The South of France has long been on our holiday radar, for many good reasons. The French Riviera ranges from quiet, rustic villages to high-end, A-list destinations – meaning this beautiful part of the world really does cater for all. With this in mind, we’ve rounded-up our favourite places, no matter your mood or budget.
If you’re after a French beach holiday on a shoestring, the best bargains are to be found on the Basque coast, close to the border with Spain. Thanks to the rolling Atlantic waves, the region has a laid back surf scene, plus you’ll enjoy unique Basque cuisine and a Mediterranean-style café culture.
Biarritz is the hub of Basque country on the French side of the border. The city has its own beaches packed with surf schools, plus there are beautiful churches dotted around the streets and a thriving nightlife.
For a more chilled out pace of life, head down the coast to the pretty port town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, which offers tight winding streets and – its star attraction – a golden arc of soft sandy beach. It also holds a number of special events during the year, so check before you book as you could coincide your trip with anything from classical music concerts to a dedicated tuna festival.
The neat, well turned out Hôtel Colbert near the station is excellent value at just over £90 per night, or if you want to go self-catering, Résidence Hôtelière Du Golf is less than 10 minutes’ walk from the beach and has apartments for four at £110 for a week.
There are many mid-range priced retreats in the South of France, so picking the best can be a tough task.
We recommend the boutique Hôtel de la Fossette in Le Lavandou, a seaside town enclosed by rugged cliffs with a gorgeous stretch of beach near Saint Tropez. The fishing heritage of the town is still thriving, which means delicious fresh seafood dinners, plus you can venture out for deep sea fishing if that (ahem) floats your boat. The hotel, which is just 150 metres from the beach, has beautifully kept rooms and a spa and hammam for total relaxation.
If you prefer a break inland, head to Aix-en-Provence. Here you’ll find the Aquabella Hotel, situated in the picturesque old town at the foot of the city’s medieval walls, which overlook the hotel’s pool courtyard. So you can Instagram the town’s historic site without leaving your sun lounger.
If you’re going all out, it’s got to be Saint-Tropez or Cannes. Rub shoulders with the jet set celebrities and oligarchs that moor up their super yachts at the harbour, sup champagne in the swanky clubs, or dine on the creations of Michelin starred chefs. Arnaud Donckele, the youngest chef to be awarded three starts by the Michelin Guide, is definitely one to watch. You can taste his latest creations at Saint-Tropez’ La Résidence de la Pinède.
Destinations as luxurious as this deserve an extravagant setting to complement it, so splash out £330 per night on Hôtel La Tartane Saint Amour. The chic rooms are individually designed, featuring intricate wood panelling, stylish interior pieces and fresh orchids, and the property is surrounded by lush gardens. Or try the slightly more affordable (£206 per night) Hôtel L’Orangeraie La Croix Valmer, which fuses tradition French style with its elegant grande maison setting.
Over in Cannes, you can treat the whole family to the lap of luxury with a self-catering break in stylish and spacious Loft Lycklama, which has three bedrooms and comes in at £351 per night. Or if you’d rather have all your needs catered to, Five Seas Hotel Cannes has fashionably designed rooms and views across the rustic architecture of Cannes’ prime sights.
Book your break to the South of France now!
*Prices correct at the time of publishing, subject to availability and change