Ultimate South Of France Itinerary For 14 Days
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Table of Contents
Overview Of South Of France Itinerary For 14 Days
Europe Travel Checklist
0. DAY: ARRIVE IN BORDEAUX
Where To Stay In Bordeaux: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
1. DAY: BORDEAUX
Sightseeing In Bordeaux
Bordeaux Walking Tour
2. DAY: BORDEAUX ⇒ HALF-DAY WINE TOUR
3. DAY: BORDEAUX ⇒ DUNES DE PILAT ⇒ LOURDES
Where To Stay In Lourdes: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
4. DAY: LOURDES
Sightseeing In Lourdes
5. DAY: LOURDES ⇒ CARCASSONNE ⇒ TOULOUSE
Carcassonne Guided Tour
Where To Stay In Toulouse: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
6. DAY: TOULOUSE
Sightseeing In Toulouse
7. DAY: TOULOUSE ⇒ ALBI ⇒ MARSEILLE
Sightseeing In Albi
Where To Stay In Marseille: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
8. DAY: MARSEILLE
Sightseeing In Marseille
2-Hour Segway Tour In Marseille
9. DAY: MARSEILLE ⇒ AVIGNON
Where To Stay In Avignon: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
10. DAY: AVIGNON
Sightseeing In Avignon
Avignon Guided Tour
11. DAY: AVIGNON ⇒ ANNECY
Where To Stay In Annecy: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
12. DAY: ANNECY
13. DAY: ANNECY ⇒ LYON
Where To Stay In Lyon: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
14. DAY: LYON
Sightseeing In Lyon
More Tips For European Travel
This itinerary will take you to the beautiful corners of the south of France. Don’t expect to relax on the beach during this road trip or visit the French Riviera. South of France has other spectacular places that need to be seen.
We’ll visit the most beautiful French cities, medieval towns, a miracle town, natural wonders, and end off in the mountains next to the highest European peak, Mount Blanc.
This is an itinerary for adventurous and curious souls seeking to experience new things.
Are you ready for the epic south of France itinerary for 14 days? Let’s begin.
Excited To Visit French Riviera?
If you expected a few places from French Riviera in this itinerary, don’t be disappointed. I’ve designed a full French Riviera road trip itinerary for 7 days for you as well. So if you are looking to visit French Riviera, then take that itinerary.
Overview Of South Of France Itinerary For 14 Days
- DAY: Bordeaux
- DAY: Bordeaux Half-day wine tour
- DAY: Dunes de Pilat – Lourdes
- DAY: Lourdes
- DAY: Carcassonne – Toulouse
- DAY: Toulouse
- DAY: Toulouse – Albi – Marseille
- DAY: Marseille
- DAY: Marseille – Avignon
- DAY: Avignon
- DAY: Avignon – Annecy
- DAY: Annecy
- DAY: Annecy – Lyon
- DAY: Lyon
Europe Travel Checklist
Before you set off for your Southern France adventure, there are a couple of things you’ll need to manage. Here are the top essentials for you to think of before traveling to Europe/France:
- travel insurance
- car rental/train pass/tickets
- book a flight
Travel Insurance For Europe
Choosing travel insurance can be doubting. So I’ve done extensive research for you on the best travel insurance for Europe. Check out my article for a comparison of the best 3 travel insurance companies, so you can choose for yourself.
Get The Best Travel Insurance For Europe
Car Rental/Train Pass
You’ll need to decide whether you want to do this itinerary as a road trip and rent a car in France, or travel by train. If you want to rent a car, check out Rental Cars company for the best deals.
For private transfers, check out Get Transfers. They offer reliable transfer services within Europe. Especially if you travel in a small group, it can be a good deal to book with them.
In case you decide to make this itinerary by train, I suggest getting an Interrail or Eurail Pass. Both enable you to travel for a certain number of days within a month or two throughout Europe. You can select the number of days and countries, and it gets much cheaper than buying a simple ticket.
- Interrail Pass is for European residents
- Eurail Pass is for residents outside of Europe
If you decide to buy single tickets, check Trainline company. I always use them to search for and buy train tickets as they can reduce your fares significantly.
*Note that it’s much easier to do this itinerary with a car. Simply because you won’t get by train everywhere.
Book A Flight
Another thing you’ll need to do is to book a flight ticket.
Use flight aggregators to check the top flight deals. They gather information and all flight tickets from airlines around the world and select the best deals for you. Among the best are Skyscanner, Hopper, Kayak, and Priceline.
After you see the results in their search engines, I recommend going to the website of the particular airline they showed you. Check on the airline site for how much they offer for the same flight ticket.
If the price is more or less the same, book directly with the airline (simply because it’s easier to communicate with them if issues happen during your journey). If a flight aggregator has a much cheaper ticket, book with them.
Passport & Visa
Check the expiration date of your passport. Most airlines don’t even take you on board if your passport expires in 6 months. Avoid issues with boarding and on the road. Make sure your passport won’t expire in the next 8 months. Think about how long you’ll travel as you still have to come back home with the passport.
Lastly, check if you need visa to France. One of the best site for visa pre-check is iVisa. They also inform you about other necessary documents you might need to travel to France.
When you go through this southern France road trip itinerary, you’ll get accommodation tips from me in each place/city. So just scroll down and find the best hotel deals and beautiful accommodation spots in each day.
South Of France Itinerary – 0. DAY: ARRIVE IN BORDEAUX
Welcome to France, the most visited country in Europe. It’s time to explore its southern part with the road trip itinerary for 14 days.
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. In any case, you can take a train and travel to Bordeaux, the start point of our south of France itinerary.
Today, just take your time to check in to your accommodation and get the first impression of Bordeaux. Then, you can head to the riverside and the promenade for a nice dinner and 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 already learn a few interesting things about it. Of course, a glass of wine won’t be missing. It’s a good start for the itinerary.
Where to stay in Bordeaux: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
MERCURE BORDEAUX GARE ATLANTIC
South Of France Itinerary – 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 also named the City of Art and History. Once you arrive, the first thing you’ll notice is the spectacular Miroir d’eau in front of the Place de la Bourse. The Water Mirror creates a beautiful square, making it the largest reflecting pool in the world.
Around 80% of the land around Bordeaux is used for wine production. Today, you’ll get to tastee some of them.
Let’s see what Bordeaux has to offer.
Sighseeing in Bordeaux
- Place de la Bourse
- La Grosse Chloche
- Bordeaux Cathedral
- Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux
- Quais de Bordeaux
- La Cité du Vin
Place de la Bourse
The entrance to the old city of Bourdeaux, Place de la Bourse, was designed by Jacques Gabriel, Louis XV’s favorite architect. Here you can admire the extensive Water Mirror and cool yourself during the hot summer months.
La Grosse Cloche
In the past, it hosted a small prison. Locals kept offenders inside closed with a 10-centimeters thick door. Nowadays, you won’t hear its bell. They use it mainly for special occasions such as Bastile Day. Though it’s a beautiful building with nice ornaments, so check it out.
Bordeaux Cathedral, one of the most impressive buildings in the city, had hard times during the French Revolution. As with other important French buildings, it lost their decorations and was damaged significantly. Walk up to the Tour Pey Berland bell tower for great views of the city.
Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux
Built in 1780, it had the style of the French Monarchy originally. 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.
La Cité du Vin
Perhaps the main reason we are visiting Bordeaux is because of its spectacular wine museum. The building has been constructed in the shape of a wine carafe, or as professional sommeliers would say decanter.
Inside, you’ll learn about the history of wine, its production, and various places where it’s produced around the world.
After the tour, stop in the bar for some tasting of what you’ve seen in the museum.
Skip-the-line Tickets For Cité du Vin
Below, you can get the skip-the-line entrance tickets for the museum of wine, including wine tasting:
Bordeaux Walking Tour
If you want, you can participate in an organized walking tour through Bordeaux and learn more about its history.
Don’t forget to try ‘canneles’ – local French dessert that originated here. It’s a rum and vanilla flavored pastry with custard cream in the middle and caramelized crust.
Explore Bordeaux today with everything it offers. I personally did the guided tour and really enjoyed it, so you can check it out.
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.
South Of France Itinerary – 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 today, we are heading to one of the famous wine location 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 won’t be missing with stunning views of the French countryside.
The Romans brought the wine-making tradition to this region back in the 2nd century. During these guided tours, you’ll experience real wine production and will get to taste some of the world’s best wine classes.
St. Emilion Guided Tour / Wine-Tasting / French Picnic
You can choose between these two options. Either you’ll visit St. Emilion village and have a guided tour learning about its history. After, you’ll experience wine tasting in one of the local chateaus.
Or you can visit 2 different wineries, modern and a traditional one. Then, enjoy great wine tasting and have a 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.
South Of France Itinerary – 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, a natural wonder is on the program.
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.
Dunes De Pilat
Dunes de Pilat is the tallest sand dune in Europe. It’s situated 60km 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 alsmost 3 kilometres long, so you have enough to explore.
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.
Where to stay in Lourdes: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
South Of France Itinerary – 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 Virgin Mary appeared in the local cave 18 times to the 14-year old peasant girl Bernadette.
It was in 1858 from February until July. However, nobody believed this small girl that she saw 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 nowadays.
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 the message was spread to the entire world. This is how Lourdes became a famous pilgrimage destination.
In 1863, a statue of the Virgin Mary was created 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 also basilica built in the 1880s to honor the Virgin Mary apparitions.
Nowadays, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes gets millions of visitors every year, among which many pilgrims come. After, they continue and head off for the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain.
The main reason to visit the place is thanks to the miraculous healing effects of Lourdes water from the local spring.
Signtseeing in Lourdes
- The Sancutary of Our Lady of Lourdes
- Château Fort
- Pic du Jer
- Le Cachot
- Moulin de Boly
- Les Halles Market
In the morning, head to the Sanctuary of Our Lady and experience the special atmosphere.
After, go behind to see the cave with the healing spring, where the statue of the Virgin Mary was built.
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 some local snacks at the Les Halles market before seeing the rest of the sites.
Don’t forget to visit Le Cachot, where the family was inhabited after Bernadette saw Virgin Mary. This room used to be a prison and was the place where Bernadette prayed to the Virgin Mary,
After, head to the Moulin de Boly, which was the house where Bernadette’s family used to live.
Candelit Procession In The Evening
If you are religious, join the Candelit procession march with candles from the cave with the statue of Virgin Mary towards the sanctuary. It start at 9pm and takes about 90 minutes. Light up your candle and pray/wish for something to become true in your life.
It takes place from April until October every year.
This is Lourdes. One of the most charming towns in southern France, especially important for religious people and pilgrims. But I’m sure everybody will find something in it.
South Of France Itinerary – 5. DAY: LOURDES ⇒ CARCASSONNE ⇒ TOULOUSE
Today, we’ll be visiting one of the biggest and most beautiful cities in south of France, Toulouse. But before, let’s explore a charming medieval town on the way.
Pack your bags in the morning and set off to Carcassone.
Its city walls are 3km long (1.9 miles) and include 52 huge towers.
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.
It became mainly famous thanks to the French poem Gustav Nadaud.
Carcassone and St. Mont Michel compete for the title of being the most visited monument in France. So I don’t have to explain to you more why you should stop by and visit this medieval place.
Nowadays, there are 50 houses where residents live permanently within the city walls.
If you want to learn more abotu Carcassonne castle, check out my article about the top medieval castles in France you should visit.
Stop your car in the parking lot and head over to explore the city. You can enter and just walk through. Have some coffee inside with a French croissant. After, you can buy tickets to enter the fortification.
Skip-the-line Tickets For Castle
You can already get entrance tickets to the castle inside Carcassonne to avoid the lines. With the ticket, you can explore the castle, enjoy 3-D images of the site, visit galleries and fortified walls, as well as an archaeological museum.
Carcassonne Guided Tour
If you want to get more insights into the history of Carcassonne, you can book a guided tour.
Later on, drive to Toulouse city. Take your time, and tomorrow, you’ll have the entire day to explore the city. Check in to your accommodation and get the first glimpse of the place.
Where to stay in Toulouse: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
South Of France Itinerary – 6. DAY: TOULOUSE
Good morning to Toulouse, known as the ‘Pink City’. This is 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, culture, and history.
Today, it’s time to try delicious cuisine from the French countryside. Toulouse is the perfect place to do so as it has some of the best restaurants.
But perhaps the main reason 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 the largest center for aerospace in Europe.
Check out the City of Space – Cité de l’Espace if you’re a space enthusiast.
You’ll have the whole day to wander around the city, so take some time. Below are some sightseeing suggestions for you.
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 part of the impressive engineering works 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 230 km from the entire stretch. It runs from Toulouse to the coastline town of Sète on the eastern Mediterranean French coast.
Cité De l’Espace
Explore space on Earth inside the 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.
Don’t forget to try French cassoulet, casserole made with various types of meat including pork, goose, or duck, broth, and haricot beans. It also comes with Toulouse sausage, which is the dish’s main component.
Or go for Roquefort cheese with a nice salad. Of course, don’t forget to accompany your food with delicious local French wine.
Enjoy your evening with a glass of wine and delicious food.
South Of France Itinerary – 7. DAY: TOULOUSE ⇒ ALBI ⇒ MARSEILLE
Today, we’re heading to the eastern coastline of southern France and the Mediterranean side. Let’s drive to Marseille. 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 remaining fortress. Walk through the tiny cobbled streets while exploring the most important sites.
Sightseeing in Albi
- Cathedral Saint Cecile
- Pont Vieux
- Saint-Salvi and Collegiate Church
- Albi’s covered market
- Barbie Palace Gardens
Cathedral Saint Cecile
One thing that makes this cathedral unique and why it stands out from the other is its design remaining fortress. However, it’ll surprise you with beautiful ornaments, carved statues, stained-glass windows, and frescos inside.
What makes this town so charming is definitely Pont Vieux, the Old Bridge built above the River Tarn. It’s almost 1000 years old. It was mainly built for trading purposes. Nowadays, it’s one of the most important landmarks of Albi.
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 slightly remain those in Versailles. Except they are thousands of times smaller. You can take some nice photos and get panoramic views of the town and the River Tarn.
One of the things you have to try when visiting Albi is the famous ‘Earthquake’ cocktail. It was first made by Toulouse-Lautrec, an alcoholic French artist from Albi. It’s a combination of cognac and absinthe.
After you have enough of exploring Albi, make your way to the Mediterranean French city, Marseille.
Again, tomorrow, you’ll have the entire day to explore the city. So for now, check in to your accommodation and have a great rest.
In the evening, you can enjoy a glass of wine on its promenade with the views of the harbor and its stunning cathedral.
Where to stay in Marseille: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
South Of France Itinerary – 8. DAY: MARSEILLE
Welcome to Marseille, the oldest city in France founded by the Greeks in 600BC.
As a cultural city of southern France, Marseille will show you that there is a lot more to discover than just running from one museum to another in the capital, Paris.
It 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 very important role in history. It got the status of the central location during the French Revolution. It was also here when the French anthem was first sung by the local volunteers. Thanks to it, the anthem also got its name ‘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 local population originating from Africa.
The city is mainly famous worldwide for its soap Savon de Marseille.
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 and Mediterranean Civilizations
- La Panier – oldest district
Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice when arriving in Marseille is its impressive cathedral on the top of
the hill. This was the highlight of Marseille for me. You’ll get stunning views from the cathedral, and it has a special atmosphere.
The Vieuw-Port is the social and cultural center of the city. Head there for lunch or dinner and get local drinks.
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, which made it more famous among visitors.
Also, take advantage of the nearby beaches and enjoy the Mediterranean for a while. Marseille is also famous for its strong wind. Believe me, when I was there, the wind was so strong that I had to take this photo flying nearby the cathedral for a demonstration :D.
What I wanted to say is that if you’re a kite-surfer, this might become your new paradise.
One activity I highly recommend you do is to take a segway tour up to the Cathedral Notre-Dame de la Gare. Walking up to the cathedral is also great, but it takes quite a lot of time. We spent over 3 hours just seeing the cathedral with my friend. Driving a segway is much more fun. So you can join a super fun crowd of people. On the way, you’ll explore the best monuments of the city as well.
Food & Drinks
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 out of it 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.
For great bars and restaurants, head to the Old Port – Vieux Port.
This is Marseille. Take your time to enjoy, explore, and have fun today.
South Of France Itinerary – 9. DAY: MARSEILLE ⇒ AVIGNON
Today, we’ll make our way 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 points in Marseille yesterday, feel free to 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.
Where to stay in Avignon: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
South Of France Itinerary – 10. DAY: AVIGNON
Avignon, also known as the city of Popes, used to be an important religious center in the 14th century. This is 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 fighting to establish official administrative offices of the Catholic Church.
Nowadays, the city attracts visitors worldwide thanks to its rich history, medieval buildings, and great social life.
If you’re visiting Avignon in July, don’t miss the annual Avignon Theatre Festival. During 3 weeks, you can admire dances, performances, and musical shows all around the city.
Sightseeing in Avignon
- Palace of the Popes
- Sur le Pont d’Avignon
- Les Halles
Undoubtedly, the main attraction and reason I brought you to Avignon is to see the Popes’ 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.
Afterward, don’t forget to check out the Les Halles market. Even local chefs who possess Michelin Star restaurants come to the market to get fresh and delicious ingredients every day. Try local food, taste some cheese, and finish with some tasty wine.
Avignon Guided Tour
If you don’t want to do a guided tour in any other city, you should do it at least in Avignon. Simply because it’s one of the hubs of rich history and stories from the past.
It was one of the most important places of the Catholic Church, which had a lot of influence in the world. So if not elsewhere, here is the right place to do a guided tour and learn more.
Admission already includes a ticket to the Palace of the Popes and some wine-tasting in a restaurant.
Enjoy another day exploring the French history and the stories from the Catholic Church in Avignon.
On the next day, we’ll continue driving up to a beautiful town at the foothill of the Alps. You’ll most probably get to see the highest European mountain, Mount Blanc as well. So stay tuned for the next adventure.
South Of France Itinerary – 11. DAY: AVIGNON ⇒ ANNECY
Let’s take some 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.
Take your time to drive to Annecy. Then, check in to your accommodation in the afternoon, and enjoy the special atmosphere of this town.
You can make a picnic in the evening on the lake shores, or have some Swiss Raclette in one of the shops.
Tomorrow, we’ll have the entire day to explore the town.
Where to stay in Annecy: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
South Of France Itinerary – 12. DAY: ANNECY
Good morning to Annecy. I hope you slept well and had a nice evening yesterday. Today, we’ll explore Annecy with everything it has to offer. It’s rather a small town, so you’ll have some time to relax and reflect on your journey.
Annecy is located in southeast France and is one of the most beautiful towns. Its lake is one of the cleanest in Europe. It also offers many activities in the summertime. So take some rest and go paddleboarding, 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 right next to Switzerland, so you’ll already feel some Swiss influence. You can try some Raclette, which is typical Swiss melted cheese served on a piece of bread.
Explore Old Town Annecy
Annecy is also known as the Venice of the Alps. You can really get lost in its tiny streets intertwined with canals. Its colored houses only add up to the whole experience and the beauty of this town.
It’s time to do some people-watching, have ice cream, French croissant, or a nice coffee.
Palace de l’Île
Visit the building 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 of the town open to visitors. It’s also included in my list of the best medieval castles in France.
Pont des Amours
The legend has it that if two lovers kiss on the bridge, they’ll stay forever together. But don’t worry if you’re single, it has stunning scenery to look at, so you should also definitely check it out. May you can meet your loved one right there.
Other than that, enjoy the unique atmosphere of this short time, take some time to relax, and reflect on your south of France road trip itinerary. Walk alongside the lake and get fresh mountain air.
South Of France Itinerary – 13. DAY: ANNECY ⇒ LYON
It’s time to head to our last destination on this south of France itinerary. Today, you can spend time in Annecy in the morning. I also have some recommendations on what you can do or see in this region before we head back to a bigger city.
Either you can see one of these places or drive directly to Lyon, which will be our last destination on this itinerary.
Things To Visit Around Annecy
Let’s get the most of this stunning mountainous region and do other activities. For this day, I have 2 tips for what you can do.
Either you can visit the picturesque village of Chamonix. Then do a mountain excursion close to the highest European peak, Mont Blanc.
Or you can spend the day chilling in the thermal baths.
Chamonix & Mount Blanc
Chamonix is a charming French town right below the highest European mountain, Mount Blanc. It’s one of the most beautiful towns in Europe and offers plenty of activities to do.
The one thing you can do is just walk around and enjoy its atmosphere. So even if you aren’t too much into hiking, mountains, or other outdoor activities, it’s still worth visiting.
Top Things To Do In Chamonix
Here are a few things you can do in this picturesque town:
Aiguille du Midi
Take a cable car to reach the mountain. 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 is quite cold even in summer.
Step Into the Void
It’s a glass room with 3 glass walls and a glass floor on the terrace of Aiguille du Midi. If you’re scared of heights, I don’t recommend going inside. However, if you can get over that fear, you’ll have a great 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.
This railway will take you from the town center up to the Mer de Glace Glacier. From there, you can continue with a cable car to visit an ice cave. The train ride offers spectacular scenery of Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix, and the Mont Blanc mountain range. There is a restaurant so you can enjoy lunch or a cup of coffee at this exceptional height.
This amusement park offers adventure all year round. 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.
Aix-les-Bains Thermal Spa
Aix-les-Bains is the place known for the thermal spa of the royals. Why? Because many famous personalities were attracted by this place and bathed in its healing waters. These include the Queen Elisabeth, Napoleon, Empress Sisi, or Honoré de Balzac.
Visit the Valvital – Thermes Chevalley thermal spa inside the town. Enjoy its natural springs, warm water, and healing benefits. Relax and even have a massage.
Address of the thermal spa: 10 Rte du Revard, 73100 Aix-les-Bains, France
In the evening, make your way to Lyon. Check in to your accommodation and tomorrow, you’ll have time to explore the city.
Where to stay in Lyon: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
South Of France Itinerary – 14. DAY: LYON
We’ll end our south of France itinerary in the city of Lyon. It’s the third biggest French city right after Paris and Marseille and the second richest city in France.
The city mainly got its importance in the 17th century as it became the European capital of silk manufacture. There is still even some underground passage, which was used by silk weavers in the past.
Lyon also has other passages called traboules, which helped people escape Nazi occupation during World War II.
Lyon marks the end of our south of France itinerary. So take some time to enjoy the city today.
For the best views, walk up to the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Fourvière or take a funicular.
After, you’ll have great connections to anywhere else in Europe. So keep exploring if the time and your budget allow you to do so.
Sightseeing in Lyon
- Cathedral Notre-Dame de Fourvière
- Lyon Cathedral
- Musem of Fine Arts of Lyon
- Vieux Lyon – old town
Take some time to reflect on your journey through the south of France. I hope you liked it and learned a few more things about European history.
Lyon is well-connected to other European cities. It is also close to major destinations and countries like Spain, Switzerland, or Italy. If you want to keep exploring Europe, see some of my suggestions and itineraries below.
More Tips For European Travel
Do you feel like exploring other European countries after your south of France itinerary? Don’t worry, I have you covered there.
Check out my travel itineraries and visit other places from Lyon. You can continue with an 8-day Switzerland itinerary by train, which will help you save up a lot. You’ll still see the highlights of Switzerland.
Or continue to Central Europe and see beautiful Slovakia with my Slovakia road trip itinerary for 8 days.
Or you might want to keep driving and explore the French Riviera. It has some of the most luxurious destinations and places in Europe. To see the highlights and more fun things to experience, take my French Riviera road trip itinerary for 7 days.
Alternatively, head down to neighboring Spain. You can start your itinerary in Barcelona with this 3-day Barcelona itinerary. After, continue with the Spain itinerary for 14 days and experience the best of the country.
If you want to do a big European trip, get my Europe itinerary for 2 weeks – it’ll tell you how many countries to visit in Europe in 2 weeks.
I wish you a great time in southern France. Get the most of it!