As a child, I remember heading to France on numerous holidays with the whole family. One of the location will stay with me forever, is when my parents decided to take us all for a break to the south of France.
Southern France is so more than the glamorous vibe which it is so renowned for. There are a plethora of towns filled with historical landmarks, small villages which are filled with French charm and French food that would send sparks through anyone’s palate. I have put together a list of my favourite things to do when visiting this beautiful part of the world.
The South of France has been branded by delicious, traditional dishes which are infused with flavours and local produce. There are Mediterranean influences across many French dishes found in Southern France and are mainly nutritious yet rich and tasty. Being a vegetarian, I mainly enjoyed Ratatouille, Nicoise Salad, and the flavours of sauces and pastes like Pissaladiere and Pistou.
Off The Track
In the South of France and like most popular holiday destinations, it can feel like you are on a never-ending journey along with half the world. However, if you do your own research, you can find something just as spectacular but off the beaten path. The beautiful canals of Sète are France’s Little Venice and Montpellier University, the first university and oldest in France is worth checking out. Don’t miss the “Balcony of the Côte d’Azur”: trek along Grande Randonnée hiking trail for awe-inspiring views of the Côte d’Azur and the Mediterranean Sea which equally matches the Caribbean.
Within Camargues, you’ll witness mountains meeting the sky, and white horses, pink flamingos, and black bulls inside a protected UNESCO biosphere reserve.
Arles may not be secret, but it is a place which you should visit if you want to avoid the crowds, as well as exploring a city which is steeped in Roman History. The Roman Forum and Theatre and the breathtaking Amphitheatre which has grand architectural features. There is a wide, winding river which only adds to the landscape. Additionally, Arles’ contemporary museums and labyrinthine streets are for exploring into at whatever pace you like.
St Tropez is known for being one of the most glamourous and sunniest places in Southern France, and this is what attracts the some of the world’s most elite visitors. However, it can still be enjoyed if you don’t have six figures in your bank account. St Tropez still has that Mediterranean feel with its quaint streets, stunning central square and a busy harbour which looks like something straight out of a film set.
To immerse yourself in the prestige of St Tropez, head to the main shopping streets where there are brand named shops and upscale restaurants which line the streets. However, if you’re after authenticity, wander the narrow alleys and side streets where you will find fishmongers, traditional butcher shops and an array of small shops offering mostly affordable souvenirs. When in St Tropez, the beautiful beaches are a must!
Gorges du Verdon
Sitting north-west of Cannes and Nice is Parc Naturel Regional de du Vernon, which is home to Gorges du Vernon. The 2,300-foot drop is one of the most dramatic features in the south, and is set within the stunning countryside of Provence, and is truly a natural beauty.
You can explore this within a day, and Gorge du Verdon’s location is near the French Riviera and the Alps. It has varied options for touring and sightseeing and an abundance of colours which sweep through purple, lavender fields, vineyards, and small villages. Canoeing and kayaking on the adjacent river are also extremely popular sports, as is hiking through the gorge, and scaling the limestone walls. Additionally, climbing is also popular, with more than 1,400 routes featuring pillars, cracks, and continuous walls ranging from 65 to more than 1,300 feet.
When in the South of France, Monaco is one place you must visit. This classic, luxury destination is one which is sure to captivate you. As you might expect, all this glamour doesn’t come cheap, and eating is expensive, and even the most modest hotels cost more here than in nearby Nice.
Monaco can be the ultimate day-trip, and you can visit the Monte Carlo Casino which opened in the mid-19th century to save the Grimaldi family from bankruptcy. Today Monaco is one of the major casino destinations of Europe and people from all over the world come here to gamble and feel glamourous.
Have you visited the South of France? What was your favourite thing to do? Let me know in the comments below!