This is a travel guide to get the best of South of France!
Looking for both a luxurious and laidback vacation in gorgeous seaside towns? You must check out the South of France or popularly known as the French Riviera. Located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and foothills of the great Alps, the South of France presents the best of both worlds. You can find breathtaking nature, dreamy beaches, and pretty cities in the South of France. Looking for a travel guide? You stumbled upon the right page!
You wouldn’t want to miss a thing as you step onto the destination even a world-class celebrity love. Here is your essential South of France travel guide to get the best from this marvelous region!
Must Visit Destinations
South of France has tons of gorgeous destinations to visit. You can find white-sanded beaches, dreamy seaside esplanades, chic stores, ancient ruins, to mesmerizing natural landmarks. However, these cities are must-visit. Make sure you add them to your bucket list!
Nice is one of the busiest cities in the South of France. It is a tourist hotspot, with its old town, pristine beaches, and series of gorgeous cafes. One of the most popular spots in Nice is the Promenade des Anglais, where you can take a relaxing stroll along the seaside. You wouldn’t want to miss Nice if you are traveling to the French Riviera!
What to do : Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, see historical museums and cathedrals, walk by the fancy Place Massena, and go sightseeing in Colline du Château.
Looking for some lavish vacation ideas? Visit Saint Tropez! This small city is a hotspot for exquisite beach clubs, marvelous yachts, and luxurious resorts. Saint Tropez is also popular among celebrities for its fancy experiences and gorgeous beaches.
The good news is you can be both boujee and simple in this city. You can either drink a glass of fine wine in fancy restaurants or stroll around markets for great French dishes in Saint Tropez.
What to do: Watch awesome yachts and grab some food on the Saint Tropez harbor, visit the legendary Musée de la Gendarmerie et du Cinéma, go to museums, and experience the old French Riviera in Port Grimaud.
Are you into historical destinations? If the answer is yes, you should check out Antibes. This small port town is home to ancient buildings, walls, and museums. Legend also says that the great painter Picasso spent a lot of time in this city. The large house that once belonged to Picasso is now transformed into a museum. The beautiful collaboration of history, nature, and culture in Antibes will leave you in awe.
What to see: Visit the infamous Picasso Museum, grab a glass of local wine in Château Barbeyrolles vineyard, stroll around the old port of Le Nomade, and see Garoupe Lighthouse.
The small city stands between towering hills and gorgeous limestone cliffs, offering an extravagant view of the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco is an independent city-state that is located on the southern coast of France. Monaco is the haven of fancy stores, luxurious restaurants, and the notable Monte Carlo casino.
What to do: See the legendary Oceanographic and Marine Museum, visit Monte Carlo, stroll around the beautiful Princess Grace Rose Garden, and chill on the Larvotto Beach.
Does this city sound familiar to you? Yeah, this is the venue of the infamous Cannes Film Festival, an annual international event. Besides echoing fame from the festival, Cannes itself is a pretty city. You can see classic buildings and laidback stores standing by the blue sea, along with luxury resorts and high-end restaurants.
What to do: visit the main venue of the Cannes Film Festival, stroll around the glamorous La Croisette, get some French treats in Marche Forville, and sail to the nearby Lérins Islands.
Gorges du Verdon
Looking for a mesmerizing natural landmark in the South of France? Check out Gorges du Verdon! You will be marveling at its glimmering turquoise waters and sand-colored canyons. Gorges du Verdon is a river canyon in Alpes-du-Haute-Provence, stretching about 116km from Marseille. This one is for outdoor fans, as it has plenty of adventurous attractions!
What to see: Go bungee jumping from Artuby bridge, raft in the main river of Gorges du Verdon, paddleboard in the nearby Lake Castillon, and hike through the river canyon.
Must Try Foods
You can’t miss culinary experiences on French Riviera! This southern France region offers the perfect collaboration between the Mediterranean, Provençal, and Italian flavors, presenting a set of mouthwatering cuisines to the table. Here are some of the classics and the best food you should try during your visit to the French Riviera!
This heartful stew is a legendary cuisine of the South of France region. Bouillabaisse is a seafood stew made out of fish stock with orange soup color. The dish has a humble history, in which fishermen boiled unsold fish into a soup. Who has ever thought that simple action can bring a legend to the South of France’s cuisines?
You might think of Disney’s well-known movie when hearing this dish name, but it is indeed a French classic. Ratatouille is a rich vegetable stew with garlic, herbs, and indulgent olive oil. The dish is both tasty and nutritious, making it one of the region’s favorite dishes.
This dish is a classic pizza-like South of France tart. Pissaladiere’s base is an onion tart topped with caramelized onion, anchovies, and olives. You can find Pissaladiere in restaurants or street vendors. If you are thinking about hunting South of France street food, you can search for Pissaladiere.
If you love veggies, this one is for you! Aïoli Garni is a platter of boiled vegetables, boiled eggs, and salted cod served with delicious aïoli sauce. The sauce itself comes from Mediterranean culture and is made from olive oil and garlic. You can share this delightful dish with your travel buddies!
You should grab some socca if you visit Nice! The thin chickpea pancake is the signature of Nice city. Socca has a rich, nutty, and salty flavor as it is made from a mixture of chickpea and olive oil. The dish is great for snacks or appetizers.
The cities on French Riviera are perfect for relaxing strolls. Cities like Nice, Monaco, and Cannes are relatively small, so it is convenient for you to walk around and explore the city. You can spend a day strolling around the cities and visiting some landmarks or shops. Cycling is also a great choice to explore the city and visit some near-distanced cities, such as Cannes to Antibes or Nice to Monaco.
Public transportation is a great choice to commute fastly and comfortably around the cities of the French Riviera. There is the Express Regional Trains (TER) network that is operated by a national company SNCF, which has several different lines that connect cities like Nice and Marseilles. You can also ride the High-Speed Train (TGV) network that stops by major cities in the South of France, such as Monaco, Cannes, and Nice.
Standing on the Mediterranean coastline, the French Riviera offers all-year-round sunshine and pleasant weather. The region has a temperate climate, meaning that it has relatively mild temperatures throughout the year. You can expect warmer temperatures even during fall, reaching no lower than 55oC (13oF). This southern region of France has four seasons, which are the mild spring, sizzling summer, windy fall, and rarely freezing winter.
- Spring: Expect pleasant spring weather with occasional rainfalls from March to June. The temperatures are usually ranging from 16oC to 24oC (60-75 F). Spring occurs from March to mid-June.
- Summer: Blazing sun and hotter temperatures are what you can expect during summer on French Riviera. The temperatures can reach 29 C (84.2 F) on a sunny day. Summer occurs in June-August.
- Fall: The weather is usually chilly during the fall. You can also expect rainfalls in late October, bringing cooler winds. The temperatures range around 15.5C (60F) on regular days. Fall occurs from September to mid-November.
- Winter: Cool winds and no freezing temperatures describe the winter in French Riviera. Generally, there are no snowfalls in the main cities, but you can expect cold temperatures from the snowy Alps of the region. The temperatures are usually hovering around 14-15C (57-59F) on a sunny day. Winter occurs from November to February.
Best Time to Visit
French Riviera offers 300 days of sunshine, all-year-round mild weather, and timeless attractions, so there is no bad time to visit French Riviera. You can expect blooming lavenders and poppies during spring, an enjoyable time on the beach in summer, fine wines in fall, and feisty Christmas markets during winter.
However, if you are looking for cheaper prices and fewer crowds, you should avoid the high season which usually occurs in summer. Lots of travelers fly to the sunny region in summer to get their lavish getaway. You would also want to avoid late October or November, as fall transitions to the winter. It means cooler temperatures and rainfalls.
One of the best times to visit the French Riviera is in spring. You can expect blooming flowers, lively festivals, and pleasant weather during spring. It is also the time of world-class festivals, like the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix. You might want to check them out!
It is also recommended to visit in early fall. You can witness the gorgeous view of orange and red leaves covering the cities of Southern France. The weather in early fall is also great, with mild temperatures and cool winds.
How to Get There
Getting to the South of France is quite a piece of cake as it is a popular tourist destination. There are currently three main alternatives to reaching the South of France.
- Flights: The Nice International Airport is the second busiest airport in France, offering direct international flights from Europe, the UK, and the US. One of the major airlines that have regular flights from European countries is AirFrance. You can also check on Delta Airlines for direct flights from the US.
- Train: Getting on a train is an efficient and affordable way to reach the Mediterranean region. Currently, there is a high-speed train railway operating from Paris and other prominent cities in Europe. You can check out the TGV High-Speed Rail to get to French Riviera. Stop at either Nice or Monaco Station. Domestic route tickets cost around €10-20.
- Drive: Feeling like going on a road trip? Try driving to French Riviera! The region stretches about 950km from Paris, requiring 8 hours of drive. You can drive through A8 Motorway from Paris to the French Riviera.
Travel Requirements and Restrictions
There are currently no travel restrictions for post-COVID-19 travel to all regions in France. You don’t need COVID certificates or COVID test results to enter France, as the regulation was removed on August 1st, 2022. Mask is no longer required for citizens and travelers in public places and transportation, but you are recommended to wear a mask in enclosed facilities. Get more information about France’s travel restrictions here.
Traveling to France requires a Schengen visa, which allows you to enter the country and other Schengen member countries. The visa is valid for up to 90 days. You can check the requirements of the visa and apply for it here.
South of France is waiting for your visit! You can pack your bags and fly to the South of France for a short, sunny getaway or a long, relaxing vacation. You can also travel around South of France and other sunny countries with JoinMyTrip. With JoinMyTrip, you are not just traveling, but also getting awesome TripMates and unforgettable experiences from the trip!