5 Days In the South of France – The Perfect Itinerary

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Are you planning to spend 5 days in the South of France?

Spend 5 days in the south of France for a relaxing and rejuvenating adventure. Here is my South of France itinerary for five days.

5 Days In The South Of France- Cases
5 Days In The South Of France

Know before you go

When is the best time to go to the
South of France?

I am a fan of travel any time of the year!

But spending 5 days in the South of France has a special purpose – Lavender.

The lavender season is typically from the end of June until early August. So, while summer may be the busy time to travel, it’s the best if you want to catch the remarkable blooms.

Summer is hot in Europe, particularly in the south, so be prepared for 80-95 degrees F (30-35 degrees C).

What is the food like in the
South of France?

The food and wine in and around Provence are remarkable. The food is always a reflection of the season and always fresh. Seafood, fruits, fresh tomatoes, capers, olives, and lots of delish veggies. And the wine is said to be the best in the world!

Some of the best known dishes are:

Bouillabaisse – this dish of Marseille is a traditional Provençal fish stew.

Ratatouille – this dish from Nice is a traditional summer vegetable stew.

Socca – this is my favorite gluten free street food! A thin crepe made from chick pea flour.

Calisson -these are everyone’s favorite traditional French candy. They are made from candied fruit and ground almonds with smooth icing. Think a melony marzipan.

Always research restaurants before you head out for dinner each night. Have reservations if necessary or a clear plan so you are not wandering around after a long day, reading menus while everyone gets cranky.

The restaurants on the main boulevard in Aix are fine for dinners, but definitely touristy, so do your research.

Is renting a car in the
South of France worth it?


This is the time to rent a car. We always recommend using Hertz. We have a membership with them and get discounts, deals, and have never had any problems.

While walking in Aix is easy, you’ll be happy to have the car for grocery shopping, esspecially if you’re buying more than just your daily needs.

Most importantly, you’ll want the flexibility to take day trips at your own pace and not be reliant on train schedules.

Consider finding a rental property with a parking spot when you book your stay.

Where is the best place to stay in the South of France?

I highly recommend staying in a vacation rental in the beautiful town of Aix En Provence.

Aix is a perfectly central location in the south, approximately one hour drive to some of the best locations in France! In five days in the south of France you’ll have an opportunity to see so much, very close to Aix.

While Marseille is the famous port city in the south and the oldest city in France, it is a big city and has a reputation for a lot of crime. I suggest you stay in Aix and visit the water and port towns, but not stay in Marseille.

Here are my top picks for an itinerary of 5 days in the south of France!

5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France

Day #1 Aix En Provence Activities

Visit Atelier de Cezanne

Paul Cezanne’s house and studio is a must while in Aix.

Cezanne was born in Aix in 1839 and he always considered Aix to be his home and a place of profound inspiration.

The visit to the studio is perfect for a short excursion and doesn’t require much time at all.

The Museé Granet in Aix has a vast collection of Cezanne and impressionists as well, if you have time.

Don’t miss the Bibliotèque Mejanes

This is a wonderful library in Aix founded in 1810 with a facade made of giant books!

The library holds a lot of interesting history and it makes for a perfect photo opp!

Stroll along the Cours Mirabeau

This is the iconic tree lined boulevard in Aix with shops, restaurants, open air markets, and beautiful fountains.

Bring your wallet! This is the perfect place to find those lovely table cloths in the traditional floral prints of the Provence region.

A highlight is the Foundation Vasarely Museum

This museum will be some of the most fun you’ll  have in Aix!

Victor Vasarely was a Hungarian and French painter best known for starting the movement of Op Art.

His optical illusions were often painted on extremely large surfaces and when given options of where to build the museum for his works, he chose the cultural center of Aix.

Vasarely designed the structure in hexagone pods to mirror his paintings.

The foundation opened in the mid 70’s and the building stands out as an Op Art structure itself.

Wander through the spaces, sit down on couches, get close, back up, and basically play while you are there.

The paintings are colorful, fun, and vibrate as you look at them.

5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days in the South of france

Day #2 Abbaye Notre-Dame
de Sénanque

Only one hour from Aix, this is the perfect choice for viewing lavender and finding sunflowers along the way!

The Abbey is filled with a rich history and has a meditative vibe.

Cistercian Monks

This Abbey is a living/working farm for monks of the Cistercian order.

This group of monks have lived and operated the Abbey since the 12th Century. Their lives are dedicated to prayer and labor.

They pray seven times a day and tend to all the lavender and olive groves.

The sales from the oils and products and use of the Abbey for monastic retreats support the Abbey.

Arrive early in the day to roam the fields and surroundings freely. That way you can take photos without feeling disrespectful.

Take time to sit in the chapel built in the 1100’s. Busloads of visitors may arrive later, so get your pics done early!

This is a must during your 5 days in the south of France.

5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France

Day #3 Citadelle De Sisteron

Another one hour drive from Aix is the charming medieval village of Sisteron, home of the citadelle, built in the 12th century.

The citadel is tucked into the rocky cliffs on the banks of the Durance river.

It was used for many purposes during many wars since the 16th century.

The original ramparts, parapet, and drawbridges still exist, as well as a chapel with stained glass from the 15th century.

You can walk or shuttle up to the citadel. I recommend the walk, if you can do it!

The views are extraordinary because you see the rocky mountain, the river bed, and the red rooftops of the village.

Have lunch in the village after your castle visit.

5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France

Day #4 Cassis

Just a 45 minute drive from Aix is Cassis. This is the delightful Mediterranean fishing port in the Côte D’Azure

The water is deliciously gorgeous. Lay on the beach, swim in the Mediterranean, and relax!

Hike along the coast in the calanques, or steep cliffs, if the weather allows. It’s really a French Riviera dream!

The public parking lots fill up, so arrive early in the day.

5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France

Day #5 Avignon

Avignon is one hour from Aix, and was the seat of the Catholic Popes from 1309 to 1377.

Famous for the Palais des Papes and the Basilique Saint-Pierre, feats of medieval architecture with gilded choir, walnut carvings, and Renaissance and Baroque paintings, Avignon has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s a fortified, walled city on the water.  The palace sits on a main square next to streets filled with a plethora of tourist shopping.

You can tour the Palais and Basilique if you have time. The Palais is the largest gothic fortress in the world!

Avignon is also known also for summer theater troupes that perform in the main square. Keep your eye out!

Parking on the street may be impossible, so plan on parking in the parking structure at the palace.

Pont D’Avignon

Avignon is home to the famous bridge of the famous children’s song – Pont D’Avignon!

Originally built in the late 12th century, the bridge had 22 arches!

Parking on the street may be impossible, so plan on parking in the parking structure at the palace.

5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France
5 Days In The South Of France

Bonus Activity – Pont Du Gard

The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge built in the first century AD to carry water over 50 km to the Roman colony of Nemausus.

The bridge crosses the river Gardon near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard in southern France.

For 7 euro, you can buy tickets to walk on top of the bridge and see the museum and exhibitions.

Bring your bathing suit! Visitors are swimming and kayaking in the water below the aqueduct.

Add this to your 5 days in the south of France!



Hi There! I’m Carrie.

Carrie Green-Zinn Bio Page

I’m a native New Englander, turned New Yorker, turned California girl! Following a dance career, working as a dance therapist, and being a school psychologist, I’m now ready to share my passion for photography and travel with you! I absolutely love seeing the world with my family and friends. I know you feel the same! Let’s go! 

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