South of France | The 15 most unique places you should visit


France is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It has a mixture of both natural and human-made beauty. Known for its stunning European architecture and historical importance. Paris, ‘The capital of France’ is located in the northern part of the country and is a world-famous tourist destination. A lot of people who plan trips to France tend to keep Paris and other Northern parts of the country on their list but what they don’t realize is that the South of France holds a similar amount of beauty as well.

The South of France is a popular place for a lot of Europeans. Many Dutch, Belgians, English, Italians and Spanish love to travel to the South of France. Locally known as “le Midi”. If you are planning on visiting France then you should definitely visit the south of France otherwise you would miss out on a fantastic travelling experience. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to visit in the South of France. And don’t forget to share below in the comments which place in the South of France you like to travel to.

Biarritz France

Read our other blogs about France:
  • The 10 best Surfing spots in France
  • 15 reasons why you should visit Nice, France
  • #1 Nice

    Nice is the fifth largest city in France. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the South of France. The city is located in the French Riviera and is known for its exuberant beaches and rich art culture. You would find many art galleries and museums throughout the city. Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain is a perfect place for art lovers. It was opened in 1990 and exhibits artwork from the 1960s and 1970s. There is also a specific section for Yves Klein, who was an amazing artist and one of the leading members of the French Artistic Movement of Nouveau réalisme.

    Musée Matisse is another fantastic place for art lovers. The museum houses an extensive collection of artwork by the famous French artist Henri Matisse. And Nice is also home to one of the most beautiful Orthodox Churches. The Cathédrale Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Nicolas was built in 1912 by Tsar Nicholas. It contains many different religious and historical items that were brought to the South of France from Russia.

    Nice is also famous for its beaches. You’ll find a few of the best beaches in the South of France. La Plage Publique de Beau Rivage is one of the best beaches in the city. Many people visit the beaches to relax and have fun. You can also enjoy different watersports at these beaches. If it’s your first time visiting Nice, then you should definitely take the sightseeing tour which will help you enjoy Nice in its full essence. And read our blog about the 15 reasons why you need to travel to Nice once in your life!

    Nice France
    Photo credit: Alaina McDavid
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    #2 Cannes

    This blog about the south of France cannot be complete without talking about the French Riviera. There are several cities on French Riviera that are famous for its beaches and great vibes. Cannes is one of those major cities in the South of France. It is known for its importance in the global showbiz industry.

    Film festivals are held in Cannes every year. It is a resort town with a large number of amazing beaches. When we talk about the beaches in France, we cannot ignore the beautiful beaches of Cannes. La Croisette is a strip of land along the coast that has many different restaurants, cafes, and shops. You should definitely take a stroll on La Croisette on your visit to Cannes. Other than visiting these sites you can also hike the Esterel Mountains for an added travelling experience in the South of France.

    Cannes South of France
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    #3 Marseille

    Marseille is considered as the oldest city in France. It is a bustling port city in the South of France with a lot of different attractions. As the city is quite old, you would find several historical attractions in Marseille. Le Vieux Port or the old port is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Marseille. The area was a bustling port for thousands of years.

    The Mucem is another amazing place to visit in Marseille. The museum is devoted to showcasing the culture of the old civilizations of the Mediterranean region. Like Paris, Marseille has its own Notre Dame known as Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. You can have an amazing view of the entire city from the top of Notre Dame. Other than visiting a large number of historical sites and amazing markets, you can also roam around the city on a bike with a local guide.

    Marseille

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    #4 Biarritz

    Biarritz is a wonderful seaside town located on the west coast in the South of France. Famous among surfers because of the great waves from the Atlantic Ocean. You can find many different restaurants here with a speciality in seafood. As Biarritz is a seaside town, it is also home to some of the best beaches in the South of France.

    La Grande Plage is one of the most visited beaches in Biarritz. If you are someone who likes to play with luck then Casino Barriere should be on your list of places to visit. There are a lot of different tourist destinations in Biarritz that would make you want to stay there.

    City Ocean is another great place in Biarritz. It was opened in 2011, which makes it a relatively new museum as compared to other museums in France. The museum is devoted to exhibits that relate to the ocean. You can also enjoy virtual surfing at City Ocean or just hop in the Atlantic Ocean to really experience surfing in the South of France.

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    South of France Pinterest

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    #5 Pezenas

    Pezenas is a small town in the South of France. The city is known for its beautiful architecture. More than 100 buildings in Pezenas have been considered historic. This shows the rich European culture of the town. It is a small town where you might not find as many things as other regions in the south of France, but it is still a significant place to visit.

    If you are visiting Pezenas, then don’t forget to visit the local markets which are one of the most popular attractions in the commune. Like most of the other places in the South of France, Pezenas also has an amazing church called Eglise Collegiale Saint-Jean. The church has beautiful European architecture and is open to the general public.

    Puit de Lumière à Pézenas !

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    #6 Arles

    Historically speaking, Arles is quite easily one of the most significant towns not just in the south of France but in entire Europe. The city has been labelled as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to a large number of Roman and Romanesque architecture in the city. The city was also the hometown of the popular Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh.

    There are many historical tourist destinations in the city, including buildings from the Roman era like theatres, baths, aqueducts and many more. All these sites are open for the public, but you have to be very careful not to damage the buildings. You can also make your way down to some of the finest restaurants in the South of France. Other than the historical sites, you can also find many different art museums in the city. Even though the city has a lot of significance, you can find affordable hotels all over the city.

    Arles Amfitheatre

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    #7 Vence

    Located in the hills of Alpes Maritimes between Antibes and Nice, Vence is a charming town in the South of France. The Rosary chapel is one of the most beautiful chapels in the South of France. People from all over the world visit this chapel. Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary is another popular religious site in Vence. If you are an art lover, then you should definitely visit Fondation Maeght which features artworks from many different French artists. You can also enjoy a bicycle ride on Col De Vence which would aid you in experiencing nature to its full extent.

    France Vence

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    #8 Lourmarin

    Quite honestly, the most picturesque place in the South of France. Lourmarin is a small village which is known for its beautiful orchards and scenic views. The village is also home to a large number of vineyards. It has some of the most amazing restaurants in the country. Luberon Regional Nature Park is a spot for people who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the South of France. It is a small village with a lot of significance. While you visit Lourmarin, you can also get a little taste of history by visiting Chateau de Lourmarin which is a stunning castle.

    Lourmarin France

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    #9 Avignon

    After Arles, Avignon is another place of historical importance in the South of France. The city has a rich cultural and religious history. At one moment in time, it was the most important place for western Christendom. Palais des Papes which translates to the Palace of the Popes is one of the most visited attractions in Avignon.

    It has many different relics and items that are important to the entire Christian world. It is ideal to visit the city in summer (July) when the city celebrates a theatre festival by the name of Avignon Festival. You cannot miss the famous half bridge of Avignon Pont d’Avignon.

    Other than the religious sites you can also find several different museums in the city including Musée Du Petit Palais. This museum contains artworks from the Renaissance era in Europe. You can find many different cafes and restaurants in the city that serves both local and continental food.

    Avignon South of France

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    #10 Carcassonne

    South of France infographic

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    Carcassonne is a very unique city in its own right. It is not as well known as other cities in the South of France, but once you visit it, you will never forget it. It is a fortified city which lets you experience the true essence of what people felt when they lived in fortified cities in the medieval era. A national religion monument with the name of The Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus is also located in Carcassonne.

    It is an ancient church that is visited by people from all over the world due to its status as a national monument in France. One of the most unique places to visit in Carcassonne is the museum of inquisition. Which exhibits several different items that were used to torture people in the medieval era.

    You can roam around the tight alleys of the city which are remnants of old European architecture. You will find several exotic restaurants in the city that serve both local and international cuisines. If you want to enjoy nature in Carcassonne, you can take a stroll or ride a bike along the Canal du Midi.

    Carcasonne castle

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    #11 Aix-en-Provence

    You can enjoy a lot of different things while you visit Aix-en-Provence in the South of France. Lavender fields are one of the most popular attractions in Aix-en-Provence. Whoever visits Aix-en-Provence should surely visit the vast lavender fields. Aix-en-Provence is a university city and contains many attractions like historical sites, markets, museums and a lot of other sights.

    It is also home to Atelier de Cezanne which is a museum that features work from the famous French artist Paul Cezanne. The city has many beautiful hotels that were built centuries ago and still rock old European architecture. Pavillion Vendome is another site art lovers should definitely visit. Aix-En-Provence also has a lot of religious sites like Cathedrale St. Sauveur. It is considered as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the South of France.

    Aix-en-Province

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    #12 Albi

    Albi is one of the most exotic cities in the South of France. Known for its scenic views and amazing architecture. Like most of the other cities in the South of France, Albi also has a rich heritage. The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum is a museum that features the largest collection of work from Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. If you are visiting Albi, you should definitely visit Sainte Cécile cathedral. It is an amazing building that showcases gothic architecture.

    Pont Vieux might seem like just another bridge, but it is actually more than 1000 years old. Don’t forget to visit the market hall, which is a lovely indoor market where you can find a large variety of local products from the South of France.

    Have you ever wondered about the difficult lives that miners live? Well, you can also experience that in Albi. Musee-Mine Departmental is a unique museum that is devoted to letting visitors experience how miners worked in a harsh environment to provide for their families. You would learn a lot about the lives and work of miners from this museum. Other than these sites you can also eat at a lot of amazing restaurants throughout the city.

    Albi

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    #13 Antibes

    Antibes is another beautiful town in the French Rivera. It is a port city with a lot of amazing attractions. Grimaldi Chateau is one of the most visited attractions in the south of France. It is a museum devoted to exhibiting the work of Pablo Picasso. The tourism industry acts as a backbone for the town’s economy.

    Antibes you can find the most amazing beaches in the South of France. You can enjoy a relaxing day on the beach of Cap d’Antibes. There is something for everyone in Antibes. You can find both natural and manmade beauty in Antibes.

    Antibes France

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    #14 Menton

    Menton is known for its crescent-shaped bay. A town situated on the French Riviera near the border of Italy. The town showcases an amazing and colourful architecture. If you are someone who loves nature, then you can visit the Bioves Garden.

    The most calming beaches in the South of France are the Menton Beaches. Jean Cocteau Museum is a great place for art lovers to visit. It features artworks from great French artists. The Lemon Festival is held every year in the town so it is ideal to visit Menton in winter when the lemon festival takes place.

    South of France Menton Lemon

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    #15 Villefranche-sur-Mer

    It is one of the oldest towns in the South of France. Known for its cobblestoned streets. Like most of the other towns and cities in South of France, Villefranche is also home to several religious sites. Citadel St Elmo a beautiful Citadel that is visited by a large number of visitors every year.

    Plage des Marinières is a one-kilometre-long beach and is one of the longest beaches in the South of France. Villefranche beach is also another great beach on the French Riviera. There are many different forts, castles, galleries, and museums that you can visit while you stay in Villefranche-sur-Mer. If you are someone who loves history, then you should definitely take a stroll on Rue Obscure which is an underground street built in the medieval era.

    Vilefranche-sur-mer Useful links:

    We would love to know if you have any additions to this blog and which place in the South of France you like to visit. Let us know in the comments below!

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    Léon Kopijn

    Léon Kopijn works and lives as a Digital Nomad. He travels the world with the love of his life and writes about inspiring cultures and practical travel tips. Find out more about Léon on his about page!

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