Discover the ultimate 7 day South of France road trip that covers some of the best and most beautiful spots in this magical region.
The South of France is easily one of the most beautiful places in Europe and one of my favorite places to visit. The region is a treasure trove of beauty where you will find cute coastal towns, delicious food, unique culture, and beautiful beaches! Embarking on a 7-day road trip promises an incredible journey where you will enjoy vibrant cities and mesmerizing natural wonders. This road trip offers something for every type of traveler and is the perfect blend of cultural immersion and scenic beauty.
Keep reading to discover the ultimate road trip itinerary and get exploring!
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7 Day South of France Road Trip
Day 1: Marseille
Your 7 day South of France road trip begins as you land at Marseille Provence Airport. Upon arrival, you can easily rent a car from one of the car rental agencies available at the airport. Once you have your vehicle, you’re ready to start your adventure in Marseille.
When it comes to car rentals at Marseille Airport, there are several reputable companies to choose from. Here are some of the top car rental providers with links to their websites:
- Europcar: Europcar is a well-known car rental company with a wide selection of vehicles. They offer competitive prices and convenient pickup and drop-off services at Marseille Airport.
- Hertz: Hertz is a globally recognized car rental brand with a strong presence at Marseille Airport. They offer a range of vehicles to suit different needs and preferences.
- Avis: Avis is another popular car rental company that operates at Marseille Airport. They provide a variety of rental options and have a user-friendly online reservation system.
- Budget: Budget offers affordable car rental solutions and has a convenient location at Marseille Airport. They have a straightforward online booking process and provide a range of vehicles to choose from.
- Enterprise: Enterprise Rent-A-Car is known for its excellent customer service and competitive rates. They have a branch at Marseille Airport and offer a diverse fleet of vehicles.
After picking up your car, head towards the city center and begin exploring! Some top things to do:
- Vieux-Port (Old Port): Park your car near the Vieux-Port and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Marseille’s historic port. Enjoy a walk along the waterfront, watch the fishermen unload their catches, and grab a coffee or drink at one of the waterfront cafes.
- Notre-Dame de la Garde: Drive up to the highest point in Marseille to visit the iconic Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica. The panoramic views from the basilica offer stunning views of the city and its surroundings.
- Le Panier: Explore the narrow streets of Le Panier, the oldest neighborhood in Marseille. Take in its charming squares, boutique shops, and trendy art galleries.
- Calanques National Park: If you have extra time and are up for an adventure, consider driving to Calanques National Park. This natural wonderland features breathtaking coastal cliffs, hidden coves, and hiking trails that offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Day 2: Aix-en-Provence
On the second day of your 7 day South of France road trip, you’ll be heading to the charming city of Aix-en-Provence, located just 30 minutes from Marseille.
After enjoying breakfast in Marseille, hop in your car and follow the signs towards Aix-en-Provence. Once you arrive in Aix-en-Provence, you’ll discover a city renowned for its elegant architecture, cultural heritage, and artistic vibes. Some of the top things to do in Aix-en-Provence are:
- Cours Mirabeau: Start your exploration in the heart of the city at Cours Mirabeau, a wide boulevard lined with elegant plane trees and beautiful 17th and 18th-century buildings. Take a walk along the boulevard, browse the boutique shops, and stop at one of the cafes for a drink.
- Vieil Aix (Old Town): Park your car and venture into the charming streets of Vieil Aix. Admire the well-preserved historical buildings, explore narrow alleys, and discover hidden squares with fountains and local shops.
- Atelier Cézanne: Visit the former studio of the renowned painter Paul Cézanne. This preserved artist’s workshop provides a glimpse into the life and creative process of the celebrated Post-Impressionist artist.
- Musée Granet: Immerse yourself in art and culture at the Musée Granet, located in the heart of Aix-en-Provence. The museum houses an impressive collection of artworks from different periods, including works by Cézanne, Picasso, and Van Gogh.
- Aix-en-Provence Market: If you’re visiting on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, visit the lively Aix-en-Provence market. Experience the vibrant atmosphere, browse the stalls with local produce, crafts, and souvenirs, and indulge in the flavors of Provence.
Day 3: Gorges du Verdon
On the third day of your South of France road trip, get ready to explore the breathtaking beauty of the Gorges du Verdon, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Europe.” Gorges du Verdon is located about 150 kilometers northeast of Aix-en-Provence, and the drive takes around 2 hours.
As you approach Gorges du Verdon, you’ll be greeted by stunning natural landscapes and picturesque villages. The best things to do while exploring Gorges du Verdon are:
- Route des Crêtes: Start by driving along the scenic Route des Crêtes, which offers breathtaking views of the gorge and its turquoise waters. Enjoy the dramatic cliffs, deep ravines, and lush forests as you wind your way through this spectacular route.
- Lac de Sainte-Croix: Stop at the picturesque Lac de Sainte-Croix, a stunning turquoise lake located within the Gorges du Verdon. Take a break by the lakeshore, rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the calm waters, or simply admire the beauty of the surroundings.
- Point Sublime: Continue your journey to Point Sublime, one of the most iconic viewpoints in the Gorges du Verdon. From here, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the gorge, the Verdon River, and the rugged cliffs.
- Hiking and Outdoor Activities: If you’re up for some adventure, the Gorges du Verdon offers numerous hiking trails and outdoor activities. Explore the Sentier Martel, a popular hiking route that takes you deep into the heart of the gorge, or try rock climbing, canyoning, or paragliding for an adrenaline rush.
- Moustiers-Sainte-Marie: As you make your way back, consider visiting the charming village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Nestled at the base of the cliffs, this picturesque village is known for its pottery and stunning setting.
Day 4: Nice
On the fourth day of your South of France road trip, you’ll head to the glamorous city of Nice, situated on the stunning French Riviera. Driving to Nice takes around 2.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the route you choose.
After breakfast and bidding farewell to the Gorges du Verdon, hop in your car and embark on a scenic drive towards Nice. Some of the top things to do in Nice are:
- Promenade des Anglais: Begin your exploration of Nice at the iconic Promenade des Anglais, a picturesque waterfront promenade stretching along the Bay of Angels.
- Vieux Nice (Old Town): Park your car and wander through the charming streets of Vieux Nice, the city’s historic quarter. Explore the narrow alleys lined with colorful buildings, browse the local shops, and visit the lively Cours Saleya market.
- Place Masséna: Visit Place Masséna, the main square of Nice, known for its beautiful architecture, fountains, and vibrant atmosphere. Admire the stunning red façades, the iconic “La Fontaine du Soleil,” and the artwork of the contemporary artist Jaume Plensa.
- Castle Hill (Colline du Château): Take a scenic walk or use the elevator to reach the top of Castle Hill. Enjoy panoramic views of Nice, the coastline, and the surrounding areas.
- Musée Matisse: If you’re interested in art, make a stop at the Musée Matisse. This museum showcases an impressive collection of works by the renowned artist Henri Matisse, including paintings, sculptures, and drawings.
Day 5: Villefransche-sur-mer
On the fifth day of the 7 day South of France road trip, you’ll be visiting the picturesque coastal town of Villefranche-sur-Mer. Located a short 20 minute drive from Nice, Villefranche-sur-Mer offers a charming blend of history, natural beauty, and Mediterranean allure. Here are some of the top things to do while her:
- Villefranche Old Town: Begin your exploration by wandering through the narrow, winding streets of the Old Town (Vieux Villefranche). Admire the colorful facades of the traditional buildings, explore the quaint shops and art galleries, and soak up the charming atmosphere.
- Citadelle Saint-Elme: Take a leisurely stroll up to the Citadelle Saint-Elme, a 16th-century fortress located on top of the hill. From here, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the town, the Mediterranean Sea, and the surrounding coastline.
- Beaches: Relax and unwind on one of Villefranche-sur-Mer’s beautiful beaches. The town boasts several sandy and pebble beaches, such as Plage des Marinières and Plage de la Darse. Take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, soak up the sun, or enjoy water activities like swimming and snorkeling.
- Chapelle Saint-Pierre: Visit the Chapelle Saint-Pierre, a quaint chapel adorned with colorful frescoes painted by the artist Jean Cocteau.
- Port de la Darse: Explore the charming Port de la Darse, a historic harbor that dates back to the 17th century. Stroll along the waterfront, admire the yachts and fishing boats, and stop by one of the seaside restaurants for a delightful lunch with a view.
Day 6: Menton
On the sixth day of your South of France road trip, you’ll be exploring the charming town of Menton, located on the French Riviera near the Italian border. Menton is known for its colorful buildings, beautiful gardens, and pleasant climate. It is my favorite coastal town in the South of France I urge everyone to visit!
Menton is situated approximately 20 kilometers east of Villefranche-sur-Mer, and the drive takes around 30 minutes. I have a complete post on the “Best Things to do in Menton” but here are a few for quick reading:
- Old Town (Vieux Menton): Wander through the narrow, winding streets of the Old Town. Admire the pastel-colored buildings adorned with colorful shutters and explore the local shops, cafes, and boutiques.
- Basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange: Explore the Basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange, a stunning church located in the heart of Menton’s Old Town. Admire the intricate architecture and beautiful stained glass windows.
- Beaches and Promenade: Relax on one of Menton’s beautiful beaches and soak up the sun. The town offers several sandy and pebble beaches where you can unwind and enjoy the Mediterranean waters.
Day 7: Day Trip to Monaco From Menton
On the final day of this South of France road trip, take a short journey from Menton to the glamorous city-state of Monaco. Monaco is located just a few kilometers west of Menton, making it an ideal day trip destination. The drive from Menton to Monaco takes around 15 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.
Once you arrive in Monaco, here are some must-see attractions and activities to enjoy during your day trip:
- The Rock of Monaco: Start your exploration by visiting the historic center of Monaco known as “The Rock” or “Le Rocher.” Explore the narrow streets, visit the Prince’s Palace, and witness the Changing of the Guards ceremony that takes place daily at 11:55 am.
- Monte Carlo Casino: Pay a visit to the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino, an iconic landmark in Monaco. Admire the luxurious architecture, try your luck at the casino’s gaming rooms (if you wish), or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll through the surrounding gardens.
- Jardin Exotique de Monaco: Discover the Jardin Exotique de Monaco, a beautiful exotic garden located on a cliff overlooking the city. Enjoy the stunning panoramic views, explore the impressive collection of cacti and succulents, and visit the fascinating Observatory Cave.
- Larvotto Beach: Relax and soak up the sun at Larvotto Beach, Monaco’s main public beach. Enjoy the Mediterranean coastline, lounge on the sand, or take a refreshing swim in the azure waters.
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