Just a stone’s throw from the capital, yet half a world away: the green, lush region of Champagne is one of France’s most iconic spots. Great post and really happy to see you added Normandy – we have guests to our gite who come back more than once as there is just so much to see and do here! Finding things to do outside Paris is the easiest way to see what the whole country looks like. Here, it’s also possible to hire bikes, and set off to enjoy the slow beauty of the Loire Valley on two wheels, at your own pace. Explore the villages of the French Riviera with a tour. Map of the top places to visit in France. Away from the wine trail, the Champagne region exudes old-world charm, and wandering through its beautiful villages and towns often feels like a step back in time. French teacher, Carol Beth L. shares eight wonderful places to visit in France outside of Paris… Chances are the “City of Light” is one of the top places to visit on your travel itinerary. Provence, the delightful region that envelops the Côte d’Azur, is a heady assault on the senses. Aix-en-Provence, the elegant regional city, brings a touch of this rural sensuality to an urban setting, combining leafy courtyards, sculpted stone buildings, and wide boulevards strewn with terraces where visitors can while away the hours and watch the world go by. For walkers, the magnificent Morvan National Park provides over 1000 square kilometres of unspoilt countryside, filled with lakes, waterfalls, and atmospheric woodland. The jewel in the crown is the fabulous site at Lascaux, where, 17,000 years ago, early humans covered the walls of the cave complex with a series of incredible paintings. Discover the delights of the Languedoc on a guided tour. By Laurent ... French places that you can go to instead of Paris. Some of the places you have mentioned I hadn’t even heard of and yes, there is so much more to France than just Paris. Visit the Place de la Bourse, check out the Water Mirror, go to th… Get to know it’s intricacies and you’ll no doubt be yearning to return…. Simply click on the markers to reveal each location. Most of them are recognised as UNESCO world heritage sites; most attract large numbers of visitors. What To Eat In Japan: 10 Must-Try Japanese Food Experiences. This is undoubtedly the French countryside at its finest. More prehistoric remains have been found here than in any other part of France, providing a unique glimpse of the earliest origins of human society. Book a day trip to discover the gems of the Loire Valley here. There is so much more to France, than Paris – the only problem is fitting it all in! I experienced the charm of small town France during a recent visit to Switzerland when we crossed over and went to Evian and almost to Ivoire. Haha yes, Provence will always come first for me too – but I’m just a little bit biased , Some fantastic suggestions here, some I have visited but others are on the list! Over 800 years later, Saint-Emilion still stands as one of the most important wine-producing areas in France. I, SURF, YOGA AND VEGAN FOOD! This article may contain affiliate links. Yet, Alsace has so much more to offer beyond its vineyards and its hearty food culture. The stunning fortified towns of Amboise and Chinon both include their own castles, and provide an excellent base for exploring the wider region. Explore Burgundy with a day trip from Beaune or Dijon. It offers an ideal place for an afternoon stroll, lined with attractive cafes and restaurants offering refreshments for weary travellers. I feel especially lucky to have been able to spend months living in & getting to know several areas really well – but still so much more to discover! Above ground, the Dordogne and Lot regions have even more treats on offer. When a lot of us think of France, we think of the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe: in short, we think of Paris. The most famous landmark in France outside the great icons of Paris, Mont St Michel is superb. Don’t despair if your wallet doesn’t stretch to long nights on the town in the fashionable resorts of St Tropez and Antibes or the casinos of Monte Carlo. There’s more to explore here than many people realise, and this part of the French coastline is a natural paradise, filled with stunning hidden villages, nestled in the mountains that rise up from the sea. There are so many beautiful towns, cities and regions outside of Paris and they all have their own unique character and identity (and food specialty!). Home to over 6,000 vineyards, this profuse and fertile region offers some of the world’s finest wines, building on an ancient culture that goes back nearly 2000 years. This is the region that gives its name to those delicious, sparkling wines that have become an international marker of class and sophistication, and it’s impossible to come here without sampling a glass or two. I would also definitely add Brittany and the Basque coast to the list and one of my favourite places île de Ré. Avoid the tourist trips and follow this guide for an authentic experience of traveling like a local around France. The pace of life here follows the river, slow and relaxed, with seasonal bursts of activity. This was the home of courtly love, the chivalric ideal, and the epic Romance legends of King Arthur, and it’s clear that these medieval glory days have left a deep and profound mark on the culture and landscape. The Languedoc covers the southwest corner of France, a vast, sprawling region crammed full of fabulous treasures. From Paris to Provence and from northerly Normandy to the beaches of the French Riviera, here are dozens of our best France travel tips for families. Laura Begley Bloom. Enjoy this stunning region by booking a day tour from Bayeux. The city also features several excellent museums, the famous Pont d’Avignon, and an annual arts and theatre festival that attracts an international crowd. And of course, one of the most fascinating Paris tourist places. Getty. Another highlight is the Château de Chambord, an immense structure that was built as a hunting lodge for the French king Francois I, set in grounds filled with deer and wild boar. Book a day trip to Saint-Emilion from Bordeaux here. But, like any country, France … Coastal creeks, heavenly hilltops, truly charming châteaux: this is our pick of the most beautiful places to visit in France right now Sure, spend a few days eyeing up the Iron Lady, sipping café noir in a quintessential curbside bistro, and learning the art of flaneur… But then drive, train or bus to another corner of l’hexagone to discover another world. Although they remain rooted in traditional winemaking, the producers of Alsace wines are also industry pioneers, and it was here that some of the first biodynamic vineyards were established. Check out the Palais des Papes, the … Imagine being led through a landscape laced with vineyards, to learn the intricacies of winemaking direct from the source. Book your day trip from Aix-en-Provence here. The overwhelming majority of people who visit France visit Paris, and only Paris. In the southwest corner of the region, the green hills drop away to a vast wetland in the Rhône delta. The River Garonne, which snakes through the town centre, has been the focal hub of the city for centuries, transporting goods in and out of the city. As always, Le Long Weekend maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site. Thanks Nadine for your insights. Thanks a lot! I mostly spent time in Paris so I have much to catch up to. Your email address will not be published. Burgundy, known internationally for its rich, full-bodied wines, is one of France’s lesser-visited regions. The vintage is 1472, and it has survived the ravages of two world wars and countless fires. Further inland, the landscape is dramatic, featuring imposing cliffs, gorges and valleys, chestnut forests, and vineyards, punctuated by some fabulous medieval architecture. France is a fairly large country (by European standards) and for the uninitiated, it can be a little tricky trying to visualise where everything is. Beautiful post about one of the most beautiful countries out there. Several interesting and entertaining destinations, including chateaus, natural parks, and medieval fortifications, are within close reach of the city. Le Long Weekend showcases the dreamiest destinations with inspiring guides and itineraries. I’ve never been to France but planning to visit in a few years with my family. JACKFRUIT!! Here are 12 underrated places to visit in France. The below map plots out our suggestions of places to see in France, so that you can get your bearings easily. 17 Charming French Spots Prove the Best of France Is Outside of Paris. The region is also dotted with impressive castles, many of which are set in marvellous gardens, overlooking small rivers. I’m heading back to France next year, so I’m trying to narrow down my list of places there to visit. Learn how your comment data is processed. Outside the city, the countryside is littered with fabulous medieval monasteries, castles, and some of France’s most beautiful villages. The Dordogne River snakes and weaves its way from the high mountains of the Auvergne, down to some of the finest countryside that France has to offer. Throughout the summer, a swathe of festivals and food markets crop up along the wine route, making Alsace an extremely attractive prospect for a summer road trip. This verdant region takes its name from the Viking conquerors that settled here in the 9th century (the name itself comes from ‘north men’ in Old Norse), and although the Normans have kept their fearsome reputation, visitors will always find a warm welcome. During the summer months, French holidaymakers, along with an international crowd of celebrities and millionaires, flock to the Côte d’Azur, to dangle a toe in the Mediterranean and let their hair down in Monaco, San Tropez, Nice or Cannes. Explore the Alsace region – Book your tour here. France is a beautiful country but too often people don’t travel outside of Paris. The Camargue National Park includes herds of wild, white horses, roaming bulls and flocks of startling pink flamingos. For the better part of the 14th century, the papal court was based at Avignon, and in this period, popes were not known for their restraint. In stark contrast to the glitzy image that surrounds the Champagne wines, this is a region of peace, calm and simple pleasures, where artisans and winemakers use traditional processes dating back centuries. From chateaus to museums, learn more with The Paris Pass. Here are five places where you can travel outside of Paris. The 17 most beautiful places to visit in France. Finally, Èze, a charming medieval village perched on a high, rocky outcrop, offers the very best of the Côte d’Azur: exotic gardens, a medieval castle, and fabulous views of the Mediterranean. This region is littered with incredible rock formations, formed over millions of years, with stalactites and stalagmites that have merged into epic pillars, creating natural, subterranean cathedrals of sparkling rock. From the German-influence infiltrating the eastern border, to the Mediterranean flavour of the French Riviera, and the idyllic islands at a tickling distance of the country’s western shores, France is as complex as it is compelling. Source: PhotoFires / shutterstock ... No trip to France would be complete without a visit to the home of its most famous export: Champagne. The Norman dukes were medieval rockstars, and they left their mark in the shape of castles and cathedrals. Also, if you’re looking for unusual places to visit in Paris, France, this might top … Two of my favourite places in France … You’re so right that France is such a varied place! All are very much worth the visit. This wild, sprawling castle continues to delight visitors and is thought to have been inspired by sketches by Leonardo da Vinci. The Abbey dates back to the 8th century when, the legend goes, the archangel Michael appeared to Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, prompting him to found a monastery. Ophorus guides lead the pack when it comes to delivering meaningful encounters; their expert and in-depth knowledge, delivered in a professional yet approachable manner, has earned them the highest praise from past tour attendees. In fact, the entire country is full of incredible places … Although it suffered extensive damage during the two world wars, Reims has been painstakingly restored in harmony with its medieval past, making it a lively, pleasant starting point from which to explore the wider Champagne region. This stunning village offers exceptional views of the coast and is a haven for photographers. Picture-perfect medieval villages such as Venasque, Uzès and Gordes offer ample opportunity for exploration, featuring cobbled streets, golden stone architecture, and green, mountainous backdrops. You’ve picked a great choice of regions to visit. Rivalled only by the Champagne region, Bordeaux is one of France’s most important wine-producing provinces. Sending you all love, p. THIS IS WHY I'M LIVING IN COSTA RICA! 7. A trip here is an escape into some of the country’s most idyllic countryside, featuring rolling green hills covered in orderly vineyards, bright, yellow mustard fields, and tranquil canals. There’s plenty here to keep active families occupied, with hiking, climbing, cycling and canoeing on offer throughout the valley. But honestly I could go on and on…Lyon, the Pyrennes, the Alps, Jura and volcanoes of Auvergne. Clearly, Paris holds a special allure that brings people to France in their droves. But how do you get to know a country as intricate as France? To know France is to love France. The French Riviera – summer retreat of the jet-set – immediately conjures images of glamour, sophistication and style. The regional capital, Reims, is a triumph of Gothic architecture, and its breath-taking cathedral was once the site where the kings of France were crowned and anointed. See our full disclosure here. Long stretches of golden sand, bordered by undulating dunes, also offer plenty of opportunities for summer fun, and families flock here in the summer months to relax, play games and dip a toe in the Channel. With gorgeous beaches, stunning architecture, and some of France’s finest seafood, this is a region with something for everyone. The Avignon popes set about building a lavish palace, which stands to this day, complete with magnificent frescos. These diverse influences have produced a rich and distinctive culture, making this one of France’s most rewarding regions for curious travellers. The Loire is France’s last untamed river, a 1000-mile-long, meandering natural habitat that humans have never quite managed to subdue. History looms large here, and the region is redolent with memories of the brutal wars and occupations of the 19th and 20th centuries. I have absolutely been won over by the diverse nature of France’s landscapes, so today I’m sharing some of my recommendations for the best places to go in France, besides Paris…. Or wandering through ancient city lanes, pausing to examine archaic art etched into walls that you would have otherwise overlooked. This is the place to come for fabulous, fresh seafood, all washed down with a pint of local cider. Located in the Loire valley, Chartres is a gateway to the land of castles. ... • "Bucket List Travel: Top 10 Places In The World And Top 29 In The U.S." Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. This historic medieval village was founded in the 8th century when a pious hermit named Emilion, made his home in the nearby caves. There’s so much to discover! But, as intoxicating as the capital city is, there’s more to France than Paris alone . As may be expected for a place-between-worlds, Alsace has forged its own unique culture and identity, neither totally French, nor completely German, but always, absolutely Alsatian. What’s more, this corner of France is castle country, and there are many imposing, impressive reminders of the region’s medieval past in the ruins of Hohlandsbourg and Fleckenstein. Of all the cities near Paris, Chartres is one of the top places to visit. Why Mont Tremblant is the Perfect Babymoon Destination, Improve Your Relationship with a Winter Weekend Getaway, 10 Outdoor Winter Activities to Do with Kids in Ontario and Quebec, The Perfect Autumn Day in South Georgian Bay, How Envision Festival 2020 Changed My Life, Iceland with Kids: One-Week Winter Road Trip Itinerary, 5 Very Affordable Budget Travel Destinations for 2019, The Best Way to Explore a New Destination. The Ultimate Road Trip Essentials Checklist, 8 Places to Find Free Overnight RV Camping. The area around Bordeaux is best explored on foot or by bike, and this lush, sun-soaked region certainly won’t disappoint. Of course, France’s wine capital is a must-visit for food and wine connoisseurs – but don’t worry if that’s not your thing. You can also visit … ... Free Paris Visite travel card included with all passes. Built from 1220 to 1288, it is one of the tallest Gothic churches in France. Burgundy’s vineyards are so important they have even been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, in a nod to the richness and diversity of this significant wine-producing region. The city’s colourful markets bring together the very best of Provençal produce, in a vivid display that is sure to whet your appetite. And while most people who visit France land in Paris, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you ventured no further than the world’s favourite capital. The sublime Gothic churches of Rouen, Coutances and Caen are fitting monuments to this glorious past, as is the unique Bayeux tapestry, the first battle narrative to be told entirely in thread. But to truly get to know a destination, I usually recommend taking at least one tour with a guide who is genuinely passionate and knowledgeable about the area. 10 Best Places to Visit in France Last updated on October 1, 2020 in France 16 Comments For more than two decades, France has reigned as the world’s most popular tourist … Book your Dordogne tour from Sarlat here. Nancy, Nantes, Marseilles and the Camargue. This aquatic highway has been left almost undisturbed over the centuries to shape the contours of the land that it flows through, and the Loire Valley, otherwise known as the ‘garden of France’, is the product of its meandering course. Hi Nadine! 10 Best Places to Visit in France – Outside of Paris! This is the ideal place to toss out the maps and get lost – you never know what you might discover. The fertile rolling hills of this green region offer perfect conditions for growing grapes, and vineyard tours and wine tastings are on offer wherever you go. Norman history has always been tied to the sea, from the earliest Viking raids and the conquest of England in 1066, right through to the darkest moments of the Second World War. Wine production has been important here ever since King John of England established the Jurade, a wine-makers brotherhood committed to developing the industry in Saint-Emilion. The Languedoc has long been a historical crossing point, the meeting place of different cultures, languages and even religions. Required fields are marked *. HOW OFTEN DO YOU DO SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU? One that is sure to seduce you with its intoxicating charm and universally appealing lifestyle. This is one of France’s most popular holiday destinations, and with good reason: the Côte d’Azur is truly stunning, comprising sandy beaches, vibrant markets, picturesque towns, coastal walking trails, and blazing red cliffs. The city of Bordeaux is a pleasant destination for a city break, with its wide boulevards, 18th-century architecture, and riverside street culture. Épernay, the regional capital, is the perfect base from which to set out into the vineyards; just be prepared to return with heavy bags and an empty wallet! 1. Conclusion. In between, the green and fertile lands that make up the Dordogne Valley offer a treasure trove of delights for visitors, both above and below the ground. The ideal France holiday destination, this region is a little slice of heaven on earth. Come in the quieter months and you’ll enjoy the warm sunshine, empty beaches, and turquoise seas: it’s easy to see why visitors return to the Côte d’Azur again and again. Port Grimaud, the Venice of the Riviera, is characterised by its canals, waterways, and vibrantly painted houses. In fact, Champagne is a place with a visceral connection to its medieval past. And most importantly after reading this, you will get to know that not only Paris but there are plenty of places in France to visit. My favourite city in the west and one of the places to visit in France that I can go back again and again. It is personal and authentic experiences like these that French tour company Ophorus pride themselves on. The small, walled town of Beaune, with its cobbled streets, Gothic architecture and labyrinthine wine cellars has charm in abundance. The Renaissance streets of Strasbourg and Colmar, with their painted timbered buildings and cobbled paving stones, offer charm in abundance, particularly at Christmas, when they are dressed in lights and filled with festive markets. Troyes, an important settlement since the Roman period, features stunning medieval architecture, historic churches, and traditional timbered buildings lining its narrow streets. So after reading the list of top 10 places to visit in France, you will be ready to plan your trip to France. The ‘pink city’ of Toulouse, so named for the terracotta bricks used in its construction, offers bustling markets and a vibrant music scene and is an ideal jumping-off point for the rest of the region. Stretching from the Rhine to the dramatic hills of the Vosges, the Alsace is a natural treasure, and there’s plenty to keep nature-lovers occupied. Your email address will not be published. I encourage you to explore further than the top France attractions, to discover the country that has inspired so many. #30 in World's Best Places to Visit A spectacular cluster of three waterfalls, Niagara Falls is a must-see if you want a glimpse of some of North America's best sites. Chinon is a particularly good stop for wine lovers, as it is one of the Loire’s main wine-producing areas, but this pleasant medieval settlement has many other things to offer, including a beautiful old town with distinctive slate-topped houses. Winemaking in Champagne has a fascinating history, and there are plenty of opportunities to explore the processes, techniques and produce that go into making this quintessential French export. The Catalan area around Perpignan….I better stop! Traversing the Dordogne and Lot involves, by necessity, an encounter with a very ancient past. We are currently planning our trip and this kind of knowledge is exactly what we were after! It’s small wonder that artists and poets alike have found inspiration in this enchanting region; a visit to Giverny, where Monet painted his famous water lilies, is surely enough to see why. Considered within France as a place apart down with a very ancient past 1000-mile-long meandering! 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