8 Things to See and Do in Southern France

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6. Néo Bistros

France has always been known for delectable cuisine, world-renowned chefs, and incredible restaurants, from tiny eateries to large, luxury dining venues. There’s no doubt it’s a country filled with the stuff made of Foodie’s dreams. The latest catch-phrase in French dining is “néo‑bistro,” a phrase referring to smaller, more casual venues guided by big-name chefs. Tight-knit spaces are vied for by locals hoping for a taste of the city’s newest and hottest culinary hot spots. But don’t expect anything over-the-top; the name of the game is casual and relaxed but the twist is entirely creative: dishes created by the world’s masters of food and celebrated for their low-key dishes rather than jaw-dropping cuisine at some of the country’s most prosperous restaurants. These understated eateries (mostly) offer an atmosphere that’s unpretentious and a menu that’s affordable while still providing top-notch dishes and some of France’s most celebrated wines.

5. Arles

Arles isn’t exactly Southern France’s best-kept secret but it is a place to avoid the crowds and explore a city laced with Roman history. The Roman Forum and Theatre and stunning Amphitheater reveal grand architectural feats; a broad, winding river adds attractive landscape; dazzling 17th century estates add more to ponder; Arles’ contemporary museums and labyrinthine streets are for delving into at whatever pace you like–Arles is a southern gift worth discovering.  Art enthusiasts enjoy the Van Gogh history: Arles is where the “Studio in the South” fostered a union between Paul Gauguin and Van Gogh–some of Van Gogh’s most famous pieces were painted in Arles. Arles boasts so many attractions it’s easy to spend an entire vacation exploring it. There’s the Musee Reattu with some of Picasso’s finest work and Espace Van Gogh where Van Gogh stayed following the “incident” with his ear–it’s now filled with galleries and gardens. Arles is also a great base for exploring nearby areas like intriguing Camarague.

Colleseum Arles France
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