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South of France Itinerary 14 days

This itinerary will take you to the beautiful corners of southern France. Don’t expect to relax on the beach or visit the French Riviera. South of France has other spectacular places that you need to explore.

I traveled to the south of France many times, visiting all the places on this itinerary. And it always excited me – it’s truly the most beautiful part of France. After seeing it all, I’ve put together this itinerary based on my experience so you can see the highlights, too.

We’ll visit the most beautiful French citiesmedieval towns, a miracle town, natural wonders, and end even the highest European peak, Mount Blanc.

Let’s get started!

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Overview Of The South Of France Itinerary For 14 Days

Here is an overview of what you can expect from this itinerary in southern France. I’ve designed a basic 14-day road trip, which you can follow.

If you only have 10 days or less, scroll down to see more tips and places I recommend visiting on a 10-day trip.

DAY:DESTINATION:
1.Bordeaux
2.Bordeaux: Half-Day Wine Tour
3.Bordeaux Dunes de Pilat Lourdes
4.Lourdes
5.Lourdes ⇒ Carcassonne Toulouse
6.Toulouse
7.Toulouse Albi Marseille
8.Marseille
9.Marseille Avignon
10.Avignon
11.Avignon Annecy Chamonix
12.Chamonix & Mt. Blanc Excursion
13.Chamonix Lyon
14.Lyon

Map Of South Of France Itinerary

Here is a map of this 14-day road trip through southern France. Save it and follow it once you travel:

Excited To Visit French Riviera?

Don’t be disappointed if you expected a few places from the French Riviera and Provence in this itinerary. I’ve also designed a full French Riviera itinerary for 7 days for you. So, if you want to visit the French Riviera, take that itinerary.

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How To Get To Southern France

You can get south of France by plane, train, or bus.

This itinerary starts in Bordeaux, in the southwestern part of France. The fastest and most convenient way to reach it is to fly.

Flying To South Of France

Bordeaux has an airport with good international connections, so you can reach it by plane.

The biggest airports in southern France are:

Lyon
Nice
Marseille

If you have trouble finding good plane tickets to Bordeaux, you can also fly to these airports instead.

Check out flights to Bordeaux with great deals here.

Getting To Southern France By Train

You can also take trains if you’re visiting southern France from other French cities or neighboring countries (like Spain, Germany, or Switzerland). It’s fast, convenient, and often cheap to travel on the French TGV – high-speed trains.

Get the best train deals to southern France & Bordeaux via Trainline.

Getting To South Of France By Bus

Alternatively, you can also take a bus to get to Bordeaux. It’s a slow option, but it’s the cheapest. So it’s great if you’re on a budget.

The most common bus companies covering routes in southern France are Flixbus and the local OUI French company.

Check out bus connections to Bordeaux here.

How To Get Around Southern France & Make This Itinerary

The best way to get around southern France is by car. That’s why I’ve also designed this itinerary as a road trip. It’s difficult and time-consuming to get to some of the places by bus or train. You would waste a lot of time changing trains and buses.

With a car, you’ll have a lot of flexibility and get to the most beautiful places, which aren’t accessible by trains and buses.

So I recommend renting a car in Bordeaux on day 3. of this itinerary. Rent it for 11 days and return it to Lyon on day 13.

RENT A CAR FOR YOUR ITINERARY

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0. DAY: ARRIVE IN BORDEAUX

Welcome to France, the most visited country in Europe. It’s time to explore its southern part with this itinerary.

You might have arrived in Paris on your flight. Or you’ve been exploring other countries around France and want to continue to the south of France. You can take a train to Bordeaux.

Today, check in to your accommodation and get your first impression of Bordeaux. Then, you can head to the riverside and the promenade for a nice dinner and enjoy the nightlife.

Evening Cruise With A Glass Of Wine

One activity I recommend for tonight is hopping on a cruise on the River Garonne. You’ll see the city from a different angle and learn some interesting things about it.

Of course, a glass of wine won’t be missing. It’s a good start to your trip.

Book the cruise in Bordeaux here.

south of France itinerary 14 days Bordeaux
Bordeaux – France

Where To Stay In Bordeaux: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

HOTEL MADAMEbudget-friendly hotel
HOTEL DE SEZE & SPAmid-range hotel
HOTEL SINGULIER BORDEAUXluxury hotel
VILLA REALEluxury apartment

1. DAY: BORDEAUX

Bordeaux, the world’s wine capital, is the city that truly deserves to be the first one on this itinerary. It surprised me in many ways, so let’s explore it together.

Bordeaux is mainly known for its delicious wine and is named the City of Art and History. Once you arrive, you’ll first notice the spectacular Miroir D’Eau in front of the Place de la Bourse. The Water Mirror is the largest reflecting pool in the world.

Around 80% of the land around Bordeaux is used for wine production. Today, you’ll get to taste some of them.

Let’s see what Bordeaux has to offer.

bordeaux water mirror square
Bordeaux – Water Mirror ^& Place De La Bourse

Sighseeing In Bordeaux

🔆 Water Mirror (Miroir D’Eau)
🔆 Place de la Bourse
🔆 La Grosse Chloche
🔆 Bordeaux Cathedral
🔆 Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux
🔆 Quais de Bordeaux
🔆 La Cité du Vin

🔆 Place De La Bourse

Jacques Gabriel, Louis XV’s favorite architect, designed the entrance to the old city of Bourdeaux, Place de la Bourse.

Before entering, admire the extensive Water Mirror and cool yourself during the hot summer months.

🔆 La Grosse Cloche

The big bell above the former dungeon from the 18th century is super impressive. Nowadays, you won’t hear the bell as locals only use it on special occasions such as Bastille Day. The tower building alone is beautiful, with nice ornaments, so check it out.

In the past, it hosted a small prison. Locals kept offenders inside closed with a 10-centimeter-thick door for months.

bordeaux bell tower south of France itinerary
Bell Tower & Bordeaux Old Town

🔆 Bordeaux Cathedral

Bordeaux Cathedral, one of the most impressive buildings in the city, had hard times during the French Revolution.

Like other important French buildings, it lost its decorations and was damaged significantly. Walk up to the Tour Pey Berland bell tower for great city views.

🔆 Grand Théâtre De Bordeaux

Built in 1780, it had the original French monarchy style. After the revolution, they changed the way it looks now.

The best way to experience it is to see a show by the Bordeaux National Opera, consisting of 110 orchestra musicians, 37 choral artists, and 38 dancers.

🔆 Quais De Bordeaux

Once you come out of the old town, walk alongside the Bordeaux promenade until you reach the wine museum. There are many restaurants and cafes, so stop and have a little break on the way.

I loved walking through the promenade; it has a great atmosphere.

🔆 La Cité Du Vin

Perhaps the main reason for visiting Bordeaux is its spectacular wine museum. The building has been constructed in the shape of a wine carafe or, as professional sommeliers would say, a decanter.

Inside, you’ll learn about the history of wine, its production, and various places where it’s produced. After the tour, stop at the bar to taste the local wine you’ve seen in the museum.

It’s one of the best experiences in Bordeaux. Even if you don’t drink wine, come to see the museum building. It’s cool.

Get a skip-the-line ticket to the wine museum + wine tasting after here.

Bordeaux La Cité Du Vin wine museum and tasting
La Cité Du Vin

Bordeaux Guided Walking Tour

Join this guided tour of Bordeaux with a local guide if you want to learn more about its history and hear exciting stories

Don’t forget to try ‘caneles’ – a local French dessert that originated here. It’s a rum and vanilla-flavored pastry with custard cream in the middle and a caramelized crust.

Caneles Bordeaux patisserie
Caneles Bordeaux: Patisserie

Enjoy Bordeaux today with everything it offers.

Tomorrow, we’ll stay in the region and do a beautiful half-day trip visiting a famous winery and having a picnic in the French countryside.

2. DAY: BORDEAUX ⇒ HALF-DAY WINE TOUR

Good morning to Bordeaux. I hope you slept well and didn’t drink too much wine yesterday :D… Because we are heading to one of the most famous wine locations in southern France, St. Emilion village.

We’ll do a half-day tour of the wine yards with wine tasting. Of course, a French picnic with stunning views of the French countryside won’t be missing.

The Romans brought the wine-making tradition to this region in the 2nd century. During these guided tours, you’ll experience real wine production and taste some of the world’s best wine classes.

Visit St. Emilion & Wine-Tasting With French Picnic

You recommend joining one of these excursions from Bordeaux today. You can visit St. Emilion village to learn about its history and wine production. After, you’ll experience wine tasting in one of the local chateaus.

Or you can visit 2 different wineries, modern and traditional. Then, enjoy great wine tasting and picnic in the French countryside.

Book one of the excursions if you want to have fun on this day. Transportation from and back to Bordeaux is included.

3. DAY: BORDEAUX ⇒ DUNES DE PILAT ⇒ LOURDES

Let’s drive further south today. We’ll sleep in a miracle town tonight (just my internal name for the place). But before, we’ll drive to see a natural wonder.

In the morning, drive from Bordeaux to the Dunes de Pilat. First drive direction Bassin d’Arcachon. Follow the signs with the name ‘Biscarosse/Dune du Pyla.’ 

The car park is located just 400m from the dunes. So stop the car and head to the dunes.

Distance Bordeaux Dunes De Pilat by car: approx. 1 hour (67 km/42 miles)

Dunes De Pilat

Dunes de Pilat is the tallest sand dune in Europe. It’s situated 60 km (37 miles) from Bordeaux in the famous Archacon Bay. It gets 2 million visitors per year.

Surf down on a bodyboard and have fun with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The dune is 500 wide, 107 high, and almost 3 km (1.8 miles) long, so you have a lot to explore.

French dunes
French Dunes

Drive To Lourdes

Once you have enough of the dunes, head further south to our destination for today. It’s a little miracle town of Lourdes at the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains.

Check in to your accommodation in the evening. Tomorrow, we’ll have the whole day to explore the town and its hidden gems.

Distance Dunes De Pilat Lourdes by car: approx. 3 hours (265 km/165 miles)

Where To Stay In Lourdes: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

LOGIS HOTEL CASTEL DE MIRAMBELbudget-friendly hotel
GRAND HOTEL MODERNEmid-range hotel
GRAND HOTEL GALLIA & SPA luxury hotel

4. DAY: LOURDES

I fell in love with this town after visiting. It has a special charm, and the atmosphere is great.

Lourdes is one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations in Europe and the entire world. It’s because the Virgin Mary appeared in the local cave 18 times to the 14-year-old peasant girl Bernadette.

However, nobody believed her when she saw the Virgin Mary. Eventually, they even imprisoned her because they believed she was lying to the authorities and making fun of them.

Nevertheless, Bernadette persisted and stood up for the truth, which made the place so beloved among visitors and pilgrims nowadays.

Lourdes France
Lourdes – France

The Story Of Bernadette & Virgin Mary Apparitions

One day, Mary asked Bernadette to dig into the local cave to find a natural spring. People soon realized that it had healing effects, and news spread it to the entire world. It’s how Lourdes became a famous pilgrimage destination.

In 1863, locals created a statue of the Virgin Mary on the exact spot in the cave where she appeared.

In January 1860, the Catholic Church finally declared that the apparitions of the Virgin Mary were true. Later on, they built the basilica to honor the apparitions.

south of France itinerary 14 days Lourdes
The Sancutary Of Our Lady – Lourdes

Nowadays, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes and the healing effects of Lourdes water from the local spring gets millions of visitors yearly, including many pilgrims.

After, many of them head off for the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain (which I completed, and it was an experience of a lifetime).

Signtseeing In Lourdes

🔆 The Sancutary Of Our Lady Of Lourdes
🔆 Château Fort
🔆 Pic Du Jer
🔆 Le Cachot
🔆 Moulin De Boly
🔆 Les Halles Market

Head to the Sanctuary of Our Lady in the morning and experience the special atmosphere.

After, walk behind to see the cave with the healing spring.

Walk through the old town and go up to the spectacular Château Fort. The castle stands on the hill overlooking the whole town, so you’ll get the best views.

For extra stunning views, take a funicular to the top of Pic du Jer in the afternoon.

Get local snacks at the Les Halles market before seeing the rest of the sites.

me visiting Lourdes on south of France itinerary
Me exploring Lourdes – France

Don’t forget to visit Le Cachot, where the family lived after Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary. This room used to be a prison and was the place where Bernadette prayed to the Virgin Mary.

Afterward, head to the Moulin de Boly, which was the house where Bernadette’s family used to live.

Candelit Procession In The Evening

In the evening, you can join the Candelit procession march with candles from the cave with the statue of the Virgin Mary towards the sanctuary. It starts at 9 pm and takes about 90 minutes. Light up your candle and pray/wish for something to become true.

It takes place from April until October every year.

Enjoy Lourdes, and have fun! Tomorrow, we’ll continue visiting other highlights of southern France.

5. DAY: LOURDES ⇒ CARCASSONNE ⇒ TOULOUSE

Today, we’ll visit one of southern France’s biggest and most beautiful cities, Toulouse. But before, let’s explore a charming medieval town on the way.

Pack your bags in the morning and set off to Carcassonne.

Distance Lourdes Carcassonne by car: approx. 2 hours & 45 minutes (261 km/162 miles)

Carcassonne south of France itinerary
Me exploring Carcassonne

Carcassonne

Carcassonne is one of the strongest fortifications in France, and it was very difficult to defeat in the past, even during the 100 Years’ War.

Its city walls are 3km long (1.9 miles) and include 52 huge towers. It became mainly famous thanks to the French poem Gustav Nadaud.

Carcassone and St. Mont Michel are one of the most beautiful French medieval castles and compete for the title of being the most visited monument in France. The site is spectacular, and I highly recommend making a stop here.

There are 50 houses where residents live permanently within the city walls nowadays.

Carcassonne Smartphone Tour

Follow this smartphone game and learn about the history of Carcassonne on a self-guided tour.

Later on, drive to Toulouse city. Take your time; tomorrow, you’ll have the entire day to explore the city. Check in to your accommodation and get the first glimpse of the place.

Distance Carcassonne Toulouse by car: approx. 1 hour & 20 minutes (95 km/59 miles)

Where To Stay In Toulouse: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

HOTEL CROIX BARAGNON budget-friendly hotel
PLAZA HOTEL CAPITOLEmid-range hotel
LE GRAND BALCON HOTEL mid-range hotel
BOUTIQUE HOTEL SOCLOluxury hotel

6. DAY: TOULOUSE

Good morning to Toulouse, known as the ‘Pink City’. It’s because locals used pale-colored bricks in the past to build the buildings. Some claim that these houses turn pink during sunset.

It’s also the fourth largest city in France and offers you a lot of art. 

One of the main reasons to stay in this city for a day is to explore the headquarters of European Airbus and the French space agency. Thanks to that, Toulouse has become Europe’s largest center for aerospace.

You’ll have the whole day to wander around the city. Below are some sightseeing suggestions for you.

Toulouse city France
Toulouse – France

Sightseeing In Toulouse

🔆 Place Du Capitol
🔆 Basilique Saint-Sernin
🔆 Toulouse Cathedral
🔆 Canal Du Midi
🔆 Cité De l’Espace

🔆 Canal Du Midi

Canal du Midi is an impressive engineering work from the 17th century, ordered by Louis XIV – Canal des Deux Mers (Canal of the Two Seas). It was constructed to connect the Mediterranean with the Atlantic Ocean and is 430 km long.

Canal du Midi takes up 230 km (143 miles) from the entire stretch. It runs from Toulouse to the coastal town of Sète on the eastern Mediterranean French coast.

You can walk alongside it and enjoy the views.

Toulouse Canal du midi France
Me walking alongside Canal du Midi in Toulouse

🔆 Cité De l’Espace

Explore space on Earth inside this theme park. See the proper-size model of the European Ariane 5 rocket, which has already completed 70 missions. After, watch a show inside its planetarium.

Enjoy French Cousine In Toulouse

Then, come back to the center; try French cassoulet, a casserole made with various types of meat, including pork, goose, duck, broth, and haricot beans. It also comes with Toulouse sausage, the dish’s main component.

Or go for Roquefort cheese with a nice salad. Of course, accompany your food with delicious local French wine.

Enjoy your evening with a glass of wine and delicious food.

7. DAY: TOULOUSE ⇒ ALBI ⇒ MARSEILLE

Today, we’re heading to the eastern coastline of southern France and the Mediterranean side. On the way, we’ll again stop to see a much-worthy charming French town, Albi.

Albi is a small medieval town unique for its red-brick buildings, old mills, and an outstanding cathedral. Walk through the tiny cobbled streets while exploring the most important sites.

Distance Toulouse Albi by car: approx. 1 hour (76 km/47 miles)

Sightseeing In Albi

🔆 Cathedral Saint Cecile
🔆 Pont Vieux
🔆 Saint-Salvi & Collegiate Church
🔆 Albi’s Covered Market
🔆 Barbie Palace Gardens

south of France itinerary 14 days Albi
Albi – France

🔆 Cathedral Saint Cecile

One thing that makes this cathedral unique and why it stands out from the others is its fortress design. It’ll surprise you with beautiful ornaments, carved statues, stained-glass windows, and frescos inside.

🔆 Pont Vieux

Pont Vieux, the Old Bridge built above the River Tarn, makes this town so charming. It’s almost 1000 years old and was mainly built for trading purposes. Nowadays, it’s one of Albi’s most important landmarks.

🔆 Covered Market

Head to the Albi’s covered market to smell the fresh flavors of local fruits and vegetables, meat, and delicacies.

Try some fresh French cheese with a baguette and bread. Have some lunch and feel the special atmosphere of this place.

*Note that the market is closed on Mondays.

🔆 Barbie Palace Gardens

Barbie Palace Gardens are quite similar to those in Versailles. Except they’re much smaller. You can take some nice photos and get panoramic views of the town and the River Tarn.

One thing you must try when visiting Albi is the famous ‘Earthquake’ cocktail. Toulouse-Lautrec, an alcoholic French artist from Albi, first made it. It’s a combination of cognac and absinthe.

Drive To Marseille

After you have enough exploring Albi, make your way to the Mediterranean French city, Marseille.

Again, you’ll have the entire day to explore the city tomorrow. So for now, check in to your accommodation and rest well.

In the evening, you can enjoy a glass of wine on its promenade with the views of the harbor and its stunning cathedral.

Distance Albi Marseille by car: approx. 4 hours & 30 minutes (366 km/227 miles)

Where To Stay In Marseille: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

PLACE AUX HUILESapartment
NH COLLECTION MARSEILLEmid-range hotel
SOFITEL MARSEILLE VIEUX PORTmid-range hotel with views of the port

8. DAY: MARSEILLE

Welcome to Marseille, the oldest city in France, founded by the Greeks in 600 BC.

Marseille has various things to do, interesting sights, and a seaside promenade with a harbor, which gives the city a unique charm. So, let’s explore it together today.

Interesting Facts About Marseille

The city has played a vital role in history. Marseille is the city where local volunteers first sang the French anthem. That’s why the anthem was named La Marseillaise.’

The Vieux-Port (old port) was Marseille’s most important economic center in the past. It connected the city to other colonies in North Africa, such as Morocco, Tunis, and Algeria. That is why you’ll find a significant part of the population originating from Africa.

The city is mainly famous worldwide for its soap Savon de Marseille.

Marseille city
Marseille city

💡 FUN FACT: Savon de Marseille is traditionally made by mixing Mediterranean seawater, olive oil, and alkaline ash from sea plants. After, they heat it for a couple of days. The entire production can take up to 1 month.

Sightseeing In Marseille

🔆 Notre-Dame De La Garde 
🔆 Vieux Port
🔆 Château D’If
🔆 Cathédral De La Major
🔆 MuCEM – Museum of Europe & Mediterranean Civilizations
🔆 La Panier – Oldest District

The first thing you’ll notice when arriving in Marseille is its impressive cathedral on the top of the hill. It was the highlight of Marseille for me. You’ll get stunning views from the cathedral, so don’t miss it.

The Vieuw-Port is the social and cultural center of the city. Head there for lunch or dinner and get local drinks.

Marseille views from the cathedral
Marseille – views from the Cathedral

Château d’If is another relevant sight not to be missed. It used to be a prison, which was converted into a fortress. You’ll have to walk 1.5km to reach it. The fortress was also featured in the novel The Count of Montecristo.

Also, take advantage of the nearby beaches and enjoy the Mediterranean. If you’re a kite surfer, it might become your new paradise, as the wind is often very strong.

Marseille Cathedral on the south of France itinerary
Marseille Cathedral

Food & Drinks In Marseille

You can’t miss trying the local dish when you’re in Marseille. It’s a fish stew traditionally cooked by the fishermen, called Bouillabaisse. They couldn’t sell their rockfish on the market, so they created the stew and tried to sell it this way.

Pastis is a traditional drink prepared from aniseed and flavored with licorice root. Around 130 million liters of this drink are sold in France per year.

Head to the Old Port – Vieux Port for great bars and restaurants.

Guided Tours In Marseille

I recommend the following tours in Marseille. One is a 3.5-hour bike tour (on electric bikes), on which you’ll see the city’s highlights. And the other one is a food tour. Click on the images below and book one of the tours:

9. DAY: MARSEILLE ⇒ AVIGNON

Today, we’ll go to another very significant French city from the past. It has mainly religious importance and is packed with history.

In the morning, take your time for a good breakfast. If you missed any sightseeing in Marseille yesterday, catch up this morning.

In the afternoon, drive up to Avignon. Check in to your accommodation in Avignon and get the first glimpse of the city. Tomorrow, you’ll have the entire day to explore it.

Distance Marseille Avignon by car: approx. 1 hour & 30 minutes (100 km/62 miles)

Where To Stay In Avignon: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

GARLANDE HOTEL AVIGNON CENTERbudget-friendly hotel
HOTEL DE L’HORLOGEmid-range hotel
LE CLOS SALUCESluxury hotel

10. DAY: AVIGNON

Avignon, also known as the city of Popes, used to be an important religious center in the 14th century. It’s because Pope Clement V decided to leave Rome due to corruption and political problems and establish the pope’s new base in this French city.

This event is also historically known as the Great Schism when the Catholic Church and its papacy split apart. It resulted in a rivalry between the popes in Rome and in Avignon, who fought to establish official administrative offices of the Catholic Church.

Avignon Cathedral Pope City
Avignon

Nowadays, the city attracts visitors worldwide thanks to its rich history, medieval buildings, and great social life.

If you visit Avignon in July, don’t miss the annual Avignon Theatre Festival. During 3 weeks, you can admire local dances, performances, and musical shows.

Let’s explore Avignon today.

Sightseeing In Avignon

🔆 Palace Of The Popes
🔆 Sur Le Pont d’Avignon
🔆 Les Halles
🔆 Museum Calvet
🔆
Palais Du Roure

The main attraction and reason I took you to Avignon is to see the Pope’s Palace. It has brought importance to the city and played a significant role in the history of France and Europe.

The nine popes who left Rome lived in the palace. Nowadays, you can explore their apartments and worship places. It has remarkable architecture and beautiful murals.

south of France itinerary Avignon
Avignon – France

Afterward, don’t forget to check out the Les Halles market. Even local chefs who have Michelin Star restaurants come to the market to get fresh and delicious ingredients daily. Try local food, taste some cheese, and finish with tasty wine.

Enjoy another day exploring French history and the stories from the Catholic Church in Avignon.

Avignon Guided Food Tour

If you’d like to learn more about Avignong through gastronomy and local drinks, join this guided food tour of Avignon. You’ll taste local delicacies and hear interesting stories from a local on your guided tour.

Tomorrow, we’ll continue driving up to a beautiful town at the foothill of the Alps. You’ll also get to see the highest European mountainMount Blanc. So stay tuned for the next adventure.

11. DAY: AVIGNON ⇒ ANNECY ⇒ CHAMONIX

Let’s take a break from bigger towns packed with history and sights. It’s time to experience beautiful oases at the foothills of the snowy Alps and a picturesque lake. Today, we’re heading to Annecy and Chamonix.

In the morning, drive to Annecy. Enjoy the town, visit its castle, and picnic on the lake shores, or have some Swiss Raclette in one of the shops.

After, drive to the alpine town Chamonix, where we’ll stay the next two nights.

Distance Avignon Annecy by car: approx. 3 hours & 20 minutes (339 km/210 miles)

Annecy
Annecy

Annecy

Annecy is located in southeast France and is one of the most beautiful towns. Its lake is one of the cleanest in Europe. You can go paddleboarding or yachting, or take a small boat and explore the lake for a while.

Annecy also has a couple of nice beaches. You can swim and refresh yourself in the crystal-clear lake as well.

We’re next to Switzerland, so you’ll already feel some Swiss influence. You can try some Raclette, a typical Swiss melted cheese served on a piece of bread.

Sightseeing In Annecy

🔆 Old Town
🔆
Palace De l’Île
🔆
Pont Des Amours
🔆
Lake Annecy

🔆 Explore Old Town Annecy

Annecy is also known as the Venice of the Alps. You can get lost in its tiny streets intertwined with canals. Its colored houses only add up to this town’s whole experience and beauty.

It’s time to do some people-watching, have ice cream, a French croissant, or a coffee. Then enjoy local shops and buy some souvenirs.

Annecy Castle France
Me exploring Annecy – France

🔆 Palace De l’Île

Visit the castle from the 12th century, which used to be a prison, a courthouse, and a lord’s residence back then. Now, it’s a history museum, so if you love history, it’s the place to be in Annecy.

🔆 Pont Des Amours

The legend has it that if two lovers kiss on the bridge, they’ll stay together forever. But don’t worry if you’re single; it has stunning scenery, so you should also check it out.

May you meet your loved one right there.

Annecy Lake south of France itinerary
Annecy Lake – France

Drive To Chamonix

Spend some time at the lake, breathing fresh air and enjoying the mountain views before heading to our destination today – Chamonix.

Chamonix is one of the most beautiful alpine towns in Europe. Check in to your accommodation, and enjoy some more Raclett or Swiss Fondue for dinner.

Tomorrow, we’ll make one of the most spectacular mountain excursions ever.

Distance Annecy Chamonix by car: approx. 1 hour & 15 minutes (101 km/63 miles)

Where To Stay In Chamonix: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

CHALET HOTEL LE PRIEURE & SPA
LES BALCONS DU SAVOY
CHALET HOTEL HERMITAGE
HOTEL DE L’ARVE BY HAPPY CULTURE

12. DAY: CHAMONIX & MT. BLANC

Welcome to Chamonix and the Savoy region of France.

Chamonix is a charming French town below the highest European mountain, Mount Blanc. It’s one of the most beautiful towns in Europe and offers plenty of activities to do.

One of the most famous mountain excursions why people come here is Aiguille du Midi and Mt. Blanc. Besides, you can go hiking and enjoy the Alps.

Today, I recommend visiting Aiguille du Midi and see Mt. Blanc. You’ll love it.

Chamonix Mont Blanc Voices of Travel
Chamonix Mont Blanc

Aiguille Du Midi

Take a cable car from Chamonix to Aiguille du Midi. From there, you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps.

Then, take a lift further and get close to Mont Blanc. From there, you’ll be able to spot Switzerland and even Italy. The views are just stunning.

Be sure to take extra layers of clothes as it’s quite cold even in summer.

See the picture below of how the Aiguille du Midi station looks like.

Aiguille Du Midi Mt. Blanc Excursion from Chamonix
Aiguille Du Midi Station

Step Into The Void

The Void is a glass room with 3 glass walls and a glass floor on the terrace of Aiguille du Midi. If you’re scared of heights, you should overcome them because that’s an incredible experience.

Standing on the top of the highest European mountains, not having the floor below you, is intimidating, but at the same time, very exciting.

Panoramic Mt. Blanc Cable Car

After you have explored the entire Aiguille du Midi station, you can continue with the panoramic cable car. It’s the highest cable car in the world and the closest you can get to Mt. Blanc, the highest European peak.

You’ll take a scenic ride and see the mountain from different angles. It’s an unforgettable experience, and the views are breathtaking.

Whenever you have enough of the views, return to Chamonix.

PRO TIP: I recommend making the entire excursion in the morning right after the cable car starts operating. This way, you’ll avoid crowds.

Activities In Chamonix

In the afternoon, you can also visit the amusement park in Chamonix. Take a ride on the thrilling Chamonix Lupe alpine coaster and have fun.

You can also do paragliding around and enjoy views of the unique surroundings.

Enjoy the town with everything it offers, and stay one more night.

south of France itinerary Chamonix
Chamonix

13. DAY: CHAMONIX ⇒ LYON

Good morning to Chamonix. I hope you got the most out of this cute town. If you want, you can stay in the morning, go hiking, or enjoy more activities.

After that, it’s time to head to our last destination on this itinerary.

Distance Chamonix Chamonix by car: approx. 2 hours & 40 minutes (230 km/143 miles)

Lyon

Check in to your accommodation. Depending on when you arrive in the city, you can already explore some sights.

Check out the next day for sightseeing ideas. Or spend the entire day in Chamonix hiking and drive to Lyon in the evening.

Tomorrow, you’ll have the entire day to explore the city.

Where To Stay In Lyon: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

HOTEL LE ROOSEVELT LYONmid-range hotel
MHL – MAISON HOTEL LYONboutique mid-range hotel
BOSCOLO LYON HOTEL & SPAluxury hotel

14. DAY: LYON

We’ll end our road trip in the city of Lyon. It’s the third biggest French city after Paris and Marseille and the second richest city in France.

Lyon marks the end of our itinerary. So take some time to enjoy the city today.

After, you’ll have great connections to anywhere else in Europe. So keep exploring if the time and budget allow you to do so.

south of France itinerary 14 days Lyon city
Me exploring Lyon city

Sightseeing In Lyon

🔆 Cathedral Notre-Dame De Fourvière
🔆 Lyon Cathedral
🔆 Musem Of Fine Arts Of Lyon
🔆 Vieux Lyon – Old Town

The city gained importance in the 17th century as it became the European capital of silk manufacturing. There is still some underground passage, which silk weavers used in the past.

Lyon also has other passages called traboules, which helped people escape Nazi occupation during World War II.

For the best views, walk up to the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Fourvière or take a funicular.

10-Day Southern France Itinerary

If you only have 10 days to explore southern France, here is what I’d do. You can choose the places you like from my base 14-day itinerary or make it a 10-day trip.

Or follow my suggestions below. Just skip Lourdes and Marseille from the basic itinerary:

DAY:DESTINATION:
1.Bordeaux
2.Bordeaux: Half-Day Wine Tour
3.Bordeaux Dunes de Pilat Toulouse
4.Toulouse & Half-Day Trip To Albi
5.Toulouse ⇒ Carcassonne ⇒ Avignon
6.Avignon
7.Avignon ⇒ Annecy ⇒ Chamonix
8.Chamonix & Mt. Blanc
9.Chamonix ⇒ Lyon
10.Lyon

Practical Tips For Visiting Southern France

To help you plan your trip to the south of France even in more detail, I’ve got some more tips for you. See when the best time to visit is, how many days to spend, what to pack, and what budget you’ll need.

How Many Days Do You Need In South Of France?

You need between 10 and 14 days to explore southern France. It’s a large area and offers so much (as you can see in this itinerary). So spend a minimum of 10 days.

The optimal number of days to enjoy everything the regions offer is 14 days.

Best Time To Visit Southern France

The best time to visit southern France is late May, June, July, August, and September. You’ll enjoy all the activities, hiking, and cultural sights during these months. The weather is also pleasant.

If you want less crowds in the sights and cities, visit at the end of May, June, and September.

For hiking in Chamonix and the French Alps, the best time to visit is the end of June, July, and August.

southern France countryside tips for visiting

What To Pack For Your Trip To Southern France

You’ll need a variety of clothes for this itinerary. From summer clothes to hiking stuff and a warmer jacket if you decide to make the Mt. Blanc excursion.

Here is a quick packing list for your trip:

🎁 T-Shirts
🎁 Dresses
🎁 Hat
🎁 Sunscreen
🎁 Shorts
🎁 Comfortable shoes (you’ll walk a lot)

🎁 Dresses

🎁 Swimming suite
🎁 Sandals
🎁
Hiking/Trekking boots
🎁
Hiking pants & T-Shirts
🎁
Waterproof jacket
🎁
Sweater

Cost Of A Road Trip In Southern France

The budget for a 14-day road trip to southern France per person (mid-range traveler) is $2310.

This is a very realistic budget for mid-range travelers who want to stay in nice hotels, rent a car and travel conveniently, enjoy the mountains, walking tours, and each location’s activities.

Here is a breakdown of this French itinerary budget for each travel category:

Accommodation: $85 per night in a nice mid-range hotel = $1190 per person
Car Rental: $560 for 11 days (Bordeaux – Lyon) = $280 per person
Gas: approx. $1.5 per liter = approx. $420 for the entire trip = $210 per person
Food & Drinks: $30 per day p.p. = $420 per person
Activities & Attractions: approx $15 per person per day = $210 per person

So the total budget for a 14-day trip to southern France, without restricting yourself too much and enjoying everything the country offers, is $2310 per person.

Budget Breakdown For Different Traveler Styles

Here is a quick overview of the budget for every type of traveler:

➡ 14-day itinerary budget for backpackers and travelers on the budget: $850
➡ 14-day itinerary budget for mid-range travelers: $2310
➡ 14-day itinerary budget for luxury travelers: up to $3600

NOTE: This is an approximate budget based on my calculations and spending during my 14-day trip to southern France. The budget will vary based on every traveler’s preferences.

Is South Of France Safe?

Yes, southern France is safe. There is not much to be worried about. If I’m completely honest with you, I felt the least safe in Marseille. 

But overall, there is not much danger. So use your common sense, don’t walk with your bag open, and be aware of pickpockets in bigger cities like Marseille and Lyon. Otherwise, it’s safe.

France is ranked n. 64 in the Global Safety Index, which is safer than the Netherlands, Italy, Canada, or Hungary.

In the mountains, check the weather forecast before you go hiking. I recommend starting your hike in the morning, as the weather can get worse in the afternoon.

FAQs

I’ve also answered some of the frequently asked questions about southern France. Check my answers below:

Where Is A Good Base To Explore South Of France?

Toulouse, Marseille, and Lyon are the best base to explore southern France. Make these cities your base depending on what region in southern France you want to explore.

What Is The Best Way To Tour The South Of France?

The best way to tour southern France is by car. There are places which aren’t easily accessible by train or bus. And you’d spend a lot of time traveling around. So with a car, you’ll have a lot of flexibility and enjoy everything fully.

Is It Expensive To Vacation In The South Of France?

It’s mid expensive to make holidays in southern France. Expect to spend about $165 per day as a mid-range traveler, including accommodation, activities, rental car, and food.

The good thing about southern France is that it offers a wide range of prices and options, so you can adjust the price of your itinerary.

WRAP-UP: South Of France Itinerary 14 Days

This is the ultimate itinerary for southern France. It’ll help you explore all the highlights and take you to the most beautiful spots, cultural places full of history, and breathtaking mountains. South of France is honestly one of my favorite travel destinations in Europe. It’s filled with so much beauty – I’m sure you’ll fall in love.

If you have any questions or need help planning your itinerary, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you.

Happy Travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

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