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Introducing The South of France

As diverse as it is enticing, the South of France stretches from the Alps in the east to the foothills of the Pyrénées in the west. Blending luxury resorts, historic harbours and fragrant fields of lavender, le Midi – as it’s affectionately known – is the perfect escape. Travel to Cannes and Saint-Tropez for star spotting and sun worshipping. Wander the dynamic streets of Marseille, France’s oldest city and its most important port. Or head to the mountains to drink in crisp air and intoxicating views.

Things to do

From Michelin stars in Saint-Tropez to local haunts in Alpine villages, expect technical verve, imagination – and a huge side order of passion. Italian and Spanish flavours spill over the borders, and the long coastline fills menus with the freshest seafood. Bouillabaisse – a rich fish soup brimming with the day’s catch – originated in Marseille but can be found in almost every port town. For something lighter, try a platter of Bayonne ham with a glass of cool white wine.

Hugging the coast between Nice and Cassis, the French Riviera is home to many of the region’s best beaches. Relax in utter luxury in a boutique beach club, dozing in the shade of white linen umbrellas. Or discover deserted coves, their crescents of silver sand sheltered by rocky outcrops. With the Mediterranean stretching to the horizon, the aptly named Cote D’Azur (Azure Coast) is simply paradise.

Forming a dramatic border with neighbouring Spain, the Pyrénées is a region ripe for exploring. A dense network of hiking trails lead through lower foothills cloaked in vines, before carving a path through fragrant thyme and broom shrubs. Follow the coast east and you’ll reach Camargue – a wild stretch of ruby-red salt flats, reed marshes and flocks of flamingos. It’s an uncanny landscape, and provides an awe-inspiring escape from the bustle of the Riviera’s resorts.

Top Tip from SLH

Known as the Venice of Languedoc, the small commune of Sète is a maze of canals, salt-water lakes and oyster beds. Visit in August to witness the extraordinary spectacle of water jousting, in the town’s annual festival.



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