If the south of France conjures images in your mind of sunny beaches, hilltop villages, stylish restaurants, wholesome food and boutique shops, then you have an accurate depiction of the region.
Home to both the French Riviera and Provence, this Mediterranean region boasts a rich history, colourful markets, rustic charm and elegance.
Moreover, it’s really easy to get to. If you live in London, just hop on the train from St Pancras travelling to Luton Airport and you can get direct flights from there to Nice, Lyon and Bordeaux.
Here are some of the region’s highlights…
This classy city-state in the French Riviera is home to an 800-year-old royal family, the stunning Palais du Prince, and enjoys wonderful views of the Med. One of its claims to fame is as the home of the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix but it also holds yacht shows that like the Formula One event, attract the rich and the glamorous.
Speaking of rich and glamorous, the city of Cannes is known by just about everyone as the location of a famous film festival of the same name. As with Monaco, you can stand and admire the sheer wealth found here in everything from the Ferraris to the yachts, the handbags, the restaurants and the bars. It’s also home to gorgeous beaches and the beautiful promenade known as La Croisette.
A gorgeous seaside town famed for its beaches and wonderful surrounding scenery. It was a small fishing village until the 1950s when the film And God Created Woman was shot here, launching it to international stardom. It has a lovely town centre called La Ponche and visitors will find top-quality post-impressionist art at the Musée de l’Annonciade.
France’s oldest city, it brims with character, especially in the old town (Le Panier) and the harbour, which has plenty of historic buildings to admire and charming restaurants where you can sample the local speciality, bouillabaisse, a seafood stew. If you want to buy your own fresh fish, head to the harbour in the morning, where they hold a fish market each day.
The main reason to come here is wine, as it’s home to the famous Chateau Ricardelle vineyard. This suffered terrible damage in 2014 during a hailstorm which struck on Friday 13th, of all days! In defiance, Bruno Pelligrini, who owns the vineyard, named one of his reds Vendredi XIII. It’s not the only vineyard in the region either, so Narbonne is definitely the place to come for those fond of a tipple or two.
We’ve just scratched the surface here. The south of France has so much to lure visitors that you could return time and time again, and have a totally different experience on each occasion. One trip could be a wine tour, the next a beach resort, then a visit to the Grand Prix… the list goes on.