Of all the places to visit in France, the southern region is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and charming areas. The towns in the south of France are known for their picturesque landscapes, ancient architecture, and rich cultural heritage. From the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera to the quaint streets of Provence, there is no shortage of charming towns to explore in the south of France. In this blog post, we have compiled a list of 12 of the prettiest towns in the south of France that are sure to captivate your heart and leave you longing for more. Whether you are planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, or a road trip around the coast, these towns have something for everyone. So sit back, relax, and let these travel bloggers take you on a journey through the most beautiful towns in the south of France.
By Diana of travelsinpoland.com
Located in the Basque country of France, Biarritz is a stunning seaside town that boasts a rich cultural history and a range of exciting things to see and do. The city hosts world-class surfing and has many activities for visitors to enjoy. It is definitely one of the prettiest towns to visit in the south of France.
Biarritz is known as one of the best surf spots in Europe, and it’s easy to see why. The town’s picturesque beaches attract surfers from all over the world, with waves that are perfect for both beginners and experts alike.
An interesting place to visit is Rocher de la Vierge, or “Virgin’s Rock,” is one of Biarritz’s most iconic landmarks. It is a stunning rock formation that sits in the middle of the Bay of Biscay and is accessible via a footbridge. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the coastline.
Biarritz itself is located in the heart of Basque country, and the local culture is something that should not be missed. Traditional Basque cuisine is some of the best food you can have in Europe, such as pintxos which are tapas-style snacks, or Basque cake.
Tourists looking for a unique souvenir can consider picking up some Basque espadrilles or a perhaps a traditional Basque beret. For those visiting in the summer, Biarritz’s night market takes place every evening along the seafront and is not to be missed.
By Louis of outdoorexplorer.com.au
When it comes to the French Riviera, there’s few more iconic towns than Saint-Tropez. Historically a small fishing village, it quickly rose to international prominence after superstar of the day Brigitte Bardot filmed ‘And God Created Woman’ here in 1956.
The rest is history, and these days Saint-Tropez is a popular holiday destination for the rich, famous and just about everyone else.
There’s no shortage of things to see and do here, so many visitors like to take their time and spend a while here. Here are some of the most popular things to do while in town:
- Visit Citadelle de Saint-Tropez, a 16th century fort in the Old Town that offers panoramic views of the town and beaches.
- Speaking of beaches, why not go for a swim? Don’t miss Pampelonne Beach, the most famous in town and a great place for enjoying a dip in the clear, blue water.
- Explore local vineyards. If wine is your thing (and if you’re visiting France, it probably is!) then try a few glasses of the local rose and red wines that the region is famous for.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, Mas De Chastelas is a great option. This iconic hotel has an outstanding restaurant serving traditional French cuisine, along with a beautifully tiled pool with loungers and sun umbrellas. They also offer shuttle buses into the centre of town and Pampelonne Beach.
By Anita of anitabeyondthesea.com
Menton is a lovely town on the French Riviera, that is well known for its incredible climate. It is definitely one of the prettiest towns to visit in the south of France. The sun enlightens the coastal city all year long, letting grow one of the largest lemon and orange productions in Europe.
The incredible climate makes it also a great underrated beach destination during the summer. Comparing to other Franch Riviera cities Menton is relatively cheap. Nevertheless it’s not less charming or beautiful then other cities on the southern coast.
The medieval town has also and undeniable attraction, the old town. During the years Menton developed along the coast, but the old town remained unspoiled. A must when visiting is walking in the narrow alleys and visiting the beautiful Basilica of Michael Archangel.
And if you are more into surreal, avant-guarde art, don’t forget to add Jean Cocteau Museum to your list. The panoramic site, a bastion that dominates the surroundings, was specifically selected by Jean Cocteau himself.
One of the best moment to visit Menton, is in February when the famous Lemon Festival takes place. During this unique event chariots and sculptures made by thousands of lemons and oranges parade in the towns largest street. It’s an unmissable event!
When looking for an affordable yet elegant hotel to stay you should look into Hôtel Miléade L’Orangeraie. This excellent hotel is just a few minutes away from all the main town attractions. The icing on the cake? The gardens where you can chill and rest!
By Marjut of The Smooth Escape
Cassis is a postcard-perfect seaside town on France’s Mediterranean coast. Known for its picturesque old harbor, beautiful natural setting and a historic center full of pastel-colored houses, it allures visitors from all over the globe. It’s a quintessentially charming fishing town and a must-visit destination on any South of France itinerary.
In the summer months, the streets of Cassis are bustling with tourists who come here to enjoy the joyful atmosphere, relax on the beautiful beaches and explore the surrounding vineyards or hiking trails.
The best way to get to know Cassis is to stroll along its quaint harbor lined with numerous seafood restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlors. It offers wonderful views of the Mediterranean sea, the majestic Cassis fortress and the countless colorful fishing boats docked in the harbor.
Those interested in hiking should explore the nearby Calanques National Park. With its dramatic limestone cliffs and hidden beaches with neon blue water, it is one of the most breathtaking natural attractions in the region. As an alternative to hiking, it is also possible to access the national park by taking a kayak or a boat tour.
One of the best places to stay in Cassis is Hôtel Les Roches Blanches. This chic 5-star hotel boasts a fantastic waterfront location and two infinity pools with spectacular sea views.
By Dymphe of Dyma Abroad
One of the prettiest towns to visit in the south of France is Villefranche-sur-Mer. This is a resort town that is located very close to the larger city of Nice. From there, it is easy to get to Villefranche-sur-Mer by a short train ride.
The town has a beautiful beach that is perfect if you want to relax. Also, what’s great is that the town is located next to the hills. From the hills, you can enjoy an amazing view of the town and the sea. One of the sights to see in the town is Fort du Mont Alban. This is a historic castle that was built in the 16th century. You can go inside the castle and learn about its history. Also, the port of Villefranche-sur-Mer can be nice to visit. This port played a significant role in history because of its depth. Also, you can find a lot of old buildings with beautiful architecture in the city. One of these is Saint Michael’s Church, which is a church that dates back to the year 1757. Moreover, one of the best hotels to stay is Hotel De La Darse. The rooms of this hotel have a view of the sea.
By Renee of Dream Plan Experience
Lourmarin is a charming Luberon village in the heart of Provence. With its picturesque streets, historic buildings, and stunning natural setting. It’s no wonder this village has earned the prestigious title of Les Beaux Villages de France or The Most Beautiful Village of France.
One of the most popular attractions in Lourmarin is the Chateau de Lourmarin, an impressive 15th-century Renaissance castle. An even older attraction is the 12th-century Eglise Saint-Andre, a Romanesque church.
Lourmarin may be small in size, but it’s big in appeal. Walking around the village is the best way to fully appreciate the charming atmosphere and unique character that it offers. The delightful streets of Lourmarin are chockfull of lovely boutique shops, cute cafes and charming restaurants. It’s no wonder many well-known artists and writers are drawn here for inspiration.
Foodies will love Lourmarin, as it’s known for its local cuisine and gastronomy. Visit on market day, Fridays, and watch this lovely village really come alive. A recommended spot for brunch is Café Gaby – for a delicious quiche or homemade pastries. Or, for a leisurely lunch or casual dinner go to La Louche a Beurre – a farm-to-table restaurant with a stunning outdoor terrace with uninterrupted views of the Luberon valley.
For those interested in nature, Lourmarin has many hiking trails that wind through the hills and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. One of the most popular trails leads to the Mourre Nègre, the highest point in the Luberon mountain range, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
By Cami from exploretheriviera.com
Cannes is definitely one of the most beautiful towns in the South of France and it’s so worth visiting! Commonly known as a luxury holiday destination, and for being the place where the Cannes Film Festival takes place, Cannes is also a fantastic city to explore and uncover its hidden gems. Not only are their stunning beaches with crystal-clear waters, but also a vibrant city center full of life and activities.
The film industry has been at the heart of Cannes since 1939 when it first started, and today its reputation as an international hub for the film continues to grow. The annual Cannes Film Festival held in May brings out the most glamorous side of Cannes. With celebrities from all over the world jetting in to attend the world-renowned event, the occasion is marked with red carpets, glamorous parties, and of course, incredible films – this is definitely one of the busiest times to visit Cannes.
Aside from its vibrant art scene, Cannes also offers some incredible attractions, such as the iconic La Croisette seafront promenade and the Old Town (Le Suquet). Here you will find the glorious Notre Dame de l’Esperance church and the Cannes City Hall. The Lérins Islands that lie off the coast of Cannes are also a must-see and of course, Cannes also has many beautiful beaches to visit, like the La Bocca beach and Plage du Midi.
Cannes is truly a paradise for those looking for beautiful beaches, delicious French Cuisine, exciting nightlife, and an atmosphere of classy glamour and sophistication.
Oh, and for those looking for a good place to stay during their visit, Cannes has some really nice hotels like the Five Seas and Hôtel La Bastide de l’Oliveraie & Spa.
By Bernadette of Livearelaxedlife.com
Many people consider Reims, France, a beautiful town due to its rich history and architectural heritage. It is in the Champagne region of France, about an hour away from Paris, making it perfect for a day trip. The town is known for its stunning Gothic-style cathedral, Notre-Dame de Reims, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. It is also where 30 kings were crowned. Other UNESCO sites within the town center are the Palais du Tau, the residence of the archbishops of Reims, and the Saint-Remi Abbey, known for its impressive architecture and religious significance. The historic town has a well-preserved old town with charming, narrow streets and half-timbered houses, adding to its aesthetic appeal.
Reims is surrounded by vineyards which gives it a unique and picturesque countryside. The rolling hills and weather make it an essential center for Champagne production. If you are familiar with Veuve Clicquot and its bright yellow label, you have tasted Reims. One of the reasons to visit Reims is to visit the champagne houses to learn about the champagne process and enjoy a refreshing glass of champagne. Reims’ blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty makes it a popular destination for visitors and a beautiful town to explore.
By Linda from hikingthealps.com
The city of Antibes on the popular Cote d’Azur is without question one of the prettiest towns in the south of France. The seaside resort of Antibes is picturesquely situated at the foot of the Alps, east of Cannes and west of Nice.
Above all Antibes is famous for its Port Vauban, one of the largest yacht harbors in Europe. It offers about 2000 berths. A part of the harbor, the so-called “Billionaires Quai” was built in 1986 especially for superyachts with up to 165m in length.
From the 16th century Fort Carré, which stands on a small hill above the harbor, one has a good view of the millionaire’s harbor and the picturesque old town behind it.
Besides cute bars and restaurants, there are other highlights such as the Picasso Museum, in the Château Grimaldi, within the narrow, historic streets of Antibes old town. Also, the cathedral with its bell tower is worth seeing.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the beautiful city for an afternoon, you don’t have to go far. The peninsula, Cap d’Antibes, south of the city, can be circumnavigated on the beautiful hiking trail, Sentier du Littoral. The easy and beautiful hike takes you over rugged cliffs, along small swimming coves, and past the homes of the rich and famous.
By Denise from Chef Denise
Located on the French Riviera, Nice is one of the prettiest towns to visit in the South of France. Stay at the beautiful Negresco Hotel and you’ll have easy access to most of the popular attractions, the Promenade des Anglais, the beaches, and Vieux Nice (Old Town Nice).
If you can get a room with a view of the Mediterranean Sea, it’s worth it. Otherwise, make sure you wake up early at least once to see the incredible sunrises over the Mediterranean Sea. Take the Promenade to one of the best markets in Europe, the Cours Saleya Flower Market in Vieux Nice. In addition to the colorful blooms, you’ll see artisan products and local foods. Eating the famous chickpea pancake, socca in Nice should be on your list of things to do, and you’ll have ample opportunity at the farmers market.
Walk up to Castle Hill where you’ll have incredible vistas of the Côte d’Azur. Nice has many art museums but with its Mediterranean climate of sunshine and warm days, you may prefer to visit the Botanical garden and get lost in the maze of cobblestone streets. The pastel historic buildings in Old Town make it particularly picturesque. Grab a gelato at Fenocchio and linger in the historic squares of Place Rossetti, Place Masséna, and Place Garibaldi. Nice is such a special city, you’ll have one instagrammable site after another.
By Gabi from underflowerysky.com
Aix-en-Provence is a charming town close to Marseille, mostly known as the elegant college town. It is definitely one of the prettiest towns to visit in the South of France. The artistic shine of Aix belongs to its most notable citizen, Paul Cezanne. Aix is a city of cultural delights in the ancient, golden-coloured streets.
The lovely markets fill the city with ancient vibes of the Baroque style. Aix offers the buzzing retreat at the many restaurants, bars, and pastry shops with Provencal allure.
The heart of Aix is Le Cours Mirabeau, the wide street that enjoys tree shelter during summer. Its historic center is the labyrinth of pedestrian streets. The bell tower at the Town Hall belongs to the most vibrant square. Exploring the fountains starts with La Rotonde, which frames Cours Mirabeau. Aix-en-Provence is a gorgeous city with more than 250 fountains.
Admiring Cezanne’s work follows the tranquil building of his Atelier and the elegance of Musée Granet.
Hotel de Caumont is a historic building from the 18th century, where its marvelous interior hides. It’s open to the public and Salon de Musique is one of the most exquisite rooms.
Visiting Calisson Museum at the outskirts of Aix will enchant you with traditional almond delicacies.
Visit Bibliotheque Mejanes to see the awesome decor of huge books.
Aix is a city to enjoy Provencal delicacies or ice cream at its medieval streets and absorb artistic charm.
By Anjali from Cheerful Trails
One of the most beautiful towns in the South of France is Avignon. It has an incredible historic center that has been rightfully designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stroll through the streets of the Old City you will come across well preserved medieval architecture which include the iconic Avignon Bridge and Palais des Papes. You can almost feel the historical reminiscence in Place de l’Horloge (Clock Tower Square), the main square of Avignon. There are many restaurants lined up at this square where you can savor delicious French cuisine and wine.
For soaking in some fantastic views of the city head to Rocher des Domes which is just a short walk away from Palais des Papes. You can also spend a relaxing time on the lush green gardens there while enjoying the scenic views of the Rhone river. At the entrance of the gardens, you will see Avignon Cathedral which is also very much worth visiting. Make a visit to Musée du Petit Palais which is a proud UNESCO World Heritage Site home to unique medieval art collectibles. You can make Avignon as a perfect base to explore the Luberon valley and the rest of Provence. The medieval architecture, cultural vibes and the historic streets of the Old City will surely leave a fabulous impression on you. Located in the historic center of Avignon is La Divine Comédie which is great for easy exploration of the city.
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