France: Places to visit beyond Paris
If you read our overview of France you have realised there are so many things to do and see in France. Well here we give you a little snippet of all the wonderful travel experiences France offers.
First there is the city of lights, Paris. One of the most visited cities in the world Paris draws strong reactions from the millions who visit it. It’s either a passionate ‘I Love it!’ or a pertinent ‘I hate it!’ Well to ensure your first Parisian encounter ends up in a second date we have A Practical Guide to visiting Paris.
France is divided into 13 regions for sake of governance etc. and you can easily spend a week in each of its regions. However we have picked some of the top regions or even sub regions here to give you a little brief of what you can do in each of these places.
The most visited place in France after Paris is perhaps the French Riviera. Unfortunately most people only visit this region for 3 to 4 days and barely venture beyond Nice, Monaco and Cannes. The French Riviera or Cote d’Azur which literally translates to the Blue Coast has a lot more to offer. It is a paert of a region called Provence.
Most tourists stick to the coast and the beaches, which are great but if you venture a bit further inland there are beautiful and quiet villages offering breathtaking views of not just the sea byt even the surrounding countryside. Provence is known for its beautiful lavender fields which bloom in summer. These fields are breathtakingly beautiful and make for beautiful pictures.
Another beautiful place here is the Verdon Gorge with many outdoor activities and even a ‘Plus beau village de France’ or the most beautiful villages of France, called Moustiers Saint Marie. This label of Most Beautiful Villages of France is not just a random list. These villages have to adhere to some really strict rules and even pay a fee to be listed. These villages tend to be visited more by tourists and can get really crowded in peak season, however some are worth it and some are not. We have curated a list of The Most Quaint and dreamy places to visit in France out of which some may not have the label of ‘Plus beau village de France’ but are sure worth a visit.
We can easily design atleast a 1 week itinerary for you in Provence covering beautiful beaches, natural wonders and outdoor activities, meals and accommodation at hill-top viewpoints with breathtaking vistas, exclusive French perfume making workshops where you create your own unique perfume, island hopping on luxury yachts and so much more. If you would like a customized itinerary schedule a call with our Provence Travel Expert here or to know a bit more read How to spend a week in Provence and Cote d’Azur.
From the beaches let us move to the mountains. Not many think of France when they think of the Alps. Whereas the truth is that some of the most beautiful peaks of the Alps including its tallest peak Mont Blanc are located in France! Whether you are looking to visit in summer or winter this region of France called the Auvergne Rhone Alps region has something to offer everyone. Because this is Europe’s winter playground with some of the most glamorous ski villages located here we have described for you our visit to the French Alps and what activities and experiences you can enjoy here. To know more read How Plan a winter holiday in the French Alps.
Other two things synonymous with France are Cheese and Wine. To the east of Paris is the famous Champagne region where the celebratory bubbly wine is made. Many visit this region on daytrips from Paris but those who stay are rewarded. Imagine a birthday or an anniversary of a loved one say two- three years after your visit to France and the doorbell rings to deliver a beautifully packaged bottle of champagne that you custom made in the vineyards of Champagne with a master wine maker! A thoughtful gift hand made by you so much in advance. Yes we can make such arrangements for you.
Another beautiful wine region of France is the Burgundy known for Romanesque churches, fantastic wines and food considered the finest in France. Dijon known for its mustard is the capital of this region. The nearby Jura region here is an undiscovered region of France for outdoor adventures. For those traveling to Swiss from Paris, Dijon makes for a fantastic stop enroute for a few nights. Explore the beautiful vineyards; enjoy the fantastic mustard and food before you move further. Infact sandwiched between Burgundy and the Swiss border is the undiscovered Jura region of France, which is great for outdoor adventure.
Bordeaux and Loire valley to the west of Paris are also fantastic places to visit. The fertile Loire valley is famous for the enchanting countryside dotted with fairytale châteaux you can stay in. The Bordeaux wines rival those of Burgundy. The surrounding region is also probably the most rural and scenic region of France. Come explore the gorges, prehistoric sites and picturesque fortified villages of the Dordogne Valley, The Lot and neighbouring Limousin full of amazing Glamping options. Some are drawn here by the churches that mark the Pilgrims Route while some come for the truffles,duck and goose dishes of Périgord cuisine.
The region is dotted with more ‘Plus beau village de France’ and further south are cities like Toulouse where one can see an entire Airbus plane being assembled to medieval walled cities like Carcasonne where you can play out all your ‘Knights and Kings fantasies.’ We actually loved our trip to this region and had some of the best vegetarian food in France here! Click here to read about our experience Visiting the offbeat Dordogne, Lot and gems of Occitanie.