With its glittering Mediterranean coastline, countless colourful villages, miles upon miles of golden sandy stretches, and glorious sunshine nearly all year round, the South of France is naturally one of the most popular holiday destinations for travellers of all ages.


It’s also amongst the top places in the world where people choose to relocate permanently – and as a chartered South of France Surveyor, we’ve helped many, many people do just that.


No matter whether you’re planning a holiday or a trip to scout out a potential property purchase in the region, we’ve got six insider’s travel tips to help you make the most of your visit.


Buying a home is daunting – especially in a foreign country. However, with the help of an experienced South of France Surveyor, you can conduct your viewing armed with the right questions to ask, to ascertain precisely whether or not the property is a good investment, if there are any issues that might create problems in the future and if it ticks all the boxes it needs to tick to make your South of France dreams come true.

1. Learn a Little French

This is one of the most important questions you can ask the seller.


Parlez-vousfrançais? If not, familiarizing yourself with at least a little of the local language will help you no end when it comes to travelling around or when exploring a property you’re thinking about purchasing. Even if it’s just a few basics like bonjour (hello), s’ilvous plait (please) and merci (thank you), making the effort to speak the language will curry favour amongst all with whom you attempt to converse – and it may even prove endearing if you’re particularly bad at it (it’s the effort that counts). To get you started, here’s some useful direction vocabulary to help you navigate around.

(Image source: lawlessfrench.com)


2. Learn to Read French Road Signs

This will, of course, be crucial if you’re travelling by car (as well as remembering to drive on the right-hand side of the road!!). To begin, know that all road signs and speed limits will be in kilometres, not miles, and that you must give way to the left when entering a roundabout – though, confusingly,thepriorité à droite(priority to the right) rule applies when approaching crossroads, junctions, traffic lights, and (can you believe it?) some old roundabouts.


Some helpful information about the priority to the right rule can be found here, while France-pub.com gives a detailed breakdown of French road traffic signs.

(Image source: france-pub.com)

3. Craft Out an Itinerary

The South of France is quite a large geographic area, covering the main regions of Dordogne, Bordeaux and Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées, the French Riviera and Provence. With so much potential ground to cover, the wisest thing to do is plan your itinerary in advance so you know where you’re going, where you’ll be staying, and to ensure you don’t spend all your time in the car.


With many years of experience living and working in the region as a South of France Surveyor, we’ve covered a fair few miles ourselves. Check out our 5-Day South of France Driving Itinerary – from Orange to the Massif des Calanques – for an example.

4. Carry Cash

If you’re planning on spending time in some smaller towns and rural villages, make sure you’ve got some cash in your wallet. Not all shops will accept plastic cards as a means of payment – especially those selling inexpensive, small-item goods – or, if they do, they might require you to spend a minimum of €10 to use it. You should be able to use any ATM machine in France to withdraw cash and avoid any unnecessary exchange fees – though do check with your bank beforehand that your card will work in the country. And, as a bonus tip – make sure you’ve got at least two cards on you, just in case something happens with one of them (like the ATM machine swallowing it up while you’re trying to translate the on-screen instructions).

5. Pick Your Month of Travel Carefully

One of the great things about the South of France is that there is an average of about 320 days of sunshine per year – so you don’t need to limit yourself to the summer season if you’re planning to catch some rays during your travels. Even so, July and August are still the busiest months for tourists – it is the school holidays for most of Europe, after all – so, if you want to avoid the crowds, plan your trip for before June or after September.

6. Places to Visit and Things to Do

Last but not least, here’s a short list of what we think are some of the very best things to do and places to visit in the South of France.


  • Lavender Fields in Valensole – Head to the village of Valensole in north-eastern Provence to see rolling expanses of purple lavender that stretch as far as the eye can see. Beautiful.
  • Cannes – Home of the legendary Cannes Film Festival, Cannes is a must for all film fans – though it is a beautiful city in its own right. Stroll along the infamous Boulevard de la Croisette and explore the many high-class shops, restaurants and hotels.
  • Verdon Gorge – If you like to get active during your travels, you can do no better than go kayaking in Europe’s answer to the Grand Canyon, the Verdon Gorge in Northern Provence – a 700m deep limestone valley with a turquoise-green river running through it. Great for hiking, rock-climbing, or just a scenic drive, too.
  • Antibes – A vibrant and cultural Mediterranean seaside town, Antibes is unmissable. Walk Picasso’s Trail, visit the Naval and Napoleonic Museum, or soak in some history at the 16th Century Fort Carré.
  • Monaco – If you’re looking for some wild nights and parties, Monaco is the place for you. Known for its upscale casinos, yacht-lined harbours, and prestigious Grand Prix race, there are also many deluxe hotels, boutiques, nightclubs and restaurants to explore.

Final Thoughts

There you have our top tips for travelling in the South of France. Don’t be surprised if you fall in love with the place.So many people do, and if, like them, you should decide to take the leap and relocate to this stunning part of the world permanently, you will of course need a knowledgeable and experienced South of France Surveyor like Charles Mackintosh to guide you on your way.


Get in touch today for more information and insights.