10 Best Places to Visit in the South of France Without Breaking the Bank

Planning a trip to the South of France? You don’t need to drain your savings to enjoy the beauty and culture this region has to offer. The South of France is renowned for its stunning landscapes, charming villages, and delectable cuisine. In this guide, we’ll take you on a budget-friendly journey through the 10 best places to visit in the South of France without breaking the bank. From the glamorous French Riviera to the picturesque Provence, there’s something for every traveler.

1. Nice

Source: myguidefrenchriviera.com

Nice, located on the French Riviera, offers a perfect blend of Mediterranean beauty and French charm. Start your journey with a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, a famous seafront promenade, and take in the breathtaking views of the azure waters. Best of all, it won’t cost you a dime. For a deeper cultural experience, visit the Old Town (Vieux Nice), a maze of narrow streets filled with colorful buildings, bustling markets, and charming cafes. Don’t forget to explore Cours Saleya, a vibrant flower and food market, where you can taste local delicacies and shop for souvenirs at reasonable prices.

2. Marseille

Marseille, the vibrant port city of the South of France, is known for its rich history and diverse culture. Start your visit with a trip to the Old Port (Vieux-Port), where you can watch fishing boats come and go or enjoy a coffee at one of the many waterfront cafes. Take a leisurely walk to the historic district of Le Panier, a colorful and artistic neighborhood filled with street art, galleries, and unique boutiques.

3. Avignon

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Avignon, a charming town in the Provence region, is famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture and the stunning Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes). Begin your visit with a walk over the Pont Saint-Bénézet, an iconic bridge featured in the famous song “Sur le Pont d’Avignon.” While the bridge has only a few arches remaining, the view of the Rhône River is magnificent.

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Explore the Old Town, enclosed by medieval walls, where you’ll find quaint squares, cozy cafes, and artisan shops. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Palais des Papes, a UNESCO World Heritage site. While entrance fees apply, you can save by purchasing a combination ticket that includes other museums in Avignon. Additionally, many attractions offer discounts for students and young travelers, so bring your ID card.

4. Arles

Located a short drive from Avignon, Arles is a small town with a rich Roman history. It’s famous for its well-preserved Roman amphitheater, which hosts various events throughout the year. You can admire this historical gem from the outside for free, or check the schedule for any free events or exhibitions taking place inside.

Wander through Arles’ picturesque streets and visit the Van Gogh Café, made famous by Vincent van Gogh’s painting. Many of his works were inspired by the town’s landscapes. The Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles is also worth a visit, showcasing contemporary art inspired by the artist. On certain days, they offer free admission, so plan your visit accordingly.

5. Aix-en-Provence

Source: frommers.com

Known for its elegant architecture and charming streets, Aix-en-Provence is a town that exudes quintessential Provencal charm. Begin your exploration at Cours Mirabeau, a tree-lined boulevard filled with cafes and shops. Stroll along the narrow streets of the Old Town (Vieil Aix), where you’ll discover beautiful fountains, historic buildings, and artisan boutiques.

Visit the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral, an impressive Gothic structure with stunning architecture. Entrance is free, making it an ideal stop for budget travelers. Aix-en-Provence is also famous for its markets, including the vibrant food market at Place Richelme. You can savor local specialties and shop for fresh produce and artisanal products.

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6. Exploring Lavender Fields in Provence

When it comes to the enchanting France lavender of Provence, you’re in for a visual and olfactory treat like no other. Provence is renowned for its stunning landscapes, and during the summer months, the region’s rolling hills transform into a sea of vibrant purple as lavender blooms in abundance. These fragrant fields are not only a sight to behold but also an immersive sensory experience. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the picturesque lavender fields of Provence, where you can bask in the beauty of nature and savor the delightful aroma of this iconic flower.

7. Toulouse

Source: toulouse-visit.com

Toulouse, often called the “Pink City” due to its terracotta buildings, is a vibrant city in the Occitanie region. Start your visit at the Place du Capitole, a grand square surrounded by of impressive architecture. You can explore the Capitole building for free, where the city hall and opera house are located.

8. Nîmes

Nîmes, another gem in the Occitanie region, is known for its well-preserved Roman architecture. Begin your visit at the iconic Arena of Nîmes, a Roman amphitheater that hosts various events, including bullfights and concerts. While attending an event may incur a cost, you can explore the arena from the outside for free.

9. Pont du Gard

Source: uzes-pontdugard.uk

A short drive from Nîmes lies the Pont du Gard, a magnificent Roman aqueduct bridge that spans the Gardon River. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers a stunning backdrop for a day trip. While there is an admission fee to access the visitor center and walk across the bridge, the view from the surrounding area is equally impressive and free.

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10. Montpellier

Montpellier, a lively city in the Occitanie region, offers a blend of historic charm and modern vibrancy. Begin your exploration at the Place de la Comédie, a central square surrounded by cafes and shops. Admire the stunning architecture of the Opera Comédie, and don’t forget to take a stroll through the nearby Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle, a beautiful park.

Conclusion

Exploring the South of France on a budget is not only possible but also incredibly rewarding. From the picturesque streets of Nice to the historic treasures of Avignon and the Roman wonders of Nîmes, this region offers a wealth of experiences for every traveler. By making smart choices and taking advantage of free and affordable attractions, you can enjoy the beauty and culture of the South of France without breaking the bank. So, pack your bags, embrace the French way of life, and embark on an unforgettable journey through this enchanting region. Bon voyage!