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Best Villages In The South Of France

eze village
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Are you planning a trip to the South of France? Do you want to visit the best villages the south of France has to offer? France is a beautiful country with so much to see and do, especially in the south of France.

France is full of small villages that most American travelers have never heard, but are bucket list places to visit.

They are beautiful and small and won’t be overrun by tourists.

These villages 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.

Top 6 Best Villages in the South of France

1. Éze Village

Best Village in the South of FranceThis 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. To hike the trail, you will want to take the train to Eze de Sur.

Once there across the street from the train station you will see a sign for the trail up to the village. That is where your journey will begin.

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. From the parking lot, it is only a 5-minute walk to get inside the village.

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.

2. MentonMenton City View, South of France

In this charming town you will feel more like you are in Italy than in France. Which makes sense as it is close to the border.

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 the beautiful, blue-watered Mediterranean beach.

This is truly one of France’s Hidden Gems.

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.

3. Saint Paul De VenceSaint Paul de Vence, South of France

Another south of France village is Saint Paul De Vence. It is perfect for a relaxing and romantic getaway.

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 lover’s 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.

If Paris is not your jam, you will surely love this spot.

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.

While you are there, don’t forget to enjoy these awesome day trips from Nice.

4. Aix-En-Provence

Aix-En-Provence Village

Aix-En-Provence Water Fountain

Known to draw the younger crowds in with the active nightlife, Aix-En-Provence is much more than one of the best villages in the south of France.

It is also a bustling college town, with an artistic vibe.

Home to more than a thousand water fountains, there are plenty of wishes to be made by tossing a euro into one of these fountains.

Everywhere you turn you will see young, ambitious students sitting around the fountains, smoking cigarettes, and drinking beers in the sunshine. Kind of how you would imagine the French to live their lives.

Aix-En- Provence is also the perfect location for wine enthusiasts.

Take a wine tour of Provence 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.

5. Villefranche-Sur-Mer

Ville-Franche-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.

6. Cassis Village

Cassis Village in the South of France

Around the corner from La Ciotat, Cassis is a little fishing village in South France that is surrounded by beautiful but steep limestone cliffs.

Cassis 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.

Cassis is also famous for their creme de cassis liquir that I am sure you have heard of.

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.

Conclusions

There we have the best villages in the south of France that are worth checking out. We have shortened this list as much as possible, but there are so many other villages in this area that are worth checking out.

Do you have a favorite village that wasn’t mentioned on this list? Say so in the comments below.

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Best Villages in the south of France

Comments:

  • 08/07/2019

    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...
  • 08/07/2019

    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!

    reply...
  • 08/07/2019

    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!

    reply...
  • 08/08/2019

    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.

    reply...
  • 08/08/2019

    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

    08/09/2019

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

    reply...

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