When people consider France for a holiday destination, often they think of the culturally rich capital, the City of Love; Paris. They think of baguettes and bakeries and the stunning cathedral of Notre Dame as well as the breathtaking Eiffel Tower. Often a trip to Paris is considered a cultural or historical event, with a lot to be learnt about the country in itself.
It can be very easy to get swept up into the city of love, but travel a little further south and you could come across a whole extra side to France that you never even knew existed. Although not to rival the hot climates of the Mediterranean and nowhere near the hot and steamy summers of Vegas and Hawaii, France offers a mild climate that is relaxing yet pleasant, with some beautiful beaches and gorgeous countryside for all to enjoy.
There are countless tiny beaches and seaside villages tucked into the French coastline, but although some may be more noticeable than others they all have a different story to tell. Here are a few iconic locations in the South of France where you can enjoy the sun and try something new!
Nice is a beautiful coastal city that boasts a fantastic beachfront promenade and numerous historical museums, city landmarks and a variety of other tourist attractions. Nice is famous for the Fine Arts Museum and the Museum of Modern Art as well as a number of other museums and it is an ideal city to visit for a spot of culture.
The iconic Promenade des Anglais runs alongside the beautiful coastline for around 5 kilometres. Many of the major hotels and restaurants in Nice can also be found adjacent to this promenade. It was built originally in the 1830s and still stands strong today.
There are a number of resorts, cafes and restaurants located along the coastline, making dining out a real treat. Boasting both French and Italian cuisine, classic French wines and freshly caught seafood, these coastal dining spots are ideal for those looking for a place to sit down and relax for half an hour with a lovely meal and an iconic coastal view.
Once a small fishing village and now with a population of around 7000, Cavalaire is a beautiful quaint town arcing around a piece of stunning coastline. Cavalaire offers all the sun and sand of St Tropez but without the â€˜big cityâ€™ feel to it. Its relaxed atmosphere makes it great for families with children of all ages.
The beach itself is pretty idyllic, with a number of small creeks with rock pools hosting their own marine vegetation and wild life. It’s a great spot for the kids to get up close and personal with sea critters for free.
Plus Cavalaire is a fantastic location for a huge number of maritime sports. Depending on your fancy, you can choose to jet ski, windsurf, sail, snorkel, kayak, canoe, fish or even dive. A well-known diving location, it boasts around ten shipwrecks near the coastline for divers to explore. The only limit for deep-sea divers is that you must be over the age of eight years old, but this is definitely the place to go for deep-sea diving without having to travel across half the world.
With a moderate Mediterranean climate and an approximate 12 hour day in the summer, Cannes is an adorable coastal city that boasts sunny weather, luxury shops and, of course, the annual Film Festival.
With a temperature high of around 25 degrees Cannes is kept relatively cool by a calming sea breeze and with countless beautiful restaurants and shops to visit, Cannes is a great place to go for all the family. Bear in mind that those under 13 years of age are not allowed out in Cannes after 11pm unless they are accompanied by an adult.
If you are a fan of both modern and classic art, why not take a trip down the Riviera where you can see a huge collection of art at the exhibitions?
It is easy to see that Paris is not all France has to offer and with a number of cities boasting both cultural and natural heritage, tourists of all ages would benefit from a few days in the south of France or even taking a week long tour across the whole country!
Mike James is a frequent visitor to France and is a Francophile with a particular interest in French gastronomy and culture. He often writes about his travel experiences for South France Holiday Villas Ltd.