Top 5 Tourist Attractions in Southern France
French Holidays in the Southern region of France are a dream for families. Southern France, sometimes called le Midi, incorporates Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrenees, Languedoc-Rouissillon, Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azur, Corsica and parts of the Rhone-Alps. Given that the area covers such a large amount of terrain, it is no surprise that the region holds numerous surprises in store and is packed with fascinating tourist attractions to visit.
If you are planning French holidays with your family, deciding just which attractions to make time to see can be difficult, this is why we’ve come up with this top five “must-see” tourist spots to add to your list.
Font de Gaume
Dating back to 14,000BC, Font de Gaume is a cave-painting site located close to Les Eyzies, in Dordogne. Known about for many years by locals, these prehistoric paintings were not properly identified until 1901. Denis Peyrony, a school teacher, went to the caves to take a look around, and realised that the wall-paintings were something special.
With more than 230 images throughout the cave system, and more being discovered as the caves as cleaned, Font de Gaume opens a window to what life was like for man in the time of the mammoth.
Located at the top of a steep slope, the caves were not used as homes, but had a spiritual significance which some people still sense today. Tours of the site can be booked on the internet, and this is advisable, as it get can very busy.
Castle of Carcassone
Considered to be one of the best castles in Europe, the Castle of Carcassone and its surrounding walled city was almost demolished in the 19th Century. Fortunately it was saved from destruction and rebuilt by a French architect called Viollet-de-Duc. Carcassone was an important trading zone throughout history and was used as a Cathar stronghold in the middle ages. A free to enter attraction, visitors can stroll through the bustling streets, where a medieval atmosphere has been recreated with street hawkers, crafts-people and more.
Canal du Midi
For those holiday-makers who enjoy a more active side to their vacation, why not consider taking to two-wheels. Practice your pedal power, with a cycle along the well-marked footpaths of the Canal du Midi. Stretching from Toulouse to Agde, there is more than 250km of canal-side to explore – ideal for those who like French holidays at their own pace!
If being energetic doesn’t appeal, you can see another side to France at the pretty sea-side village of Villefranche. Voted as one of the best beaches in Europe and located close to Nice, the town and bay have been used as settings in many Hollywood movies. Go sailing, explore the coastline or enjoy fresh fish in one of the harbour restaurants. Villefranche is popular with kids and adults alike, but be warned -it can get very busy in summer.
If your kids are still full of energy, take them to Accrobranche in Motagnac. The exciting woodland based attraction is full of safe and thrilling activities – from abseiling to tree climbing. Suitable for children aged seven and upwards, the entry fee includes several hours of play, and trained supervisors are on hand to keep an eye on your youngsters. Better still, parents can join in the fun too – if they like!
Guest author Lucia Monlia is a full time teacher, mother and wife as well as an aspiring travel writer. Lucia has clocked up tens of thousands of air miles having travelled from the villages of Africa to the beaches of South America although she is now more likely to be found relaxing on camping holidays.