Where to Visit in France
France is just a hop across the channel from us and easy to access via train, car or plane. It’s therefore natural that it’s such a popular destination for Brits to visit all year round. Where to go can be a dilemma as there are so many wonderful options! Below we talk through some of our favourite French regions and cities to explore in Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Provence is located in the South East of France near to Italy and is a sun-soaked region that enjoys sunshine pretty much all year round. The lavender fields, vineyards and olive groves are absolutely glorious to explore at the end of June and July. What's less spoken about are the beautiful villages that are amongst the lavender fields - they really are magical and provide a charming insight into French life.
The village of Valensole is in the middle of gorgeous lavender fields but even outside of the flowering months, this is such a great place to visit with stunning architecture, shops, lanes and, of course, bakeries to explore. Second on our list would be Gordes which is an idyllic hilltop town to say the least! The location gives wonderful views across the surrounding valleys. There are attractions such as the Saint Firmin Palace Caves and Senanque Abbey as well as art galleries and Gordes Castle which boasts some remarkable architecture.
Lyon is full of culture and history and is certainly worth a trip. In modern times it is renowned for food and there are some really impressive eateries in the city. On top of this it also has a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit.
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in culture, the first stop has to be La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière. It is a breathtaking basilica which is impeccably decorated with stained glass and mosaics. From the top of the basilica you can see across the city of Lyon, including many of the top landmarks. The nearby area of Vieux Lyon also gives great insight into this city, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a well-preserved Renaissance neighbourhood.
In December the La Fete des Lumieres takes place in Lyon, the four day festival is a showcase of fantastic light and sound displays and certainly is worth a trip if you’re looking for a getaway before the Christmas chaos begins.
If you’re a fan of wine, like us here at Clarify Car Hire, then a trip to the Loire Valley is a must! Not only are there beautiful vines that in turn make delicious wines, there are also castles, Abbeys and incredible food. The Loire Valley is known as the ‘Garden of France’, it’s not hard to see why.
The gateway to the region is typically through Tours which you can find along the River Loire. A must for your trip is to visit a handful of the enchanting castles, some of our favourites are Château de Chambord, Château de Chenonceau and Château de Villandry. Though there are many to choose from so do have a look and pick out a few to see. You’ll also find a number of lush gardens along your way – try to stop at a few to enjoy them!
Whilst in the area, we would strongly advise not missing the chance to visit the local villages. Some of which are deemed to be the most beautiful in France. Included under this title are Crissay-sur-Manse, Montresor and Lavardin.
Of course, when here do not miss the chance to experience a bit of wine tasting. The area is known for wines such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé and you'll find a number of locations where you are able taste and learn more about various wines. This area has so much to get involved with whether it’s gardens, Châteaus, vineyards, cycling trails or villages, it really is a case of deciding which bits you want to experience and diving in.
Bordeaux may share it's name with the famed French wine but there is a lot more to the city than wine (and wine is a big reason in itself!). It's generally a less popular town destination than the likes of Paris and Lyon but has much to offer in its own right.
The area is now a mecca for those looking to enjoy food and culture. The architecture is beautiful, the Chartrons District in particular showcases some amazing buildings and charming cobbled lanes. Bordeaux Cathedral is free to walk around and is spectacular, but with each corner you turn you're likely to see another architectural marvel!
If you're looking for a different look at Bordeaux, the various boutiques, cafés, bars and restaurants are exquisite. The food is delicious here and there's plenty of eateries to choose from. Lastly, but by no means last is the wine, the region produces some world class wines and take the chance whilst you're here to taste and enjoy them! There is also a Museum of Wine in the Chartrons district that is very interesting and includes a tasting at the end.
This article really only skims the surface of what France has to offer but hopefully it's given you a little inspiration for your next French adventure!
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