Travel Inn Magazine

France consistently stands out as the ultimate dream destination for travelers worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. With its charming cities, stunning natural landscapes like the majestic Alps and the picturesque Pyrenees, breathtaking coastlines, and world-renowned culinary delights and wines, France exudes an irresistible charm. Adding to its appeal, the country boasts an efficient public transportation system and a vast network of highways, making it convenient for visitors to explore multiple regions. Alternatively, indulging in the laid-back lifestyle of a single destination can be just as alluring. If you’re wondering where to begin your French adventure, consider these top destinations for some inspiration.

A man performs a trick on a skateboard in a square in Paris
Paris is the center of France’s art and culture © Hernandez & Sorokina / Stocksy United

1. Paris has great urban vibes

While it’s tempting to check off the iconic sights of Paris – like the world-class art at the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, and Sacré-Coeur – don’t forget to explore some of its hidden gems. Take a leisurely stroll through the atmospheric streets of the Marais, where you can discover the free Musée Carnavalet and Musée Picasso, or delve into the vintage shops of the 10th arrondissement. Venture to the lively neighbourhood of Belleville for stunning views of Paris from Parc de Belleville. And if you’re craving lush greenery amidst the cityscape, lose yourself in the footpaths of the elegant 19th-century Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.

Local tip: For an authentic dining experience, steer clear of restaurants with touristy menus or plastic food displays outside.

2. The Loire Valley’s castles are best explored by bike

To truly immerse yourself in the charm of the Loire Valley, hop on a bicycle and explore its gently rolling landscapes. Cycling becomes a joy thanks to the extensive Vélo Verte network of bike routes. Blend visits to vineyards with glimpses into the opulent Renaissance era by touring the 42 sumptuous chateaux scattered throughout the region. Don’t miss the breathtakingly elaborate Chateau de Chenonceau or the intimate and romantic Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau, situated on its own island on the Indre tributary.

Local tip: Keep your bicycle safe by avoiding leaving it locked up outside overnight on the streets. Some hotels provide enclosed bicycle parking for added security.

A cave frames the shoreline at Etretat, Normandy
Admire the striking coastal scenery near Normandy’s Étretat © Raphael Rivest / Shutterstock

3. Normandy’s coast is the place to learn about WWII history  

Normandy’s extensive coastline is brimming with historical landmarks, with the D-Day beaches standing out as particularly poignant. Visiting sites like the American cemetery at Omaha Beach and the Juno Beach Centre at Courseulles-sur-Mer is an emotionally stirring experience. Journeying further east, you’ll find yourself transported back in time to the 19th century while exploring the charming resorts of Cabourg, Deauville, Trouville, and Honfleur, each offering a glimpse into a bygone era.

4. Strasbourg and Alsace’s wine routes are full of fairy-tale charm

Strasbourg is a haven of half-timbered architecture, boasting an irresistibly picturesque old town nestled on its own island along the River Ill. Take a leisurely stroll through its enchanting streets, marveling at the imposing Cathédrale Notre-Dame, before unwinding at one of the cozy cafe terraces in the charming Place du Marché Gayot just behind. The city serves as an ideal launchpad for exploring the Alsace Wine Route, the oldest of its kind in France. And for beer enthusiasts, fear not – Alsace stands as the sole region in France renowned for producing both exceptional wines and beers, ensuring there’s something to delight every palate.

People relaxing on a restaurant terrace in a village in France
Bonnieux is one of the many wonderful villages to visit in the Luberon © Getty Images

5. The Luberon in Provence has many lovely hilltop villages

When terracotta rooftops and honey-colored stone cottages cascade down pine-clad hills, and vineyards interlace with olive groves and lavender fields, you’ve arrived in Provence, particularly the delightfully serene Luberon region. Embark on a journey from village to hilltop village, where you can lose yourself in the medieval alleys of some of France’s most stunning locales. Start your exploration with Bonnieux, Gordes, Ménerbes, Roussillon, and Saignon – just a glimpse into the myriad treasures awaiting discovery in this picturesque corner of France.

6. Mont-St-Michel is a top destination for medieval history buffs

The 10th-century Benedictine abbey at Mont-St-Michel captivates travelers long before they set foot on its shores. The journey to this tidal island, spanning at least 20 minutes, offers a mesmerizing view of the magnificent abbey, monastery, and the charming spiral of village houses. The anticipation builds with each step, ensuring you’ll never tire of the breathtaking scenery. Upon exploring the gothic interiors of the abbey, treat yourself to a culinary delight at one of the panoramic restaurants encircling the island, offering unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape.
A paraglider prepares to head out from the top a sand dune

Climb Europe’s tallest sand dune at the Dune du Pilat © Philip Lange / Shutterstock

7. Dune du Pilat is France’s most scenic place to camp

Rising over 100 meters (328 feet) above sea level, the ethereal Dune du Pilat stands as Europe’s tallest sand dune. Protected by the Arguin sandbank, its waters offer a gentler contrast to the rugged Atlantic coast on the western side of Cap Ferret. Surrounding the dune are campsites, providing not only stunning views but also mesmerizing sunsets. When you’re not scaling the sandy peak, you’ll find yourself captivated by the acrobatics of paragliders, who frequently flock to this breathtaking locale.

8. Lyon is a top food destination

Even Parisians must concede that Lyon reigns supreme as gastronomic royalty in France. Arrive with a hearty appetite to fully appreciate dining in Lyon’s iconic bouchons – cozy bistros renowned for their robust, meat-centric Lyonnaise cuisine. Embark on your bouchon adventure in the UNESCO-listed Renaissance streets of Vieux Lyon, where you can also uncover the city’s historic secret passageways known as traboules.

A woman walks carefully along a wall in the village of Saint Emilion in France
Celebrate wine in Bordeaux and beyond © iStockphoto / Getty Image

9. Bordeaux is the best place to go for wine lovers

Blending effortless elegance with vibrant energy, Bordeaux stands as France’s wine capital, buzzing with the lively ambiance of people savoring moments in its charming 18th-century lanes of Saint-Pierre and Place du Parlement. Stroll along the delightful, pedestrian-friendly path beside the River Garonne to reach La Cité du Vin, whose bold architecture houses an engaging museum celebrating wines from Bordeaux and beyond, promising a thoroughly enjoyable experience for enthusiasts and novices alike.

Local tip: Dress up when dining out, even at mid-range restaurants, clubs and bars. Leave the jeans and sneakers in your suitcase (unless you’re at the local village bar where a more casual style is fine).

No Comments

Post A Comment