For those of us that don’t want to travel too far, holidays to France are perfect as it only requires a short ferry/Eurotunnel crossing till you arrive at your destination, making it accessible by car and coaching holidays packages. Not only are holidays to France perfect in terms of short travelling times but they can also be easy on the purse-strings too. With this in mind, we thought we’d take a look at some of the places within France that you might not consider visiting when on holiday. Take a look at our mini list and let us know what you think…
Known to many as one of the most romantic cities in the world, Paris has all but exhausted the superlatives that can reasonably be applied to any city. We all know about the beauty of the Notre Dame and the Eifel Tower at sunrise, sunset and at night as well as the delights that can be offered via a cruise along the River Seine, but is there anything else we can do when holidaying in France? Encapsulate the village atmosphere by visiting the street markets. Not only do these offer an alternative shopping experience compared to the city boutiques but, they are also great for social gatherings as well as picking up some great culinary tips. Head off the beaten track and visit the Moorish mosque, you have to be modestly dressed to be able to wander through the colonnaded courtyards, listen to the incredible acoustics during the ‘Call To Prayer’ and leaf through ancient Arabic texts in the library. Here’s something a little different, why not escape the hustle & bustle of city life and explore the tiny streets of Île St-Louis? Here you’ll find quaint shops dotted around the island, you can listen to buskers on the riverbanks whilst watching the riverboats glide by. Doesn’t this bring a welcome relief to the usual city breaks to Paris?
Think it’s fair to say that Normandy can be summed up in just three words – camembert, cider and cows! This is where you’ll find the lush green countryside of France smashing into the rolling waves of La Manche (the English Channel). Perhaps discover your ‘inner impressionist’ with a visit to Monet’s Garden in Giverny, be bowled over by the magnificent Bayeux Tapestry, sample the seafood delights of Trouville and Honfleur or slip into an architectural bubble and soak up the half-timbered houses and Gothic churches in Rouen. Make a pilgrimage to the D-Day Landing Beaches where the largest military operation in history, code-named ‘Operation Overlord’, was carried out in June 1944 that was followed by the Battle of Normandy which ultimately led to the liberation of Europe from Nazi Occupation. Should you wish to find out more about this greatest military event, make time to visit the Caen Memorial Museum that provides a comprehensive overview of what happened. No holidays to Normandy would be complete without visiting the abbey of Mont St-Michel where legend has it that Aubert, the Bishop of Avranches, was visited by the Archangel Michael in a dream. To this day, a gilded copper statue of Michael slaying a dragon crowns the Abbey symbolising the triumph of good over evil – did you know that?
Everyone knows that this southern tip of France is one of the most sun and celebrity-riched parts of the country with its glittering coastline, mountain retreats, Roman temples and amazing gastronomic delights that will make your mouth water just thinking about it! Saunter through lush lavender fields, chestnut forests, apple-green vineyards and delectable olive groves. Why not follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh around Arles to the areas where he set up his easel to paint some of his best-known canvases. Hike, bike or drive through the hillsides of Digne-les-Bains. Sip a coffee in a café along the table-lined terrace of 1792 Les Deux Garçons. It’s fair to say that Provence is most definitely an old-fashioned love affair that never ends – in fact, the lure of the region will have you holidaying here more than once, guaranteed!