- Provence–Alpes–Côte d'Azur Tourisme (www.decouverte-paca.fr) The first port of call, with a wealth of info on what to do, where to go, where to stay and much more.
- Côte d'Azur Tourisme (www.cotedazur-tourisme.com) General information on the Riviera.
- Visit Provence (www.visitprovence.com) Covers Marseille, Arles and the Camargue.
- Tourisme Alpes Haute-Provence (www.tourism-alps-provence.com) Guide to the mountains.
- Provence Verte (www.la-provence-verte.net) Website of a new cooperative of tourist offices in the Haut Var.
- Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/france) Sights, activities, accommodation and much more from the world's top travel publisher.
- For atmosphere, you can't beat a morning market: nearly every town and village has one at least once a week. Take a shopping bag, chat to the stallholders and taste away.
- If you're driving, the autoroutes (motorways) are fast, but regional roads (designated D and N on maps) generally have better scenery.
- Most shops, businesses and museums close for lunch (usually between noon and 2pm). Do as the locals do and head for the nearest restaurant.
- Don't underestimate the heat. Temperatures of 35˚C are routine in summer. Schedule sightseeing for early morning or late afternoon.
- Look out for passes that give discounts when you visit more than one sight or museum (eg the Pass Nîmes Romaine).
- Note that overseas cards occasionally don't work in French chip-and-PIN readers (automated gas stations are a frequent culprit). Bring a spare.
What to Take
- Passport and driving licence
- Adaptor plug – France uses two-pin EU plugs
- Sunglasses, hat and sunscreen
- Towel, swimsuit and sandals for the beach
- Sturdy shoes for hiking and walking
- Corkscrew with bottle opener
- Smart clothes for eating out
- French phrasebook
- An adventurous appetite
What to Wear
- Outside Monaco, Cannes and St-Tropez, fashion is pretty relaxed. Dress up rather than down for dinner (avoid jeans, shorts or trainers in upmarket establishments).
- Sturdy shoes are essential for walking, and a pack-down raincoat comes in handy.
- Going topless is routine on Côte d'Azur beaches, but it's a no-no anywhere else. Save bare chests and bikinis for the beach.
- Check passport validity and visa requirements
- Book hotels, car-hire and big-name restaurants
- Organise travel insurance
- Check airline baggage restrictions and customs regulations
- Get a chip-and-PIN credit card (magnetic strips do not work)
- Inform your credit-card company that you will be travelling abroad