Southern France is one of the most beautiful places in the world! There are villages nestled in the hills, beautiful mountains of the French Alps, lavender fields adorning the landscape, and so many beautiful wild flowers. I think if I could choose anywhere to live in the entire world, it would be here. Not only is the greenery beautiful, but it turns out that France has it’s own version of the Grand Canyon – a place called the Verdon Gorge. It has beautiful blue water, running through steep cliffs that are covered in trees and flowers. I’m no expert in the south of France, but from what I experienced, it is a place that everyone should go to! Here are some of the most beautiful cities I saw while exploring.
Grenoble was a fun city to explore! We stayed near the shopping centers, where there were hundreds of small shops to visit and see. It was here that I bought my Dad a French hat, from a small hat maker in the city. There are many interesting museums, delicious restaurants, and people to see. My friend Delaney and I had fun taking portraits, with the interesting buildings and graffiti.
Chamonix was so incredibly beautiful! This lovely small city was nestled in between the towering mountains of the Alps. It was incredible to see the mountains so high and so majestic. There are cable cars you can ride up and down the mountains (so you can skip the long grueling hikes if you like!). There were many small, quaint shops in the city, too – with delicious restaurants and lots of souvenirs and bakeries.
We stayed in the Rocky Pop hotel, which was such a fun place to be! The entire building is pop culture themed, with a pacman elevator and movie references everywhere. They had a yummy restaurant, and the most relaxing back pavilion with comfy bean bags where you could enjoy the view of the mountains. The staff are very friendly and fun to talk with! It’s a great place to meet fellow travelers.
This tiny town was an absolute joy to see. The homes are nestled in a tiny valley, with huge cliffs surrounding them. On top of the cliff is a small church, which overlooks the city and looks so incredibly stunning – like something out of a movie. We stayed here so we could go visit the Verdon Gorge and the local villages.
The Verdon Gorge was absolutely beautiful. The blue water snakes through the canyon, with waterfalls running down into the river. You can rent canoes and kayaks, and swim around and through the waterfalls. The water is ice cold, but it’s so worth it to dive in for the experience!
You can also drive the scenic route along the canyon, which takes you to the rock climber’s paradise. This canyon is almost 2500 feet deep. It is absolutely amazing to see rock climbers step off the edge of the cliff, down into the canyon which seems to go on forever. If you’re scared of heights, you’ll be on the edge of your seat during the drive and at the scenic stop points – but it is so worth going!
Sainte Marie Chappelle
This was my most favorite village in France! Oh, it was so beautiful! The little village overlooks a valley, and all the buildings sit on the edge of a hill. The cobblestone streets wind through charming historic buildings, and a tiny chapel sits at the very top of the steep small mountain. A river flows through the city, with balconies and bridges connecting the streets over it. There are lavender fields surrounding this area, with the most beautiful flowers, and many small shops in the village sell products with locally grown lavender. There is the most delicious crepe stand, where you can buy lavender honey crepes and rose flavored gelato, which is absolutely divine. This village is heaven on earth, and is an absolute must see if you are in the Provence area.
This is another one of the beautiful villages around Castellane. La Palud is the rock climber’s Mecca. The Verdon Gorge is one of the world’s best places to rock climb, and La Palud is the village where many of these climbers throughout history gathered. There are bakeries with delicious homemade baguettes and cheese, and quaint places to stay and relax. If you are a rock climber, this is a must see while you are there.
I hope you enjoyed reading about these wonderful cities! I loved learning more about France, and visiting the beautiful villages there. It’s a place I miss, and can’t wait to travel back to in the future.