DestinationsEurope

Travel Tips: Southern France

Traveling to “Le Midi”, or the south of France seems like the trip of a lifetime.

View of luxury resort and bay of Cote d’Azur in France.

There is so much to do in this beautiful area from enjoying the beach to hiking in the mountains to exploring historic, quaint towns. If you are planning a trip like this, there are many things to keep in mind—especially if this is your first trip.

Time Your Trip Right

You should always know what season it will be when you are traveling for many reasons. The seasons and weather can affect how you have to pack, as well as what kinds of events and activities you can experience while you are there. Traveling to Southern France is no different.

Depending on what you are looking to do while you are there, there may be better times go travel than others. The peak summer season is in July and August. If you are looking for a nice, relaxing beach vacation, this may be the best time for you to go, but keep in mind it is the busiest time for tourists to plan trips to Southern France.

The coldest time to go is November to January. If you enjoy skiing, this may be the perfect time for your trip. May to September has the best weather, and February to June is their springtime when the weather is more unpredictable.

Search for Events and Places You Want to Experience Before You Go

While you don’t need an itinerary down to the hour, you should have an idea of the region you want to visit as well as what is going on during the time you’ll be there and what you would like to do. In Southern France, there is so much to do.

The coastline has beautiful beaches for you to relax and get some sun. There are also mountains for hiking, historic towns to explore, and stores to shop at. If you like to do a little bit of everything, you should explore your options before you leave.

You will have to plan how to get around and about how much time to spend in each town you’d like to go to. Have a plan, but also allow it to be flexible. Don’t forget, you are on vacation, so you should be relaxed and enjoy your time.

Make Sure You Have the Right Documentation

You really can’t travel internationally without a passport, but there are other types of documentation you should consider as well. If you plan to rent a car, you will need to make sure you have an international driver’s license before doing so since it is required to rent the car in the first place.

You will also need to have a gray card, which is proof of ownership of the car you are driving. If you are renting a car, the rental company should provide you with this. You also need to consider having valid insurance in order to be a driver. You will need to show proof.

Depending on what you are looking to do, renting a car may be necessary for you to travel to the more remote places that are not easily accessible by public transportation. Another reason why it is important to figure out what you’d like to do before you go.

If You Don’t Want to Rent a Car, Public Transportation is Abundant

There are many ways to get around when traveling through Southern France. The public train is the fastest train that can get you to major cities and in between. You can also look into taking the bus to places you’d like to visit. If you aren’t going too far and plan to stay around the same area, you can also consider bike riding and hiking as your primary modes of transportation. This is also more environmentally friendly as well as cheaper for your budget. If you want to experience tours, you can look into boat rides as well as minibus tours to take you to the places you want to go.

Enjoy the Outdoors Since There is SO Much to Offer

No matter what time of year you are traveling to Southern France, you really should take advantage of all there is to do outdoors. Between hiking, biking, sightseeing, wine tasting, skiing, and going to the beaches, you won’t have to spend too much inside providing that the weather cooperates with you.

Dawn in the vineyards of Saint Emilion, France, Bordeaux. Fruit is ripe.

The South of France is beautiful no matter what region you travel to. In the Correze River Valley, there is the opportunity to canoe or kayak and enjoy the beautiful and natural scenery the area has to offer. The Pont d’Arc offers a gorgeous view of the natural stone archway that many people like to visit for breathtaking views.

Main Regions

There are five main regions for you to consider when booking your trip. They are Bordeaux and Aquitaine, Dordogne, Midi-Pyrénées, French Riviera, and Provence Apls. Each has a unique set of attractions to offer. If you are looking for great vineyards to try some French wines, check out Bordeaux and Aquitaine. Other regions like Dordogne and Midi-Pyrénées also offer wine tastings, too.

Looking for some great skiing? You may want to consider traveling to Midi-Pyrénées for some of the best skiing in the region. The French Riviera also offers some great Mediterranean-style beaches for your enjoyment.

Parting Thoughts

As with any trip, you should take the time to research the area and what it has to offer. It is also important to make sure you have all the documentation you need and that your passport is up to date. Depending on how long you are staying and what country you are traveling from, you also may need to look into considering a green card.

While most countries require a green card if you are staying for more than 90 days, it is important to know what you need prior to booking your trip. Also consider travel insurance as you never know what could happen. Most importantly, enjoy your visit to Southern France as it is a beautiful place with so much to offer to any kind of traveler.

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Leigh Gordon

Leigh Gordon is an avid surfer, writer, and blogger living in San Diego. She spends time hiking and traveling, and enjoys seeing all that California and the world have to offer. She owns a yellow lab named Finn.

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