Every year of my childhood, from as early as I can remember, my family spent 6 weeks of the summer camping in France. Fond memories of my dad’s Golf Mk 1 packed to the point of bursting, roof box on the roof, bike rack on the back, my sister and I sat atop of sleeping bags in the rear seats. Travelling from the North coast through the night to the Ardeche where we would spend a week canoeing and swimming in the river, followed by the long journey south to the coast.
The South of France is a beautiful part of the world with a myriad of activities for absolutely everyone. Famed for the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera, the region is a favourite with travellers and holidaymakers from all over the world. The beautiful white sandy beaches; the secluded coves; the quaint historic villages and the world class cuisine only add to the appeal. Reliable warm weather from April through to October make the region an ideal destination for a summer holiday.
The variety of the landscape make Provence and the Côte d’Azur perfect for exploring. You can be driving through rolling fields of lavender in the morning, exploring caves in the cliffs in the afternoon, and swimming in the clear blue Med in the evening. The diversity of the region means you’ll never get bored, and that’s why I’ve returned year after year.
For those in search of luxury and indulgence, the French Riviera is second to none. Cannes- famed for the film festival held each year- draws the world’s richest 1% to its port each summer to enjoy the epitome of luxury. The same can be said for the surrounding towns of Antibes, Saint-Tropez, Nice and Monaco which accommodate some of the best hotels, villas with pools and restaurants in the world.
Whilst on one hand it’s nice to see these glamorous places, it’s not for everyone. Fortunately, there is a so much else to see and do away from the tourist filled towns. Smaller historic towns with a real French charm are in abundance, such as Montpelier and Avignon.
Rugged mountains, clear lakes, thick green forests and deep gorges make the landscape away from the coast line equally appealing.
The Verdon Gorge is one of the most spectacular river canyons in Europe, if not the world. Twenty five kilometres long and 700m deep, the gorge is an amazing destination for climbing. It’s estimated that there are nearly 1,500 multi-pitch routes, ranging from 20m-400m in length. It’s also popular with hikers, swimmers and canoers who meander through the bright turquoise waters of the river Verdon.
I’m already planning on returning to the South of France this summer in the van to explore even more as there’s so much more to see!