European royalty and the English gentry established the South of France as a holiday destination more than a century ago.
Paradoxically this was in the winter months which were much milder than the rest of Northern Europe.
The summer months were believed to be too hot for comfort.
As fortunes changed and the middle classes started to travel, resorts started to pop up along the Mediterranean Sea.
Today the Côte D’Azur is a favourite holiday destination all year round with the promise of mostly clement weather.
Nice is the transport hub for the area with excellent flight and train connections including the high-speed TGV which will whisk you in from Paris in just 4 hours. There is a wide choice of seaside villages to choose from and the centrally located rail line allows you to visit places of interest along the coast at a minimal cost. East of bustling Nice with its famous markets you will discover Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Monaco and westwards there is Antibes which is home to glamorous hotels and the Picasso Museum, then Juan-les-Pins and Cannes where everyone is star spotting. Further west you will find St Tropez, Toulon and Marseilles.
You might want to rent a car for a few days and venture inland from Nice to Grasse, home to the perfume industry and many charming hillside villages which offer a less hectic and cooler stay in summer.
Inland excursions from Montpellier will take in historic Aix-en-Provence, Arles and the beautiful hilltop towns of Provence.
The car free old town of Montpellier is well worth a visit and if you travel even further west you will reach the seaside town of Sête which is famous for its annual jousting competition – not on horseback but from boat to boat. This is also the start of the Canal du Midi and the local market is a great place to stock up on provisions for your canal boating holiday. The market is famous for its fish, meat, delicatessen items, fabulous fresh bread and a wide range of gorgeous fresh fruit and vegetables. Take a break from shopping and sit down to some fresh oysters with a chilled glass of white wine followed by some local dishes while locals bustle around collecting ingredients for their supper. Wine and cheese shops also abound near the market.
The South of France is just waiting to be discovered by you and is a refreshing alternative for those that have already visited Paris on a previous trip. Remember that the further you move away from Nice and Cannes the cheaper you holiday will become. The good news is that it is no longer a winter destination but a wonderful year round playground.