9 Reasons to Travel to the Southern Coast of France


The southern part of France, encompassing the French Riviera and the Côte d’Azur, offers at least nine compelling reasons to pack your bags and embark on a journey. And it’s not just about the sea and sun. Here’s what you need to know.

Nice: The Sea and the Chagall Museum

Nice, a popular resort on the French Riviera, attracts visitors not only with its beaches. The city hosts a large Orthodox community, and menus in cafes and restaurants are often available in Russian. Besides the beaches, Nice is worth visiting for its museums and galleries, especially the Marc Chagall Museum, which houses his collection of Biblical works. To save on museum visits, one can purchase the Carte Musees Cote d’Azur museum card. Nice is also conveniently located for trips to Cannes, Monaco, Antibes, and Grasse.

Bullfighting in Arles

Bullfighting in Arles has been mentioned since 1402. Traditionally, it takes place in the city’s historic amphitheater. The French version of bullfighting, known as Camarguaise, differs from the Spanish version in that it does not involve bloodshed. In Arles, killing bulls is strictly prohibited, and any serious injury to a bull can lead to the cancellation of the show.

Arles is also famous for being the place where Van Gogh lived and created his famous works, including “Langlois Bridge,” “Alyscamps,” “The Church at Auvers,” and others. Walking through the city, one can immerse themselves in the world of his paintings. It was in Arles where Van Gogh had a dispute with Gauguin and cut off his ear.

Roussillon – The Ochre City

Roussillon is a destination for those who love unusual natural landscapes. Here lies a unique ochre canyon, formed both naturally and through the mining of ochre at local factories. There are two routes through the ochre path, starting 350 meters from the town and costing €2.5. One route takes 30 minutes, the other one hour, but the duration of your visit is up to you. In the town, pay attention to the sundial on the bell tower with the inscription “Without the sun, we are silent.”

Fun in Saint-Tropez

Saint-Tropez attracts many tourists with the opportunity to see celebrities and party in the same clubs as them. But even if you’re not looking for celebrity company, Saint-Tropez is worth visiting for its vibrant festivals and holidays. Among the most important events are the Fishermen’s Festival (June 29 and July 6), the Giraglia Rolex Cup yacht race (June), the Paradis Porsches car show (September), and The Bravades theatrical festival (May 16-18). On Plage de Lices, you can see locals playing pétanque. Fans of the movie “The Gendarme of Saint-Tropez” can take photos at the famous gendarmerie where the film was shot.

Avignon Theatre Festival

Every July, Avignon, usually quiet and serene, is filled with an additional 100,000 residents. This is all thanks to the theatre festival that has been held here annually since 1947, thanks to actor and director Jean Vilar. For the entire month, the city lives and breathes theatrical performances. The official part of the event usually takes place in the courtyard of the Papal Palace at the Place de la Courd’Honneur and other locations in the old town. Here you can see about 40 new shows from leading troupes for €10. If you’re looking to save money, don’t forget about the OFF festival, where promising newcomers from all over Europe gather. Their performances take place on the streets, in shops, and parks. Avignon itself offers more than just a theatrical experience. It is also perfect for day trips to nearby cities such as Arles, Orange, Nimes, and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

Grasse – The Heart of French Perfumery

Grasse, surrounded by fragrant lavender fields, is renowned as the capital of French perfumery and the setting of the novel “Perfume.” Here, factories produce essences for the world’s fashion houses. In Grasse, one can go on a “perfumery tour,” including the International Museum of Perfumery and factories like “Fragonard” or “Molinard.” Each factory has shops where you can buy a fragrance or create your own for an additional fee.

Grasse was also a residence of Ivan Bunin, where you can visit the villas where he worked on “Dark Avenues,” and see a monument dedicated to the writer.

Cannes Film Festival

The most prestigious film festival in the world is held annually in Cannes. Films presented in the competition are shown at the Palais des Festivals, where black cars arrive before each premiere, bringing Hollywood stars, European cinema, fashion, and show business celebrities. If you have the time and desire to get an autograph or a photo with a celebrity, try to catch them in the fan zone, which is closed two hours before the stars arrive. Every evening, the Croisette promenade turns into a vanity parade, where everyone tries to outdo each other in their outfits. In the city’s port, you can see the most expensive and luxurious yachts. Prices for housing and food increase several times during the festival, but the flow of spectators does not decrease.

Outside of the festival, Cannes offers sandy beaches, a stroll through the old Suquet district, admiring magnificent villas, and visiting, for example, the Rothschild family villa, which is free to enter and open to all visitors.

The Picturesque Landscape of Marseille

Marseille is known not only as the “Criminal Capital of France” and the filming location of the movie “Taxi,” but also for its cultural wealth, architecture, and nature. Particularly famous are the Calanques of Marseille – limestone cliffs and turquoise waters. Access to the Calanques is open from June 1 to September 30, weather permitting.

Formula 1 in Monaco

Although Monte-Carlo is not part of France, it is a section of Monaco, and no separate visa is required to visit the principality. This offers a great opportunity to visit one of the few active monarchies in Europe. The main attraction in Monte-Carlo is the Formula 1 Grand Prix. The race track runs through the entire city and is known as the slowest and safest stage in the racing series. Spectators gather here to watch the race from hotel balconies, apartments and stands along the track.

To find out the dates of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monte-Carlo, check the racing calendar, as the dates can change each year. If your trip to Monte-Carlo doesn’t coincide with the race, you can visit the famous Monte-Carlo Casino. Opened in 1863, it attracts gamblers and curious visitors. For €10, you can explore the luxurious gaming halls. To play in the casino, you need at least €200 and must adhere to the dress code.

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