Travel to France: our tips!

This year, with the easing of Covid-19 measures around the world, many foreigners are heading to France to find family and friends after months of isolation. But you know, our country is the first tourist destination in the world. Why not take advantage of this trip to be “tourists”? It is also an opportunity to create a link with the country for the youngest.

France is full of sublime castles, romantic villages, unspoilt countryside, exotic mountains and coastline, you can be overwhelmed by the cultural and fun offerings that our country offers. For you, we have therefore made a small survey to offer you destinations depending on whether you are with your family or as a couple. We also think of those without a car, more and more (thank you for the planet). Without forgetting the places to favor for a total change of scenery. We walk around!

What holiday in France as a couple?

France is full of attractive villages, cities with mythical charm, where it is a real pleasure to go hand in hand. From Alsace to the Pyrenees via Burgundy or Rhône-Alpes, these destinations will seduce you:

Etretat : its impressive cliffs, where it is very pleasant to walk, its old hall, overcome by a peak without forgetting its villas with towers, are so many places to discover in love.

Gordes : in Vaucluse, this Provencal village topped with a mighty castle and a massive church offers beautiful walks in the cobbled streets that will take you from arched corridors to white thirsty houses. You can also view the magnificent panorama of the Luberon.

La Roque-Gageac : comfortably installed at the foot of a cliff, this village of Dordogne is characterized by its ocher or golden houses, its castle, its mansion, its exotic garden, its forests with stone oaks and its main street bordering the river.

Beaune : mansions, half-timbered houses, green gardens, colorful squares … So many wonders just waiting to be admired by travelers. And since you are here in the Kingdom of Burgundy wines, a stop at a wine grower is crucial to confronting your palate with the best vintages in the region.

Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert is one of the most picturesque villages located in the heart of the Val de Gellone in Hérault. As you stroll through the ancient alleys, lovers will be able to admire the locked houses and be told the legends surrounding the history of the Château du Géant.

Family holidays

Camargue : Start your journey in the Camargue, a country rich in character and attractions for families. In Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer, after tasting a dish of fresh fish on La Cabanette, many water activities await you on the Petit Rhône: boat trips, trotting, canoeing … In Istres, trip in time to the age of prehistory : the children will be amazed at the dinosaurs that have taken up residence in the forest on the Castellan hill. As a bonus, treasure hunt “1, 2, 3, Play the Little Paleontologist”, to learn more about the history of these extinct giants, before why not book yourself a small aperitif at sunset on the beach, at Guinguette le Pointu.

Near Marseille: Another atmosphere in Aubagne, where the treasure hunt this time invites you to follow in the footsteps of the famous Marcel Pagnol. A discovery of the surrounding hills with the theme of plants and small animals. Back at the water’s edge, don’t miss the observatory at Blue Coast Marine Park on Rouet Beach. This protected area is a real underwater nature reserve where young and old can go hiking

La Rochelle: At the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, La Rochelle offers a wealth of options around the water. Also rich in its history, this beautiful city of Charente-Maritime and its inhabitants are very proud of their heritage. Its maritime tradition is reflected in its old port as well as in its very large, very modern marina. In its old town you will discover beautiful rocks and lively alleys where you can stroll without stress with the kids. The starting point for many sea excursions, it’s an ideal sport for a holiday where you’re probably not going to get bored!

Basque Country: Ideally located between the sea, the mountains and Spain, the French Basque Country has character to spare. The charm of the typical villages, its gastronomy, its many activities for all ages and its culture make it a family destination par excellence. Tribes looking for sun and leisure will be fully satisfied: the Cote des Basques, in Biarritz, was voted the most beautiful French beach by TripAdvisor internet users, and the one by Hendaye is sixth in the rankings.

Grass: For today, we think twice before taking a plane ticket to the end of the world for environmental issues, knowing that it is possible to combine a landscape change and ecological awareness. Gers, at the foot of the Pyrenees, in the heart of southwestern Gascony, is an unknown French destination, but which will offer you a bubble of peace with the kids. Gers is also where the most famous of the musketeers was born: d’Artagnan. Swashbuckler lovers will be happy!

Car-free holiday

Villages isolated from everything, far from big cities and major roads, which we believe are only accessible by car. And still! Among the 164 municipalities labeled “France’s most beautiful villages”, some have the benefit of being served by train or bus, cities or departments. Enough to allow travelers without a vehicle to discover everything that makes the charm of these villages like no other: an architectural unit, listed historical monuments and remarkable cultural heritage sites according to the criteria of the association that awards the brand.

Eguisheim: Colorful houses, cobbled streets, half-timbered facades and houses with pointed roofs … Eguisheim is similar to the idea of ​​a village in Alsace. If its Christmas market is particularly appreciated by tourists, this village is located on the Alsace wine route, about ten kilometers south of Colmar, all year round. Wrapped in concentric circles around his castle, Eguisheim was chosen as “the French’s favorite city” in 2013 in the France 2 program presented by Stéphane Bern.

La Roche Guyon : The only “most beautiful village in France” in the Paris region, La Roche-Guyon is located on a bay of the Seine, at the gateway to Normandy and the regional nature park Vexin. Not far from Giverny’s gardens and the Claude Monet Foundation, it stands out from its medieval castle leaning against a white chalk cliff. Now owned by the La Rochefoucauld family, the building was visited by the kings of France and the philosophers of the Enlightenment. Downstairs, the 3.5-acre kitchen garden, restored in 2004, uses the original plans from the 18th century.

Baux de Provence : Built on a rocky outcrop, the village of Baux-de-Provence overlooks the Alpilles Regional Natural Park and its landscapes of limestone, vineyards and olive trees. Carrières de Lumières is, in addition to the medieval castle in ruins, an important place to visit. This space with immersive digital exhibits, set up in a real stone cathedral, puts Dalí and Gaudi in the spotlight this year.

Montsoreau: Alexandre Dumas made it the scene of his novel The Lady of Monsoreau. Subsequently several film adaptations of Three musketeers was filmed there. Welcome to Montsoreau, a medieval village located 15 km from Saumur. Its 15th-century castle, which houses a museum of contemporary art, dominates the confluence of the Loire and Vienne. Another place to discover: the mushroom farm Saut-aux-Loups, a set of troglodyte dwellings that has been used for growing button mushrooms for a century. After a walk in the flowery streets of Montsoreau, follow the Loire 2 km to the neighboring town of Candes-Saint-Martin (Indre-et-Loire), also called “France’s most beautiful village”.

Exotic holiday in France

Will posting in France without going to the other side of the world? Yes, you can get away from it all while vacationing in our beautiful French region! The landscapes of France are of such a variety that one can have the feeling of being abroad. More than once, when they were very young, our children asked us in which country we were traveling when we had not crossed the borders!

The Vosges and the Jurassic: they are known for its lakes, surrounded by forests and bogs. Its landscapes are reminiscent of the far north of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Canada and Alaska, countries all close to the Arctic Circle, with very similar landscapes. A change of nature guaranteed in addition to enjoying the beauty of nature with your children during your holiday! For example, you can go to Lake Gérardmer or the region with 1000 ponds. Good to know you can go on vacation all year round, go hiking in the summer, skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, see the landscapes enlarged by the colors of autumn, as if you were in Canada.

Chain of volcanic hills: The vast green expanses of Scotland can be found in the Auvergne with the added bonus of the famous volcanoes. From the Chaîne des Puys to the Monts Dore and the Monts du Cantal, a green carpet worthy of the highlands unfolds in front of you. For example, you can climb to Puy de Dôme to enjoy a great panorama. Climbing is very easy with small children. And then you can take a trip to Vulcania Park to learn all about volcanoes in a fun way and visit Clermont-Ferrand, see its amazing black volcanic stone cathedral.

Rousillon: The ocher in Rustrel, nicknamed the Provencal Colorado, offers not only very exotic landscapes, but also the most unusual in France. The same could be said about the ocher in nearby Roussillon, which is also worth a visit with its village bursting with red. In the 2 places, a path weaves through rocks, gorges, needles and reddish fairy chimneys in contrast in its green surroundings. It feels like Monument Valley or Bryce Canyon in the American West. At Rustrels ocher, several routes are offered. We recommend the longest and most complete walk of 5.5 km for 150 m altitude. It is a very easy family hike that can be done with children from 3 years.

  • Chantal Julia is a lecturer in Switzerland. After several years at the University of Letter Paris 1, Chantal accompanied her companion to Lausanne, where she still teaches French literature. She writes for various university magazines and Lesfrancais.press

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