A beginner’s guide to France
When it comes to European travel destinations, France is undoubtedly one of the favourites for world travellers, and it’s easy to see why. The capital of Paris is stunning, but exploring the diverse regions of the country will really help you appreciate the spectacular scenery, the food, the culture, and the people of this fascinating country.
There’s no better time to visit France than in summer. Here’s some of our favourite French destinations when the weather heats up.
Provence is one of the most popular regions to visit in France, and the town of Aix-en-Provence provides the perfect base from which to explore.
You can reach Aix-en-Provence either by high speed train from Paris, or by flying to nearby Marseille airport. You’re best to hire a car so you can explore the surrounding villages at your own pace.
Provence is incredibly picturesque, and has rich tradition of agriculture, food, and wine – with plenty of charming hotels and accommodation options to choose from.
This beach-side resort town on the Atlantic coast of France has long been the preferred destination for Europe’s rich and famous.
While changing travel trends saw something of a decline in the grandeur of Biarritz, recent years has seen European travellers rediscovering the weather, the beaches, and the lifestyle that makes this the ideal place to spend your summer vacation.
A dynamic and exciting city, Bordeaux is also the gateway to the Atlantic coast of France. This gives you the best of both worlds – all the benefits of big-city living and easy access to the beach. This region is particularly well-known as a favourite of naturists – if an all-over tan is on your wish-list, then Bordeaux is a good starting point.
In the heart of the Mediterranean, off the French coast from Marseille, the island of Corsica appears almost as an impregnable fortress.
The landscape of Corsica is surprisingly diverse - sandy beaches quickly transforming into rugged mountain peaks. It’s this diversity that gives visitors to the island a huge range of options – from swimming and sun-tanning, to hiking and canyoning.
Corsica has been part of France for over 200 years, but it still feels very distinct and quite different from mainland France.
Lot et Garonne
The Lot et Garonne region is named after the two rivers that define the terrain.
Your access point for this region is probably best via Bordeaux.
Highlights include the medieval village of Penne d’Agenais, where the Notre-Dame de Peyragude Basilica looks out across the Lot valley.
Also nearby are the Bastides - the series of towns founded between 11th and 14th centuries which have retained their period buildings, ramparts, entrance gateways, and towers. Explore the town of Monflanquin – its half-timbered houses, main square, covered arcades, and little alley-ways are a unique glimpse into medieval architecture. Not far away is Gavaudun Castle, overlooking the wooded valley of the river Lēde.
A good base from which to explore this region is the design hotel Le Stelsia.
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