France – what a beautiful country! History, architecture, food; you name it, they’ve got it. However, we are not here to talk about the usual stuff. Yes, the Eiffel Tower is impressive and so is the Champs-Elysees, but let’s focus on special ‘uncharted’ places of south France. Again, we are going to avoid places like Nice or Monte Carlo, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like them. We just want to find a few hidden gems that are still not mainstream. It’s a shame that because other ‘fancy’ destinations in France places like these fall behind in the shadows.
This stunning place is the epitome of a traditional French city. Its architecture is beautiful, stylish and vibrant. The city also takes pride in the fact that it is inhabited by people originating from various cultures. Due to its location, Montpellier has a stunning coastline and beaches that are true representatives of Mediterranean gorgeousness. On top of that, the city has its own airport and excellent transport links so that you won’t have any problems in that field.
This cute little village whose trademark is the ruined Chateau of Queen Jeanne boasts a picturesque Provencal backdrop and countryside. Little cobbled streets full of flowers surrounded by stone houses dominate the village. Visiting the Chateau of Queen Jeanne and taking a look at the Etang de Berre from the foot of the ruins goes without saying. This village always finds its way on the itineraries of mountain-bikers and hikers. Combine the rustic feeling of an old village with vibrant colours of flowers, and you’ll get Ventabren. A place that is worth visiting.
Unfortunately, many tourists consider Marseille to be an airport and nothing else. A mere stop on their way to somewhere else. They don’t know that they are missing out on a city going through a renaissance of its own. Dubbed the European Capital of Culture in 2013, this city deserves mention due to its museums, restaurants and great culture combined with history. If you decide to visit Marseille, be sure to check out the Castle of If from Count of Monte Cristo. If you like amusement parks, head to the OK Corral. You definitely won’t get bored.
This is a city of just over 50,000 people. It used to be an important Roman seaport; however, centuries of silting of the Aude River left it snoozing 15km inland. You can be sure this city has a lot to offer history-wise. It has an archaeological museum which is home to a stunning exhibition of Romanesque paintings. Narbonne also has a museum of art and history that takes pride in its collection of fine and decorative art. Planning on visiting the ancient church of Our Lady of Lamourgier? Great, the museum of Masonry is also located there. Another great thing about this place is that you can hop on a memorable Canal du Midi cruise and you’ll be able to see the whole Narbonne area in its full glory.
Another hidden gem worthy of a mention is this little seaside haven located just beneath Nimes and Montpellier on the map. The French seem to love this place since they often spend their holidays there. In recent years, British tourists started coming in significant numbers, but it is still an ‘uncharted territory’ for many. You’ll find great restaurants and stunning beaches here, so if you don’t know where to go for a family holiday, Le Grau-du-Roi is the place to be. You won’t regret it.
Ile de Porquerolles
This place served as the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Do we need to say more? This island is just off the coast from Toulon; another Mediterranean beauty that is only one short ferry journey away from the mainland. The fact that a great many tourists still don’t know about this place is incredible. Therefore, you’ll be able to indulge in the real atmosphere of Southern France in Ile de Porquerolles.
Dare to explore these untouched places before everyone else visits them! You’ll get the unique experience of France that has disappeared from many ‘popular’, well-known sites. Southern France is full of history hotspots, and its architecture is tantalising.