Exuberant Sun and Extravagant Wealth on a Trip to Southern France
One of the most desirable destinations in Europe for sun worshippers is the South of France.
The warm weather, beautiful natural scenery, and fascinating historical buildings in both Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Occitanie attract thousands of vacationing foreigners every year. For a stress-free vacation with your family, consider renting a holiday home in Southern France this year.
There are many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southern France, but one of the most popular is the medieval fortress at Carcassonne. The main reason this massive fortification has become such a major draw in recent years most likely has to do with the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves, which was partly filmed here. By the way, Carcassonne holds a fun annual festival in late summer with one of the largest fireworks displays in France.
Another city that has earned UNESCO World Heritage status is the southwestern city of Albi. This smaller city has two major claims to fame: it was the birthplace of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and it has an incredibly well-preserved cathedral. Definitely plan to spend a few hours exploring the city's ornate Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile, which has glorious Renaissance era frescoes and an impressive 18th century organ.
For those who want to learn more about the life and work of Toulouse-Lautrec, take a trip to Albi's Palais de la Berbie, which now serves as a museum dedicated to the great illustrator.
While the Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile is very impressive, the most important religious site in Southern France is in the city of Lourdes. Many Roman Catholics believe that the Virgin Mary appeared over a dozen times to a local girl in this city in 1858.
News of these apparitions quickly spread, and the Catholic Church designated this city an official pilgrimage site in the 1870s. Even if you're a skeptic, it's well worth your time to visit the glorious Lourdes Sanctuary Complex, which includes the famed curative spring of the Grotto of Massabielle.
Of course, no trip to Southern France is complete without a trip to the Riviera on the Mediterranean coast. The bright light, colorful architecture, and relaxed vibe of this coastal area never fails to put tourists in a good mood.
The most frequently visited cities in the Riviera include Nice, Monaco, St. Tropez, and Cannes. From luxury cars and high-end estates to fashion boutiques and private yachts, you can't help but see wealth and extravagance at every turn in these cities. A few tourist hot spots include the Monte Carlo Casino, the Opéra de Monaco, and the Matisse Museum.
Try your best to book a trip to the Riviera during one of the region's world-renowned festivals. One of the biggest events in the Riviera is the Cannes Film Festival, which attracts big-name movie stars every May. Another thrilling annual festival that takes place in May is the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix race. Other fantastic events held in Monaco include the International Circus Festival in January, the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters in April, and the Monaco Yacht Show in September.
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