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8 of the Best Places to Visit in Southern France

Beauty explodes from every nook and cranny in Southern France.  The South of France is the embodiment of sophistication and rustic glamour—impressionist painters, the jazz age, and even Roman ruins are just a few of the cultural notes you’ll see here.

Here’s a list of some of our favorite places to visit in Southern France that showcase its history, culture, and beautiful qualities.

8 of the Best Places to Visit in Southern France

1.      Aix-en-Provence

aix-en-provence

One of the stunning villages of the Provence area, Aix is home to tremendous beauty and culture. You’re always a short trip away from blooming lavender fields and exquisite vineyard fields.

Piece of History:

Les Deux Garçons is the legendary brasserie that important people such as Pablo Picasso and Édith Piaf often frequented.

 

2.      Avignon

avignon

Avignon holds the largest gothic palace in Europe—the Palais des Papes. Packed with fascinating architecture, Avignon is a perfect little town for sightseeing and taking a break from the beach.

Piece of History:

The Musée Angladon is a gorgeous 18th-century mansion that houses the only Van Gogh painting in Provence as well as other influential art pieces.

 

3.      Cannes

cannes

Although the Cannes Film Festival is a huge attraction, there is much more to this illustrious coastal city. Stroll down the promenade on one of the city’s 300 hundred days of sunshine or take on the vibrant nightlife.

Piece of History:

Take a walk through the Le Suquet (Old Town) district and admire the Eglise du Suquet—the 15th-century old church and its partnering watchtower.

 

4.      Carcassonne

carcassonne

This storybook town draws in visitor after visitor for various reasons, one of which being the walls that have encircled the town since the 4th century. Continue on and admire the gorgeous castles and explore the delicious eateries along the canal’s towpath.

Piece of History:

The Cité de Carcassonne is a castle that played a huge role in forming the nation’s territory and was one of the largest restoration projects in Europe.

 

5.      Lourmarin

lourmarin

One of the most scenic villages in the Provence area, Lourmarin is the perfect place for those who want to get away from tourists. Full of winding streets, open-air cafés, and endless flower meadows, these are just a few of the things you can admire in this town.

Piece of History:

A fortress in the 12th century,  Château de Lourmarin is now an elegant Renaissance manor after Foulques d’Agoult took on the task of transforming it in the 15th century.

 

6.      Nice

nice

Travelers come from near and far to experience the calming beauty Nice has to offer. Explore the endless waterfront promenades, stunning beaches, and massive flower markets. No matter where you stroll in Nice, you’re sure to find something unique and charming.

Piece of History:

Explore the city’s past at Vieux Nice (Old Nice) and take in the various cultural aspects of the area created in the 1700s. 

 

7.      Porquerolles Island

porquerolles island

With coastlines as white as the Caribbean and vineyards producing wines as on par with Provence, Porquerolles Island should be on your “to visit” list. Rent a bike and pedal your way through the gorgeous island—this is the place you come to relax.

Piece of History:

You’ll find the ruins of several stone forts—Sainte Agathe, Alycastre fort, and Grand Langoustier fort—that defended against Mediterranean pirates and Nazis

 

8.      Saint-Paul-de-Vence

saint paul de vence

This walled city is home to centuries-old structures and cobblestone lined streets. Saint-Paul-de-Vence is one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera and is well-known for its modern and contemporary art galleries and museums.

Piece of History:

The stunning Colombe d’Or started as a three-room inn which grew into a 25-room hotel. It was a popular meeting place for incredible artists such as Picasso and Matisse.

Written by Logan Voss

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