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The best places to visit in the south of France: These charming spots are must-see

Is le Midi calling your name?

Nice France
Charlottees / Pixabay

Are you thinking about visiting the south of France? Southern France, also known in French as le Midi, consists of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean, Spain, and the Mediterranean Sea. From the beautiful beaches of the French Riviera to the historic towns nestled in Provence, this region offers a diverse array of experiences that cater to every type of traveler. If this area is calling your name, then consider these south of France cities and towns for your next getaway.

Nice

Nice France
Prosag-Media / Pixabay

Nice is nestled on the French Riviera and boasts stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. The city is both beautiful and historic, with several cultural gems located around the city. Whether you want to relax on a pristine beach or take a walk down charming cobblestone streets, Nice has something for you.

Things to do

  • Marc Chagall National Museum: This museum is home to an impressive collection of Chagall’s works.
  • Old Town: Explore the narrow streets of Old Town, which features shops, cafes, and Baroque architecture.
  • Promenade des Anglais: This iconic seaside boulevard is perfect for a peaceful walk.

Cannes

Cannes France
Mariana_cervantes / Pixabay

Cannes is one of the best south of France cities and is the epitome of luxury and sophistication. Famous for its annual film festival, its palm-lined Boulevard de la Croisette is adorned with lavish hotels and luxury boutiques. Visitors in Cannes can relax on white sandy beaches, explore historic sites, and indulge in fresh seafood with a view of the Mediterranean Sea.

Things to do

  • La Croisette: Walk this famous promenade lined with luxury boutiques and hotels.
  • Palais des Festivals: Visit the venue of the renowned Cannes Film Festival.
  • Musée des explorations du monde: This museum features 19th-century Riviera landscape art and instruments in a medieval tower.

Saint-Tropez

Saint Tropez France
rdlaw / Pixabay

Saint-Tropez, a former fishing village turned glamorous resort town, is easily one of the best places to visit in the south of France. Its iconic port is lined with luxury yachts from all over the world, while its cobblestone streets are filled with several shops, restaurants, and galleries for visitors to enjoy. Saint-Tropez is also known for its nightlife scene, which has long attracted artists and celebrities from all over the world.

Things to do

  • La Citadelle: Walk around this 17th-century fortress and enjoy the panoramic views.
  • Plage de Pampelonne: Relax on this world-famous beach.
  • Old Port: In this area, you’ll find luxury yachts and waterfront dining options.

Avignon

Avignon France
Hans / Pixabay

Avignon is located in the heart of Provence and is known for its rich culture and beautiful architecture. The breathtaking Palais des Papes stands as a testament to its former papal power, while the iconic Pont d’Avignon bridges the Rhône River. If you are visiting in July, then check out the Festival d’Avignon, which is the oldest existent festival in France.

Things to do

  • Avignon Festival: If you are visiting in July, check out this performing arts festival.
  • Palace of the Popes: Tour this iconic Gothic palace.
  • Musée de Petit Palais: This art museum features works by artists from the Renaissance era.

Arles

Arles France
Pfüderi / Pixabay

Arles, a UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its beautiful architecture and Roman treasures. The well-preserved Roman Amphitheatre hosts several events throughout the year, while the cityscape was the inspiration for many of Vincent van Gogh’s iconic paintings. The city was first built in 6th Century BC, and is now home to over 50,000 people.

Things to do

  • Roman Amphitheatre: This ancient arena is still in use today.
  • Van Gogh Trail: Follow in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh, who painted many of his masterpieces here.
  • Camargue Natural Park: Explore unique wildlife at this nearby park.

Marseille

Marseille France
gdmoonkiller / Pixabay

Marseille is France’s oldest city, founded in 600 BC by Greek settlers. This vibrant city is a main landing point for immigrants from the other side of the Mediterranean Sea and is therefore a melting pot of cultures, flavors, and landscapes. Marseille is home to several eclectic neighborhoods, a vibrant arts scene, and delicious Mediterranean cuisine.

Things to do

  • Basilica of Notre-Dame of la Garde: This grand basilica is located at the city’s highest point.
  • Château d’If: Take a boat out to this gorgeous island, which features a 16th-century castle and former prison. 
  • Marseille Cathedral: Take a walk around this luxurious 1800s cathedral.

Montpellier

Montpellier France
ennelise / Pixabay

When visiting the south of France, Montpellier is a must-see. Its elegant boulevards are peppered with fountains and cafes, while its medieval old town boasts winding streets and hidden squares. Home to the prestigious University of Montpellier, the city buzzes with cultural events, vibrant nightlife, and a youthful energy.

Things to do

  • Place de la Comédie: Wander around this central square at the heart of the city.
  • Museé Fabre: Admire this museum’s impressive collection of European art.
  • Promenade du Peyrou: Take a stroll through this area and enjoy views of the Arc de Triomphe and aqueduct.

Mougins

Mougins France
dkatana / Pixabay

Mougins is a quaint hilltop village situated in the French Riviera. This cozy village is surrounded by lush greenery and offers panoramic views of the Mediterranean, making it the perfect relaxing getaway for travelers to the south of France. If you want to enjoy a taste of city life when visiting the area, Cannes is just a 15-minute drive from Mougins.

Things to do

  • Museum of Classical Art: This museum features works by Picasso and Warhol, as well as ancient art.
  • Parc de la Valmasque: Enjoy a walk or picnic in this beautiful park.
  • Mougins Village: Wander through this charming old village filled with art galleries and cozy restaurants.

Plan your trip to the south of France today

south of france
PublicCo / Pixabay

The south of France offers a wide variety of experiences for all types of travelers. From the glitz of Cannes to the peaceful beauty of Mougins, the south of France promises an unforgettable travel experience.

For the best weather and fewer crowds, consider visiting these south of France cities during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October). However, each season brings its own unique charm, from the amazing festivals of summer to the festive Christmas markets of winter.

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