When asked about their dream travel destination, a lot of people would say Paris. Of course, it’s not a surprise as Paris is probably the most popular place in France, thanks to the stunning European architecture and gorgeous landscapes that it has, illuminated and made even beautiful by the romantic lights. Of course, who wouldn’t forget the famous Eiffel Tower, which almost everyone dreams to see I person? But after that, what’s there to see?
A lot of people are so focused on dreaming to see Paris but France has more to offer than that. True enough, Paris’ beauty is unparalleled. But the south of France is worth talking about too. While, the southern part of France doesn’t have an Eiffel Tower, it has other attractions that we’re sure you will love too. In case you’re wondering where to next after seeing the Eiffel Tower, we listed some of the best places to be in southern part of France.
- 1 Attractions South of France
- 2 Best Unique Hotels in South of France
Attractions South of France
South of France may not be the first thing that would come into your mind when planning your travel itinerary but this region has a lot to offer too. Aside from the Eiffel Tower (in the northern region), here are some of the attractions you shouldn’t miss per city in the southern part of France.
Nice, France’s fifth-largest city, is one of the most popular destinations in France for those who have been to the southern part of the country. This place is known for its sunny beaches and rich art culture.
If you’re an art lover, one of the places in Nice that we’re sure you will love is the Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain. Opened in 1990 with artworks from the 1960s and 1970s, this place sure is a haven for those who love modern and contemporary art. It even houses some of the works of Yves Klein, one of the leading members of the French Artistic Movement of Nouveau realisme.
Another art museum that will inspire your inner artist is Musee Matisse. Unlike the Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, this museum is dedicated to the extensive collection of artwork that the famous French artist Henri Matisse made.
If you’re not that into art, you can bask in the sun at the beaches in the southern part of France. La Plage Publique de Beau Rivage is one of the popular beaches in Nice. Here, you can just relax and enjoy the waves. You can also have fun and try out different watersports. And if it’s your first time visiting the city, we highly suggest that you take the sightseeing tour to learn more about the city.
Or, you can also visit the city’s beautiful orthodox churches like the Cathedrale Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Nicolas. Built in 1912, this church houses numerous different religious and historical items that were brought to the southern part of France from Russia.
Cannes, like Nice, is also one of the famous cities in France and it has beautiful beaches as well. If the beaches in Nice aren’t enough, you can bask also bask in the sun at La Croisette. It is also lined with different cafes, restaurants, and shops. And it’s okay if you just want to take a stroll as the view from this strip of land along the coast is already stunning and will make your trip memorable too. And if you thought Cannes sounds familiar, well, it is. Apparently, Cannes is known for its importance in the global showbiz industry. And it is where the Cannes Film Festival is held every year. So if you’re a movie buff, we suggest that you shouldn’t miss Cannes on your France trip too.
If you’re a history buff, we’re sure you will love Marseille. Marseille is actually the oldest city in France. Hence, if you want to get to know some of France’s stories, don’t forget to visit this city as it has numerous historical attractions to offer.
One of the popular attractions in Marseille for the curious visitors is The Mucem. Devoted to showcasing the culture of the old culture of the Mediterranean region, this place will let you know more about France’s past. And if that’s not enough, you can also roam the city on a bike with a local guide who will show you around and tell more stories of the city’s history.
Marseille also has its own version of Paris’ Notre Dame, the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. From here, you can also marvel at the view of the city. Marseille also has amazing markets where you can find good stuff that you might not even get to see in your hometown – perfect for gifts and memorabilia to give to your friends and family back home.
Like Cannes and Nice, Biarritz is also a home to some of the beautiful beaches in the south of France. In fact, this place is famous among surfers because of the waves from the Atlantic Ocean, making surfing even more exciting. Aside from the great waves, you can also enjoy various restaurants specializing in seafood dishes as it is a seaside town.
Aside from that, Biarritz is also famous for Casino Barriere. Here, you can try your luck playing various casino games.
And if you’re not into that kind of activity, there’s City Ocean, a place that everyone in the family can enjoy, if you’re traveling with your family. Opened in 2011, this is a museum devoted to exhibits that lets you explore the ocean and the animals that live in it. On top of that, it offers a unique virtual surfing experience that’s perfect if you’re a little daunted by the real-life waves.
Unlike the other cities on this list, Pezenas doesn’t have much outdoor activities to offer as it’s just a small town. In spite of that, it’s still a significant place to visit as it also has a lot of stories about the past to tell. Here, you may not find a lot of action-packed activities but this place will surely fill your eyes with some of the beautiful architectural wonders that it has.
In this town, you will definitely get to see its rich European culture. It may not have as many things as other regions in the south of France but it is rich in historic buildings that you can explore and marvel at. In fact, Pezenas has more than 100 historic buildings waiting to be explored, including an amazing church called Collegiale Saint-Jean that boasts of its beautiful architecture.
And don’t forget to check out Pezenas’ local markets where you can shop for awesome goods. This town will make you feel more like a local so don’t miss out on this too.
Speaking of historical sites, Arles is also one of the towns in south of France that you shouldn’t miss if you want to get a glimpse of France’s past. In Arles, you can get to see a large number of Roman and Romanesque architecture, including buildings from the Roman era such as baths, theaters, and aqueducts. Hence, it has been labelled as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And if you’re a fan of the famous Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, don’t miss out this town too. This is because this city was his hometown. And speaking of art, this town also has different art museums that will inspire the artist in you.
In addition to that, what makes this town worth seeing are the fine restaurants that it has. And the best part of it is that while this town has a lot of significance, it’s also a place where you can find affordable hotels.
Another place that history buffs will love in the south of France is Avignon. This city boasts of its rich cultural and religious history. As a matter of fact, there was one moment in time when it was the most important place for western Christendom.
Palais des Papes, which translates to The Palace of the Popes has been one of the most visited attractions in the city. It houses a lot of different relics and other religious items that play an important role in the entire Christian world.
And like the other regions in France, Avignon is also haven for artists. It has several museums including Musee Du Petit Palais that houses artworks from the Renaissance period in Europe. Avignon is also famous for Avignon Festival, an annual arts festival held every summer in July in Palais des Papes’ courtyard.
In addition to that, this city is home to various cafes and restaurants where you can taste both local and continental food.
Carcassonne may probably the least known city south of France but once you visit it, we’re sure you will not forget it. This is because it is one of the unique cities in France. For starters, this place will take you back in time as it is a restoration of a fortified medieval town. And while it isn’t all original, you’ll surely never see anything like it anywhere else in the world.
There is also a national religion monument with the name of The Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus located in Carcassonne. It is basically an ancient church visited by people from around the globe because of its status as a national monument in France.
We also suggest that you roam around the city’s tight alleys where you will be treated with sights of the remnants of old European architecture. Aside from that, you can also get to see a number of exotic restaurants in the city that serve both local and international cuisines. So whether you miss the dishes in your home country or you want to taste something new, this place is no to be missed as well.
Paris isn’t the only Instagram worthy place in France. The south of France also has a place for those looking for an Instagram worthy spot and that is in Aix-en-Provence. For starters, this place is famous for its lavender field that will surely give you feed goals. Known as a university city, this place also has other attractions including the Atelier de Cezanne which features the works of the famous artist Paul Cezanne. The city also has Pavillion Vendome, another place dedicated to art lovers.
Aside from that, it also has a number of historical sites and markets. The city has many beautiful hotels, as well, that were built centuries ago. There’s also Cathedrale St. Sauveur, one of the religious sites in the city that is considered as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the southern part of France.
There is also something unique about Albi that makes it another city in the south of France that you shouldn’t miss. Like most of the other cities in the southern part of France, this place has a rich heritage too. But one of the things that makes it unique is the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum that features the largest collection of artworks that Henri de Toulouse Lautrec made. Also, there is Sainte Cecile Cathedral, a stunning building that showcases gothic architectural design.
In addition to that, Albi also has Pont Vieux, a bridge connecting Bastide Saint Louis and the Medieval City. What makes it unique is that this bridge is more than 1,000 years old.
And if you want to buy some memorabilia or items to give your loved ones back in your hometown, the city also has a lovely indoor market. Here, you can get to find a huge variety of local products, particularly those that came from the southern part of France.
Another unique attraction in Albi that you need to see is Musee-Mine Departemental. It’s basically a museum that lets its visitors see through the lives of miners. However, it’s not like the other common museums out there where you will only hear stories and see artifacts about the subjects. Instead, this museum lets you experience the work environment that the miners had to endure to provide for their families to understand their field of work better, as well as the dangers that came with it.
Antibes is also a place for artists, aspiring artists, and those looking for a summer getaway. This is because this town also has several attractions for everyone, including museums that will inspire you to pursue your art career. One of the most visited attractions in Antibes is the Grimaldi Chateau, a museum exhibiting the works of another famous painter, Pablo Picasso.
Antibes also boasts of its beautiful beaches, including Cap d’Antibes. This town has everything for everyone. It even has attractions for those who are looking for both natural and man-made attractions. It’s also one of the towns in south of France that you need to add to your travel itinerary.
Like most of the cities in south of France, Menton has a lot to talk big about too. But unlike other towns in the southern part of France, Menton has a unique crescent shape, which makes it even more interesting. But aside from that, Menton is a must-visit place for when you want to have a relaxing trip. This is because of the calming beaches that it has to offer.
Menton is also famous for its Bioves Garden. But this isn’t your ordinary garden. Aside from its beautiful landscape design, this place is also filled with bright colors that make the place all the more Instagram worthy and pleasing to the eyes. And speaking of something pleasing to the eyes, Menton also has Jean Cocteau Museum that features masterpieces from popular French artists.
And the best part of it is that being at Menton means you can also get to witness the lemon Festival. A unique festival that started in 1932, this event celebrates lemons along with the other citrus fruits that the town specializes. Drawing more than 230,000 visitors from all over the world, this festival is a collaboration of over 300 professionals and 145 tons of citrus fruits giving you a parade like no other. Here, you can get to see dancers, folk groups, citrus-themed floats, bands, and more. But the highlight of this event are the temporary sculptures made of fruits. Celebrate with the locals and take as many pictures as you want, it surely is a one-of-a-kind event that you shouldn’t miss.
Villefranche-sur-Mer also has a lot to offer, which makes it yet another town in the south of France that you shouldn’t miss. For starters, it is one of the oldest towns in the southern part of France. Hence, you know that you’ll be in for a tour that lets you learn more about France’s history. This town has forts, castles, museums, and galleries that will fill you with more knowledge and understanding of the country’s past.
Villefranche-sur-Mar is also known for Rue Obscure. Hidden beneath a fishing village, it is actually a 430-foot-long underground street that was built during the medieval era for military purposes but now, it serves as a place where visitors can get a glimpse of the town’s past.
In addition to that, this town is also popular for its beaches. In fact, it houses Plage es Marinieres, a one-kilometer-long beach that draws people for being one of the longest beaches in the southern part of the country.
With all of these attractions, a day tour isn’t probably enough for you to enjoy every corner of the southern part of France. If you plan to stay longer, here are some unique hotels that we recommend for a different and memorable experience.
Best Unique Hotels in South of France
There are actually countless of unique hotels in France. But these hotels are our favorites and we think you’d love them too.
Les Insolites du Périgord
If you’re a fan of the film The Hobbit, Les Insolites du Périgord is for you. Located in the Bordeaux region of France, this place offers a unique accommodation will make you feel like a hobbit like in the movie with its unique design. It sleeps two with a queen-sized bed and it has a small kitchen. The best part of it is that it has a sky dome where you can gaze at the night sky.
Provence Senses Romantic Retreat
If you’re in Arles and looking for a budget hotel, there is Provence Senses Romantic Retreat nearby. This place will bring you closer to nature with its facilities with unique nature-inspired design. It’s a glamping experience that lets you cozy up in a lovely double bed.
Attrap’Rêves Bubble is just like the bubble hotel in Switzerland. However, needless to say, you’re in France. It’s a cool unique Instagram-worthy place to stay where you can also get to enjoy the stars at night when you’re in France.
France has a lot to offer more than you can imagine. So don’t get stuck dreaming of only seeing the Eiffel tower. Explore more of what the country has to offer, particularly in the southern part of France.