France Planning Regions South of France 12 Coolest Things to Do in the South of France This Year

12 Coolest Things to Do in the South of France This Year

What are the best things to do as a tourist in the South of France? From art galleries to outdoor excursions, the south of France offers something for everyone. From Les Calanques National Park in Marseille to Montpellier’s Museum of Modern Arts, explore some of the French south’s most renowned attractions.

Fortified City of Carcassonne

If you’re seeking adventure, explore Southern France’s rich history with a visit to the fortified city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO heritage site. Built many centuries ago, this historical fortress is one of the South’s most popular tourist attractions.

Things to Do in the South of France Fortified City of Carcassonne

The history of the Carcassonne dates back to the 11th century when it was built as part of the city’s defense systems. In 1247, it was seized by the crusaders and a few years later, in 1248, it was taken over by the French Crown. The castle then underwent several changes, including the addition of a church, a watchtower, and a fortified wall.

After the French Revolution, the Carcassonne Castle became a prison and later served as a museum. The castle was restored in the mid-19th century, and today it is a popular tourist attraction for guided tours.

Les Calanques National Park

If you’re looking for more outdoor activities, try rock climbing or hiking in Les Calanques National Park. The park’s rocky coastline and Mediterranean climate will make your visit unforgettable. This breathtaking nature park is located just outside Marseille and is the perfect spot for a day of hiking, swimming, kayaking, and exploring.

Things to Do in the South of France Calanques

Nice, France

Nice is the jewel of the French Riviera and the ideal place to start your visit to the South of France. Nice is a beautiful city located on the French Riviera, offering an amazing mix of culture, cuisine, and stunning scenery.

Colline du Château, Nice

It’s known for its beautiful beaches, picturesque old town, and vibrant nightlife. Tourists can explore the winding streets of the Old Town, enjoy the Mediterranean climate, and take in stunning views from the Promenade des Anglais seaside walk.

The city is also home to some of the best museums and galleries in the world, featuring works from the likes of Matisse, Chagall, and Renoir. Popular museums include the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which houses a large collection of European paintings, and the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain.

Drive to the nearby Villa et Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild to experience one of the most beautiful and stunning pink castles you’ve ever seen.

Nice offers a wide range of unique restaurants, cafes, and upscale bars. With its lively nightlife, great shopping, and beautiful beaches, Nice is the perfect destination for any traveler.

Explore Marseille

The second largest city in France, Marseille is a vibrant port city with a unique culture and a mix of different Mediterranean influences. The Old Port of Marseille is the city’s most emblematic site and home to some of its best attractions. Take a stroll along the waterfront, where you’ll find markets, restaurants, and small boats offering day trips.

You can’t miss seeing the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. This impressive church, perched atop the highest hill in Marseille, offers breathtaking views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea.

Looking for adventure? Located on an island off the coast of Marseille, the Château d’If is a fortress most famous for being the prison of Alexandre Dumas’s novel The Count of Monte Cristo.

Climb the Montagne Sainte-Victoire

This is a must-do while in the South of France. The Montagne Sainte-Victoire is a stunning natural landmark and a popular spot for hikers and climbers. Cezanne was so inspired by its beauty that he painted the famous Mont Saint-Victoire around 1906.

Things to Do in the South of France Sainte-Victoire

Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, biking, rock climbing, and paragliding. There are also a number of scenic lookouts, picnic spots, and restaurants in the area, offering stunning views of the mountain and the surrounding Provence countryside.

Explore the Camargue

This region is an unspoiled area of wetlands, lagoons, and rice fields that’s home to rare species of birds and horses. Camargue is home to some of the best horseback riding in France. From leisurely rides to challenging courses, you can explore the region on horseback.

Things to Do in the South of France Camargue marsh france Thomas de LUZE
Thomas de LUZE

The Camargue National Park protects a unique ecosystem of wetlands, marshes, and coastal lagoons. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including flamingos, horses, and bulls. Camargue is home to some of the best beaches in France.

The best way to see Camargue is perhaps by boat. Take a boat tour of the Camargue wetlands and explore the region’s many birds and wildlife. Explore the village of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer nearby. This quaint fishing village is home to a wide variety of shops and restaurants, as well as a picturesque harbor.

From tranquil coves to wild surf spots, there’s something for everyone in and around Camargue.

Provençal Aix-en-Provence

There’s so much to do in beautiful Aix-en-Provence. You really must take a stroll through the Cours Mirabeau market street. Considered one of the most beautiful streets in France, the Cours Mirabeau is lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a great place to spend an afternoon.

The Cathedral of the Holy Savior was built in the 13th century, and this Gothic-style cathedral is one of the most important monuments in Aix.

Tour the famous Atelier Cezanne and catch a glimpse of this famous painter’s former workshop. Spend a morning touring the artist Paul Cezanne’s former studio, which has been left in its original state, where he worked from 1902 until his death in 1906.

Art lovers should explore the Musée Granet. Founded in 1792, this museum is home to a wide variety of artwork, ranging from ancient to modern pieces.

Next, visit the Pavillon de Vendôme, built in 1710. This impressive château features a large park and gardens and is open to the public. Take a dip in Thermes Sextius to cool down where you can relax in the thermal baths of this Roman-style spa, located in the heart of the city.

Lastly, you should wander around the Marché Provençal. Located in the Place Richelme, this open-air market is a great place to wander and pick up some fresh produce and handmade goods.

Avignon, UNESCO Heritage City

Avignon is a beautiful and historic city located in the south of France. It is home to one of the world’s most famous landmarks, The Palais des Papes, a 14th-century palace that served as the home of the Catholic Popes from 1309 to 1377.

Palais des Papes Avignon DSC_0831

Avignon is also renowned for its annual theater festival, stunning architecture, and charming cobblestone streets lined with cafés and galleries. Visitors from around the world come to explore the city’s rich culture and enjoy its picturesque riverside location. Avignon is also a great base for exploring the Provence region and the nearby cities of Arles and Nîmes.

Drive Along the Côte d’Azur

This region is a must for any traveler in the South of France. The Côte d’Azur is home to stunning beaches, stunning views, and some of the best seafood in the world. The best way to see it is by renting a car. A scenic drive along the famous Côte d’Azur can let you explore many of the gorgeous seaside towns in the region famous for its beauty.

Things to Do in the South of France Drive Along the Cote d'Azur

Drive to the Calanques de Cassis for a series of stunning sea cliffs and limestone inlets located near Cassis. Visit Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a beautiful hilltop village with cobblestone streets and traditional architecture. Stop in Èze, a charming medieval village perched atop a rocky outcrop with stunning views of the Mediterranean.

Explore Menton, a vibrant resort town with colorful buildings, a vibrant food scene, and beautiful public beaches. Live it up in Saint-Tropez, a chic, celebrity-studded seaside village known for its luxury shops, nightclubs, stunning beaches, and yachting. Drive along Corniche de l’Estérel, a picturesque route hugging the coast with dramatic red-rock cliffs and pine forests. For a quiet adventure, try Théoule-sur-Mer, a small fishing village with stunning blue-green waters, colorful houses, and an old port.

Visit the Famous French Lavender Fields

The south of France is home to some of the most beautiful lavender fields in the world. The best way to see the lavender fields of Provence, France is to take a road trip. Rent a car and drive through the picturesque countryside, stopping at various lavender fields along the way. Be sure to make time for a few of the charming towns and villages, as well as some of the delicious local wineries and restaurants.

Things to Do in the South of France Lavender fields france summer Thomas Despeyroux
Thomas Despeyroux

Some of the best villages to see the lavender fields of Provence include:

  • Valensole – This quaint village is surrounded by beautiful lavender fields and offers sweeping views of the valley below.
  • Roussillon – This hilltop village is renowned for its ochre-colored cliffs and stunning lavender fields.
  • Sault – This small village is tucked away in the heart of Provence and is full of lavender fields and rolling hills.
  • Gordes – This stunning hilltop village has some of the best lavender fields in Provence and offers a great day trip from Avignon.
  • Lourmarin – This charming village is surrounded by lavender fields and vineyards and makes for a great day trip.

Take a Boat Trip

There are many wonderful boat trips available in the South of France, from day trips to longer cruises along the coastline. The most popular boat trips along the Cote d’Azur are typically taken from Nice, Cannes, or Monaco. You can find boat tours and charters offering trips to see the sights along the coastline or to nearby islands, with some even taking you as far as Italy.

Things to Do in the South of France Boat trip france

Take a boat to Îles de Lérins to see this beautiful archipelago off the coast of Cannes, with a stunning beach and a 12th-century monastery. The Île Sainte-Marguerite is a lovely island off the coast of Cannes with a rich history, a beautiful beach, and a stunning fort.

Head to the Island of Porquerolles

Welcome Sign Ile De Porquerolles

Porquerolles is a gorgeous island off the coast of the French Riviera that is home to picturesque beaches, lush forests, and charming villages. Some of the top sights to check out include:

  • Fort Sainte Agathe: This 17th-century fortification is perched atop the highest point of the island and offers sweeping views of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Carmignac Foundation: This contemporary art foundation was created in 2000 by Edouard Carmignac, a French financier and art collector, and offers visitors the chance to explore its expansive outdoor art installations and step barefoot inside its yearly indoor exhibits.
  • Plage de Notre Dame: This secluded beach is one of the most beautiful on the island and the perfect spot for a romantic stroll.
  • Calanques de Porquerolles: This stunning coastline is dotted with rocky coves and inlets, making it an excellent spot for kayaking and swimming.
  • Jardin Emanuel Lopez & Conservatoire Botanique: This botanical garden is home to a wide array of native plants and flowers, as well as several species of birds and reptiles.
  • The Village of Porquerolles: The main village on the island is a charming mix of colorful houses, cobbled streets, ice cream shops, and quaint cafes.

I hope you found these tips for the best things to do in the south of France inspiring! The South of France is home to some of the world’s best wines, so don’t miss out on trying some while you’re there!

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