You may be thinking that this is impossible – that there couldn’t possibly be 5 hidden gems in southern France. Surely it’s a destination so popular with tourists that all the best places have already been discovered and become spoiled by overcrowding.
Yet, it is true. There are a few places in the south of France that remain truly untouched. Several locations have yet to be overrun by tourists and still offer an authentic and pristine experience.
So if you love southern France but want a new experience — or if you have never been but hate the usual overcrowded tourist haunts, then keep reading to discover the top 5 hidden gems in southern France. You won’t be disappointed.
Saint-Remy-de-Provence – Best for Idyllic Accommodation
Located about 12 miles south of Avignon, Saint-Remy-de-Provence is a charming historic town that is rich in history and culture dating all the way back to the ancient Romans. For art lovers, the streets of this town inspired Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and also played home to Nostradamus. If that’s not enough to spark your interest, Saint-Remy is surrounded by acres of stunning vineyards and olive groves.
Regarding accommodation, the remote and unspoiled location of this historic town means you won’t find any unsightly hotels. And actually, there are so many villas in the south of France to choose from — with both traditional and more modern villas being available in the Remy-Saint-de-Provence village. Staying in a picturesque villa gives you the unique advantage of being able to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings and experiences at your own pace; with no specific dining timetables or entertainment schedules. If you want to spend all day simply exploring the cobbled streets, then you can. Or, if you want to spend a whole week lounging round the pool and breathing in the French air, you can do that also.
Be sure to head to the Wednesday market and immerse yourself in the local culture. Go by foot as it is extremely popular with the locals – for good reason! And you simply must visit the specialty chocolate shop, Joel Durand Chocolatier, where local herbs, such as lavender and thyme, are used to flavor its creations.
Plage de Santa Guilia – Best for Beach Lovers
Found in the rustic town of Porto-Vecchio, the Plage de Santa Guilia is one of the most stunning beaches in Corsica. Known for its white sand and calm turquoise water, the sea is also very shallow making it ideal for families with small children. There are also plenty of water sports on offer, including kayak rentals and snorkelling opportunities.
The town itself is great to explore and offers a selection of traditional cafes and meat shops where you can try the local delicacies.
Hyeres – Best for Art Enthusiasts
Did you know that Hyeres is the oldest resort town on the French Riviera? You’ll find it in the Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur region. Famous for its medieval old town and popularity with French aristocrats, Hyeres is known for its history, culture and art.
If you choose to visit this town, head straight for the old town to take in the stunning French and Middle Age architecture; it is truly breath-taking. You should also head to the Plage de L’Almanarre to cool down or check out the local sea life by indulging in a spot of snorkelling.
Sainte-Maxime – Best for Unpretentious Relaxation
If you love the beauty of Saint-Tropez but find the glitz a bit too much, then go to Sainte-Maxime. Located north of Saint-Tropez, this small town is about as unflashy as you can get, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot to offer.
For beach lovers, hit the Plage de la Nartelle. Or a little further up the coast, visit Plage Les Elephants for some sun, sand and water sports. You can still see the delights of Saint-Tropez but from the comfort of your own quiet and more relaxing beach.
Les Dentelles de Montmirail – Best for Explorers
Les Dentelles de Montmirail is a small chain of mountains in Provence. It is the perfect spot for those wanting a truly peaceful and relaxing holiday. Whatever you do, be sure to plan to take in the breath-taking surrounding scenery.
Les Dentelles de Montmirail is perfect for hiking enthusiasts and rock climbers; be sure to pack your climbing shoes! Get ready for unrivaled views and a level of peace and tranquillity that cannot be found elsewhere. Strolling through the charming hilltop villages in this region is also very enjoyable.
Now that you’ve learned the secret of these 5 hidden gems in southern France, which one will you explore first?