Southern France

Interested in the French Riviera and Provence? Browse the sample tours below for inspiration or contact us straight away for a tailor-made itinerary by a local travel designer.

Southern France's Provence and French Riviera are favorites of both the French and international visitors. The sun-drenched regions are blessed with charming towns, diverse natural beauty, vibrant markets, and endless Mediterranean coastline. Provence’s beauty on canvas. Its striking colors range from azure sky to bright pastel facades and deep purple lavender fields to vibrant yellow sunflowers.
Read More

Experience the Provence and the French Riviera

Cassis and the Calanques

Cassis is a dreamy fishing village on the Mediterranean. Its fine dining, white wines, and colorful port are a serious draw. It is set apart by being a perfect gateway into the Calanques National Park. Extending around 15 miles (25 kilometers) west ... Show More »Cassis is a dreamy fishing village on the Mediterranean. Its fine dining, white wines, and colorful port are a serious draw. It is set apart by being a perfect gateway into the Calanques National Park. Extending around 15 miles (25 kilometers) west ...

Cassis is a dreamy fishing village on the Mediterranean. Its fine dining, white wines, and colorful port are a serious draw. It is set apart by being a perfect gateway into the Calanques National Park. Extending around 15 miles (25 kilometers) west to Marseille, the calanques are limestone inlets between Marseille and Cassis, where dramatic cliffs meet the turquoise sea forming secluded beaches. The beaches are accessible by a sporty hike or by  boat from Cassis or Marseille’s Vieux Port to take in this natural wonder. 

 

Aix-en-Provence and the Luberon

Aix-en-Provence (pronounced like the letter x) is the ancient center of Provence. It owes its an elegant atmosphere to the gorgeous 17th and 18th-century mansions and omnipresent fountains that line its streets. Along the Cours Mirabeau and Vieille ... Show More »Aix-en-Provence (pronounced like the letter x) is the ancient center of Provence. It owes its an elegant atmosphere to the gorgeous 17th and 18th-century mansions and omnipresent fountains that line its streets. Along the Cours Mirabeau and Vieille ...

Aix-en-Provence (pronounced like the letter x) is the ancient center of Provence. It owes its an elegant atmosphere to the gorgeous 17th and 18th-century mansions and omnipresent fountains that line its streets. Along the Cours Mirabeau and Vieille Ville, chic cafes and boutiques seduce passerbys. Everyday visitors can see a food, flower, or antiques market in the city center. Fans of the painter Paul Cézanne can visit his studio, the Atelier Cézanne and observe the neighboring Sainte-Victoire mountain, a frequent subject of his paintings. North of Aix, the Luberon massif’s countryside and villages will seduce any visitor. The rusty red town of Roussillon, the hilltop-perched Gordes, and the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque are highlights. Come in July to admire the vast violet lavender fields in bloom. 

Cote du Rhone Wine Trail

Wine has been produced for more than 2,000 years along the Rhone River between Avignon and Lyon. Today the Côte du Rhone produces some of the most famous wine in the world including France’s first appellation d’origine contrôlée ... Show More »Wine has been produced for more than 2,000 years along the Rhone River between Avignon and Lyon. Today the Côte du Rhone produces some of the most famous wine in the world including France’s first appellation d’origine contrôlée ...

Wine has been produced for more than 2,000 years along the Rhone River between Avignon and Lyon. Today the Côte du Rhone produces some of the most famous wine in the world including France’s first appellation d’origine contrôlée Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The Rhone is truly a wine lovers paradise with a remarkable landscape consisting of rolling hills and vineyards and the occasional historical village. 

Provence and French Riviera in Depth

Get to know the Provence

Nestled between the sea and mountains, Van Gogh and Cézanne immortalized Provence’s beauty on canvas. Its striking colors range from azure sky to bright pastel facades and deep purple lavender fields to vibrant yellow sunflowers. In the summer cicadas melodically buzz in the background. Wine lovers can’t miss the powerful Côtes-du-Rhône reds and the refreshing Coteaux-d’Aix-en-Provence rosés. History buffs should make time to explore the exceptional Roman ruins and the Gothic Palais des Papes. The is a relaxing place with great weather, millennia of history, and a fantastic art legacy. Provence’s markets are an excellent place to sample the local food. Vastly different from northern French cuisine, Provence offers fresh Mediterranean fare featuring olive oil, goat cheese, tapenade, honey, and fresh vegetables and stone fruits.

Further east, the glittering French Riviera, or Cote d’Azur, is a Mediterranean paradise. The Riviera marries glamour with old-world charm. Bask in the bright sun and soak yourself superb turquoise waters. Indulge in the Rivera’s flair for luxury. Michelin-star restaurants, yacht ride, legendary nightlife, and Monaco’s Monte Carlo Casino await. 

This sparkling coastline from Cassis to Menton, has long drawn celebrities and the jet-set crowd. Every year in May, Hollywood elites descend for the famed Cannes Film Festival.

Beautiful yachts line the white sandy shore of St.Tropez. Nice is a beguiling destination blessed with natural beauty and heavy with Italian influences. By car or boat, it is easy to take a quick international detour to follow Grace Kelly’s footsteps to the opulent Principality of Monaco. With their dramatic geography and medieval charm, the perched villages like Éze, Roquebrune, and Sainte-Agnès are favorite stops for visitors. 

 

History

Provence has three millennia of fascinating history to explore. Marseille, France’s oldest city, was colonized by the Greeks in 600 BC (Nice and Monaco followed soon after). The Romans conquered the region in the 1st century BC. The region’s name, derived from the Latin Provincia Romana, is a legacy of this conquest. They left behind colossal works that can visited today including the pristine Pont du Gard aqueduct, the antique theatre in Orange and the amphitheatre in Nimes. The 14th-century Papal Schism saw the Pope decamp from Rome to Avignon where they built the imposing Gothic Palais of Papes. Though less-well known than the Normandy beach landings, hundreds of thousands of Allied troops landed in German-occupied Provence and the French Riviera during the summer of 1944 during Operation Dragoon. In four weeks they succeeded in liberating most of southern France. Visitors can pay their respects in the Rhone American Cemetery in Draguignan. 

When to Go

Most of the year is dry and sunny. Spring and Fall are lovely times to visit. The summer is popular, but it can be very hot in July and August. Marseille and Nice are worthwhile year-around. Provence host several renowned festivals in July and August. The Festival d’Aix and the Choregie d’Orange are among the world’s premier opera events. The Festival d’Avignon is the largest theater festival in Europe. The city is transformed for three weeks in July with over dozens of official and hundreds of unofficial productions. The Festival of Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles showcases great photography by old masters and creative new talents. Dozens of exhibitions are held in emblematic sites across the city. 

 

Logistics

By Train: 

With the TGV high speed train, Provence and the French Riviera have never been more accessible. The train will whisk you away from Paris to Aix-en-Provence or Marseille in about three hours. Nice is six hours from Paris. 

By Plane:

The main airport in Provence is the Marseille Provence airport located 20 minutes from Marseille and Aix-en-Provence. It is well-connected to major European airports. Nice Cote d’Azur is France’s busiest international airport after Paris, with over 10 million passengers. It has several direct flights from North America.

Show More

Why French Side Travel?

100%
Tailor-Made

Handcrafted customized tours all around France

Local
Expertise

Experienced local travel specialists based in France

Top Quality
Products

Selection of unique and authentic high end products

24/7 Support
& Assistance

Concierge service before and during  your entire trip

Our
Guarantees

The guarantees and services of a licensed experienced French tour operator

What Our Clients Are Saying

Easy to get in touch with all agents in spite of time difference.
« Excellent suggestions for excursions and “off day” activities… I phoned the after hours number several times while we were in country and always had courteous help quickly. I felt confident that we weren’t completely “alone”. »
[Matthew] was knowledgeable, patient, and full of ideas and recommendations.
« Everything at each city was perfectly planned and executed. I have used other travel companies before but did not get the service and guidance that this company provided from the very beginning. Many thanks for everything!! »
Awesome trip and we made some great memories.
« Loved all of the trips this travel company booked for our itinerary. They were very responsive when I had questions concerning my travel plans before and during my trip. I would definitely recommend this travel company. »
Every detail was perfect.
« Our special night out in Paris was very romantic and over the top with dinner. Every guide and driver were very accommodating with our needs. Perfect trip with wonderful memories! Most enjoyable time was when we were on our bikes riding in the vineyards. »
We had the best vacation ever.
« We chose this travel company, because they listened more clearly to our wants. Private tours were all top notch… All accommodations were exactly what we wanted. Beautiful courtyards, bedrooms, quality breakfasts and superb staff.  »
Many thanks for your assistance in planning this memorable trip!
« We had a great trip – full of delightful meals, amazing history and beautiful countryside. It was quite difficult to return home after such adventure! The support and immediate accessibility of the [team] throughout the trip was invaluable.  »
The trip designer helped be get every daily detail just right
« The designer and everyone was patient and helpful. They offered suggestions and advice that was so informative and useful. The whole trip was memorable… The food, culture and art was the most enjoyable… Mont St. Michel is a must see.  »
Dinner on the Eiffel Tower was incredible
« We had a great trip and found it to be worry free thanks to all the great arrangements that were made ahead of time… The hotel was very nice and in a great location. We found Paris to be a wonderful city with friendly people.  »
Everything went smoothly… We never felt alone!
« Very much appreciated the way Andrew coordinated all the details. Our personal guides were profoundly informative, and our drivers were always punctual and polite. Our hotels were the best in each location. We could not of done this without Andrew! »
Thank you for helping to make our 25th wedding anniversary such a memorable and joyous occasion!
« We just returned from our trip, and I wanted to sincerely thank you all for facilitating this amazing journey for us! The hotels were superb, and all of our transportation was reliable, polite, and easy to contact.  »
We really loved Bordeaux and would definitely visit again!
« We did a wine tasting in 2 châteaux… The local agency arranged it for us rapidly and were very attentive with getting back to us. Everything was handled professionally and we were very happy with what had been chosen… Thanks team! »

Our Partners

French Side Partners

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.