If you’re looking for a place to relax, unwind and bask in the Mediterranean sunshine, there’s something about the South of France that just ticks all the boxes. Packed full of unique attractions, charming towns and some of Europe’s most beautiful scenery, the South of France is every bit as diverse as its visitors, and there’s a destination to suit just about every kind of holidaymaker.
If you’re in need of a break from the bustling tourist hotspots of Nice and Cannes, there are plenty of charming towns and villages in the South of France. Ideal for day trips or short weekends away, here’s our pick of some of the most beautiful towns and villages in the region.
Situated halfway up the Pyrénées in the Languedoc region, Villefranche is a fortified village which was once used as a prison. Drawing influences from both Spanish and French culture being so close to the border, Villefranche is entirely surrounded by huge maze-like fortifications and boasts pretty streets full of shops and restaurants to explore.
The charmingly restored village of St Guilhem-le-Desert is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s not too hard to see why. Boasting picturesque cobbles streets and dramatic ravine views, the centre of the village sits in the abbey founded by Charlemagne’s counsellor Guile, famous for returning from Rome to Languedoc with three pieces of the cross in the year 800. Do bear in mind that the village becomes very busy during the summer months, so consider visiting in the milder spring months.
The French are very particular about their food, but when there are villages like Marseillan offering a whole host of gourmet delights, who can blame them? This fishing village is not just a pretty face – it’s home to no less than 101 seafood restaurants lining its ports, and you can guarantee a delicious meal, with shellfish being a speciality! Particularly lively in the summer, the village is also home to the Noilly Prat factory, where you can see just how famous French tipple is made and then stored in traditional barrels left out in the sun.
Another of France’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Carcassonne is one of the country’s most famous medieval towns, and its fairy-tale-like appearance is sure to leave you feeling enchanted. Perfect for a day out, the town is rich in history and its historic castle will really take your breath away. For a true taste of life in the South of France, use www.qualityvillas.com and lap up the luxury in your own private accommodation.
France is known for its colourful history, but many people overlook its significance as part of the Roman Empire. A must for anyone interested in history, the city of Arles boasts a whole host of Roman heritage attractions including a magnificent Amphitheatre, Forum and theatre as well as relatively new additions including 17thy century mansions, winding streets and modern museums all set aside its rolling river. It’s also an incredibly beautiful city, and it’s here than celebrated artists Vincent Van Gogh painted some of his most famous works.