France is a beautiful, fascinating country, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Indeed, for first-time visitors, it may seem that literally every region and every city is an absolute must-see, and, while this might be true, it can make planning a holiday a little difficult (not to mention expensive). To give you some ideas, and to help to ensure that you gain a well-rounded, accurate picture of the country, I’ve compiled a list of 8 places to visit in France.
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France’s beautiful capital city is a necessary stop on any tour of the country. In addition to it’s role as a centre of global commerce, Paris, perhaps more famously, also occupies the position of cultural hub: you’ll find museums, monuments and gardens at every turn, and the architecture itself makes for an historical experience. Highlights include the Eiffel Tower (of course), Notre Dame, the sinister catacombs, Montmatre, Versailles, the Louvre … the list goes on …
2 The Dordogne
The Dordogne is a region of south west France and one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Its beautiful rural landscape is dotted about with over a thousand impressive medieval castles, most of them open to the public. In addition, visitors can explore the Lascaux caves; home to some of the world’s most fascinating prehistoric art.
Situated in the north west of France, Brittany is famed for its attractive coastline and picturesque fishing villages. Visitors to the region can expect to find medieval stone castles at Ile-et-Vilaines, azure water and white sand at Cotes d’Armor and prehistoric megaliths at beautiful Carnac and Locmariaquer.
This region is located to the north east of France and it shares a border with Belgium. It is the home (surprise surprise) of champagne, and those keen to for the ultimate ‘bubbly’ experience should make their way to Epernay where they’ll be able to glug sparkling wines all day if they want to. Reims is also a highlight in the region, with its famous cathedral and world-renowned Musée des Beaux-Arts.
5 The Loire Valley
The Loire Valley, located at the heart of France in a region aptly named Centre, is a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of countryside, famed both for its wide river and it’s staggering assortment of sprawling châteaux. Those keen to experience some of the more magnificent of these should be sure to head for Indre-et-loire and Loire-et-Cher.
6 The Savoy Alps
Winter sports enthusiasts should definitely be sure to keep the Savoy Alps on their list of places to go in the country. Called either Savoie or Haute Savoie by the locals and located in the south eastern Rhone-Alpes region, this mountainous area is home to Mont Blanc, the highest peak in France, and is a wonderland for skiers, hikers, and pretty much anyone keen on the outdoors.
This beautiful, varied region of France features something to please just about every kind of tourist. Sun worshippers will, naturally, be keen to visit the Riviera, coastal playground of the rich and famous, and those interested in cultural history can spend a few days exploring the medieval villages, Roman ruins, lavender fields and olive groves.
This wealthy, wine producing region is located in central eastern France, and, until the late 15th century, was considered a separate country. It is home to some of the country’s most beautiful rural countryside, and is the origin on many of the wines we drink all over the world today.
France is a fascinating country and an exciting tourist destination in so many senses; it’s a hub of cultural activity, a richly historical society, a playground for the world’s richest and most famous and a home to staggeringly beautiful natural scenery. That concludes my list of 8 places to visit in France; do you have any suggestions to add?
Top Photo Credit: KΛ13
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