The South of France has been a popular destination for celebrities and jet-setters since the 1950s, thanks to its glamorous reputation. With its mix of allure and bohemian charm, the region offers idyllic bohemian islands, medieval hilltop towns, and Michelin-starred restaurants. The area is brimming with energy and excitement, from historic cities to the stunning French Riviera and beautiful beaches. Visitors can enjoy elegant architecture and cultural attractions or lose themselves in picturesque medieval villages perched atop hills overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The South of France's timeless appeal is enhanced by sandy beaches, world-class art galleries, and traditional French cuisine, making it a beloved holiday destination for people from all walks of life. If you're planning a trip to the area, here are eight must-see destinations to explore
Visit Saint-Tropez in summer to experience the original charm that attracted celebrities. Start your day with an espresso and a slice of La Tarte Tropézienne's famous cream-filled brioche at the patisserie, a favourite of Brigitte Bardot during the filming of "And God Created Woman" in the 1950s. Then, head to the open-air Provencal market at Place des Lices to browse through stands of cheese and flowers. Grab some picnic essentials and venture over to the Portalet Tower for a coastal hike along some of the peninsula's best beaches. Pampelonne Beach is known for its luxurious atmosphere and celebrity sightings. For a more secluded experience, check out L'Escalet Beach, a tucked-away cove without many tourists. In town, stop by the port at Sénéquier for a coffee and some people-watching, and then head to BanH-Hoï, a popular Asian-inspired restaurant in Old Town. Nightlife options include dancing at Les Caves du Roy in Hôtel Byblos or relaxing at the secluded Saint Amour La Tartane Hotel. For a unique experience, consider renting a small boat to explore the glamorous resorts and beaches of the French Riviera from the sea.
Provence is the region in southeastern France that extends along the Mediterranean coastline and into the vineyard-lined hills. To make the most of your visit, it's recommended to travel by car and start your journey in the charming medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence. You can stay at Domaine de Manville, a former farming estate that offers a stylish hotel and 100-acre pastoral grounds. From there, you can easily explore famous neighbouring towns such as Aix-en-Provence and the walled city of Avignon. In Aix, enjoy a glass of cool rosé on the terrace of Les Deux Garçons, a legendary brasserie that was once frequented by famous personalities like painter Pablo Picasso and chanteuse Édith Piaf. Alternatively, you can relish a delectable spread of foie gras, beef tartar, and black tiger prawns at the shabby-chic restaurant L&rsquoAgape in Avignon. If you're keen to explore Provence's lavender fields, set your GPS to Les Gorges de Pennafort, a 13-room hotel that is home to Philippe Da Silva's Michelin-starred restaurant. This restaurant is also located near the Gorges du Verdon, a river valley that has scenic hiking trails and is often called the Grand Canyon of Europe. To discover the medieval villages and world-famous wineries of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, consider taking a small-group day tour.
Discover three beautiful islands just a short ferry ride away from Hyères and less than an hour from Saint-Tropez. These islands offer stunning white coastlines and vineyards that produce excellent rosé. The largest island, Porquerolles, is a car-free paradise measuring four miles by two miles. It boasts a small village with locally-owned restaurants like Pélagos, where you can enjoy the fresh grilled catch of the day and rosé from Domaine Perzinsky. Explore the island's 37 miles of marked trails by renting a bike from Le Cycle Porquerollais after purchasing local produce and wine from market stalls in the main square. Make sure to visit Plage Notre Dame, a beautiful beach on the north coast just a 15-minute bike ride away. L'Orangerie is a great spot to relax and enjoy sea views after a day of beach hopping and biking. Stay at one of the two standout hotels on the island the charming 25-room Villa Sainte Anne overlooking the main square or the antiques-filled Le Mas du Langoustier, a regal Provencal residence-turned-hotel hidden away on the western side of the island. Keep in mind that the town doesn't stay up late, so it's recommended to call it an early night.
For the past 70 years, Cannes has been synonymous with cinema. You can experience the glamour of this city by strolling down the famous Boulevard de la Croisette, which separates high-end boutiques like Chanel from the beach. For parties that last all day and night, Bâoli Beach Cannes is the place to be. At midnight, the restaurant transforms into a nightclub where sparkler-filled magnums are the norm. If you're interested in history, take a walk through the streets of Le Suquet, the old town, and explore the city's origins dating back over 400 years. You can also take a ferry from the Old Port to the Lérins Islands, where you'll find untouched sandy beaches and wine crafted by Cistercian monks. Don't miss the chance to dine at L'Antidote, a villa where the menu features market-fresh ingredients in rich dishes like foie gras-stuffed ravioli. To rest your feet after a day of sightseeing, stay at one of the major hotels along the Croisette, such as the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez or Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic. And for a fun activity, cruise the charming streets of Cannes on a Vespa with an expert guide leading the way.
Discover the rich history of Antibes, a charming coastal town located between Nice and Cannes. Dating back to the 5th century BC, it was once a Greek colony and now attracts visitors from all over the world. Take a stroll along the rampart walls and visit the castle, home to the Picasso Museum, to immerse yourself in the town's past. Head to Le Pain JPV, a three-generation boulangerie renowned for its delicious baguettes, and then enjoy a picnic lunch by the water at Cap d'Antibes. The Chemin du Calvaire path offers breathtaking views of the coast and leads to stunning coves like La Garoupe beach, a favourite spot of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Literature enthusiasts can even sleep in the same spot as the famous writer by staying at the Hôtel Belles Rives, where Fitzgerald lived during the 1920s. In the evenings, unwind with a glass of bubbly at the rooftop Champagne Lounge or enjoy live piano music at the Absinthe Bar in the Old Town.
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