Côte d’Azur sounds so much sexier than Southern France
Heck, even the French Riviera and South of France has a nice ring to it. We should really learn from the French on how to name things. Also, technically this region is “Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur”, of which we saw a lot of. So below are the towns we visited, from West to East.
- BlaBlaCar is an easy way and cheap way to get from town to town if you don’t mind riding with a stranger.
- If you’re in France for a while, if you ever get tired of eating out, we recommend going to the grocery store to buy food. We love Carrefour. They have foie gras pate in a jar. Buy that, fig jam, and baguette and you’ve got a good meal under 20 euros!
Technically not France! But a must-stop at if you’re in Nice. Our recommendations in blog post here.
See blog post here.
Marseilles is a very diverse city. It is full of grit, with pockets of beauty and history. We had fun watching France win the quarterfinals at an Irish bar. This map includes a number of places we saw and recommend, but also a places that we researched but unfortunately didn’t get to.
Calanque d’En-vau (★★★)
If you are close to Marseilles and able-bodied, this is a must. The water here is unreal. We drove from Marseilles, parked, and then did the hike, which was difficult due to the unrelenting sun. From where we parked (see Marseilles map above), it was supposedly the shortest hike which was a not very scenic 2 hours one way. You might get better views hiking from Cassis, but it is an even longer hike. If we were to do it again, we would rent kayaks from the town Cassis and paddle to the Calanque. From the beach, when you are facing the water, on your left-hand side there is a poorly marked trail that allows you to climb up rocks to get an aerial view of the blue water.
Lavender Fields of Valensole
Our friend Jordan is the reason we were in this region this time of the year. She had a trip planned to visit the lavender fields of France, so we said let’s meet up! It was really one of the most colorful days in our lives. We followed this blogger’s helpful guide as to where to stop, and took lots of photos along the beautiful sea of purple.
This is the quintessential French provincial town. Super cute with lots of fountains, really nice to walk around during the early morning. There’s a beautiful cafe called Pâtisserie Weibel (★) worth grabbing a pastry from and sitting out on the deck.
If you get this far west, we highly recommend checking out Carrières de Lumières (★★★), which is an old quarry mine that now has multimedia light shows (sounds weird, but really cool!) They sell a combo ticket to this and Chateau des Baux (★), which is a medieval fortress ruin on the top of a tiny town. They even have a small “this is what it looked like then” shows, such as launching a water balloon off a giant trebuchet.