France offers a fabulous historic heritage and probably the most diversified natural environment of any country in Europe. Its tourist attractions illustrate the history of the human race, from the prehistoric sites of Cro Magnon to the steel and glass of the Futuroscope; they include fine vestiges of all European civilisations, from the prehistoric megaliths of Carnac and the Roman remains of Provence, through medieval castles and cathedrals, to the splendours of Versailles, the nineteenth century Eiffel Tower, or the resolute modernity of the TGV.
Whether it is chateau-hopping in the Dordogne, shucking oysters on the Atlantic coast, or sipping grand-cru wine by the Eiffel Tower, France holidays take you to a land of soul-satisfying experiences. Mountains roll into aromatic lavender fields in Provence; marshes rise into gigantic sand dunes in the Gironde and rainbow-blossomed plateaux in sun-kissed Corsica. Then there is the food—famed across the world, and delicious whether served rustic-style in bucolic Beaujolais or with pizzazz and a Michelin star along the Cote d’Azur.
France’s capital, Paris, needs no introduction, with monuments like gargoyle-clad Notre-Dame, cinematic Seine-side views, and tree-lined boulevards. In culinary capital Lyon, Roman vestiges watch over traboules, mysterious Medieval covered passageways, and traditional Bouchon restaurants which serve hearty meals.
Aix-en-Provence’s neoclassical mansions are reminiscent of Bordeaux’s 18th century facades, speckled with decorative masks of sea gods. Cannes, home of the film festival, oozes old-school glamour, and Basque Biarritz has Empire-era palaces and surfing competitions.
The Capital of Love, Few places offer the charm and atmosphere as Paris. You will find romance on every corner of the street while enjoying a relaxed stroll through the typical Parisian quarter Montmartre, where artists like Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh lived and worked. Visit the romantic Basilica of the Sacré Coeur, you will be stunned by the panoramic view of the entire city of Paris. Play hide and seek amongst Buren’s columns and strike a pose in the Rodin museum. Snap a selfie with the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, and another with the cancan dancers at the Moulin Rouge. Pay your respects to France’s great and glorious at the Panthéon, and trawl the book stalls along the banks of the Seine. The Champs-Elysées is a paradise for fashionistas, while Saint-Ouen’s markets are best for bargain-hunters.
Nice: a multi-faceted destination, The sun that shines 300 days a year, the breadth and wealth of the city’s internationally-renowned history and culture, the shifting shimmer of its sea, its towering mountain peaks and astounding beauty, the warmth of its local accent or the dazzling lights that illuminate its nights: nobody knows exactly what lends Nice its unique light, yet all those who have set foot here retain the memory of a rare and precious moment in time, the memory of those who light the city from within, setting hearts alight and putting stars in visitors’ eyes.
The history of Cannes is as much singular as its bay is spellbounded. The Beaches and La Croisette magnify a seafront spotted by the Lerins Islands . In addition the Old Port and Le Suquet bring a picturesque supplement to its prestigious aura. You are invited to a delicious stroll in the past. The richness of the natural heritage is not missing: the forest Park of La Croix des Gardes offers you the most beautiful panorama of the bay of Cannes. Other beautiful landscapes in Cannes not to be missed await you. Culture, gastronomy, hotels, guided visits, sports activities, good plans, Cannes Destination offers you the key to the city. There you will find all the practical information to facilitate your stay. You will learn everything about the events which punctuate the Cannes events calendar, from the planetary Cannes Film Festival to other flagship events.
Ah! The sweet scents of Provence. Get up early for the Marseille fish market and greet the fishermen in the Vieux Port, then go and catch the sunrise from Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. Follow in the footsteps of famous painters: Van Gogh in Arles, Cézanne in Aix, Picasso in Antibes and Matisse in Nice. Pause to taste strawberries in Carpentras and black truffles in Ventoux, and take home olive oil and tapenade to inject sunshine into your winter meals.
Corsica, here we come! By bike or by boat, take in the Isle of Beauty in all her splendour. Tackle the back country and the GR 20 hiking trail, and hide out in Aléria’s ancient ruins. Storm the citadel in Corte – and in Bonifacio, conquer your fear of heights on the King of Aragon’s staircase carved into the cliff face. Then chill out in the crystal-clear waters surrounding Porto-Vecchio, before dinner in the twinkling light of Bastia’s port.
ALPS – MONT BLANC
Let’s conquer the Alps! Scale Mont Blanc or dip your toes in a crystal-clear mountain lake. Run through the Vanoise National Park with ibex and chamois. Recharge your batteries in Evian-les-Bains, go skiing in Val d’Isère and stroll beside Annecy’s picture-perfect canals. Come evening, tuck into greedy portions of sumptuous tartiflettes, raclette and croziflette, and warm icy hands around a vin chaud.
Off to the South West! You can get there travelling through vineyards and beaches, or just take the train: it’s only two hours from Paris! Get on your bikes from the Médoc to Saint-Émilion, through Arcachon, or the little streets of Old Bordeaux. Enjoy the easy-going way of life, temperate climate, and inventive architecture, and take your time to stroll along the Garonne River to the amazing Cité du Vin.
What sums up a holiday in Normandy? Strutting the boardwalk in Deauville, brushing up on history on the D-Day beaches, admiring the dramatic vertical cliffs of Etretat and the formidable Bayeux Tapestry, and melting into Monet’s Impressionist garden at Giverny. And with scallops and Calvados to take home, we’ll be welcome at any party…
- Bespoke Wine & Gastronomy – There’s no rumbling stomach France can’t satisfy, whether in a gourmet bist ro or Michelin-starred restaurant, a cosy rustic inn or café, a street food truck or a market. Tables everywhere groan with the French basics: crunchy baguette, decadent cheeses and pastries and fine wine.
- Indulge with culture – Dive into a melting pot of culture! If the museums are too busy, don’t fear – there are plenty of other ways to get your culture fix in France. Hunt down Parisian street signs and look up their history on Paristique, then head down into the catacombs to glimpse the city’s remarkable underbelly.
- Explore the mountains – Ski and snowball fight during the picturesque winter on Mont Blanc or try snowshoes and dogsledding on the Vosges Mountains. When things warm up go trekking in the Jura Mountains or splash around in the Pyrenean lakes during the summer, or throw your rucksacks on your back and set off on long hikes via ferrata routes. When you make it to the top, take a flight on a paragliders or dare to give skydiving a try.
- For Fashion Lovers – Sit front row at fashion shows inspired both high fashion house designers and the lesser-known. If you live for fashion, wear your sailor’s stripes or N°5 and pay tribute to Jean-Paul Gaultier and Coco Chanel.
- Art & Craft – Make sure you pay a visit to France’s numerous artisans and craftspeople. At the market or in their workshops, they pass down traditions to ensure that ancient skills survive today. You can watch them weaving wicker, sculpting wood, tanning hides, making soap or stitching by hand with golden thread. Take home a hamper from the Alps, ‘santons’ (charms) from Provence, wooden toys from the Vosges and espadrilles from the Basque Country – all products made exclusively in France.
- Festival Time – There are festivals by the sea and on the ski slopes, festivals in castles and festivals in churches. Blues in Binic, jazz in Sète, cello in Beauvais, rock in Saint-Malo, the Transmusicales in Rennes, musicals in Aix-en-Provence, dance in Lyon, photography in Arles.
- Explore the Provence – Experience the cooking classes, olive farm visits, hilltop villages, vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-pape, Gigondas).