Attracting 15 million more annual visitors than America, France currently holds the title of being the most visited country in the world. Whether it be the food, the wine, the romance or the landscape, it’s easy to see why this large and spectacular country appeals to so many. However, it can be tricky to figure out which of the many breath-taking regions to visit, so here are some ideas to help you plan a memorable trip, depending on the sort of holiday and activities you’re interested in.
Paris represents the ultimate in city breaks with its stunning sights and vibrant street life. Must-sees include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe and a stroll or cruise along the River Seine.
Another city worth a visit is Avignon. Located on the Rhone, the city is the capital of Provence and is now accessible by Eurostar from the UK in under 6 hours. The Old Town includes intact ramparts and a medieval bridge. Avignon also hosts a performing arts festival for 3 weeks in July every summer so is perfect for culture vultures.
France has over 400 ski resorts situated amongst spectacular ranges such as the Alps, the Jura, the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. The Alps are home to the Les Trois Vallées and includes the upmarket resort of Courchevel, with a wide choice of British ski schools available. Intermediate to advanced skiers will be attracted to Val D’Isere , which attracts more British skiers than any other resort in France.
Wine and Cheese Tasting
Normandy is a gastronome’s dreamland and produces the four principle cheeses of Camembert, Pont L’Eveque, Livarot and Neuchatel.
The area also offers gorgeous countryside, medieval architecture in Roeun and of course the site of the famous D-Day landings in the Second World War.
Accompanying any good cheese course is a glass of French wine and France has eight main wine producing regions to choose from, namely Alsace, Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Beaujolais, the Loire Valley, Languedoc-Roussillon and the Rhône valley. Wine tour holidays are popular in each of these regions and include visits to numerous vineyards and a variety of accommodation options.
Thousands of British people flock to the Côte-D’Azur, or French Riviera, each summer. The area is located along the south-eastern coast of France which includes 40km of beaches and sea temperatures of up to 25C.
Many of the towns such as Nice, Cannes or Monaco are large, fun and busy. If hustle and bustle isn’t your thing, then head to Menton or one of the pretty, secluded villages between Nice and Italy such as Èze–sur-Mer which will offer peace and serenity.
Christmas Markets, or ‘Marchés de Noël’, exist all over France in places such as Paris, Lille and Strasbourg. They usually take place between late November and the New Year and are the perfect opportunity for buying Christmas gifts and for sampling authentic French foods and wine.
Strasbourg’s Christmas market is one of the oldest and largest in France and offers an open-air ice rink. It also boasts a beautiful cathedral with Gothic towers and an astronomical clock. La Petite France is a picturesque area of the city containing beautiful Christmas shops and a gingerbread bakery.
When planning your trip, remember that although very close to home, it is still important to have travel insurance in France. Also remember to pack a French phrasebook, as the locals can be famously reluctant to speak English! Other than that, a digital camera and some euros should be all you need to get started on a fantastic and memorable holiday in France.
Before heading out to discover some of France’s best kept secrets, book your Avanti Travelcare package. Enjoy your trip!