Gorgeous sand and blue sea, the warmth of the Mediterranean sun, picturesque villages and world-famous local cuisine – it’s no surprise that the south of France is one of the most visited locations in Europe.
Even then, the real beauty of southern France – the Roman arena in Nîmes, the bridge at Avignon, the wildlife in Camargue National Park – is sometimes overlooked by tourists looking for a traditional beach holiday.
As the trend for unique, authentic experiences increases, road trips are becoming more popular as they allow tourists to travel at their own pace and enjoy the stunning drives while they move around the lesser-seen countryside just in land from the coast.
So why not rent a car, hit the road and get lost in all of the local sights on a road trip with Avis around southern France?
A suggested itinerary
Click on each destination for more information
Here, we’ve suggested an itinerary beginning and ending with the Avis car rental facility at Marseille Airport, passing through some of the best natural scenery and most iconic towns in Southern France. It is roughly eight hours of driving so would work perfectly for a week’s holiday. These are a few of the highlights of this particular road trip with Avis:
Marseille is the second largest city in France with plenty to see and do. Marseille is a regional nexus for entertainment in the south of France with a high concentration of museums, cinemas, theatres, clubs, bars, restaurants, fashion shops, hotels, and art galleries.
Put Basilique Notre Dame and Cathedrale de la Major on the itinerary as it should be on your customers’ bucket lists. Also, visit Le Panier, which is a neighbourhood where they will be able to walk around and pop in to a local cafe to have pastries and coffee.
Drivers will wind their way around the stunning roads of the Cote D’Azur en route to Saint Tropez, one of France’s most famous port villages. After the war, it became an internationally known seaside resort thanks to the influx of artists of the French New Wave in film and music.
In summer, yachts flock the village and its popular beach clubs but Saint Tropez has also managed to keep its historical charms. The town features the 16th-century citadel where one can catch the most stunning 360-degree view of the village and the bay.
Road trippers will pass through the serene Plaine des Maures on the way to Aix, whose cobbled streets retain their old French charm. The town is peppered with architecture dated back as far as 15th century. The Hôtels Particuliers are private mansions are owned by wealthy families adorn the streets. Your clients enjoying this road trip with Avis can shop till they drop at Place de l’Hôtel de Ville or Place Richelme.
Dubbed the “city of a thousand fountains,” Aix has several fountains perfect for a photo op. One of the most notable of these is the 17th-century Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins (Fountain of the Four Dolphins) in the Quartier Mazarin, designed by Jean-Claude Rambot.
Home of the famous bridge from the French song ‘Sur le Pont d’Avignon‘ this city’s historic centre, which includes the Pope’s Palace and the cathedral, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The medieval monuments and an annual arts festival have helped to make the town a must-see destination in southern France.
Nîmes held an important role in Roman history and many relics remain today as silent witnesses of that Roman presence. Be sure to see the Arènes de Nîmes, a huge arena that was used for gladiator fights.
La Maison Carrée, a well-preserved temple that used to be the center of a Roman forum. Lastly, les Jardins de la Fontaine is a park that once functioned as the public Roman baths.
Montpellier is popular for its numerous castles and vineyard routes. During the 19th century, the city thrived on a culture of wine that could be produced in huge quantities thanks to the abundance of sun throughout the year.
A number of decorative châteaux – so-called follies – built by wealthy merchants, surround the city. The gothic Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, dating to 1364, and the neoclassical Antigone district are must-visits.
As your clients return to Marseille to end their road trip with Avis, be sure to stop in at Camargue, a marshland national park located between the Mediterranean and the two branches of the Rhône delta.
The unique environment is home to flamingos and migratory birds, white horses, black bulls and real-life modern-day cowboys.
Road trip with Avis: more information
Interested in learning more? The company offers a wide selection of affordable vehicles such as the Peugeot 208, Renault Scenic or Fiat 500 as well luxury cars like a Ford Mustang convertible, a Dodge Grand Caravan or a Jeep Wrangler – which can only add to the excitement of a road trip.
Rent a car in any major French town for a fast and efficient pick-up and drop off. Avis has a dedicated road trip website for more information, or travel agents can visit avisworld.com/asiata, a dedicated website for travel trade professionals.