes and Nice and has become a prime holiday destination. The Picasso Museum is definitely worth a visit in Old Town, and Cap d’Antibes is a peninsula that’s perfect for having a picnic. The famous writer F. Scott Fitzgerald loved this place, and you can even stay where he once lived at the Hotel Belles Rives.
Marseille is a large and busy city that isn’t exactly relaxing for your vacation in the South of France, but it certainly will make it exciting. Head to the Old Port to be in the middle of the action here. Other essential sights to see in Marseille are the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, Calanques National Park, the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille, and Boulevard Longchamp. The Randonnees Theatrales Marcel Pagnol Cie Dans la Cour des Grands, Fort Saint-Jean, and Mucem are also popular attractions in the city to add to your itinerary.