17 Best Cities in the South of France You Should Visit!

Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by April Nicole

The ancient Arles Amphitheatre, a well-preserved Roman arena, under a clear blue sky, showcasing the architectural grandeur that makes it a highlight in the best cities in the South of France.
Psst! This blog post about the best cities in the south of France contains affiliate links in it which sends me a bit of extra money if you use them… at no extra cost to you. For more info, see the Disclosure Policy. Merci!

Are you looking for the best cities in the south of france to visit?

Then this is the guide for you.

Ah, the South of France, a region that epitomizes the art of fine living!

From the sun-kissed beaches to the lavender-scented hills, this part of France is a dreamy tableau, perfect for explorers and romantics alike.

Having wandered through most of its enchanting cities, I’ve personally experienced their unique charms and hidden gems. Each city is a vivid story waiting to be told, and in this guide, I’m thrilled to share these tales with you.

You can expect a journey through the South of France’s best-kept secrets and popular spots.

We’ll uncover cities that fuse historical grandeur with modern vibrancy, offering an array of experiences from culinary delights to cultural treasures.

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply in love with breathtaking landscapes, this guide promises to be your perfect travel companion.

If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of the most beautiful cities in the south of France:

Best Cities in the South of France

Toulouse – The Pink City

A serene riverside scene in Toulouse, one of the best cities in the south of France, with locals enjoying the sunshine on the grassy bank, facing historical red-brick buildings and the iconic dome of La Grave.

Toulouse, affectionately known as “La Ville Rose” (The Pink City) due to the distinctive pink terracotta bricks used in many of its buildings, is a city where history and innovation coexist harmoniously. best cities in the south of france

This vibrant city in the heart of Southern France is not only renowned for its unique architecture but also as a hub of aerospace and higher education.

The charming streets of Toulouse, lined with ancient buildings and bustling cafés, offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere that is quintessentially French.

As you wander through its historic center, you are enveloped by the city’s rich past, visible in its grand churches and the iconic Capitole de Toulouse.

The city’s proximity to the Pyrenees also makes it an ideal base for exploring the natural beauty of the region.

Key Attractions:

  • Capitole de Toulouse: The heart of the city, known for its stunning square and impressive city hall and opera house.
  • Saint-Sernin Basilica: A masterpiece of Romanesque architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Garonne Riverfront: A picturesque area perfect for leisurely strolls and enjoying the city’s relaxed ambiance.

Day Trip Suggestions:

  • The medieval city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a short drive away and offers a glimpse into the region’s past.
  • Explore the vineyards and quaint villages in the surrounding countryside for a taste of rural Southern France. Best Cities in the South of France

Travel Tips:

  • Toulouse can be visited year-round, but spring and autumn offer mild weather and fewer tourists.
  • The city’s compact size makes it ideal for exploring on foot, but it also has an efficient public transportation system.

Nice – The Heart of the French Riviera

Aerial view of Nice's Promenade des Anglais, with its iconic pebble beach along the azure Mediterranean Sea, lined with palm trees and Belle Époque architecture, a defining image of the best cities in the South of France.

Ah, Nice – a jewel of the French Riviera that has captivated my heart time and again.

As one of my all-time favorite destinations in France, Nice holds a special place in my travel memories, beckoning me back with its irresistible charm.

This enchanting city, nestled between the azure waves of the Mediterranean and the rugged hills of the Alpes-Maritimes, is a vibrant tapestry of cultural richness, culinary delights, and breathtaking scenery. best cities in the south of france

Each visit here unveils new layers, from the bustling markets brimming with local produce to the serene sunsets along the Promenade des Anglais.

Nice is more than just a picturesque city; it’s a haven where the art of French living is celebrated daily.

Strolling through the old town’s narrow lanes, I’m always mesmerized by the harmony of pastel-hued buildings, the fragrance of fresh socca in the air, and the gentle buzz of café culture.

It’s a place where history whispers from every corner, especially in the Baroque churches and the grand squares that hark back to a glamorous era. Best Cities in the South of France

Key Attractions:

  • Promenade des Anglais: A stroll along this iconic seafront avenue is a must. Lined with palm trees and offering spectacular sea views, it’s the perfect place to soak in the Riviera sun.
  • Vieille Ville (Old Town): Dive into the heart of Nice by wandering through its charming old town, with its narrow alleys, colorful markets, and the famous Cours Saleya Flower Market.
  • Local Cuisine: No visit to Nice is complete without trying the local specialties like ‘salade niçoise’, ‘ratatouille’, and the sweet ‘socca‘.

Day Trip Suggestions:

  • Visit the nearby hilltop town of Èze for breathtaking views.
  • Explore the luxury of Monaco, just a short train ride away.

👉 Check out this Monaco and Èze village small group half-day tour from Nice

Travel Tips:

  • Visiting in the shoulder seasons (spring or autumn) offers a more relaxed experience, with mild weather perfect for exploration.
  • Public transportation in Nice is efficient and user-friendly, providing an easy way to navigate the city and its surroundings.

Aix-en-Provence – The Essence of Provence

The quaint charm of Aix-en-Provence with pedestrians strolling by a classic fountain in a cobblestoned square, flanked by traditional ochre buildings with intricate ironwork, embodying the allure of the best cities in the South of France.

In the heart of Provence lies Aix-en-Provence, a city where the spirit of art and the Provençal way of life intertwine in the most enchanting ways. best cities in the south of france

Known affectionately as the “City of a Thousand Fountains,” Aix-en-Provence is a vibrant tapestry of historical architecture, bustling markets, and lively streets.

As you wander through its lanes, you’re embraced by the warmth of its sunny climate and the charm of its elegant boulevards, like the famous Cours Mirabeau.

This city, steeped in history, is not just a feast for the eyes but also for the soul.

It’s a place where the legacy of artists like Cézanne is palpable, where the scent of lavender and the sounds of lively cafés fill the air, creating an ambiance that’s both relaxing and invigorating.

Aix-en-Provence truly captures the essence of the Provençal lifestyle, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring Southern France.

Key Attractions:

  • Cours Mirabeau: A picturesque boulevard lined with cafes, fountains, and trees, perfect for a leisurely stroll.
  • Historic Architecture: From the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur to the charming old quarters, the city’s buildings are a visual journey through its rich past.
  • Art and Culture: Visit the Atelier Cézanne, where the famous painter created some of his masterpieces.

Local Experiences:

  • The markets of Aix-en-Provence offer a taste of local life, with fresh produce, flowers, and handcrafted goods.
  • The surrounding countryside, particularly the lavender fields, provides a scenic backdrop for a relaxing day trip.

Arles – A Historical Treasure

A woman stands on the steps of the ancient Roman Amphitheatre in Arles, a landmark reflecting the rich history of one of the best cities in the south of France, under a clear blue sky.

Arles, a city that pleasantly surprised me during an impromptu day trip from Montpellier, is a hidden gem in the South of France.

This small town, steeped in history and culture, captivated me beyond my expectations.

Walking through Arles is like wandering through a living museum, with its well-preserved Roman ruins and striking medieval architecture.

It’s a place where history feels tangible, from the ancient amphitheater to the cloistered confines of Saint-Trophime. best cities in the south of france

My discovery of Arles was serendipitous, a decision made on a whim, but it turned out to be a highlight of my travels in Southern France.

The city’s rich past, coupled with its vibrant present, as a hub for art and photography, makes it a fascinating destination for any history enthusiast.

Key Attractions:

  • Roman Amphitheater: An impressive testament to Arles’ ancient Roman past.
  • Saint-Trophime Church and Cloister: Exemplifying the town’s medieval religious heritage.
  • Van Gogh’s Arles: Exploring the sites that inspired many of Van Gogh’s artworks.

Cultural Highlights:

  • The annual Rencontres d’Arles photography festival, which transforms the city into a global center for photographic art.

Day Trip Suggestions:

  • The Camargue region, known for its wild landscapes and unique wildlife, is a short drive away.
  • The charming Provençal villages surrounding Arles offer a glimpse into the rural life of Southern France.

Cannes – Glamour and Film Festivals

A bustling day at the beach in Cannes with sunbathers and colorful umbrellas dotting the sandy shore, capturing the lively beach atmosphere that adds to the charm of the best cities in the South of France.

Cannes, a name that instantly conjures images of red carpets, film stars, and the glitz of the cinema, is a city that lives up to its reputation and then some.

This luminous city on the French Riviera, famed for its prestigious Cannes Film Festival, is a spectacle of cinematic glamour, attracting the crème de la crème of the film industry every year.

But the charm of Cannes extends far beyond the festival season.

With its pristine beaches, elegant boulevards, and a vibrant cultural heartbeat, Cannes offers a unique blend of luxury and laid-back Riviera lifestyle.

Here, the allure of the silver screen meets the timeless beauty of the Mediterranean.

La Croisette, Cannes’ iconic promenade, lined with haute couture shops and grand hotels, offers a stage where the city’s fashionable lifestyle is on full display.

Yet, just a stone’s throw away, the cobbled streets of Le Suquet, the old town, whisper tales of Cannes’ rich history and culture, providing a stark but beautiful contrast to the modern glamour of the city. best cities in the south of france

Key Attractions:

  • La Croisette: The heart of Cannes’ glitz and glamour, this boulevard is the perfect place to see and be seen.
  • Le Suquet (Old Town): A treasure trove of history, with quaint bistros and stunning views over the bay of Cannes.
  • Beautiful Beaches: Ideal for sunbathing, water sports, or simply soaking in the Mediterranean ambiance.

Cultural Insights:

  • Cannes is a hub of art and culture, with its calendar bustling with various festivals, art shows, and musical performances.

Day Trip Suggestions:

  • A visit to the serene Lerins Islands or a journey to the perfume capital of Grasse offers delightful contrasts to the city’s bustle.

Avignon – The Medieval Majesty

Diners at an outdoor restaurant enjoying a meal with a stunning view of the Pope's Palace in Avignon, a historic gem among the best cities in the south of France, bathed in the warm glow of sunset.

Avignon, a city steeped in history and majesty, is a testament to the grandeur of medieval France.

Enclosed by its well-preserved medieval walls, the city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasting a rich tapestry of gothic architecture and vibrant cultural heritage.

Avignon’s fame is largely due to the Palais des Papes, a symbol of the church’s influence in the 14th century. best cities in the south of france

Walking through the cobbled streets of Avignon is like traversing the pages of history, where each corner unveils a story and every square a scene from the past.

The city’s artistic spirit, echoed in its annual Festival d’Avignon, infuses the ancient stones with a contemporary pulse, making it a fascinating blend of old and new.

Key Attractions:

  • Palais des Papes: One of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe.
  • Pont Saint-Bénézet: The legendary bridge of Avignon, immortalized in the French children’s song “Sur le Pont d’Avignon.”
  • Historic Center: A labyrinth of narrow streets, filled with antique shops, galleries, and cozy cafes.

Cultural Highlights:

  • Avignon’s theater festival, one of the oldest and most famous in the world, transforms the city into a vibrant stage each summer.

Day Trip Suggestions:

  • The vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, known for their exquisite wines, are a short drive away.
  • Explore the charming Provencal towns and villages surrounding Avignon, like Gordes and Roussillon.

Saint-Tropez – A Seaside Gem

Saint-Tropez, once a humble fishing village, has transformed into one of the most glamorous and sought-after destinations on the French Riviera.

This charming town, with its iconic marina and vibrant nightlife, is synonymous with luxury and celebrity.

Yet, beneath its jet-setter allure, Saint-Tropez retains a quaint charm that endears it to visitors.

Strolling through its cobbled streets, one can discover the rich history and authentic character that define this Mediterranean paradise.

Whether it’s the allure of its crystal-clear waters, the beauty of its old town, or the allure of its chic boutiques, Saint-Tropez offers a delightful blend of old-world charm and modern luxury.

Key Attractions:

  • Old Town: The heart of Saint-Tropez, with its pastel-colored houses and quaint streets, perfect for exploring.
  • Beaches: From the famous Pampelonne Beach to secluded coves, the beaches here are perfect for relaxation and water sports.
  • Port of Saint-Tropez: The bustling port area, filled with luxury yachts and lined with cafes, offers a glimpse into the town’s glamorous lifestyle.

Local Insights:

  • Beyond its beaches and parties, Saint-Tropez is a hub for art lovers, with numerous galleries and the Musée de l’Annonciade.

Day Trip Ideas:

  • Exploring the vineyards of the Saint-Tropez peninsula or visiting the nearby hilltop villages like Gassin offers a different perspective on the region.

Verdon Natural Regional Park – A Natural Wonderland

The breathtaking Verdon Gorge with kayakers navigating the turquoise waters amidst steep cliffs and lush greenery, a testament to the natural beauty found in the best cities in the South of France.

Verdon Natural Regional Park, a stunning natural reserve in the South of France, is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

Known for its breathtaking landscapes and the turquoise waters of the Verdon Gorge, this park offers a refreshing contrast to the urban charm of Southern France’s cities.

The gorge, often referred to as the ‘Grand Canyon of Europe,’ presents an awe-inspiring spectacle with its towering cliffs and crystal-clear river.

Hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing are just a few of the activities that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the park’s natural beauty.

The park is also home to quaint villages and scenic viewpoints, providing plenty of opportunities to explore and enjoy the serene surroundings.

The diversity of flora and fauna here adds to the park’s allure, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the natural splendor of Southern France.

Key Attractions:

  • Verdon Gorge: The heart of the park, perfect for hiking, water sports, and enjoying panoramic views.
  • Lac de Sainte-Croix: A beautiful man-made lake ideal for swimming, sailing, and picnicking.
  • Picturesque Villages: Explore charming villages like Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, known for its ceramics.

Outdoor Activities:

  • The park offers a range of outdoor activities including hiking, bird watching, and exploring the lavender fields in the surrounding areas.

Travel Tips:

  • The best times to visit are late spring and early autumn when the weather is pleasant, and the natural scenery is at its most vibrant.
  • While some areas of the park are accessible by public transport, having a car provides greater flexibility to explore the less frequented spots.

Biarritz – The Jewel of the Basque Coast

The sandy beach of Biarritz lined with a colorful array of striped beach tents, against a backdrop of historic buildings and azure waters, showcasing the laid-back coastal lifestyle in the best cities in the South of France.

Biarritz, perched on the Basque coast of France, is a city that effortlessly combines natural beauty with an air of sophistication.

Known for its rugged coastline, pristine beaches, and its status as a surfing mecca, Biarritz has long been a favored retreat among European royalty and celebrities.

The city’s elegant seafront and Belle Époque architecture create a distinct atmosphere that blends historic charm with contemporary chic.

My visit to Biarritz was an experience of discovering the harmonious blend of its laid-back surf culture and the refined elegance of its seaside resorts.

This city isn’t just about catching waves; it’s a place where one can wander through lively markets, enjoy exquisite seafood, and explore the rich Basque culture and traditions.

Biarritz’s allure is undeniable, making it a must-visit destination on the French Atlantic coast.

Key Attractions: Best Cities in the South of France

  • Grande Plage: The main beach of Biarritz, popular for surfing and sunbathing.
  • Rocher de la Vierge: A famous landmark offering panoramic views of the coast.
  • The Port Vieux: The old port area, brimming with charm and lined with delightful seafood restaurants.

Cultural Insights:

  • Biarritz is at the heart of the Basque region, known for its unique culture, language, and culinary traditions.

Day Trip Suggestions:

  • Explore the nearby towns of Bayonne and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, each offering a unique glimpse into the Basque culture.
  • A short drive into the Pyrenees provides opportunities for hiking and experiencing stunning mountain landscapes.

Saint-Paul-de-Vence – An Artistic Haven

Charming cobblestone street in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, showcasing the best of southern France's architecture with ivy-covered walls and vibrant bougainvillea framing a serene view of the azure sea.

Saint-Paul-de-Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera, is a captivating blend of art, history, and stunning Mediterranean landscapes.

This picturesque hilltop town, with its well-preserved fortifications and cobblestone streets, has long been a haven for artists, writers, and filmmakers, drawn to its scenic beauty and tranquil ambiance.

The town’s art heritage is palpable at every turn, with numerous galleries, studios, and the famed Fondation Maeght adding to its cultural richness.

Saint-Paul-de-Vence’s panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the azure Mediterranean Sea are truly breathtaking, making it a perfect escape for those seeking inspiration and serenity.

The town’s artisan shops, charming cafés, and the traditional game of pétanque played by locals, further enhance the authentic Provençal experience that this town offers.

Key Attractions: Best Cities in the South of France

  • Fondation Maeght: A world-renowned modern art museum set amidst a beautiful sculpture garden.
  • Medieval Architecture: The town’s ancient walls and historic buildings are a journey through time.
  • Art Galleries: Saint-Paul-de-Vence is filled with art galleries showcasing both local and international artists.

Cultural Experiences:

  • The town’s vibrant art scene and historical setting make it a focal point for cultural festivals and events throughout the year.

Day Trip Suggestions:

  • The nearby perfume town of Grasse offers a sensory experience with its perfumes and fragrance museums.
  • Exploring the scenic Loup Valley, with its olive groves and vineyards, is a delightful way to experience the natural beauty of the region.

Travel Tips:

  • While exploring the town, comfortable walking shoes are recommended due to its hilly terrain and cobblestone streets.

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence – A Provençal Gem

Visitors wander near an ancient stone abbey surrounded by vibrant lavender fields under a sunny sky, a scene capturing the rustic charm of the best cities in the South of France.

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, nestled in the heart of the Alpilles mountain range, is a quintessential Provençal town, celebrated for its charming streets, vibrant markets, and rich historical heritage.

This picturesque town is a tapestry of lush vineyards, olive groves, and ancient ruins, making it a captivating destination for those seeking the authentic Provençal experience.

Known as the birthplace of Nostradamus and the place where Vincent van Gogh painted some of his most renowned works, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is not just a scenic locale but also a town of significant artistic and historical importance.

Its tranquil beauty and slower pace of life offer a serene escape, while its boutiques, art galleries, and cafes provide a glimpse into the contemporary life and culture of Provence.

Key Attractions:

  • Archaeological site of Glanum: Explore the remnants of this ancient Roman city.
  • Centre d’Art Présence Van Gogh: An art center dedicated to Van Gogh’s legacy.
  • Wednesday Market: Experience the local life at one of Provence’s most famous markets.

Cultural Experiences:

  • The town’s art and history are celebrated through various festivals and exhibitions throughout the year.

Day Trip Suggestions:

  • The dramatic landscapes of the Alpilles, ideal for hiking and photography.
  • Nearby towns like Les Baux-de-Provence offer additional historical sites and stunning views.

Vers-Pont-du-Gard – A Historic Marvel

Vers-Pont-du-Gard, home to the awe-inspiring Pont du Gard, stands as a majestic symbol of ancient Roman engineering and architectural skill.

This UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring an impeccably preserved aqueduct bridge, is a masterpiece of antiquity that draws visitors from around the globe.

Set amidst a picturesque landscape, the site offers more than just a window into the past; it provides scenic walking trails, a rich museum, and interactive exhibits, making it an ideal destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

The tranquil surroundings, combined with the grandeur of the aqueduct, create an atmosphere that is both educational and serene, making a visit to Vers-Pont-du-Gard a journey through time and an escape into the natural beauty of Southern France.

Key Attractions:

  • Pont du Gard: An iconic three-tiered Roman aqueduct, perfect for photography and historical exploration.
  • Museum: Offers insights into the aqueduct’s construction and the Roman way of life.
  • Nature Trails: Surrounding the Pont du Gard, these trails provide a peaceful way to explore the local flora and fauna.

Day Trip Suggestions:

  • The charming town of Uzès and the medieval city of Nîmes are nearby, offering additional historical sites and cultural experiences.

Travel Tips:

  • Early morning or late afternoon visits offer cooler temperatures and softer light for photography.

Montpellier – An Underrated Jewel

During a two-week stay in Montpellier, I discovered a city that is strikingly beautiful yet surprisingly underrated.

This vibrant city, brimming with elegant boulevards, historic architecture, and a lively student population, left a lasting impression on me.

Montpellier’s charm lies in its ability to blend the old with the new; medieval streets seamlessly give way to modern districts, reflecting the city’s dynamic and youthful spirit.

The Place de la Comédie, the heart of the city, is a bustling hub of activity, surrounded by cafes and theaters.

My days in Montpellier were filled with delightful explorations, uncovering hidden courtyards, exquisite gardens, and impressive museums.

This city, with its warm Mediterranean climate and welcoming atmosphere, is truly a gem of Southern France that deserves more attention.

Key Attractions:

  • Place de la Comédie: The vibrant central square of Montpellier.
  • Historic Center: A maze of medieval streets filled with shops, cafes, and historic buildings.
  • Fabre Museum: A renowned art museum housing a collection of European paintings.

Day Trip Suggestions:

  • The nearby Camargue region, known for its wild landscapes and unique wildlife.
  • The picturesque Languedoc vineyards offer opportunities for wine tasting and vineyard tours.

Travel Tips:

  • The city’s extensive tram system makes it easy to explore beyond the historic center.

Marseille – A Melting Pot of Cultures

During a day trip to Marseille, I was struck by the city’s vibrant blend of cultures, a quality that truly sets it apart.

As France’s oldest city, Marseille is a dynamic mix of the old and new, where ancient history meets modern diversity.

Strolling through the bustling streets, I witnessed a tapestry of different communities, each contributing to the city’s lively atmosphere and rich culinary landscape.

From the historic charm of the Old Port to the colorful, multicultural district of Le Panier, Marseille revealed its unique character at every turn.

This city is not just a destination; it’s a living, breathing mosaic of cultures, making it a captivating and educational stop on any journey through Southern France.

Key Attractions:

  • Old Port (Vieux Port): The heart of Marseille, bustling with markets, boats, and waterfront cafés.
  • Le Panier: Wander through the narrow streets of this historic quarter, filled with artisan shops and local eateries.
  • Calanques National Park: A natural wonder with stunning cliffs and turquoise waters, perfect for hiking and boat trips.

Cultural Experiences:

Day Trip Ideas:

  • The Frioul Islands, with their pristine beaches and wildlife, are just a short boat ride away.
  • Visit the nearby city of Aix-en-Provence for a taste of traditional Provençal charm.

Calanques National Park – A Natural Masterpiece

Calanques National Park, a stunning natural wonder located in the Bouches-du-Rhône region, is on my list for my next visit to Southern France.

Renowned for its dramatic limestone cliffs that plunge into the azure waters of the Mediterranean, the park offers some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the country.

This protected area, stretching between Marseille and Cassis, is a paradise for hikers, nature lovers, and those seeking picturesque coastal views.

The calanques, a series of rugged inlets, are accessible by land or sea, each offering unique views and tranquil spots for swimming or sunbathing.

My anticipation to explore this natural masterpiece is high, as I look forward to trekking its trails and discovering its hidden coves, all while being surrounded by the park’s diverse flora and fauna.

Key Features:

  • Hiking Trails: Explore a variety of trails offering stunning views of the calanques and the Mediterranean.
  • Boat Tours: A popular way to see the calanques from the water, providing a different perspective of the dramatic landscape.
  • Flora and Fauna: The park is home to unique Mediterranean plant species and wildlife, adding to its ecological significance. best cities in the south of france

Travel Tips:

  • The best time to visit the park is in the spring or autumn to avoid the summer heat and crowds.
  • Wearing sturdy shoes and carrying water is essential for exploring the park’s rugged terrain.

Cassis – A Seaside Escape

Cassis, a charming coastal town nestled between dramatic cliffs and sheltered inlets, is a picturesque retreat in the South of France.

Known for its quaint harbor, lined with colorful buildings and lively cafes, Cassis is the embodiment of Mediterranean charm.

The town’s proximity to Calanques National Park makes it a perfect base for exploring the renowned calanques, offering a blend of natural beauty and local culture.

Cassis is also celebrated for its white wines, produced in the surrounding vineyards, adding a gastronomic delight to the visit.

The town’s weekly market and the ancient Château de Cassis provide a glimpse into the traditional Provençal way of life.

Cassis, with its relaxed atmosphere and stunning scenery, is an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful seaside experience in the South of France.

Key Attractions:

  • Port of Cassis: A vibrant marina filled with boats and surrounded by cafes and shops.
  • Calanques: Accessible from Cassis, these stunning inlets offer breathtaking landscapes and outdoor activities.
  • Local Vineyards: Sample the region’s famous white wines and tour the picturesque vineyards.

Day Trip Suggestions: best cities in the south of france

  • A boat trip to the calanques provides a unique perspective of their beauty.
  • The nearby city of Marseille offers a contrast with its vibrant urban culture.

Travel Tips:

  • Cassis is compact and easily walkable, but renting a bike can be a pleasant way to explore the surrounding areas.

Albi – A Historic Riverside City

The Sainte-Cécile Cathedral dominates the skyline in Albi, France, featuring prominently alongside the ancient Pont Vieux bridge over the Tarn River, a picturesque embodiment of the best cities in the south of France.

Albi, often overlooked in the grand tour of Southern France, is a historic gem situated on the banks of the Tarn River.

This charming city is renowned for its impressive red-brick architecture, earning it the nickname “La Ville Rouge” and a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Albi’s rich history is beautifully encapsulated in the Sainte-Cécile Cathedral, an architectural marvel, and the Berbie Palace, now home to the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum.

The city’s streets and riverside promenades are lined with quaint shops and cafes, offering a peaceful ambiance for leisurely exploration.

The Old Bridge (Pont Vieux) and the manicured gardens of the Palais de la Berbie offer picturesque views, making Albi an enchanting destination for those seeking a blend of historical grandeur and natural beauty in the South of France.

Key Attractions:

  • Sainte-Cécile Cathedral: A striking example of Southern Gothic architecture.
  • Toulouse-Lautrec Museum: Showcasing the works of the famous artist born in Albi.
  • Old Town: A labyrinth of narrow streets filled with medieval buildings.

Cultural Insights:

  • Albi’s annual music and theater festivals add a vibrant layer to the city’s cultural life.

Day Trip Suggestions:

  • The surrounding Tarn region is known for its picturesque villages and vineyards.
  • Explore the scenic Gorges du Tarn for a day of hiking and natural beauty.

Final Thoughts on the Best Cities in the South of France

In the South of France, each city unfolds a story, rich and vibrant. Nice dazzles with Riviera charm; Cannes glimmers with its cinematic glamour.

Small towns like Saint-Paul-de-Vence, brimming with art, whisper tales of yesteryears.

Albi’s red-brick splendor stands proud by the Tarn, while Cassis’ tranquil shores invite quiet reflection.

Vers-Pont-du-Gard is a testament to ancient prowess, awe-inspiring in its grandeur. These are not just places to visit.

They are the best cities in the South of France, offering a mosaic of experiences, from the hum of city life to the tranquility of nature’s embrace.

France Travel Planning 🇫🇷

Accommodation 🛌

  • Booking.com – Find diverse accommodations, enjoy easy booking with great deals, and rely on real reviews and 24/7 support.
  • Expedia.com – With its user-friendly interface, it simplifies the process of booking hotels and holiday packages to France.
  • VRBO.com – Your go-to platform for unique and comfortable vacation rentals in France.

Transportation 🚘

  • DiscoverCars.com – Offers a seamless booking experience, ensuring you find the ideal car for your adventures in France.
  • GetTransfer.com – Is the ultimate solution for your travel transfer needs, offering an efficient, flexible service and comfortable transportation.
  • Trainline.com stands as a quintessential tool for savvy travelers seeking to navigate France’s extensive rail network with ease and confidence.
  • Skyscanner.com – Simplifies your travel planning with its user-friendly interface, offering a comprehensive comparison of flights.

Attractions, Activities and Tours 🇫🇷

  • Viator.com – Stands out as a trusted resource for travelers seeking unparalleled experiences across the globe.
  • GetYourGuide.com – Offers an extensive collection of tours, activities, and attractions in France.
  • ParisCityVision.com – This tour company specializes in crafting exceptional experiences across Paris and France.

Communication 📱

  • Orange Sim Card – Discover seamless connectivity on your French travels with an Orange Holiday Europe Sim Card, a top choice for tourists.
  • Airalo.com – The world’s first eSIM store that solves the pain of high roaming bills by giving travelers access to eSIMs (digital SIM cards).

Travel Insurance ✈️

  • SafetyWing.com – Travel with peace of mind knowing you’re protected in almost every corner of the world.
  • Travel Insurance Master – Visit their website to discover the ideal insurance plan that aligns with your travel dreams.

These are only a few of my favorites; for more, see my comprehensive guide to the top travel booking websites for France.

Enjoyed reading about the best southern France cities? Pin this article now, read it again later! 

Keep Up with April Nicole

You’ll Also Love


  1. Hands down Nice is the best city in the south of France! I visit there almost every summer and it never gets old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.