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The South of France Road Trip Itinerary You Need (...

The South of France Road Trip Itinerary You Need (10 Days)

Planning the perfect South of France road trip? Look no further. This ultra-detailed 10 days in South of France itinerary will show you the best of the French Riviera, Provence, and Camargue.

With its rustic countryside, wine regions, and scenic beaches, it’s hard not to fall in love with the South of France. It’s no surprise why it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world! This area of France in fact requires little to no introduction… but let’s go through what you’ll get to see in this 10 days in South of France.

Table of Contents

Camargue, Provence, and French Riviera Itinerary: an introduction

The South of France is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, and it encompasses the hinterland and the French Mediterranean coastline. It’s also close to the borders to Italy and Spain, which is the perfect excuse to explore more if you’re up to cross-country road trips.

READ ALSO: 9 Epic Road Trips in France for Your Bucket List

This area is divided into two main regions: Provence-Alpes-Cote d’ Azur and Languedoc Rousillon. Summer is, as you can imagine, the busiest time of the year within the coastal region. But aside from the beaches, the variety of landscapes and climates will give you something new to look forward to even if it’s not your first visit.

The French Riviera makes up only a small portion of the Southern France region. This is a thin coastal strip that is quite packed in the summer, but since the French Riviera is located at the bottom of a rocky coastline, you can still find some quiet and secluded spots along the beach.

Then you’ve got the mountainous hinterland. This is another picturesque part of the region which consists of small villages and towns. There are plenty of houses perched on a hillside or located right next to a trickling river. They are like fairytale villages, no doubt.

If you want to stay away from the burning heat and the crowds, it’s best to head inland. The hills of Provence will provide you with the perfect quiet escape. On top of that, Provence is also known for its history. You can head there to see the famous bridge of Avignon, or the Roman remains in Arles.

The western region of South France features tons of sandy beaches.This region is also less crowded than the French Riviera (even in the summer), so it’s perfect for those who want to experience the best beaches in the South of France minus the crowds.

Finally, the Languedoc area of South France is where you will find the Pyrenees region. This area is shared by France and Spain. If you’re into hiking and active holidays, there are quite a few hiking trails available in the French Pyrenees.

To plan your perfect holiday to the South of France, follow this 10-day itinerary so you can see the best of what this region has to offer. Without a doubt, this is one of the best road trips in Europe you can take!

Day 1 | Get Lost in Nice

There is more to Nice than the world-famous shoreline. Nice is a city filled with history, culture, and art – enough to keep you occupied for days. But if you only have a day to spend in Nice, there are a few notable attractions that are a must-see – I’ll get to those.

But first, you need to plan how to get to Nice. Regardless of where you are in France, it’s easy to get to Nice because the city is connected to various parts of France via the SNCF train network. There is also a high-speed train known as TGV train that comes from Paris, but I’d recommend you to book ahead of time, especially if you’re traveling during the summer.

➤ I usually use Omio (formerly GoEuro) to book train and bus tickets when traveling through Europe. This is a reliable company, and I’ve found that it usually has the best deals for transportation in Europe. BOOK YOUR TRAIN TICKET HERE

Otherwise, if you’re flying in, the closest international airport from Nice is within 8 kilometers. You can either take the public bus from the airport, or book in advance a private transfer.

The Old Town is a good place to start exploring Nice, as this neighborhood is a favorite by locals and tourists alike. While there are a few tourist traps, you can also experience farmer markets, churches, local shops, bars, and authentic French restaurants.

Another free attraction in Nice is the Place Massena. This is the main square in Nice and is centrally located. Place Massena features a seafront, shopping street, and the lovely Massena gardens. Be enthralled by the hypnotic tile work in the square.

If you are after gorgeous views, head to the Castle Hill. Even though the majority of the castle has crumbled, it is worth walking up to reach the peak of this hill. You will be rewarded with sweeping views of Nice along with the Baie de Anges.

Another great idea is to take a one-hour sightseeing cruise to the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer. From the boat you’ll be able to see the legendary Promenade des Anglais from the Baie des Anges and go wow at the magnificent villas of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Another popular way to visit Nice when you have limited time is to join a guided tour of Nice by Segway. You’ll have tons of fun while the guide will point you to all the highlights. You can choose between a 1-hour tour and a 2-hour grand tour. Or again, if Segway isn’t your thing, what about a panoramic 2-hour tour by e-bike?

If you have more time, you can also check out the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

➤ When you are ready to go on a night cap, there are plenty of accommodation options, some of which are an attraction on its own. For luxury travelers, Hotel Negresco and Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée are good options. There are also many boutique hotels in Nice such as La Malmaison Nice and Hotel Suisse.

BEST LUXURY HOTEL IN NICE: Hotel Negresco
BEST BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN NICE: La Malmaison Nice Boutique Hotel
BEST BUDGET HOTEL IN NICE:
Hotel Parisien

But if you’re traveling with the family or in a group of friends, you can consider splashing out and rent a private villa. You could even rent one for a week in Cote d’Azur not far from Nice and organize day trips from here (most of the destinations here can be done as day trips rather than a whole itinerary).

Day 2 | An Escapade to Monte Carlo + Beautiful Villages and Sunsets

On your second day of this road trip you’ll get to visit Monaco, Eze and more. At night, you’ll get back to Nice, so don’t check out yet!

This day can be done in two ways, depending on your preference. You can either take your car and drive to all these places if you’ve rented a car yet, or you can join a tour that’ll show you everything that I mention down here. I’ve researched tours to give you the best options and here they are.

➤ The French Riviera in One Day full-day tour is the most complete (and better priced) tour I could find. In one day, you’ll get to visit Eze, Monaco, Antibes, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Cannes, and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. All in one day. BOOK IT HERE

➤ Otherwise, you can take a half-day tour so you’ll have more time to relax and explore Nice. On this 5-hour tour you’ll visit Eze, a medieval village, the marvelous principality of Monaco, and the circuit of Formula 1. BOOK IT HERE

9 am: Visit the Richest Country in the World

On your second day of exploring South of France, make Monaco your first destination.

➤ It takes approximately 30-40 minutes to get to Monaco from Nice via Highway A8 and D6007, and there’s no border control between France and Monaco.

➤ Another fun way to reach Monaco is by ferry. The cruise takes about one hour and you can take in the panoramic views of this scenic region. You can book here your round-trip ferry tickets.

➤ One last option is to join a tour from Nice. This guided half-day tour of Monaco includes transportation and will show you the Monte Carlo Casino, the Prince Palace, and more.

The city of Montecarlo is walkable so it’sis a good idea to explore it on foot where you might stumble upon hidden gems along the way. Since Monaco is quite hilly, another good idea to ride the hop-on-hop-off buses in the city.  In any case, getting around is easy since Monaco is quite small.

Make ‘The Rock’ your first stop in Monaco, the oldest section of Monaco. Don’t miss the changing of the guard ceremony at the Prince Palace. If you want to take a look at the apartments inside the palace, you can also do so for the price of 8 Euros. Another reason to visit ‘The Rock’ is that you can take magnificent shots of the port with the luxurious yachts – that iconic view of Monaco.

Make your next stop The Temple of the Sea, or better known as The Oceanographic Museum. Located on a rocky cliff, this museum is worth visiting for what is displayed in it (over 2000 species!), and for the views of the Mediterranean Sea from the cliff. Kids and adults alike will love it. You can buy your tickets here.

Lastly… no visit to Monaco is complete without going to the casino. It’s not every day that you get a chance to marvel at fancy cars and expensive things. Whether or not you are into gambling, or you simply want to marvel at the grandeur of the casino, it is a must-try experience.

➤ Want to feel like a millionaire for half a day? Why not taking a helicopter sightseeing flight over Monaco, or drive a Ferrari or a Lamborghini on the panoramic roads of the French Riviera?

3 pm: The Medieval Village of Eze

From Monaco, if you are driving you can get on the road again and head towards Eze. It will only take roughly 15 minutes to drive so you can experience and explore the most stunning hilltop village in the French Riviera – Eze. This charming medieval village is another great stop on this day trip from Nice, and it’s located atop a cliff that is right between Nice and Monaco. 

Eze can also be reached via the popular Nietzsche Trail. This village is like a labyrinth – you will find yourself lost amidst cobbled streets, narrow alleyways, art shops, and galleries. This village is over 1,500 years old and walking around it, you can feel and see every bit of that history.

For a small hilltop village, there are surprisingly many things you can see. The Exotic Botanic Garden is one of them. This sculpture park and garden is home to a rich variety of cacti, succulents, and rare vegetation you can only find here. The rich and verdant green environment is beautifully suspended 400 meters above sea level!

Once you are done exploring the gardens, take the time to walk around the old village. You will be seduced by the beauty of Eze, with its ancient fountains, old stone houses, and amazing archways.

If you are tired of exploring, how about you grab something to drink at Chateau de la Chevre d’Or? While the coffee and drinks are. I’ll be honest, pretty expensive, the views of the 3,000-foot cliff will make every euro spent worth it.

Sitting proudly at the heart of this charming village is the Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Church. You will easily identify this church with its yellow and azure paint. Showcasing the colors of the French Riviera, it would be hard to miss this landmark.

5 pm: Beach Bums + Sunset Views at Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

Got more time left in your day? It is time to hit the road again and drive towards Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat is not as known as other destinations in the French Riviera so it’s less crowded, but it still comes with the South of France price tag – aka expensive! But apart from the holiday yachts and luxurious resorts, there are plenty of free things to do and cheap attractions to check out on your day trip.

Paloma Beach is one of the must-see destinations in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. This is more of a rocky beach but for around 20 euros, you can get a beachside seat to lounge in for the day while enjoying the sunset views of the Mediterranean Sea. If you want a break from the beach, you can walk along the cliff ledge and marvel at the seaside villas.

You can also live it up in South of France by renting a boat. There are plenty of boat operators that will give you a chance to cruise for several hours and enjoy a few stops such as the island of Sainte Marguerite.

After a day of exploring the sights and attractions at Monaco, Eze, or Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, you can head back to Nice to prepare for another day.

Day 3 | Charming Villages & Beautiful Beaches

On day 3 of this South France itinerary, you’ll get to see the charming towns of Saint Paul de Vence and Grasse, make your own perfume if you want to and relax at the beach. The next day will be all about the glitzy towns of Cannes and Antibes.

Two days will give you enough time to explore all this place at a relaxed pace. However, if you’re short in time, you could potentially combine day 3 and 4 by joining a tour.

9 am: Discover the charm of Saint Paul de Vence

On the third day of exploring the South France region, you can start by driving half an hour to Saint Paul de Vence, a village bigger than Eze.

The moment you enter the gates to get to the village, it feels like you are warping into a different world. Beautiful is an understatement. The narrow cobbled streets, the floral-decorated buildings, and the beautiful views – these are the elements that you expect to find in a charming French town, aren’t they? I’d say spending 3 hours would be enough to see and experience what this town could offer.

During your exploration, don’t forget to drop by some of the local restaurants like Le Tilleul and La Fromagerie. It would be the perfect choice if you want to taste local cuisines, cheeses, and wines. And of course, you cannot afford to miss the famous gelato at Dolce Italia!

12 pm: Smell the Parfumes of Grasse

After strolling around Saint Paul de Vence, it is time to make your way to Grasse. It’s another short trip to get there (approximately 35 minutes). Grasse os another small town (with about 50,000 residents) located at the inland portion of the Mediterranean.

Grasse made a name for itself in the perfume industry – in fact, it’s known as the perfume capital of the world! There are many flower fields in this town, which is why it’s the perfect spot for perfume factories to base in.

If you want to explore this side of the town’s history, be sure to check out Fragonard Perfume Factory, located at the edge of the Old Town in Grasse. There is a museum with guided tours on-site, and a gift shop where you can buy their locally made perfumes.

Aside from the perfume factory, there are plenty of other attractions to check out as you explore Grasse. Some of the best ones include the 13th century Notre Dame Du Puy Cathedral, International Perfume Museum, and the Museum of Provencal Clothing and Jewelry. If you are hungry from all that sightseeing, you can go to the Old Town. There is a high concentration of pizza parlors you can check out to satisfy your cravings. 

4 pm: Get Tanned at La Garoupe Beach

From Grasse, you can head to your final stop for the day – La Garoupe Beach. It is another 30-minute drive to get there. 

Plage de la Garoupe is a collection of beaches in Antibes at the eastern portion of the peninsula. If you arrive in the afternoon, you will be able to catch enough of the famed Mediterranean rays as you lounge in any of the private or public yet secluded beaches in town. Spend a little while longer to witness the gorgeous Mediterranean sunset. 

As night comes, it’s time to head to Antibes where you’ll spend the night.

BEST LUXURY HOTEL IN ANTIBES: Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat
BEST BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN ANTIBES: Villa Fabulite
BEST HOSTEL IN ANTIBES: Glamorgan

Day 4 | Glitzy Towns and Adorable Islands

9 am: Go for a Stroll Through the Cobblestone Streets of Antibes

With one morning to spend in Antibes, it’s better to get up bright and early! This town is easy to be explored on foot. Make the waterfront your first destination where you can find mega yachts anchored along the dock. When you are done relishing the waterfront views, you can head to the Old Town to check out the old charm of Antibes with its cobblestone streets.

Another area that is perfect for a leisurely walk is the Provencal Market, which is considered as one of the top markets in the South of France, with traditional fruits and vegetables on display.

If you have a taste for culture, use this opportunity to drop by the Picasso Museum. It’ s located in the seaside Chateau Grimaldi and is known as the first museum in the world to be dedicated to Picasso.

When you are done exploring Antibes, head over to Cannes – another super famous resort town in the French Riviera. The town is best known for the Cannes International Film Festival. But there is more to the Cannes than this festival. You can drive to Cannes from Antibes in less than half an hour. 

12pm: Take a Ferry to Ile Saint-Marguerite

When you get to Cannes, head straight for the Cannes Port. Just like Antibes, the harbor and port area boasts of a picturesque scene. If you have some time to spare, get off the coast towards Saint-Marguerite. There are boats that run very often during the summer and it will only take 15 minutes to get there.

BOOK HERE your round-trip ferry ticket from Cannes to Ste. Marguerite Island.

Once you reach the island of Saint-Marguerite, you can explore the old fortress that houses the prison from the movie Man in the Iron Mask ( Fort Royal).

If you are a fan of the movie, this gives you added incentive to travel to the island. There is also a village on the island filled with flower-decorated houses that are as charming as they are historical. If you’re hungry, there is a restaurant on the island where the great food is matched with an equally stunning view of the sea.

While you might have already visited the Picasso Museum in Antibes, there is another notable museum to visit on the island: Musee de la Mer. The Maritime Museum, as it is more commonly known as, is located within the grounds of Fort Royal. This is a marine archaeological museum that showcases goods that were salvaged from various shipwrecks in the region. You can also stop by the very same cell wherein the Main in the Iron Mask was held in.

4 pm: Discover Glitzy Cannes

If you ride the jetty back to the main island of Cannes, you will be dropped off at Port Cannes. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants in the area to check out, if you are in need of refreshments.

From there, you can walk to the Le Suquet, which is known as the old quarter of Cannes. This quarter is over 400 years old and is home to the original fishing village. Be enthralled by the old-time charm with its narrow alleyways, quaint shops, and cobbled lanes. It has nothing to do with that image of the yachts that everyone has when they think about Cannes.

Another cool thing to do in Cannes, if you want to spend an extra day here and relax, is going on a half-day catamaran cruise in the Bay of Cannes. You’ll take in the breathtaking views of the glamorous French Riviera + there’ll be time for snorkeling and swimming. You can even upgrade to a cruise with lunch if you are feeling fancy!

If you are looking for a more hip and modern atmosphere, go to Boulevard de la Croisette. This area is a few meters’ walk from the Palais des Festivals. You can take a break at one of the coffee shops and go people-watching. The Bay of Cannes is the perfect spot in Cannes to watch the day come to an end. Unlike most of the beaches in Nice, this one offers a fine, sandy beach.

You can spend your night in Cannes as there is a row of luxurious and boutique hotels along Boulevard de la Croisette. If you look around, you can also find budget-friendly hostels, if you want to keep your budget tight.

BEST LUXURY HOTEL IN CANNES: Hotel Martinez – in the Unbound Collection by Hyatt
BEST BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN CANNES: Hotel Verlaine

Day 5 | The Glamour of the French Riviera at Its Best

For another day in the South of France, get ready for another day trip to two of the must-see destinations in the French Riviera: Saint Tropez and Hyeres. From Cannes, you can drive to Saint Tropez via A8 highway for an hour and a half.

9 am: Pastel Buildings & Yachts in Saint Tropez

St. Tropez is a name that evokes images of celebrities, luxurious resorts, and extravagant yachts. While this town is now known for its affiliation with celebrities and luxury, it was once a humble fishing village. It was when the town was featured as a location for the 1955 film “Et Dieu Crea la Femme” that the town became popular as a seaside resort. The sunny weather and mild Mediterranean waters helped to contribute to its popularity.

When in St. Tropez, don’t forget to visit Vieux Port – the heart of St. Tropez. This is the location of the old fishing village, which is now transformed into an idyllic port with fishing boats and yachts in the harbor. Along the harbor are pastel-colored houses and buildings along with some lively cafes. You can also find many local artists selling their work depicting the picturesque harbor by the water’s edge.

One café that is highly recommended near the port and harbor is Café Senequeir. It is easy to spot with its red façade and awnings. With its strategic location, it is a great spot to freshen up with a drink.

Aside from the idyllic seafront, make sure you head to the Old Town (also known as La Ponche) to do more exploration. Many consider it as the most picturesque area in Saint Tropez. A portion of the Old Town has been dedicated as a pedestrian zone so it is easy to walk around and explore its narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets.

You will find restaurants, boutiques, and other kinds of shops. Make the Rue de la Citadelle as your start-off point until you find the 18th-century Eglise de Notre-Dame de l’Assumption. This church rises above the St. Tropez skyline with its Baroque bell tower.

Another favorite for tourists in St. Tropez is the Musee de l’Annonciade. The building for the art museum was once the Chapel of the Annunciation. This museum is home to a wide range of impressionistic paintings from artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Paul Signac, Henri Matisse, and Georges Braque, among others.

If you want to get a glimpse of the historical and military past of the town, head over to the citadel. This citadel is located atop the village of St. Tropez since it was built in the 1600s. The ship’s cannon is the most notable feature of the citadel along with the hexagonal fortress, which has now been turned into the Museum of Maritime History.

After the cultural and historical explorations, check out one of the many sandy beaches in St. Tropez. Among the free and public beaches are Plage de Bouillabaisse and Plage des Canoubiers. These beaches are popular with locals and tourists. With the sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, restaurants, and snack bars in the area, there is no better place to relax by the beach.

2 pm: An Afternoon for Foodies in Hyeres

If you are done exploring St. Tropez, you can head to what is referred to by many as the original French Riviera – Hyeres. It is approximately an hour’s drive away from St. Tropez, but it is worth that time spent driving as you will unravel a hidden gem. From the royalties to the artistic folks, it is a favorite place to hideaway for the rich and famous during winter.

Start your journey of exploring Hyeres at the Old Town, or known locally as Vieille Ville. Bear witness to the architectural grandeur of the Knights Templar Tower at the Old Town. You can also marvel your way around the three concentric city walls.

As you weave your way through the narrow streets and alleys of the Old Town, don’t forget to drop by the delis, wine bars, and bakeries that are sprinkled at every corner. And speaking of wine bars, with 17 wineries in Hyeres, it would be futile to attempt to leave Hyeres without sampling a taste of the local wine.

If you have more time, head to the bustling farmers market at the Ave Gambetta. This is your best chance to immerse into the local way of life by shopping seasonal produce from the region. You can then take whatever you could find at the farmers market for a picnic at the Olbius Riquier Park. This park boasts of 7 hectares of landscaped gardens, which is the most picturesque picnic setting you will ever find in France.

When evening comes in Hyeres, you can head beachside to find an array of restaurants serving local fares and international cuisines. There are also several happening bars to check out if you want to party the night away. You can spend the night in Hyeres as there are several beach-side accommodations. But for an atmospheric stay, head to the Old Town to find many awe-inspiring hotels and villas to stay in for the night.

The secret’s out of the bag – Hyeres is a noteworthy destination if you are looking for the best day trips in South of France.

Day 6 | The Provence You’ve Always Dreamt of

Waking up in Hyeres is a great way to live it up in South of France. But your 10-day itinerary is not done yet. On day 6, you must drive your way for nearly two hours from Hyeres to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie via A57 highway. This is a popular itinerary that you can follow so you can see the highlights of this region.

9 am: Visit the Enchanting Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Listed as one of the “most beautiful villages” in France, there is so much to expect when you visit Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. This charming village is located on a narrow notch at the foot of rocky, limestone cliffs. It has all of the elements of a Provencal village – narrow alleys, cobble streets, elaborate fountains, little squares, faience workshops, and pretty houses.

The Lombard Romanesque bell tower is an imposing figure on this small yet picturesque village. But apart from all of these, the town is also best known for its ceramic production. You can also visit a museum with a massive collection of fine glazed earthenware that dates back to the 17th century.

11 am: Take Pictures of the Instagram-Worthy Lavender Fields in Valensole

The lavender fields in Valensole are another notable stop along this route. These lavender fields have been featured in many Instagram shots and its popularity is undeniable. When you are done taking photos of the lavender fields, you can head out to one of many lavender producers in the region. Use this opportunity to learn about how the lavenders are processed and used in the manufacture of essential oils and other products.

To experience the height of the beauty of the lavender fields, time your visit when it is in full bloom. You can visit the lavender fields of Provence around end of June to mid-August. The peak of the blooming season is in July. This is how you can guarantee that you will capture the purple, summer-y best of the iconic lavender fields.

1 pm: Sail Through the Gorges du Verdon

Your day trip in the region will end with a visit to the largest river canyon in France – Gorges du Verdon (or Verdon Canyon). Not only is this the biggest canyon, but it is also one of the most beautiful in Europe. The clear, turquoise water that flows through the canyon looks stunningly beautiful from above the cliffs that look down on the gorge. These cliffs can go as high as 700 meters (nearly double the height of the Eiffel Tower!). It really reminds me of Sumidero Canyon in Chiapas, Mexico.

If you come here, you can find many boat rental outlets on site to give you the opportunity to tour various parts of the gorge. There is no better way to spend a lovely afternoon in the French countryside than this!

Once your day trip is over, head to Aix en Provence where you will be spending the night. This is a classically Provencal town that is slow-paced and oh so charming. 

Day 7 | Another Incredible Day in Provence

8 am: Walk Around Aix en Provence

Realize your South of France dreams when you spend the night at Aix en Provence. This charming town is the best jump-off point for exploring more of the nearby towns and attractions. If you choose to spend more time exploring Aix en Provence, there are a few notable sites that you cannot afford to miss.

Start your day in Aix en Provence by exploring the historic center. The town is highly walkable so you can explore on your own, even without a guide. You can also visit the clay figures workshops that are found in the town, or check out the Granet Museum in the city center.

Another famous attraction within the city center is the Pavillon Vendome, which is an historic pavilion surrounded by a formal French garden.

11 am: Head to the Perched Village of Gordes

When you are finished touring some of the highlights in Aix en Provence, you can make your way to Gordes village. It will take about an hour’s drive to get to Gordes from Aix en Provence, when you take the A7 Highway.

Once you reach Gordes, you will be in awe by the beauty of the village. From narrow and winding streets to pastel homes, it is a picture-perfect village. The village itself is located at the foot of a castle, and is easy to get around in if you drive your own car.

The Gordes Market is one of the best places to visit, especially if you are into shopping. There are markets held every Tuesday from 8AM to 1PM. The market features a wide range of local produce and goods, such as cheeses, herbs and spices, olives, foie gras, arts and handicrafts, and more.

When you get tired from shopping, there are plenty of restaurants and tiny cafes worth checking out for an authentic French meal. Whether you are looking for a quick bite or a gourmet meal, there is something to suit your taste.

When you are in Gordes, don’t forget to visit the oldest castle in France – Chateau de Gordes. It only costs 7 Euros to be allowed entry into the castle. Take note that this castle is closed on Sundays. Plan your visit accordingly.

2,30 pm: Time For the Picture-Perfect Lavender Fields at Senanque Abbey

Once you are done exploring the highlights of Gordes, you can head to the Senanque Abbey.

This is yet another location to visit in Provence if you want to see the lavender fields. While there are many lavender fields in the South of France, this one is unique as it is the only one located next to a monastery. The Senanque Abbey is an attraction in itself with its stone walls and church bells. The lavender fields provide a nice sense of tranquility for such a solemn community for the Cistercian monks. This abbey was founded in the year 1148.

The lavender fields of Provence are a very touristy thing to do in South of France that is still highly recommended. Another case in point is Les Beaux de Provence.

4 pm: Is Les Beaux de Provence the Most Beautiful Village in France?

Many would argue that it is the most beautiful village in France, which is saying a lot given the concentration of picturesque villages in the region.

The Les Carrieres de Lumieres is one of the most unique attractions you will find in Les Beaux de Provence. It is a collection of massive digital images of popular paintings. These digital images are projected onto a wall, which forms an impressive visual spectacle. Each year, the attraction is dedicated to different works of various artists.

When you are finished exploring this unique attraction, go ahead and stroll the ancient streets of this village. You will stumble upon stunning Renaissance buildings and restored houses that are centuries old. There are also plenty of ruined castles in town that you can explore with an audio guide. When you visit the castles at Les Beaux de Provence, make sure to check out the ruins of the fortified sites as well.

When the sun sets, you can drive your way to Avignon where you will be spending the night. Take the D570N highway and the entire trip will take approximately 45 minutes.

There are plenty of options for cultural hotels in Avignon if you want to immerse in the Provencal charm. Hotel Boquier has been around since the 18th century, while Hotel Le Colbert is a charming boutique hotel situated within the walls of the Old Town.

Day 8 | History and Pink Lakes: a Camargue & Provence Itinerary

After a memorable stay in the ancient but beautiful town of Avignon, it is time to head out onto your 8th day of exploring the South of France region. Since you’re staying the night in Avignon, you might as well take advantage of the sights and attractions to see in this town.

8 am: Explore the City of Popes

To spend an amazing day in Avignon, you can start with a visit to the Palais des Papes. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was built to provide accommodation to the Pope during the time when he fled Rome. It is also the reason why the city of Avignon is nicknamed “The City of Popes”. The palace features 25 grand rooms that are open to the public to explore. The ticket costs 12.99 Pounds (as of 2018).

There is also an abundance of art museums to explore in the city, but probably none as impressive and unmissable as Musee de Petit Palais. This, too, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This museum boasts an extensive display of Italian paintings spanning the 13th to the 15th century.

If you are up for another sight-seeing in a historic site, head to Pont Saint-Benezet. Also known as Benezet Bridge, this is an iconic site in Avignon.

And as with any city or village in France, you can also stop by the local farmer’s market. The Peruse Les Halles Market is a vibrant market with a huge array of vendors offering all kinds of local produce and Provencal foods.

1 pm: The Pink Lakes of Aigues-Mortes

Once you have seen the sights and attractions of Avignon, make your way to Aigues Mortes. This lovely town is an ancient walled town. It rises from the marshes and serves as a crossroad between two canals. While the town is hidden away by imposing medieval walls on all corners, it is actually a lively town filled with bars, restaurants, and shops.

In the summertime, it is packed with tourists looking to marvel at the medieval walls, walking around the shopping district, and sample one of many tourist cafes. While you’re in town, don’t forget to buy local nougat. 

The salt water lagoon, known as Salin d’Aigues-Mortes, surrounds the southern end of the walled town. It is a unique attraction and there are tours available to see the salt marshes up-close.

3 pm: Head to the City of Van Gogh: Arles

By the afternoon, you can get on the road again and be on your way to Arles. This city is perfect for those who like to combine art in their travels.

While Arles might be best known for Van Gogh, there is more to this romantic city. Since this was once the settlement of ancient Greeks, Romans, and Celts, you will find many ancient ruins in Arles. 

The Rhone River is a picturesque natural attraction in Arles, which is believed as part of the inspiration that was used by Van Gogh in his paintings.

Aside from sightseeing in the Rhone River, Place du Forum is another noteworthy attraction to add to your day trip itinerary. This is a ruin so you will only see a fraction of the original Roman forum. But knowing that there are still remnants of the ancient structure that was built during the 1st century AD is impressive, especially for history buffs.

When in Arles, make sure to visit Café Van Gogh at 11 Place du Forum. This is a perfectly beautiful spot to experience the artistic legacy of the city while enjoying a lovely French meal. Other ruins that you cannot afford to miss in Arles include the Arles Amphitheater, Theatre Antique, and the Baths of Constantine.

You can spend the night in Arles with its eclectic array of accommodation options. This will give you an excuse to spend your night having some drinks at Hotel Nord Pinus or Hotel Jules Cesar at 9 Boulevard des Lices.

Day 9 | Boat Adventures + Pastel-Colored Dreams

For your 9th day of exploring the South of France region, you will be driving from Arles to the Parc National de Calanque. Wake up bright and early because it’s a one hour and a half drive, and you don’t want to waste all the morning, right?

9 am: It’s Adventure Time at Calanques National Park

Riding a boat is the only way to gain access to the Calanques National Park together with biking, but you’ve got two choices here.

➤ You can drive to the Port of Cassis and buy directly here a tour. There are three different types of tours to choose from, depending on your preferred length. However, there might be some pretty long lines in you’re visiting in the summer, so keep this into consideration.

➤ Otherwise, you can book a tour in advance to save time. Most tours depart from Marseille, and the drive from Arles to Marseille takes a little less, around one hour.

The Catamaran Cruise & Lunch is the bestseller tour on GetYourGuide (the platform I personally use to book tours all around the world). Sail up the coast of the Calanques National Park on board a catamaran, and you’ll get to swim and snorkel in this paradise. The cruise departs at 11 AM , so you have plenty of time to get to Marseille from Arles. BOOK IT HERE

This French national park is known for its unparalleled beauty, and it’s made up of land and marine area. Some of the best features of the park are the Cosquer Cave, Calanque de Sormiou, Calanque de Sugiton, and more.

If you’re more of an adventurous person, the main attractions in the Parc National de Calanques are best explored by kayaking or by hiking. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to spot a few daredevils cliff diving from atop the cliffs or abseiling. For those who like to experience the marine life, you can also try snorkeling and scuba diving.

➤ Active travelers should also check out this 3-hour scenic guided e-bike tour. You’ll get to cycle along the narrow inlets between limestone mountains and the sea. Sweaty? Yes. Worth it? More.

4 pm: Check Out the Candy-Colored Buildings of Cassis

Once your adventurous spirit had its fill, you can drive back to Cassis – a stunning Provencal town.

Located along the Mediterranean coastline, Cassis was once the a Roman settlement. Spend an idyllic afternoon by the Port de Cassis.

This part of the town is postcard-ready with the candy colored buildings reflected onto the Mediterranean sea. You can wander around the moored boats and relive what this town once looked like during the time when it was still a fishing village.

You can also spend the afternoon lounging by the beach. There is one close to the port and you can also find many of them dotted throughout the town.

Once you are done swimming or getting tanned, head back into town and sample local food and drink. Crème de Cassis is a popular delicacy that you must try – it’s a sweet liqueur that is made using black currant.

And what is a French town without the Middle Ages chateau? At this town, Chateau de Cassis (Cassis Castle) is one to see. This 9th century chateau is perched on top of a cliff; it’s actually been converted into a private hotel so it’s not open to the public, but it’s still worth to check out from the outside.

If you’ve had your fill of Cassis, it is time to hit the road again and drive to Marseille. This is where you will be spending the night. But before you settle in to your hotel, there is plenty to see and do in Marseille at night. 

This merchant city comes alive at night. You can catch a live performance at a local theater, or stop by a comedic joint (there are plenty of them). Or, you can have a laid back evening enjoying some drinks at a local pub or bar. The city of Marseilles has an explosive music scene, so make sure to follow the music and check out local artists on stage.

Day 10 | End Your South of France Itinerary in Marseille

After your night living it up in Marseille, you can spend one full day exploring the other attractions in France’s second largest city. While Marseille has plenty to offer to get you occupied for days, you can focus on the best and can’t-miss attractions for your one day itinerary.

Skip your hotel breakfast and head to a nearby bakery for an authentic French breakfast. From croissants and other types of French patisseries, it’s just what you need before exploring Marseille.

➤ Since you have a full day in the city, you can start out with a guided 2-hour Segway tour or a half-day e-bike tour to learn more about the history of the city with a guide that will point you to all the major highlights.

➤ Or, you can also get shown around by a passionate local and discover the city like a true resident. This private and affordable tour will give you a great introduction to the city.

Then, you can continue exploring on your own.

Head to the Old Port of Marseille, which is located at the end of Canebiere. This natural harbor has been around since the ancient times, and was transformed into a pedestrian area in 2013.Around here check out also St. Victor’s Abbey, the Phare de Sainte Marie lighthouse, and the Roman Dock Museum.

If you are looking for a cultural attraction with some history, visit MuCEM, the Museum of the Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean. This museum is known as a center for architecture and heritage. When you visit this museum, you will be able to get a visual tour of over 2,600 years’ worth of history! There are also exhibitions held at various times of the year so there will be something new to look forward to with each visit. You can buy in advance your skip-the-line tickets here.

If you want to enjoy panoramic city views of Marseille, hike up to Notre Dame de la Garde. This is the highest point of the city and is therefore a great vantage point to soak in the gorgeous views. The hike is tough but the views definitely make it worth it. Make sure you schedule the hike here during the golden hour so you can see the city lit up at night.

Once you go back down to the city of Marseille, enjoy a wine-filled dinner. Try out L’Epuisette, Le Café des Espices, and Le Grain de Sel.

An alternative? Book a sunset dinner cruise along the coast of Marseille to really celebrate the last night of this incredible road trip. It’s going to be unforgettable!

If You Have Extra Time Don’t Miss…

Got more time to spare? No worries – the French Riviera is packed with many other attractions that you can squeeze into your itinerary.

Add one extra night in Arles and head to the Parc Naturel de Camargue. This regional natural park was established in 1970 and is currently run by a private foundation. This park was established as part of the initiative to protect the species and the marine area covered within the park.

This is one of those cases where I really recommend joining a guided tour

This park is situated right between two naturally rich areas – the Rhone River Delta and Mediterranean Sea. Sightseeing is the main thing to do here as you will encounter a variety of landscapes and natural formations such as wetland environment, lagoons, and a nature reserve.

There are also a variety of bird species to spot here, such as pink flamingos, eagles, ravens, and other birds of prey. And if you have some more time, make sure to explore the horse stables or try some horseback riding.

What’s the Best Time for a South of France Road Trip?

Timing your visit to the South of France is vital to making the most of your experience. In reality, there is really no bad time to visit this region as it has something unique to offer any time of the year. But planning is crucial so you can do and see more during your holiday.

Spring can bring in unpredictable weather. If you want to make the most of your sight-seeing at Cote d’Azur, try to avoid a visit in the early spring as those April showers can spoil your holiday. The best time to go is from May to October. You will enjoy longer days and make the most of the scenery in the region.

Summer, however, is the peak season in France (July to August). While there might be a huge influx of tourists, you can also expect more festivals and fairs around this time.

The South of France region is teeming with opportunities for sightseeing, hiking, food and wine tasting, art and culture explorations, and more. With its rich history, unmatched beauty and culture, there is no denying that a South of France road trip should be on anyone’s travel bucket list.

If you have not been, make sure to travel here and use this South of France itinerary as a guide to see the best of what the region can offer.

READ ALSO: 22 Epic European Road Trips to Take This Summer


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