Whether you feel like you know the south of France like the back of your hand, or if you’ve never set foot on the French coast, discovering a hidden gem on your vacation is undoubtedly one of the best feelings. Uncovering a secret spot that is away from tourists can provide you with a sense of satisfaction and feeling like a local can often add a different dimension to your experience than you may have previously thought possible.
Here at Quality Villas, we love coming across new destinations and wandering into unexplored territories. Over the years, we’ve discovered some hidden gems that we feel are too good to keep up to ourselves. So, if you’re considering a stay in one of our luxury villas in the south of France or if you’re just on the look-out for a new destination to visit, take a look at this list of our favourite places to seek out!
The commune of Le Grau-du-Roi in Southern France is the only commune in Gard to have a frontage on the Mediterranean. The beautiful beach of Espiguette boasts shimmering blue water, and the unspoilt scenery is the perfect place to spend a day relaxing on the uncrowded nature of one of France’s sandiest beaches. If you are after a stereotypical seaside town to satisfy young children, then Le Grau-du-Roi is the ideal place to visit. However, older kids will love the variety of sports that are on offer, and the town has plenty of things to see and do to keep everyone busy!
Plateau of Valensole, Provence
Wandering through the purple lavender fields is sure to take the breath of even the most sceptic of walkers. Understandably, there are some people who long for a vacation full of reclining and relaxing, however, a stroll through the fields at Plateau de Valensole, in Provence, is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon.
Swapping out the blue hues of the ocean for the purple shades of the lavender plant, you can lose yourself amongst the flowers while strolling over the rolling hills. For the photography enthusiasts, the Plateau of Valensole is best to visit among the hours of 6:30 and 10:00 pm, as the golden hour gorgeously compliments the shades of lilac.
An area on the French Riviera that attracts slightly more attention than some of the other areas on this list, the town is amongst the oldest in the area and is rich in history. Picasso and Matisse were among the pioneers of the area and today celebrity homes are nestled on the busy streets. The trip to the town should not be missed for those intrigued in art history.
The Italian influences that inspire the coastal town of the Côte d’Azur go further than the architecture. Home to one of the best restaurants in the world, the charm of the cultural Menton has links with 19th century Britain, as Queen Victoria’s arrival in the town in 1882 saw 5000 British residents building mansions and planting a variety of tropical plants in her honour.
Today, make sure to visit this hidden gem for the azure waters of the sea and sample some of the exquisite cuisines. The contrasting terracotta and ochre buildings that scatter the hill provide the perfect backdrop for your vacation, and we’re sure that one visit to the town of 30,000 people will leave you wanting to re-visit!
The last spot on our list of hidden gems is the seaside resort of Bandol. It is the inlets, creeks and sandy beaches that make the town on the French Riviera one not to be missed. The picturesque marina boasts an ocean that is perfect for swimming thanks to the calm conditions of the water, so taking a dip here should be top of the list of things to do. With a busy harbour, spend your lunchtime people watching with a glass of its famous Rosé whilst refuelling before a lovely stroll admiring the yachts.