Travelling Southern France in Style
Southern France has held a sensuous appeal for decades, and features everything from luxurious yachts dotting the waters of St Tropez to the impeccable fashion and style of the French Riviera. However, there is more to le Midi than just being a playground for the rich and the famous. Delve further and you’ll find medieval ruins, elegant gardens and spectacular purple fields of lavender, world-class food and restaurants, as well dramatic coastlines for a secluded seaside escape.
Be the envy of your friends and family by travelling to the luxurious South of France, and experience the best of the region in Brigitte Bardot-esque style.
Learn the language of love
If you don’t speak any French, don’t despair. In most destinations you will find people who can speak English, however it always helps to know a couple of key phrases to help you get by. It comes in handy when you really want to absorb all of France and its culture and feel like a true local!
A wonderful way of learning the French language before and during your travels is to purchase a small French phrasebook that you can carry with you in your bag or pocket. It’s always best to start with helpful phrases and greetings; here are a couple to help you get by:
Bonjour - “Hello”: Bonjour is the most well-known greeting and way of saying “hello”. It is also one of the most polite forms and is useful for greeting strangers. You may also hear the less-formal way of greeting in the form of salut, which can mean either “hi!” or “bye!”.
S'il vous plaît - “Please”: Being polite will get you a long way - and even make you some friends! - so be sure to always say “please” when making a request or asking for help.
Merci - “Thank you”: Merci is the common way of expressing “thanks” and can be used in response to being given advice, food or directions. You may also wish to use the term merci beaucoup which translates to “thank you very much”.
Parlez vous anglais - “Do you speak English?”: This is the most polite way of asking a French person if they speak English – the French people love those who make an effort with their language, and they will be happy to assist you in English if you ask them first.
Go on a history lesson
Southern France has adopted a rich legacy found in its historical antiquity. Most of the Roman remains and ruins can be found in the South of France along with medieval castles dating back to 58BC when the Romans ruled and civilized France and much of Western Europe.
Throughout this region you will find a scattered collection of Roman ruins & sites, as well as amphitheatres; where gladiators used to fight to their death. Most of the Roman remains can be found in Provence, bordering Italy. The city of Avignon is home to a lot of relics left over from the middle ages, for example the magnificent ruins of Pont Saint-Bénézet overlooks the Rhône River and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Natural wonders and hidden gems
In the French Lot Region, you will find a natural wonder like no other. The caves of the ‘Gouffre de Padirac’ takes you 75 metres below-ground, where you’ll find a 500-metre-long subterranean river of which you can travel on boat through vaulted caves and underground lakes. In one of the caverns in the Lac de la Pluie (lake of rain) you will come across the jaw-dropping ‘Grand Dome’ where extraordinary rock formations and 60 metre stalactites suspend from the ceiling.
Along the French Riviera (also known as Côte d’Azur) you will come across the hidden bays of the Calanques. These stunning secret beaches are only accessible by boat or via a hike and are one of Southern France’s most unique wilderness areas. These inland beaches are deep fjord-like inlets of bright blue water surrounded by white rocky gorges.
Once the hideout of pirates, the Calanques National Park is a summer getaway for locals and visitors alike to bathe in the sun and go snorkelling, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, and picnicking among the breathtaking natural scenery.
Sample the famous cuisine of Provence and the French Riviera
In the elegant city of Cannes, not only are the sites and people film-star worthy but so too is the cuisine! The Cannes dining scene is filled with high-end French fine dining. Greatly influenced by their Mediterranean neighbours and the fresh local seafood, cafes and restaurants in Cannes offer a range of delicacies.
For café lovers, espresso is the first thing Cannes locals start their days with. Explore the old port town and ‘La Croisette’ to find one of many upmarket cafes and order a Tarte au Citron for a little taste of heaven on the French Riviera.
For something a little bit fancy, book a table at one of the best seaside restaurants, the L’Ondine Restaurant. Sample fresh fish straight from the cobalt waters outside and treat yourself to a gastronomical experience of fine French dishes made using local ingredients from the Forville market.
You also cannot leave the Provence region without sampling one of the region’s favourite dishes - Ratatouille. This hearty vegetable stew is made up of eggplant, zucchini, onions, peppers and tomatoes, is cooked in olive oil and then flavoured with herbs and garlic.
Embrace the style of the South of France
Book your next adventure in the south of France with Albatross Tours today – we have a number of tours that visit the amazing country that is France, and every one of them offers an unmissable experience for every Australian.