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eze village

Are you planning a trip to the South of France? Do you want to know the best villages in the South of France that you shouldn’t miss? Europe is full of small villages that most American travelers have never heard of but are totally worth checking out.

These happen to be some of the best places to visit and the ones you shouldn’t miss on your next vacation. Rather than spending most your time surrounded by tourists in crowded cities, these villages offer a unique experience that will feel more like Europe than larger cities. Make sure you don’t miss the best villages in the South of France. Here they are:

Éze Village

This small, medieval village sits quietly on a crested hill just above sea level. Its narrow, cobblestone streets are covered in bougainvillea and you’ll fall in love with the charm of this small village in no time.

Its streets are not suitable for cars making it only accessible by foot.  It is a great place to walk around and enjoy all the art galleries. Wander around the Jardin Botanique d’ Éze and enjoy their cacti and succulent collections.

Since it is higher up than most villages in the area, the views are stunning reaching as far as Italy and Antibes.

Fun Fact: Walt Disney was known to spend a significant amount of time in this village.

How To Get There:

Adventure: There is a lovely trail from sea level to the top of this village. It takes about 45 minutes – 1 hour depending on your ability. Take the train to Eze de Sur, across the street from the train station you will see a sign for the trail up to the village.

Leisure: Rent a car and drive up to the village. It is about 30 minutes from Nice and there is a parking lot at the bottom of the village.

Best Village in the South of France

Luxury: If you are not on a budget then spend the night at the Chateau de Eze. If you already have accommodation, this is a great place to come back for a drink and enjoy the spectacular views.

Menton City View, South of France

Menton

In this charming town you will feel more like you are in Italy than in France. Understandably so since it is right on the border of Italy.

This seaside town, much like most places in France, has an old man’s feel to it and is known to have antique markets every weekend. Be sure to walk along the boardwalk and enjoy one of many restaurants along the rocky, but beautiful, blue watered Mediterranean beach.

There is also a casino if you want to try your luck with gambling. Just be sure to bring your passport if you want to gamble. Regardless of your age, they will not let you in unless they are able to scan it.

Citrus Festival Menton, South of France

Fun Fact: Every year they host a citrus festival with floats made out of citrus

How To Get There:

Adventure: There are beautiful seaside boardwalks all along the South of France. One of my favorite activities was walking along these pathways. Monaco to Menton will take about 1.5 hours and there are not many places to stop in between, so make sure to bring plenty of water.

Leisure: Take the train from anywhere in the South of France or Northern Italy. It is about a 30-minute train ride from Nice.

Saint Paul de Vence, South of France

Saint Paul De Vence

Saint Paul De Vence is perfect for a relaxing and romantic get-a-way. Located a quick 30-minute drive from Nice, it is the ultimate escape from the crowded beach cities.

It offers many delicious restaurants to choose from, and lots of art galleries and shops. Besides being an art lovers dream, it is also filled with tons of artisanal food shops. You should definitely try the local olive oils, cheeses, and deli meats that are special to the region.

How To Get There:

Adventure: If you don’t want to rent a car, the only way to get to Saint Paul De Vence is to take the bus from the train station in Nice. Bus 94 leaves almost every hour from just outside the main train station in Nice.

Leisure: Rent a car and drive up to the village, it is about 30 minutes from Nice. There is plenty of parking and amazing Airbnb’s around the area.

Aix-En-Provence Village

Aix-En-Provence Water Fountain

Aix-En-Provence

Known to draw the younger crowds in with the active nightlife, Aix-En-Provence is much more than a college town. It is the home of a thousand water fountains. Everywhere you turn you will see young, ambitious students sitting around the fountains, smoking cigarettes, and drinking beers in the sunshine.

Aix-En- Provence is also the perfect location for wine enthusiasts. Take a wine tour and enjoy the organic rosés the Cote de Azur has to offer.

How To Get There:

Adventure: It’s an hour train ride from Marseille and trains leave pretty frequently so you don’t have to worry about booking ahead of time.

Leisure: Rent a car and drive up to the village from Marseille. It is a quick 30 minute drive through the beautiful wine country.

Ville-Franche-Sur-Mer

Villefranche-Sur-Mer

Villefranche-Sur-Mer is the perfect little village in the South of France that is right on the water and has beautiful sandy beaches. Surprisingly enough, this can be hard to find in the South of France or in the Mediterranean. Most beaches in this area are mainly rocky, which can make it uncomfortable to walk on or to lay on.

Villefranche-Sur-Mer is a cute village that is located just in between Nice, France, and Monaco. It is filled with cafes right on the water and the beach is quite popular during the summer months. Come enjoy the good food and admire all the superyachts that are anchored just offshore.

How To Get There:

Villefranche-Sur-Mer is easy to get to by train from either Nice or Monaco, and that is probably the best way to get there, as parking can be a bit tricky.

Cassis Village in the South of France

Cassis Village

Around the corner from La Ciotat, Cassis is a little fishing village that is surrounded by beautiful but steep limestone cliffs. It is surrounded by mountains as well giving it a special charm that you don’t see in the rest of the South of France.

While you are here, sit by the port and enjoy a bottle of rosé or a bottle of special white wine that is made in the area. Enjoy some fresh oysters and just let the world pass by as you embrace the laid-back lifestyle of this small little town.

How To Get There:

Adventure: You can take the train to Cassis, but from the train station to the port of the town, can be a bit of a trek. If you don’t want to rent a car, you can always take a taxi from the train station for about 20 Euros. You can also try your luck with Uber, but it doesn’t always work in this area.

Leisure: It is best to rent a car and drive. If you are coming from Marseille, it is a quick 30-minute drive.

If you enjoyed this post and plan on spending a little time in the South of France, be sure to check out my blog post on Visiting Monaco On A Budget.

Disclosure: There may be some affiliate links in this article and I may receive commissions for purchases made through these links. This is at no extra cost to you and helps keep this site running

Comments:

  • August 7, 2019

    La douce France, I love this country so badly! Thank you for this post, I reminds me of all the good times I had in this country.

    reply...
  • August 7, 2019

    Funny…my girlfriend and i traveled to Italy in June….we were trying to figure out where to spend a few days before we had to be in Torino. We seriously considered Cannes or Nice because it was too expensive. I would have loved to go to one of these little villages, and so close to Italy!

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  • August 7, 2019

    This post brought me right back to my time in the South of France – it’s so incredibly beautiful! I stayed close to Eze, I didn’t know Walt Disney stayed there! So cool. Great post!

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  • August 8, 2019

    I haven’t been to France and honestly I never had the desire to go but you might have just changed my mind. I much prefer exploring the smaller towns than doing the usual touristy things in a city. A road trip through these towns would be a lot of fun.

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  • August 8, 2019

    I have not spent any vacations in the south of France but would love to go during late summer. All the villages sound lovely but I am drawn to Menton.

    reply...
  • me

    August 9, 2019

    Menton looks so nice and romantic. Doesn’t even look like in France. 🙂 Looks somewhere in Italy!

    reply...

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