Doesn’t matter if you’ve been before or if you’re a first-timer, the South of France is amazing to visit. Not only that, there are heaps of the best places to visit in the south of France dotted all across the coastline and inland regions. 

From the stunning beaches, and amazing Mediterranean cuisine to a plethora of cute little French villages; it’s a stunning region of France to visit. 

So it’s decided! You’re heading to visit the South of France this summer. The next question is, where to visit?  It’s not like you can just visit ‘The South of France” – that’s like attempting to book plane tickets to “Florida” – you need to be a tad more specific. 

So, to help you along your merry way, here are some of my favourite and best places to visit in the south of France. Have an amazing trip to France. 

1.) Avignon

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Avignon is a city steeped in rich religious history and stunning architecture to see. You see, there was a time in the Middle Ages when this charming city was the centre of western Christendom. This alone makes it one of the best places to visit in the south of France, especially if you’re interested in religious history. 

No fewer than six papal conclaves were held in the breathtaking (UNESCO World Heritage) Palace of the Popes in the 14th century. Best of all, it still has fascinating little relics from this time. You can still see such gothic frescoes on the walls of the papal apartments.

Essentially, if you want a city break that’s filled with amazing sights to see and perhaps aren’t too bothered by catching some rays on the beach, then Avignon is perfect for you.

Oh, almost forgot to add; the magnificent ruins of Pont Saint-Bénézet (also known as the Pont d’Avignon) poke out across the Rhône and are also a UNESCO World Heritage sight that’s worth seeing in the city.

Shift down a gear and browse the arty walled town, take a cruise on the river, and see if you can come for the Theatre Festival in July when the city becomes one giant stage. 

Read more: Best beach holiday destinations in France

2.) Carcassonne

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The centre of Carcassonne, above the right bank of the Aude, is truly a sight to behold. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the best places to visit in the south of France that is small enough to walk around but large enough to fill a few days’ trip. 

Not only that, the ancient walls have hugged this part of the tower since the 4th century and they were even reinforced in the 13th century. This was to help act as an even mightier barrier against the Crown of Aragon to the south. 

After the 17th century, the barriers were no longer needed and left to decay, till an architect with a sense of purpose (and a whole lotta time) came along and revamped them in the 19th century.

To see the full grounds and the wider castle of Carcassonne, book these tickets that’ll get you right into the main areas. With these tickets, you’ll even get to see the Salle Pierre Embry that’s been here since the 1400s. 

Top tip: Be sure to pop by to see the stained glass windows in the Basilica of Saints Celsus and Nazarius – these 17th-century windows are pretty impressive in their own right.

Read more: Visiting Carcassone

3.) Aix-en-Provence

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Aix differs from Carcassonne and Avignon in that people visit this town, less so for its plethora of amazing sights, but for its more laidback charm, the and the beautiful Cours Mirabeau.

That’s what makes it one of the best places to visit in the south of France, especially if you’re looking for a chilled-out trip. 

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Oh, don’t forget to visit those famous lavender fields that the area has become very well-known for.

Love your French wines? Then book this wine tour from Aix-en-Provence that will take you into the heart of the Cezanne Countryside. It’s so good and you’ll get some wines to try, too. 

Read more: Best places in Provence to visit

4.) Nice

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Nice is pretty much what everyone thinks of when they think of the South of France.

It is a grand city of long esplanades and spacious squares that make it one of the best places to visit in the south of France, especially if you’re flying in and out of its airport. In fact, Nice is a great gateway city to the wider south of France region because of its airport. 

Plus, it’s also the 5th largest in France so you won’t be feeling bored for a single second here. You come to Nice for that beach life, the stunning medieval old town and some pretty delicious French food.

Once here, make sure to stroll around Colline du Château (the gardens are beautiful), see the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and visit Magnan Beach for some chill time. 

Oh, and don’t forget to book this tour from Nice that will take you on a day trip down the French Riveria. It takes in so many of the best places in the south of France and it’s all stress-free as they organise all the timings and transport. 

Essentially, if you’re looking for a city break, but also a rather indulgent holiday in the South of France, Nice is where you head.

Read more: Best things to do in Nice

5.) Albi

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I’m willing to bet that you know one of Albi’s most famous sons (even if you don’t recognise his name).

It’s Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec who painted those iconic scenes of dancers at the Moulin Rouge and created the art nouveau posters inextricably linked with the Belle Époque. This all makes it one of the best places to visit in the south of France when exploring the region’s art history. 

To honour him, there is a museum dedicated to him at the Albi’s Episcopal Palace, which houses over a thousand of his works.

It’s an absolutely beautiful town with the Episcopal City being a UNESCO World Heritage site. Plus, that’s not even mentioning the delicious wine of the region.

Fun fact: The vineyards in this region are more than 3 times the size of Bordeaux.

Read more: Best things to do in Bordeaux

6.) Lourmarin

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The little village just to the south of the Luberon Massif is the quintessence of Provence.

All the ingredients for a stunning holiday are here; not least of all the picturesque orchards (to spend many an afternoon getting lost in), towering mountains (almost like they’re standing guard over the village itself) and vineyards as far as the eye can see.

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We’re not the only ones impressed with this place. Lourmarin is regarded by most as one of France’s “most picturesque” villages and it certainly lives up to the hype!

It’s a lively little place, with over a dozen cafes and restaurants that make use of what little outdoor space they can find on its tangle of streets.

After arriving, make sure to explore Château de Lourmarin, wander the streets around the castle and just enjoy the small town. 

Read more: Best things to do in Paris

7.) Biarritz

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Back in the day, Biarritz used to be your regular French seaside town and over time turned into one of France’s most luxurious holiday destinations.

An embodiment of this transformation is the Hôtel du Palais. It was built as a summer getaway in the middle of the 19th century for Eugénie de Montijo. She was the Empress of the French and the wife of Napoleon III. To this day, still serves as a grand hotel open to the public 

Once here, don’t forget to visit the Casino Barrière, too. It has a lovely golden sandy beach right in front of it to chill out and enjoy. 

This all makes it one of the best places to visit in the south of France; especially when on the western fringes of the country. 

Read more: Best beach holiday in France

8.) Marseille

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Love it or hate it, Marseille is the biggest city in the south of France to visit. Yes, it’s a little bit of everything. From chaotic, cosmopolitan to an edgy city, Marseille challenges all of the stereotypes about Provence and the French Riviera.

If you’re looking for some city action, even if it’s just for a day or two, Marseille is worth visiting. 

If you’ve only got a short amount of time here, then get these plans in place. Head straight over to Marseille’s Old Port. It was founded by the Phocaeans around 2,600 years ago and is epic to see. 

To make things easy, book this hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Marseille. It makes it easy to get to each of the city’s best sights to see; without any of the stress of public transport or taxis. The latter of which ripped us off on our last visit to Marseille.

Read more: Best beach holiday destinations in France

9.) Pézenas

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Did you know, that up to the late 18th century, Pézenas was the seat of the Governors of Languedoc? Well, the reason why this is so significant is that it permitted lots of baroque buildings across the small town.

In fact, over 100 buildings here have been listed as historic and protected for generations to come.

Which is all quite impressive for a place of just eight thousand inhabitants.

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Pézenas isn’t the most obvious place to visit when you’re in the South of France. That being said, it has a real and less touristy feel. This is especially true when thinking of more popular places in the South of France.

Once here, make sure to stop by the open-air Illustre Theatre for a show. We totally loved it and they have a lovely garden area to mingle. You can even try some local wines before the show.

Also, head over to the Musée International du Jouet (a toy museum) that’s so magical to see.

Finally, don’t forget to walk the winding streets of the historic centre. We loved the area around Rue Merciere. 

Read more: Best things to do in Paris

10.) Arles

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Arles is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its abundance of Roman and Romanesque architecture. In fact, it’s still got an impressive list of sites to see in the south of France. From a; Roman theatre, amphitheatre, baths, necropolis and aqueduct; to mention but a few.

Arles is one of the best places to visit in the south of France for its Roman history. 

Best Places In Provence To Visit

Every corner you turn is pretty much a guaranteed picture-perfect moment. In my opinion, it’s all the small cobbled streets make it one of the best places to visit in the south of France. It’s just stunning. 

This probably explains why this was home to Vincent van Gogh for quite a few years.

The Ligurians (yes, the same ones as in Cinque Terre), back in 800 BC were one of the first in this area. These were quickly followed by many others. From the Celts, and Phoenicians (from the Lebanese region) to eventually the Romans. Hence this city has such a rich and strong heritage perfect to visit when in the south of France. 

After arriving, make sure to explore the Amphitheatre, which will take around 90 minutes to stroll around. Then, make your way over to the Museum of Ancient Arles to learn more about the region’s long history. The latter is a perfect place to visit on a rainy day. 

Finally, don’t forget to visit Espace van Gogh. It’s a great place to see some of the seasonal exhibits. Plus, you can learn about the (almost) 200 paintings that Van Gogh painted in Arles. 

Want to space the city, head out to Camargue Natural Regional Park. Book this Camargue Safari tour that will pick you up from the centre of Arles and take you to see wild horses, wild horses and flamingos that frequent the area. It’s a full-day tour and so much fun for the whole family. 

Read more: Best things to do in Paris

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