France Map of Tourist Destinations

France map of main tourist destinations. Double click on map to zoom.

France Map for tourists

Holidays in France

France is the biggest country in Europe with fantastic weather if you go to the right place (Cote d’Azur, of course), the world’s favourite tourist destination (Paris, of course), an enormous diversity of cuisine, terrain, places to stay, resorts, romantic holidays or possible activities, be they skiing in the Alps, walking the medieval walls of Carcassonne, cruising through Strasbourg canals, walking around Cap Ferrat, swimming off Nice or biking around the Loire Valley.

However, though French autoroutes having been brought to heel by a successful anti-speed campaign, this has done nothing to reduce the number of road users on roads in France, so many would-be idyllic ‘pottering around little villages’ vacations are no longer viable without enormous reserves of patience.

Still, the people are generally pleasant, welcoming and sociable, food is excellent whether bought from supermarkets or in a restaurant, wine is a reasonable price and the language is charming.

Côte d’Azur Map (aka French Riviera)

france map of the French Riviera versus the Cote d'Azur

This map shows the Côte d’Azur /French Riviera  from Cannes to Menton, including four of our favourite cities, Nice, Antibes, Eze and Monaco.

South of France and the Mistral wind

We’ve been based here for a few years and have at last realised the difference between the Côte d’Azur and the French Riviera (none, apart from the language!). However, there is a significant difference between the Côte d’Azur and the rest of the South of France coastline. It’s the Mistral wind, a hellish and random monster that blasts down the Rhone Valley from the Northern Alps, striking in any season.

Peter Mayle, author of  ‘A Year in Provence’, mentioned the temperature in Aix-en-Provence dropping by 10c in a matter of minutes. We have personally experienced enjoying a glass of wine under a parasol next to the Pope’s Palace in Avignon when the parasol suddenly, with no warning at all, took off like a rocket and  smashed the wife off her perch. Could have been worse…

We’ve also experienced the Mistral over three days in Marseille, beautiful blue skies but with the wind blasting debris everywhere, including eyes, hair and camera equipment. Then a couple of weeks ago in Saint Raphael, same again.  Not at all comfortable!

However, the coast from Mandelieu (just west of Cannes) to Menton (on the Italian Border) is protected from the Mistral by the Alpes-Maritimes range of mountains, while wealthy St Tropez is protected by a  smaller range, Massif des Maures.

Voila! The Côte d’Azur misses out on blasted Mistral and has near perfect summer temperatures moderated by the Mediterranean Sea.