When one envisions France, they might picture the Eiffel Tower, croissants or the romantic streets of Paris. While these iconic images certainly define the country, there’s another side of France. It’s more serene, sun-kissed and splendid side waiting to be discovered in the South of France.

For your next vacation consider a road trip through the South of France from four major cities: Cannes, Nice, Monaco and Marseille.

Why Road Trip the South of France?

France is known for its efficient rail system and well-connected cities, but road tripping offers a different perspective. It allows you to break free from schedules and create your own adventure. The South of France is a road tripper’s dream. The region has diverse landscapes from the azure waters of the Mediterranean to the rolling vineyards of Provence and the picturesque villages of the French Riviera. A road trip provides the freedom to explore these treasures at your own pace.

Getting Started: Renting a Car

Before you hit the road, you’ll need a reliable set of wheels. Renting a car in France is relatively straightforward. Major cities, like Cannes, Nice, Monaco and Marseille, have several rental agencies. Booking in advance online is often the best approach to secure a competitive rate and ensure the availability of your preferred vehicle.

Cannes: Where the Glitz Meets the Sea

Start your South of France road trip in Cannes, a city synonymous with glamour and the world-famous film festival. From Cannes, set your course eastward along the A8 highway, which will take you on a scenic route towards Nice.

Nice: Gateway to the French Riviera

Nice, the jewel of the French Riviera, is your next destination. Park your car and explore the Old Town (Vieux Nice) with its narrow streets, vibrant markets and charming cafes. Don’t forget to stroll along the Promenade des Anglais for breathtaking Mediterranean views. As you leave Nice, consider taking the mesmerizing Route des Grandes Alpes, which winds through picturesque mountain scenery.

Monaco: A Touch of Luxury

A short drive east of Nice brings you to the tiny yet opulent principality of Monaco. Known for its wealth and elegance, Monaco is a haven for luxury car enthusiasts. Take a spin on the world-famous Formula 1 circuit, visit the grand Casino de Monte-Carlo, and explore the Jardin Exotique for panoramic views of the Mediterranean coastline.

Marseille: Where History and Modernity Meet

Continue your South of France adventure by heading west along the A8 and A7 highways towards Marseille. Marseille is a fascinating blend of history and modernity. Visit the Old Port (Vieux-Port), explore the historic Le Panier district, and go to the iconic Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde. Each location offers spectacular city views.