Southern France

Southern France

Le Midi
Calanques National Park between Marseille and Cassis, inhabited in the Lower Paleolithic
Country France
Southern France, based on a split along the 45th parallel
France during the Ancien Regime, split by areas where customary and Roman law were prominent.

Southern France, also known as the South of France or colloquially in French as le Midi,[1][2] is a defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Marais Poitevin,[3] Spain, the Mediterranean Sea, and Italy. It includes: Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the west, Occitanie in the centre, the southern parts of Auvergne-Rh么ne-Alpes in the northeast, Provence-Alpes-C么te d'Azur in the southeast, as well as the island of Corsica in the southeast.

The term Midi derives from mi (middle) and di (day) in Old French, comparable to the term Mezzogiorno to indicate Southern Italy or Miaz膬zi which is a synonym for South in Romanian. The time of midday was synonymous with the direction of south because in France, as in all of the Northern Hemisphere north of the Tropic of Cancer, the sun is in the south at noon. The synonymy existed in Middle French as well, where meridien can refer to both midday and south. The Midi is considered to start at Valence, hence the saying "脿 Valence le Midi commence".


The area corresponds in large part to Occitania, the territory in which Occitan (French: langue d'oc) 鈥 as distinct from the langues d'o茂l of Northern France 鈥 was historically the dominant language. Though part of Occitania, the regions of Auvergne and Limousin are not normally considered part of the South of France. The biggest cities of Southern France are Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nice, and Montpellier. The Pyrenees and French Alps are also located in the area, respectively in its southwestern and eastern parts.


Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, is often considered to be Southern France's best-known city abroad, although it is not the largest.
Lavender fields are a well known feature of the South of France, mainly located in Provence
A view of vineyards in Vaucluse, producing Provence wine
Traditional landscape of the historical province of B茅arn, in the department of Pyr茅n茅es-Atlantiques

Notable touristic landmarks include the Roman-era Pont du Gard and Arena of N卯mes, the Verdon Gorge in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, the Canal du Midi, linking Toulouse and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the natural regions of Larzac, Luberon and M茅doc. The French Riviera is located in Southern France's southeastern quadrant. Several towns in Southern France are renowned for their architecture and surroundings, such as Roussillon, M茅nerbes, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Gordes, Rocamadour, Les Baux-de-Provence, Lourmarin, Gassin, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Seillans, Crillon-le-Brave, and Saint-R茅my-de-Provence.

Films set in Southern France

See also


  1. ^ Lyons, Declan (18 February 2009). Cycling guide to the Canal du Midi, Languedoc, France, Europe. Midpoint Trade Books. ISBN 978-1-85284-559-9.
  2. ^ Passy, Paul (1904). International French-English and English-French dictionary. Hinds, Noble & Eldredge.
  3. ^ Louis Papy, Le midi atlantique, atlas et g茅ographie de la France moderne, Flammarion, Paris, 1984.