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Hidden treasures in the south of France

10th September 2013

Lyon is a popular spot for Europe tours, as is Nice, Bordeaux and Toulouse, so you've probably already ticked many of these main centres and tourist attractions off your list.

But what about the hidden treasures?

France is full of them, but there are a particular southern three that should be included in any itinerary for a taste of what the country really has to offer.


 Only an hour out of Toulouse, Carcassonne is the kind of city you thought only existed in film.

While the city itself has all the charms of small-town France, the real attraction is the ancient citadel overlooking the area. Dating back to the 12th century with 53 towers, encircling walls and a real moat to top it all off, this castle is a fortress of southern French beauty, history and culture.


Not far north of Marseilles is la creme de la creme of the French countryside, Aix-en-Provence.

It has everything you could ask for: bubbly, bright markets and an atmospheric town centre;glorious vistas around the outskirts of town; and an array of fresh, local produce available at any street corner.

You'll find fewer tourists here than in most small-town areas, so you're likely to find a much more authentic French experience.


Meaning 'blackcurrant' in French, this town is every bit as sweet.

In a hidden bay not far from Marseilles, you'll find the location of the scenery featured in a good majority of postcards sold in southern France. The bubblegum and mint green-coloured store fronts will have you snapping photos and considering making the move to the area before you even set foot on one of the boats for a trip out to the stunning Calanques.

Sure it's a little touristy (some people are already catching on to this treasure), but there's plenty of atmosphere to go around. Cassis gives new meaning to the word 'unmissable'.