The South of France, also known as the French Riviera or Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, is a place of enchantment and allure. It is renowned worldwide for its stunning landscapes, glamorous cities, and charming towns. With its mild Mediterranean climate, picturesque coastlines, and rich cultural heritage, the South of France has long been a magnet for travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure. In addition to its stunning landscapes and captivating cities, the South of France is famous for its exquisite cuisine and world-class wines. From the fresh seafood of the Mediterranean coast to the aromatic herbs of Provence, the region's gastronomy is a celebration of flavor and refinement. Visitors can savor traditional Provençal dishes, indulge in delectable pastries, and explore the renowned vineyards producing esteemed wines such as Côtes de Provence and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The South of France is a destination that beckons with its natural beauty, cultural riches, and joie de vivre. Whether it's lounging on pristine beaches, immersing oneself in history and art, or savoring the flavors of the Mediterranean, this enchanting region offers a truly unforgettable experience.
When to Road Trip in the South of France
The South of France is a delightful destination to explore year-round. The spring and autumn months (April to June and September to October) offer pleasant weather, smaller crowds, and vibrant landscapes. However, the summer season (July to August) provides an opportunity to experience the lively atmosphere and enjoy the region's stunning beaches.
Road Trip Itinerary Suggestions
Here are some suggestions for your 7-day road trip in the South of France:
- Day 1: Nice
- Day 2: Cannes
- Day 3: Saint-Tropez
- Day 4: Marseille
- Day 5: Avignon
- Day 6: Arles
- Day 7: Aix-en-Provence
The South of France Road Trip Itinerary:
Day 1: Nice
Start your road trip in Nice, a vibrant city nestled on the French Riviera. Known for its mix of Mediterranean charm and cosmopolitan atmosphere, Nice offers a range of attractions to explore. Begin by immersing yourself in the charming Old Town, Vieille Ville, with its narrow streets, colorful buildings, and lively atmosphere. Spend time wandering through the bustling Cours Saleya market, where you can find an array of local produce, flowers, and artisanal goods.
Take a leisurely stroll along the famous Promenade des Anglais, a seaside promenade that stretches along the Baie des Anges. Enjoy the stunning views of the azure waters and the pebble beaches, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of beachside cafes and restaurants. For panoramic views of the city, make your way up to Castle Hill (Colline du Château), either by climbing the stairs or taking the elevator. From the top, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Nice and its surroundings.
If time permits, consider visiting the tranquil Parc de la Colline du Château. This park offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city below and provides another vantage point to admire the panoramic views of Nice. Take a leisurely stroll through the park, relax on one of the benches, and enjoy the beautiful greenery.
Recommended time in Nice: Plan to spend at least a full day in Nice to explore its various attractions, soak up its atmosphere, and savor the local cuisine.
Day 2: Cannes
On your way from Nice to Cannes, consider stopping at picturesque towns such as Antibes or the stunning coastal village of Villefranche-sur-Mer. Antibes is known for its picturesque old town, vibrant markets, and the renowned Picasso Museum, where you can explore an impressive collection of artworks by the iconic artist.
Arriving in Cannes, you'll be greeted by the glitz and glamour of this world-famous city. Explore the glamorous La Croisette promenade, lined with luxury hotels, high-end boutiques, and restaurants. Take a leisurely stroll along the sandy beaches and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Visit the historic Le Suquet neighborhood, located on a hill overlooking the city, where you can wander through charming streets, discover local shops, and dine at traditional Provençal restaurants.
Immerse yourself in the world of cinema at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, the venue for the annual Cannes Film Festival. Walk in the footsteps of the stars as you explore the famous red-carpeted steps and visit the exhibition area, where you can learn more about the festival's history and see memorabilia from past events.
Recommended time in Cannes: Plan to spend a full day in Cannes to explore the city, relax on the beach, and indulge in its glamorous ambiance.
Day 3: Saint-Tropez
As you journey from Cannes to Saint-Tropez, consider making a detour to explore the captivating villages of Ramatuelle and Gassin. Ramatuelle, perched on a hilltop overlooking the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, offers stunning panoramic views and a charming ambiance. Explore the narrow streets lined with quaint shops and restaurants, and soak up the village's medieval charm.
Continuing to Saint-Tropez, you'll encounter a world-renowned destination that combines natural beauty with a vibrant atmosphere. Spend the day basking in the sun at the iconic Pampelonne Beach, known for its crystal-clear waters and trendy beach clubs. Explore the charming streets of the Old Town, where you can discover boutiques, art galleries, and local crafts. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the lively Place des Lices market, where you can find a variety of Provençal products, fresh produce, and local specialties.
In the evening, experience the vibrant nightlife of Saint-Tropez. The city boasts a wealth of trendy bars, clubs, and restaurants where you can enjoy live music, sip on cocktails, and immerse yourself in the electric ambiance of this glamorous destination.
Recommended time in Saint-Tropez: Plan to spend a full day in Saint-Tropez to fully experience its beaches, explore the Old Town, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife.
Day 4: Marseille
On your way from Saint-Tropez to Marseille, consider stopping at the picturesque fishing village of Cassis or the stunning Calanques National Park. Cassis is known for its charming harbor, colorful buildings, and beautiful beach. Take a boat tour to explore the Calanques, a series of narrow inlets with striking turquoise waters and imposing cliffs.
Arriving in Marseille, you'll discover a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage. Begin by exploring the bustling Vieux Port (Old Port), a hub of activity with fishing boats, yachts, and waterfront cafes. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the quayside, soak up the vibrant atmosphere, and savor the fresh seafood offered at local restaurants.
Visit the iconic Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica, located atop a hill that offers panoramic views of Marseille and its surroundings. Marvel at the intricate details of the basilica's architecture and take in the stunning vistas from its elevated position.
For a unique experience, venture to the beautiful Frioul Archipelago. Take a short boat ride from the Vieux Port and explore the islands of Pomègues and Ratonneau, known for their crystal-clear waters, scenic trails, and historical landmarks.
Recommended time in Marseille: Plan to spend at least a full day in Marseille to explore its diverse neighborhoods, visit its iconic landmarks, and savor the local cuisine.
Day 5: Avignon
As you travel from Marseille to Avignon, take the time to visit the enchanting town of Aix-en-Provence. Known for its elegant streets, beautiful architecture, and vibrant cultural scene, Aix-en-Provence offers a delightful experience. Stroll along the lively Cours Mirabeau, lined with cafes, boutiques, and fountains. Visit the renowned Atelier Cézanne, the former studio of the famous painter, where you can see his works and gain insights into his artistic process.
Arriving in Avignon, you'll be greeted by the grandeur of the Palace of the Popes, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the immense fortress and learn about its historical significance. Wander across the Pont d'Avignon bridge over the Rhône River, an iconic landmark associated with the famous song. Explore the charming streets of the historic city center, where you'll find a mix of boutiques, cafes, and art galleries.
Indulge in the local cuisine at traditional restaurants, savoring Provençal specialties such as ratatouille, bouillabaisse, and lavender-infused desserts.
Recommended time in Avignon: Plan to spend a full day in Avignon to explore its historical sites, wander through its charming streets, and savor the local gastronomy.
Day 6: Arles
On your way from Avignon to Arles, consider visiting the picturesque village of Les Baux-de-Provence or the breathtaking Camargue Natural Regional Park. Les Baux-de-Provence, perched on a rocky outcrop, offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Explore the village's medieval streets, visit the ruins of the old castle, and immerse yourself in the unique art installations at the Carrières de Lumières.
Arriving in Arles, you'll step into a town renowned for its rich artistic heritage. Visit the well-preserved Roman Amphitheatre, where you can imagine the spectacles that once took place within its walls. Explore the fascinating exhibits at the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, dedicated to the life and works of the famous painter who found inspiration in the town. Don't miss a trip to Luma Arles arts center if you are interested in architecture! Here you will find the stunning building designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry.
Take a leisurely stroll through the streets of Arles, lined with charming buildings and dotted with vibrant squares. Admire the architecture and immerse yourself in the town's artistic ambiance.
Recommended time in Arles: Plan to spend a full day in Arles to explore its historical sites, appreciate its artistic heritage, and savor its local charm.
Day 7: Aix-en-Provence
As you head towards Aix-en-Provence, take the time to discover the scenic Luberon region or the stunning Gorges du Verdon. The Luberon region is renowned for its picturesque villages, including Gordes, Roussillon, and Lourmarin. Gordes offers stunning views from its hilltop location, Roussillon boasts vibrant ochre cliffs and charming streets, and Lourmarin showcases a beautiful Renaissance castle and a lively atmosphere.
Arriving in Aix-en-Provence, you'll find yourself in a city known for its elegance and artistic heritage. Wander through the elegant streets, lined with elegant mansions and boutique shops. Explore the charming Old Town and visit the vibrant markets, where you can find local produce, crafts, and regional specialties.
Stroll along the iconic Cours Mirabeau, a tree-lined boulevard filled with cafes and fountains. Visit the renowned Atelier Cézanne, where the famous painter worked, and gain insights into his artistic process.
Savor the vibrant atmosphere of Aix-en-Provence and indulge in the local gastronomy at traditional Provençal restaurants, offering a wide array of culinary delights.
Recommended time in Aix-en-Provence: Plan to spend a full day in Aix-en-Provence to explore its elegant streets, visit its attractions, and indulge in its lively ambiance and gastronomy.
Throughout your road trip, allow flexibility in your itinerary to immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings, discover hidden gems, and create unforgettable memories along the way.
The South of France Road Trip on the map
To help you keep track of all the places you want to visit while you are on the road, we have plotted out all the best cities, restaurants and off the beaten path places in the South of France in the Viewbound app! All you need to do is download it from the app store and start exploring! Follow local guides to their favourite places, get information about different spots, and even book your next hotel!
Download the Viewbound app to find all these spots and hundreds more hidden gems in the South of France!
The Best Road Trip Stops in the South of France:
Situated just east of Nice, Villefranche-sur-Mer is a gem of a seaside village. Its colorful streets wind down towards the picturesque harbor, offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade, explore the charming Old Town, and soak up the relaxed atmosphere. Villefranche-sur-Mer is easily accessible by car and offers parking facilities near the town center.
Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, Ramatuelle exudes a captivating charm. This medieval village offers breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards and coastline. Wander through the narrow streets, admire the well-preserved architecture, and visit the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame. Ramatuelle is located about 10 kilometers southwest of Saint-Tropez and can be reached by a scenic drive along the D93 road.
Situated just a short distance from Saint-Tropez, Gassin is a quaint village perched on a hilltop. Explore the narrow cobblestone streets, adorned with vibrant flowers and charming boutiques. Enjoy panoramic views of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez from the village square, and savor local Provençal cuisine at one of the traditional restaurants. Gassin is easily accessible by car and offers parking facilities near the village center.
Cassis:Located on the Mediterranean coast, Cassis is famous for its stunning Calanques, which are dramatic limestone cliffs and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Take a boat tour to explore the Calanques and admire their breathtaking beauty. Wander through the charming harbor lined with colorful buildings and enjoy fresh seafood at the waterfront restaurants. Cassis is approximately 30 kilometers southeast of Marseille and can be reached by a scenic coastal drive.
Antibes is a charming coastal town located between Nice and Cannes. Its picturesque old town, known as Vieil Antibes, offers narrow streets lined with pastel-colored buildings and a bustling Provençal market. Don't miss the chance to visit the renowned Picasso Museum, located in the Château Grimaldi. Antibes is easily accessible by car via the A8 motorway, and there are parking options available in the town center.
Perched on a rocky outcrop in the heart of Provence, Les Baux-de-Provence is a medieval village that offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Explore the narrow streets, visit the ruins of the old castle, and discover the unique art installations at the Carrières de Lumières. Les Baux-de-Provence is located in the Alpilles Mountains, about 15 kilometers northeast of Arles, and can be reached by a short drive through the picturesque countryside.
Camargue Natural Regional Park
The Camargue is a unique wetland area located on the Rhône River delta, known for its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife. Explore the marshlands, spot flamingos and wild horses, and take in the beauty of the salt pans and lagoons. The park is accessible by car via the A54 motorway, and there are several visitor centers where you can obtain maps and information.
The Luberon region is renowned for its picturesque villages nestled in the Luberon Mountains. Gordes, Roussillon, and Lourmarin are among the must-visit villages in this area. Gordes offers stunning views from its hilltop location, Roussillon is known for its vibrant ochre cliffs and charming streets, while Lourmarin boasts a beautiful Renaissance castle and a lively atmosphere. The Luberon region is accessible by car, and each village has parking facilities available.
Gorges du Verdon
The Gorges du Verdon is Europe's largest canyon, renowned for its striking turquoise waters and towering cliffs. Marvel at the dramatic landscapes as you drive along the scenic Route des Crêtes, which offers breathtaking viewpoints. Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and swimming in the pristine waters of the Verdon River. The Gorges du Verdon can be accessed by car, and there are several entry points and parking areas throughout the area.
Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard is an impressive Roman aqueduct that spans the Gardon River. Admire the architectural marvel and learn about its history at the onsite museum. Enjoy a walk along the riverbanks and picnic in the scenic surroundings. The Pont du Gard is located near Nîmes and can be reached by car, with parking facilities available.
These road trip stops in the South of France offer a mix of natural beauty, historical charm, and cultural experiences, making them unforgettable highlights of your journey. Enjoy the freedom of the open road as you explore these unique destinations and create memories to last a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to drive to the South of France?
Driving to the South of France is convenient, with well-connected highways. Most visitors travel through the A6, A7, or A8 motorways, depending on their starting point.
Is it easy to drive in the South of France?
Driving in the South of France is generally straightforward, but cities may have congested areas and limited parking options. It's recommended to research parking facilities and traffic regulations in advance.
Where to fly into the South of France?
Nice Côte d'Azur Airport is a major international airport serving the South of France, offering excellent connections to various destinations in the region.
How long does it take to drive to the South of France?
Driving times vary depending on your starting point. From Paris, it takes approximately 8-9 hours to reach the South of France by car.
What are the best places to visit in the South of France?
Some of the best places to visit in the South of France include Nice, Cannes, Saint-Tropez, Marseille, Avignon, Arles, and Aix-en-Provence.
Overview: Road Trip in the South of France
Embarking on a 7-day road trip in the South of France allows you to explore the stunning landscapes, immerse yourself in rich cultural heritage, and indulge in the region's culinary delights. From the glitz of Cannes to the charm of Aix-en-Provence, this road trip promises an unforgettable journey through one of the most picturesque regions in France. Pack your bags, hit the road, and create lasting memories along the way.