France, France Destination

Summer in France: the BEST places to visit

I might be quite biased but I believe France is beautiful no matter the season. There is always something going on all year round and there are so many different corners to explore. But, I must say that spending a summer in France is a particularly wonderful experience. The weather is warm, there are fresh weekly markets, there are beaches, hikes, towns and so so much to discover!

Personally, I have spent 4 different summers in France, 2 of which were while I was actually living there. I hope to help you decide on where you might want to go to get the most out of your summer in France. Maybe you’re interested in going somewhere iconic? Or perhaps a little more local? This article will go over some of the best places to visit in France during the summer season.

Want to talk about your itinerary with an expert? I offer consultation calls to help travelers with their trip planning. So far I’ve helped someone narrow down her honeymoon destination and helped another family define their Normandy itinerary. I’d love to chat more about your trip and offer my first-hand experiences and advice! Learn more about my consultation calls here!

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Tips for visiting France in the summer:

📆 Avoid visiting in August. Not many tourists realize this but many places actually close in France at some point during the month of August. This is when shopkeepers, restaurant owners, and so many others take their holidays. But in France, businesses will close down sometimes for 2-3 weeks! Although there will still be options as not every place closes at the same time, be aware it’s quite quiet in France in August!

☀️ European summers are busy! As you can imagine, summer is Europe’s most popular time to visit. I mean I don’t blame them! But you should definitely keep this in mind when planning your trip to France. Book your accommodations and travels well in advance!

🇫🇷 Don’t underestimate the size of France! When I am dealing with clients, they often times come to me with a huge list of places they want to visit in France and want to try and get it all done in one trip. France is quite large and there is a lot to see! Narrow down what you want to see, one visit at a time!


6 ideas of where to spend your summer in France


3 iconic spots in Provence, including Aix-en-Provence, Les Calanques and Roussillon - a perfect region to explore during the summer

🗺️ Located: South East of France

✈️ Main airport: Marseille Provence Airport

📍Recommendation: visit the Luberon villages & lavender fields

Known for: cute villages & local markets

Provence is one of THE most charming regions in France! It is even iconic for local French people! You can easily spend a week here but keep in mind, it’s best enjoyed at a slower pace to match the local lifestyle.

PRO TIP: I’d highly recommend going on a road trip in this region. I was surprised to not see many transportation options here so renting a car is the best way! You can find our own Provence road trip itinerary here! If you’re looking for a deal on car rentals, we’ve been loving, they have been our go to for our past few road trips!

There is a lot you can do and see in Provence. You have the Calanques National Park near Marseille, the Gorges du Verdon in the mountains, the lavender fields in the plains and an endless supply of villages to discover. Find a list of my favorite villages in this region in the post below!

READ MORE: Cutest Villages in Provence



Crystal clear turquoise waters of Corsica - the best beaches in France

🗺️ Located: an island off the coast between France and Italy

✈️ Main airport: Figari South Corsica Airport or Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport

📍Recommendation: relax at the beach & go snorkelling

Known for: beaches & natural swimming pools

Corsica is a very popular place for French people to spend their summers. But its surprising that not too many tourists choose to visit because it is absolutely beautiful there!! It is probably one of the most beautiful places to spend a summer in France!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: FREE GUIDE: Best beaches in Southern Corsica

Typically when planning a trip to Corsica, visitors will decide whether they want to spend their time in the North of the island or in the South. You’ll find most French people are divided on which part of the island is ‘the best’. You’d probably need at least a week in each to really have enough time to visit the entire island!

Although Corsica is known for its beaches, do not forget about its mountains! The Bavella regional park was probably my favorite spot during our trip because it completely blew me away! I was expecting turquoise waters and gorgeous beaches but the mountains – wow! Absolutely beautiful! Here are some ways you can enjoy a visit to Corsica’s mountains:

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Pays Basque

A cute traditional Basque villages with mountains in the distance on a clear sunny day

🗺️ Located: South West of France, shares a border with Spain

✈️ Main airport: Biarritz Airport

📍Recommendation: try Piedmont d’Espelette, the regional pepper, & a Basque cake

Known for: mountain villages & seaside towns

Pays Basque is another underrated region of France but is another great choice for a summer destination! The villages here are super unique and quaint. My personal favourites are Espelette, Ainhoa, and Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

Being located on the Western coast of France there are many beaches you can visit in this region. Plus, it is also a great place to surf! You can find various levels of surf along the Anglet Beaches, some of the most well-known are Cavaliers Beach, La Marinella, and Côte des Basques Beach.

What is so special about this region of France is that the culture here is very different. It is a part of the Basque Country which has its own language, traditions, and customs. If you’re lucky, you might come across some local sports such as Pelote Basque which is a racket sport played against a large wall.


The Arcachon Bay

The sandy beaches and small fishing villages in Arcachon bay

🗺️ Located: South West of France, near Bordeaux

✈️ Main airport: Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport

📍Recommendation: visit the Dune du Pilat & try fresh seafood

Known for: tiny fishing villages & beaches

The Arcachon Bay is another relatively hidden gem in France that is absolutely beautiful to visit in summer. All along the bay you can find small, quiet fishing villages – some are really unique! Our favourites are l’Herbe, Andernos, and Le Canon.

But as a summer spot, you come here for the beach! You can take a boat tour of the bay, go for a swim, or walk along the promenades. It’s a really lively place to visit in the summer, again a quite unknown to many tourists.

PRO TIP: Parking is always a pain in this area. There are many people who come to spend a day here and again the area is mainly made up of smaller fishing villages. We find that arriving early in the day or late afternoon as reliable time to find a spot to park!


The French Riviera

(left) a girl standing in front of a popular fountain in Nice (middle) the colourful buildings of Villefranche-sur-Mer (right) a couple walking away from the camera towards the colourful buildings in Menton

🗺️ Located: South East of France, share a border with Italy

✈️ Main airport: Nice Airport

📍Recommendation: visit Menton & Villefranche-sur-Mer

Known for: luxurious beach clubs & beautiful cities

The French Riviera might be one of the most iconic places on this list! Similar to the Italian Riviera, this region is often flooded with tourists in the summer months who are searching to enjoy the beach, sunshine, and the many iconic towns in the area.

Of all of the places on this list, this one might be the most crowded so do take that in mind when travel planning! There are many places to visit in the Riviera, some of the most popular are Antibes, Nice, Monaco, and Cannes! Other gorgeous towns I highly recommend exploring are Menton, Villefranche-sur-Mer and Èze.

PRO TIP: You do NOT need to rent a car in this region! The train system here is amazing and you can get to most places on a quick, cheap train ride! I would base yourself in Nice to be the most central!



(left) a vat of green olives (middle) a girl sitting on a ledge with the medieval castle of Carcassonne in the background (right) a small typical french villages at sunset

🗺️ Located: South of France

✈️ Main airport: Montpellier-Méditerranée Airport

📍Recommendation: check out the largest buffet in France & Carcassonne

Known for: its history & sunshine

Another relatively unexplored gem, Occitanie, is one of the sunniest places in France! What I particularly enjoy about this area is its history. You can find beautiful historic landmarks like Carcassonne, a medieval fortress, Roman roads in Narbonne and the Fontfroide Abbey.

Beyond its history, this region is also quite beautiful. It is the most similar to a Mediterranean climate, so much so that in fact they are known for their olive production! You can also find many beautiful trails and walks along the marshes. One of our favourites is Gruissan. Whats amazing about Gruissan is that there is a pink salt lake. The pink colour comes from the algae in the region but what a beautiful sight to see! You might even see some flamingos!


Ready for your summer holidays?

The choice to spend a summer in France is a good one. As I said earlier, I believe this country is beautiful no matter the season but summer is definitely one of the most enjoyable! But I hope this list at least has given you some ideas of where to spend your visit. Whether it’s to an iconic spot or a hidden gem, you really can’t go wrong!

You can find more inspiration for your France holiday on my France Bucket List experiences you NEED to try blog post!

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Caity Zagar

Travel Planner & Blogger

Welcome to CZ Phones Home! I’m here to help make your travels easier by giving you tips, advice and inspiration to make your trips memorable!

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