There’s so much more to see beyond the hubs of Paris and Lyon, the beaches of St Tropez and the mountains of the Alps. The South of France has a plethora of locations off the beaten path that are as beautiful and historic as the tourist traps. If you’re visiting this summer, we’ve listed a few places to add to your South of France travel itinerary.
But before we get started, exploring remote locations in the South of France means you won’t always be close to help if you’re in an emergency situation, so it’s always worth making sure you have insurance for a trip to Europe before you set off.
A stone’s throw from the Italian border, the quaint commune of Saint-Véran is part of the larger Alps region. Settled in the Queyras National Park, it’s the third-highest village in the country and only has a population of around 300 people. Though it does get popular during skiing season and the summer, it still remains a hidden gem amongst the Alpine villages of the Rhone-Alps – and one of the lesser-visited, particularly out of high season.
Though the Gascony region is home to the vibrant, if not small city of Toulouse, the countryside of this beautiful area is far more remote and rural than you would think. Home to a handful of small villages and acres of unspoilt countryside, Gascony is made up of the Hautes-Pyrenees, Gers, Landes and parts of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques, among other departments, so there are plenty of wild terrains to be explored. Planet Ware even named it the most undiscovered location in the South of France .
Perhaps one of the most Southerly points in France, the coastal village of Collioure is just steps away from the Spanish and Andorra borders. Overlooking the Gulf of Lion, it was historically the place to visit for Parisian artists, at one time hosting luminaries like Henri Matisse and Georges Braque. There is a distinctly Catalan vibe here, and whilst the population is more than 2,000, the wide-open spaces that surround it mean it remains off the beaten track for many visitors to Southern France.
Part of the Aude department, Corbières is one of the remotest villages in the wine-producing Languedoc region. Close to the Spanish border, the last recorded population of this petite commune was less than 40 people, giving it the lowest population density in Western Europe. Part of the Occitaine region, this picturesque wine-growing spot remains one of France’s wildest.