Get family holidays in the South of France off to an adventurous start by catching a Eurostar from London to Paris or Lille then hooking up with a TGV to one of numerous destinations in the South of France, including Avignon, Marseille, Toulon, St-Raphaël, Antibes, Nice and Monaco. Expect the Paris–Nice journey to take you around 12 hours, including changes. In summer, you can also get direct Eurostars from London to Avignon or Marseille, taking less than seven hours. For all details of train travel to France, see Man in Seat 61 (seat61.com).
If you’re driving yourself, it’s a long old schlep (11 hours straight driving) from the ferry port of Calais to Nice, and motorway tolls will cost you around €150. One alternative would be to book your car onto the Auto Train from Paris to Avignon, Marseille, Toulon, Fréjus or Nice and travel down separately to meet it. This could save on tolls and petrol and will certainly help avoid starting your holiday in an exhausted state.
Flights from a wide choice of UK airports, many by budget airlines, serve destinations in the South of France including Avignon, Marseille, Nice and Toulon–Hyères. If you’re holidaying in the Bouches du Rhône, you could also fly to Nîmes or Montpellier in the Languedoc Roussillon.
Note that from Marseilles you can catch a ferry to the French island of Corsica or even to Tunisia. You can also sail to Corsica and to the Italian island of Sardinia from Nice or Toulon.