Our Favourite Places to Visit in France

The French national celebration of Bastille Day each 14 July always reminds us how much we love to explore this this country, as a solo traveller, a couple, with friends or with kids. It’s hard to narrow down our top destinations in a country of such beauty and variety, but we’ve picked out some that are high up on our wish list.

Paris – for romance

No matter how many times you’ve visited the French capital, you’ll always find something new to fire your imagination. Beyond the famous sights lie clandestine squares, secret alleys and hidden gardens just waiting to be discovered on leisurely strolls punctuated by countless stops at café terraces to people-watch. Some of our most romantic experiences in Paris are strolling around the open-air sculptures of the Jardin des Tuileries by day and through the illuminated courtyards of the Louvre by night, visiting the Musée Rodin, home to the sculptor’s famous The Kiss, and dinner at Chez Paul in the Bastille – a classic bistro with a zinc bar, tiled floor and hand-written menu.

Bordeaux – for food and drink

Situated at the heart of some of the finest vineyards on the globe, this UNESCO World Heritage site is best known for wine and wine tours in the surrounding countryside. But it’s also a wonderful city in its own right – as well as the relatively recent Cité du Vin visitor centre continuing the wine theme, there is an array of fantastic restaurants, bistros, cafés and bars in which to enjoy local produce as you watch the world go by, a vast number of listed classical and neo-classical monuments and buildings to admire as you amble around, and high-end shopping to die for.

Strasbourg - for the Christmas markets

Capital of the tiny Alsace region with its picturesque spread of castles, churches, villages and vineyards, Strasbourg boasts the first medieval centre to have been proclaimed a World Heritage Site. It’s being home to important European institutions including the Council of Europe and its European Court of Human Rights doesn’t detract from its being drenched in atmosphere, not least before and during Christmas time, when its famous artisan markets of local crafts and festive food and drink bring added sparkle to the city.

Saint Tropez – for seaside luxury

Big, bold and glitzy, this seaside city in the Var region of the south of France has long attracted celebrities and artists for its gorgeous beaches and super-glamorous nightlife. But though yachts outnumber fishing boats in the Vieux Port these days, there’s still character and charm in the cobblestoned La Ponche quarter recalling Saint Tropez’s origins as a fishing village and an array of tempting restaurants and cafés clustered around the harbour, for seafood platters with a view. Boat trips will take you out on the glittering Med and to other iconic local spots including Cannes and Monaco.

Normandy – For bucolic charm

Beautiful, low-key and on the doorstep of the UK, this is a region of bewitching seaside towns, ancient harbours, Romanesque and Gothic architecture, medieval monasteries, Impressionist paintings, unspoilt countyside and simple, delicious local produce. Unmissable sights include the 8th-century Benedictine abbey of Mont-St-Michel clinging to its rocky outcrop – France’s most-visited attraction outside Paris – and the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry.

For more advice on where to visit or to book your trip to France, get in touch today.

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