Promoted: Paul Ricard - Europe's most accessible track

Motorsport Live investigates why the French Grand Prix, situated in the glorious surroundings of the south of France, is a race that’s surprisingly accessible for all European race fans.

Promoted: Paul Ricard - Europe's most accessible track

Located near three major cities, Paul Ricard is not only the home of great racing but one of the easiest circuits to visit on the Formula 1 calendar. Three airports sit within a 120-minute drive of Le Castellet – Marseille, Nice and Toulon – meaning a trip to the French Grand Prix is full of opportunity to visit the stunning surrounding areas as well as the unmissable on-track action.

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Paul Ricard returned to the calendar in 2018

Paul Ricard returned to the calendar in 2018

Photo by: LAT Images

To the east, fittingly named after the Goddess of victory – Nike – Nice is one of the most famous cities in the French Riviera. Its harbours and beaches are well known, but the city itself offers a host of shopping opportunities, with museums and galleries in abundance for those wanting culture alongside the smell of petrol and burning rubber. 

Its beauty is highlighted further by the number of painters it has attracted over the years, most famously modernist Henri Mathisse, who died in the city in 1954. Monaco is also a short train journey away. If you want to view the French Riviera in the correct way, Nice to Paul Ricard can be done by helicopter in 40 minutes.

Nice - The clock tower with the old town centre

Nice - The clock tower with the old town centre

Photo by: Shutterstock

Monaco’s iconic coastline

Monaco’s iconic coastline

Photo by: Shutterstock

A similar drive in the opposite direction would take you all the way to Montpellier, via the beautiful coastal region of Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer and the Parc Narurel Regionale de Camargue. Despite the apparent focus on its proximity to the sea, there’s a number of areas of natural beauty well within reach of Nice, Montpellier and Paul Ricard. Known for its rich history of creating fine wine, Montpellier is well worth a visit, and has benefitted recently from its award-winning medical schools, which have attracted a host of students breathing fresh life into the region.

 

The closest point of attraction to Paul Ricard though is Marseille, one of the biggest ports in the world, insuring the city has always been a diverse and wealthy area to visit. The second biggest city in France may be industrial in nature thanks to its port history, but that takes nothing away from its beauty. It has played a pivotal role in the history of the nation too, proving key during the French Revolution, even instigating the country’s new national anthem Le Marseillaise. Becoming European Capital of Culture in 2013 helped give the city a facelift, and it is host to popular attractions like the Palais de Pharo – built by Napoleon III – and Pointe Rouge Beach.

St. Tropez

St. Tropez

Photo by: Shutterstock

Marseille

Marseille

Photo by: Shutterstock

If it’s glitz and glamour you’re after, St Tropez is within 60 minutes of the track and host to beautiful beaches and a number of celebrity residents that provide intrigue. Cassiss – 35 minutes from Paul Ricard – is another beach location, while Toulon is a port town where the seafood is sensational. 

The hidden gem of the region is Aix-en-provence, rich in architectural history. The museums and galleries here are unmissable and deliver the culture and history to match the views and weather of the coastline in perfect fashion. Aix Cathedral, Pavilion Vendome and the Town Hall clock tower provide urban beauty to match Europe’s major cities.

With so much on offer in such a short distance of Paul Ricard, your trip to the French Grand Prix this year is not just about the grand prix. Culture, scenery, seafood and a history as rich as any region, the French Riviera has so much more to offer than simply a Grand Prix. 

See all ticketing options for the French GP here from Motorsport Live. All tickets are sold with our best price guarantee, to give you peace of mind your getting the very best price. Find it cheaper anywhere else and we will refund the difference. We’ve got you covered.

 
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Series Formula 1
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