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10 best South of France holiday destinations in 2023
If you are planning your summer holidays for 2023 and you are looking for inside information on the Best South France holiday destinations, then just follow our handy guide to the 10 best places to stay in South of France. We have grouped these into distinct areas, but it is easy to reach each of the areas if you choose a central base. There is an excellent road network in the South of France and the French trains are superb.
We live in South France all year around and we are constantly out visiting new rental properties and exploring new places to see. Even after living in Southern France for 14 years, we are still surprised at how beautiful the region is and we like nothing better than stumbling across a picturesque village in a hidden corner somewhere, or wandering around a local market or visit a new beach.
A lot of my buddies in France are really into cycling and they get to see Southern France at a slower pace than driving around in a car - in fact some of them see it at a really slow pace (mentioning no names Kevin Quinn!). But what they all say is that the South of France has the best cycling routes in the whole of Europe. The reason being is that the scenery changes so dramatically within 50kms. You can start off on the coastal plain and then within 20 minutes you are climbing up a steep valley or cycling through acres of sunflower fields. They are always telling me about out-of-the-way places that you would never find in a standard tour guide book.
Best time to visit the South of France
Best holiday destinations in South of France
The South of France has a wonderful climate, with long warm summer days stretching through to September and October.My favourite time of the year in South France is April and May and then September and October. Normally from May through to September you can usually guarantee good weather, with long sunny days, clear blue skies and a warm sun. June is usually very pleasant up in the late 70F's/mid 20C's.
In July and August you can expect to get many days around 90F/30C. The winters in South France are mild and dry. You do get the occasional heavy downpour, but most days are relatively warm and dry and we are blessed with blue skies and sunshine for over 300 days a year.
If you are planning a trip to South France I have compiled a list of our favourite holiday destinations to visit. I hope that this will help you to narrow down your options. I have also included some examples of accommodation you can rent nearby each location (because that is what we do). If you already have your accommodation booked up, just skip these links. If not we would love to help you find the perfect holiday rental property for your stay in France (contact us at Go Languedoc). We personally visit all of the rental properties that we advertise, so we can always give you honest feedback to find the perfect rental for your family.
Best South of France holiday destinations in 2023
The South of France is a great place to visit. There is a really super coast, with many fantastic beaches. You will also find a rich variety of places to visit, from chic resorts, sleepy old villages and astonishing historical monuments dating back to Roman times (and before). Whilst the Cote d'Azur coast can get very crowded in the height of summer, there are still plenty of more places to stay, where you can get unspoilt peace and tranquility. With beautiful towns and villages such as Uzes, Mougins, Fayence, Cassis and Antibes; as well as unspoilt regions such as the Luberon, the Verdon national Park and the Calanques; it really is the perfect French holiday destination.
You also have some other 'undiscovered' delights in the Languedoc region - which whilst lacking the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera or the restored charm of Provence, makes up for it in an amazing array of sites to visit. You have the Roman aqueduct at the Pont du Gard, the enormous Medieval castle at Carcassonne, the stunning coastal town at Collioure and the historic French towns of Pezenas, Uzes and Sommieres. So in our list of Best South France holiday destinations, you are sure to find something that meets your needs:
1. Best South of France holiday destinations: Provence
There cannot be a better destination in the South of France to visit than Provence. With its gorgeous purple lavender fields, beautiful villages, wonderful cuisine and stunning countryside, Provence is the ideal relaxed holiday destination in South France.
Two of my favourite towns in Provence are Aix-en-Provence (see #3 below) and Saint Remy. The former has an excellent range of cafes, boutique shops and windy streets. The latter is famous as the birthplace of Nostradamus and oozes a relaxed Southern France pace of life. Nearby to Saint Remy, you will also find the beautiful scenery of Beaux de Provence.
I would also recommend that you seek out the hilltop towns of Gordes, Seillans and Roussillon; as well as the beautiful town of L'Isle-sur-Sorgue - a famous centre for antiques and possessing a number of excellent riverside restaurants. Each is very different, but equally beautiful.
Here is a selection of places to stay in Provence on Go Languedoc:
Uzes, Provence, vacation rental sleeps 9 with pool - Ref: 202
This Provence holiday rental in Uzes is an 18th century stone houses in a typical Provencal hillside village facing all-day sun.It is covered in vines, has a huge walled garden, a swimming pool and a large terrace. This Provence vacation rental can sleep up to 9 people but can also be rented with the next door house thus creating accommodation for up to 18 people. A few minutes form the wonderful town of Uzes and the Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard.
Prices from 1,430.00€ per week
Provence villa rental with private pool, Pont Royal (sleeps 6) - Ref: 1020
This Provence Villa rental comes with a private pool, 3 bedrooms (2 king and 1 twin), l en suite bathroom and 1 shower room. The internal living space of this Provence Villa rental is 200 sq metres. Facing the pool and opposite the main house, there is a separate guest annexe which is only be rented with the main house, ideal for independent teenagers or Grandparents.This comprises a large bedroom with king size bed and space for cot and/or folding bed, shower room, kitchen annexe and cupboard with shelves and hanging space.
Prices from 2,674.00€ per week
Var, holiday gite in Provence, France (sleeps 4) - Ref: 622
Bargemon is a beautiful Provencal village situated amongst the mountains in the Var department. Bargemon is one of the most beautiful villages in Provence and it has bags of of charm. With a central square with pavement cafes and water fountains, lots of narrow streets and shuttered houses; the village is a joy to spend time in. This spacious holiday gite in Provence comes with 2 bedrooms and can accommodate up to 6 people. The apartment has a beautiful living room, two outside terraces and is located all on one level in the centre of the village. The apartment provides beautiful views over the mountains and valley. Nice airport is a 1 hour drive and in 40 minutes you can be on the beach at Frejus or Sainte-Maxime. The famous Gorges du Verdon is also located close-by.
2. Best places to stay in the South of France: St Tropez
I don't know what I was really expecting, but I have to say that the first time I went to St Tropez, I was quite amazed by the fact that it was just a normal town with a huge reputation. I mean, there was a local Spar shop, the restaurants were not too expensive and it was easy to find space on the beaches. That isn't to say that St Tropez is also not glitzy and glamourous. The yachts lining the harbour are enormous, probably twice the size of my house. You can also see all the speedboats and helicopters ferrying celebrities to beach bars and private parties. Some beaches are exclusively private (exclusive = rich or gorgeous (or both)) and I can imagine that if your name is not down on the list, you simply will not gain entrance to some bars and nightclubs.
But overall, the impression I have of St Tropez is that it is a relaxed, chilled-out place, where you can do your own thing. St Tropez definitely has its own vibe, which it has been able to successfully maintain over the last 50 years.
On Go Languedoc, we have a number of reasonably priced villas and apartments close to St Tropez where you can stay. Here is just a selection:
Port Grimaud, French Riviera resorts rental with pool (sleeps 7) - Ref: 1034
This French Riviera resorts rental with pool is situated in the village of Port Grimaud, on the River Giscle opposite the Cogolin boatyard. Within this gated community are homes connected by a network of canals and river, stone bridges and pretty streets. The house was built in 2000 and has 3 bedrooms and a study on 3 floors, with 3 bath or shower rooms. It can sleep 6 adults, plus 1 child/small adult and 1 baby. It is comfortably furnished and equipped with all modern conveniences. There is a large balcony off the rooftop bedroom, with views along the river out towards the bay, and to Grimaud village and the mountains.
Prices from 4,412.00€ per week
Les Grimaudieres, St Tropez apartment rentals - Ref: 9
This 1 bed roomed apartment in the millionaires paradise of Port Grimaud, near St Tropez. This first floor south-facing apartment sleeping 2 - 4 people is situated in Port Grimaud within walking distance of a quiet sandy beach overlooking St Tropez. An ideal self-catering holiday rental apartment on the Cote d`azur in the South of France.
3. Best South of France destinations: Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence has to be my favourite city in the South of France. Walking along the Cours Mirebeau (the main shopping avenue) or amongst the maze of little streets in the centre of Aix is just pure pleasure. If you have never been, I would highly recommend you basing yourself in Aix-en-Provence during your stay in South France. The old buildings of the town are lovely and the restaurants situated in courtyards and small squares have a really nice vibe. Aix is a big University town and that also gives the place a youthful feel to it. Aix has a lot going on during the summer, but also out of season. So the large Christmas market and various festivals throughout the year ensure that there is always some life about the place. The city is famous for its fountains (which are everywhere), but my impression of the town is that it is just a very pleasant and civilised place to spend time in. Aix is located about 30km north fo Marseille and Marseille airport is just on your doorstep, making Aix a very convenient place to reach.
4. Best destinations in South of France: Nice
The city of Nice attracts 2 million visitors a year. Nice is a city where there is always something going on, which makes it the perfect destination to head for in South France. Whether it be the Nice Carnival in February, or the Yachting Regatta, the Nice Jazz festival in July, or an Opera festival or Classical music event or a Rock concert; you are going to struggle to be bored in Nice. Nice also has more museums and art galleries than any City outside of Paris.
The Vieux Ville (Nice's old town) is very nice to walk around and hides a maze of little streets. The large Place Massena is a beautifully laid out square. The Russian Orthodox cathedral is also worth a visit. But I think my favourite part of Nice is up in the North near the airport in the Parc Phoenix. You get a wonderful view over the city and you feel like you are in the middle of the countryside.
Nearby to Nice, you also have the resort towns of Villefranche-sur-Mer, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Cap Ferrat and Menton. Also on your doorstep you have the millionaires playground of Monaco. There is a lot to do around Nice, I challenge you to be bored.
Here are some excllent places to stay near Nice, South France:
Villefranche-sur-mer beach apartments in South of France, sleeps 2-4 - Ref: 1074
If you are looking or beach apartments in South of France to rent for your vacation, then this beautiful property in Villefranche sur mer, close to Nice is an excellent choice. The apartment comes with a large terrace and wonderful views across the Mediterranean Sea towards Cap Ferrat. Its close proximity to the beach and all the excellent local restaurants of the old town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, makes this the perfect location for a lovely relaxing vacation. This comfortable beach apartment in South of France has 2 bedrooms and can sleep up to 4 people.
Prices from 1,188.00€ per week
Vence luxury villa with private pool (sleeps 6) ~ Ref: 1417
This luxury art deco villa in South of France with private pool dates from the 1930's. Located in Vence, in the suburbs high above Nice, this villa can accommodate up to 6 people in 3 sumptuous bedrooms. This South France luxury villa is located in the next street to the former residence of the famous French artist, Henri Matisse. Set in a beautiful neighbourhood filled with palm trees and stunning houses, this luxury villa comes with sea views, a large garden and a lovely private pool. The centre of Vence is 5 minutes walk and here you will find plenty of restaurants, shops and cafes. Vence is just 5 minutes drive to the beautiful hilltop town of St Paul de Vence.
5. Best holiday destinations South of France: French Riviera
Think of the South of France and the French Riviera comes squarely into mind. With its wide sweeping bays and golden beaches it is not difficult to see why some 5 million people flock to the Cote d'Azur every year. Only Paris rivals it as a tourist attraction. With exclusive resorts such at Cap Ferrat and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, as well as Monaco, The French Riviera is full of wealth and power. That is not to say that there are not other places as well (for normal people!). Menton is a lovely place, full of gardens, a gorgeous bay and an absolutely mental festival (Menton Lemon festival). Villefranche-sur-Mer is also a good destination for a holiday on the French Riviera. Vence, Mougins and Biot are also hardly Millionaire playgrounds (they are rich, but not Monaco rich). So whilst it helps to be wealthy, The French Riviera is also a place that can be enjoyed by all of us
Here are some of the best properties in Cote d'Azur on Go Languedoc where you can stay:
Cote d'Azur holiday villa with pool, sleeps 8 (Ref: 933)
This Cote d´Azur holiday villa comes with a large heated pool and amazing scenic views. The property is on two floors, with four bedrooms (2 master suites and 2 guest rooms) and four bathrooms / shower rooms. The villa is situated within a 1,780 sq. m garden with a small olive grove. The stone floors throughout help keep the villa cool and welcoming. The master and first guest room have sea views. There are five separate terrace areas and a huge 48 square metre “auto covered“ terrace and outside eating area overlooking the pool and the sea view.
Prices from 5,250.00€ per week
Sea view apartment rentals Menton, France (Ref: 1669)
A beautiful 1 bed sea view apartment rental in Menton, France, located on the Promenade du Soleil. This spacious apartment overlooks the beach in the picturesque French Riviera resort of Menton. There is no need to rent a car whilst you stay at this apartment. You can catch a bus or train straight from Nice airport to Menton (there is a train station and bus stop near the apartment building). With the beach just a few metres away and the town a 5 minute walk, this apartment rental is very convenient.
This lovely apartment on the sea front in Menton, is located on the first floor of a beautiful apartment building on the Promenade du Soleil. The building was formerly one of the earliest hotels in the town (Hotel Banastron) and the apartment is decorated with lovely old photos of the hotel.
6. South of France best destinations: around Marseille, Toulon, Cassis and Hyeres
Marseille and Toulon always seem to have a bit of a reputation. Toulon for being a naval town and Marseille for being, well dangerous. I have to say I didn't think either repuatation was entirely justified. Yes Toulon is a large port town, but there is much more beside. It boasts some excellent restaurants and an enormous daily market. Marseille is just a big city and there is no getting away from it, on it's outskirts it is a bit like the wild west. But in the centre close to the Old Port it is lovely. I always describe Marseille as Shabby Chic - it is scruffy, but the locals are very friendly and you can find some hidden gems within it. It is easy to get around with a metro, tram network and excellent water taxis. Yes you do need to be streetwise and sensible, but last year we spent the weekend in Marseille with our 3 kids and it was absolutely fine, in fact we had a great time.
I would probably say though that my personal favourite destination in this part of South France is the coastal town of Cassis. It is just beautiful. Nearby to Cassis there is a beautiful inlet called the Calanques de Cassis, where the water is crystal clear and a beautiful turquoise colour. The sea is framed by these high white cliffs and you can hire a boat to go fishing or snorkling. Nearby Hyeres is a bigger town and it is the oldest resort on the Cote d'Azur. It is famous for growing Palm trees and the town itself is very green and well laid-out.
7. Best destinations in the South of France: Cannes
Everyone knows Cannes because of the film festival held there every year. But to be fair to Cannes, there is an awful lot going on besides this. There is not a month goes by where there isn't a large conference being held in the city. Be it the MIDEM music festival, or the MIPTV conference, or the MIPCOM entertainment event or the huge MAPIC real estate show.
The old town of Cannes is a pleasant place to spend time in and Cannes is blessed with some fine restaurants and chic shops (along the Rue d'Antibes and La Croisette).
But also closeby to Cannes, you will find some wonderful places to stay including Theoule-sur-Mer, Antibes and Juan-les-Pins. Here you can sample some excellent beaches and all manner of water sports.
During the height of the summer, the roads around Cannes do get very busy, but if you head slightly inland to Mougins and Valbonne, you will find these places to be quieter.
We have a good selection of different properties to stay in within Cannes and the surrounding area. Here is just a selection:
Private villa with sea views and infinity pool near Cannes, sleeps 8 (Ref: 1433)
This private villa near Cannes, South France, comes with stunning sea views, 3 terraces and an infinity swimming pool. The villa is located only a short walk from sandy beaches and is close to the centre of Theoule-sur-Mer village, with its numerous shops and restaurants. This private villa in South France near Cannes is spread over four floors and comes with 4 double bedrooms, a private lift to all floors, air conditioning, private off-road parking and WiFi internet. The villa is situated in a quiet residential area on a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean sea and the Bay of Cannes. Just next door there is the iconic Pierre Cardin "Bubble House".
Prices from 2,250.00€ per week
French Riviera vacations rental villa in Cap d'Antibes with pool (sleeps 8) (Ref: 1026)
This French Fiviera vacations rental villa with pool is on the east side of Cap d'Antibes midway between the Garoupe and Salis beaches, just 800 yards away. This Antibes villa is well appointed and kept in excellent order with very good furniture in light colours and cool marble floors downs stairs with wide French oak floor boards at the Mezzanine level. All bedrooms are air conditioned. There is a broadband connection, satellite as well as HD TV. The vacations villa is protected by a state of the art alarm system with the side and main gates electronically controlled with Intercom and Video entry system.
8. Best destinations South of France: around Nimes
Nimes is inextricably linked to its Roman past. Its location on the Via Domitia - the main chariot route from Spain to Rome - helped make it a favourite with a series of Emperors. Today it is endowed with an outstanding collection of monuments including the Maison Carrée, the Amphitheatre and the temple of Diana. The Pont du Gard, South of France, is an extraordinary Roman aqueduct located just north of Nimes.The Pont du Gard is one of 4UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the South of France. Complete with excellent visitors centre and Mediterranean garden, the Pont du Gard, South of France is a special place to visit.
Surrounding Nimes you will find some beautiful places to stay such as Uzes, Sommieres, Anduze.
Uzes luxury villa Provence with pool sleeps 9 with pool - Ref: 201
This 18th century stone cottage is in a typical Provencal hillside village facing all-day sun. This luxury French cottage in Provence, is covered in vines, has a huge walled garden, a swimming pool and a large terrace. The cottage can sleep up to 9 people but can also be rented with the next door property thus creating accommodation for up to 18 people. It is a few minutes from the wonderful town of Uzes and the ancient Roman aqueduct Pont du Gard.
Prices from 1,430.00€ per week
Servas villas rent Southern France with private pool sleeps 13 - Ref: 1543
These stunning villas to rent in Southern France are located on the edge of the beautiful Cevennes National Park, close to Ales, Anduze and the historic town of Uzes. This is the perfect space to enjoy a relaxing family holiday and make the most of the beautiful countryside. There are two villas laid out around a private pool with wonderful uninterrupted views over the vineyards towards the hills in the distance. These villas to rent have 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (combined) and can sleep up to 13 people. The villas are perfect to rent if you have an extended family or there 2 families holidaying together. Surrounding these villas in Southern France there is excellent walking, cycling and touring routes. The villas are 50 mins from Nimes and Montpellier airports.
9. Best destinations South France: Camargue
The Camargue is just stunning. A nature lover's dream. It is as you imagine. Plenty of wide open spaces, pink flamingos, the famous white horses, lots of black bulls, quiet coastal roads and long sandy beaches. If you love your outdoors (and especially if you love watching birds) then the Camargue is the perfect holiday destination in South France. The nearby towns of Arles (the base for Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin), Aigues Mortes (with its famous grid pattern streets), Beaucaire and Saint-Gilles and all good destinations to be based for exploring the region.
Here are some great places to stay in and around the Camargue region, South France:
Villa Occitane holiday rental house Provence, France (sleeps 6-8) - Ref: 1022
Villa Occitane is a luxury holiday rental in Provence with a private pool. The house is located in a small private road within the prestigious Pont Royal Golf and Country Club, between Aix-en-Provence and Avignon. Built and furnished to a high standard it is spacious and comfortable, enclosed and private gardens to front and rear. With access to the adjoining Pierre and Vacances holiday village, Villa Occitane is ideal for a family holiday, golf holiday or as a base to explore the surrounding splendours of Provence.
10. Best South of France destinations: inland Cote d'Azur
Away from the glitz and the glamour of the French Riviera coastline, there is a beautiful inland area, where you can find beautifully restored hilltop villages like Fayence, Chateauneuf-Grasse and St-Paul-de-Vence. Away from the coast, famous painters such as Matisse, Picasso, Marc Chagall and Raoul Dufy sort refuge in quiet retreats such as Cotignac, Forcalquier and Mougins. Here you will still find local festivals celebrating the produce from the land, whether it be wine, asparagus, honey, truffles or lavendar. In truth, a large part of the Cote d'Azur above Nice and Cannes has become one spralling metrolpolis, with villages merging into villages, but there are still some great spots to be based.
Around Grasse, the World's perfume capitaland near Tourettes, Seillans, Fayence and St-Paul-en-Foret; you can still find peace and tranquility. The beaches are still only a short drive, but it feels like a million miles away. If you love the great outdoors, then no trip to the South of France can be complete without visiting the Gorge du Verdon, the French (smaller) version of the Grand Canyon.
Here is a selection of properties in the inland region of Cote d'Azur to stay in:
Plascassier villa for family holidays in South of France with private pool - Ref: 1422
This South of France villa with private pool is located in between Grasse and Valbonne, near the medieval village of Plascassier. The villa boasts lovely panoramic views over the countryside and down to the sea and can sleep up to 12 people in 6 bedrooms. This South of France villa is situated within 7,000m2 of grounds and features a football pitch, tree house, zip-wire, table tennis and a large private pool. This is the perfect space for family holidays with children in the South of France. Plascassier, the former home of the French singer, Edith Piaf, lies 15 kms inland from Cannes. The beaches of the French Riviera are just 20 kms away and the perfume capital of Grasse is 7 kms away. The villa comes with wifi, UK satellite TV and air conditioning.
Prices from 4,337.00€ per week
Where to next . . . ?
I hope that this article has provided you with some good ideas about the best holiday destinations in the South of France for 2023. We live in the South of France all year around and we absolutely love being here. We are always out and about visiting new villa rental properites and researching tourism articles about the South of France. We have a great collection of articles with more ideas about things to do and places to go in the South of France, including:
- Best South France beaches to visit in 2023
- Weather in South France
- Where to stay in the South of France during 2023
If you would like some more detailed information or if you have any questions, then just drop us a quick message and we will come straight back to you. I wish you a wonderful stay in the South of France. Contact Iain by Email or by phone +33 6 95 00 28 44