Family holiday in the south of France – top 5 things to do

The French Riviera  can make for a great family holiday in the south of France. Oodles of beautiful sandy beaches, a sunny climate and plenty of great family-friendly activities all make for a fantastic break. Here’s our six top tips for making the best of a family holiday to this part of the south of France.

Family holiday south of France Nice

1) Possibly the best beach in the south of France

Just west of Bandol there are a series of coves at the Pointe du Defende and the scenery epitomises all that you imagine the Med to be – pines, bluffs, shimmering sand, rocks and rock pools and of course blue, blue sea with the ubiquitous luxury boat moored off-shore. The main bay is sandy and busy (this place is definitely a locals only spot) with cafes etc, but it is not at all tacky. Walk westwards along the coast and you will find a much smaller pebbly cove that is not so great for children as there is no sand but is great for snorkelling. Find out about how to find this secret spot and other best beaches in the South of France here. 

Monaco, South of France

2) A day trip to Monaco

Families with older children will love a trip to the sunset, jet-set chic town of Monaco. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world (after the Vatican!) and it’s the place to hang out to do a bit of celeb spotting, being popular with the rich and famous and of course the racing set.

Attractions to visit include the Rock of Monaco, the oldest of Monaco’s four quarters. Among the glitz and glamour of Monaco’s other quarters, the old town is where you’ll find quaint winding streets and buildings full of character. The royal family resides here in the impressive Prince’s Palace of Monaco. Head there before 12 p.m. to see the historical changing of the guard in the Palace’s square. If you’re on a budget, one of the best experiences is to spend an afternoon at the Cafe de Paris people watching, or head down to Hercule Harbour and eye up the super yachts. If you fancy a day at the beach then head to the Larvotto neighborhood of Monaco borders Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and contains Monaco’s man-made beach, Larvotto Plage. There are two sections of this beach—public and private, the public section being free—and it makes for the perfect spot for a dip in the Mediterranean. Larvotto beach is actually within the principality, however, Marquet beach, just past Monaco’s most westerly edge, is a gorgeous pick, too.

3) Aqualand Frejus – made for family fun

Treat the kids to a fantastic day out that you will all enjoy if you like a bit of pool fun. This huge aquatic park on the Côte d’Azur in the south of France offering 10000sq m fun including Europe’s largest wave pool.   The attraction is well thought out with cheap parking for the day, storage lockers available for your clothes / bags etc, and an ‘Aqua bracelet’ for easy payment across the complex. Top tip – get there early to beat the traffic and easy parking – and of course to make the most of your day. Find out more about top attractions in the South of France here. 

lerins islands, south of france

4) Trip to Lerins Islands

This is a traffic-free collection of four really lovely islands in the south of France off the Cote d’Azur. Ste-Marguerite is the largest and closes to the mainland. It was the location where the film “Man in the Iron Mask” was filmed and you can see the cell where he was held (Fort Royal). St-Honorat is the next island and houses a Cistercian abbey  where local produce is sold (including a rather strong local brew!).

Boats leave Cannes on the hour, every hour in the morning and early afternoon.  Take care not to miss the last boat back around tea time! Check with the local tourist office on the timing of the Son et Lumière show which explains the history of the islands – the night time boat trip rounds off a special treat!

5) Boat trip to St Tropez

If you’ve only ever heard talk about St Tropez, but never visited, we think you’ll be in for a surprise.  It was nothing like we expected it to be (we were thinking flash high-rise condo’s of the rich and famous).  Instead it’s a beautiful, small medieval old town with narrow, picturesque streets, curious little walkways and exclusive shopping boutiques and art galleries.  The harbour is full of the yachts of the super-rich, and the harbour quays feature artists painting and selling their works of art. Try reaching St Tropez by ferry from Ste Maxime – it misses out on the worst of the traffic, the kids will appreciate the variety and you get a great view of the town as you approach it from the sea. Find out more about visiting St Tropez in the south of France here. 

So in summary, there is plenty to keep the family entertained in this gorgeous region in the south of France. However, our main hint would be don’t try to do too much whilst on holiday there during July and August. Traffic can get pretty heavy and you don’t want to spend your precious holiday time in traffic jams.  Be prepared to start of early if you want days out and mix these with laid back days at the beach or staying in your holiday accommodation, relaxing and lounging by your pool.