I’m excited to dive into a country that was my very first European love – France.
There’s something romantic about it, right? With dozens of tiny cafes lining each street of Paris, breathtakingly vibrant views of the water in Villefranche-sur-Mer, a city through rose-colored glasses in Toulouse, and wine, croissants, and baguettes at each turn, what’s not to love?
If you’re having trouble deciding where to spend your vacation in France, look no further. I’m covering the major regions so that you can find one perfect for your getaway.
Bon voyage, mes amis!
Perhaps the most famous of all regions in France, Île-de-France is home to Paris. You could spend a lifetime in this city and still have plenty to see, do, and eat. I’ve been a handful of times and discover something new each time I visit. This is the one place I’ll go back to without thinking twice, or feeling like I’m missing out on another destination.
Paris is the capital city of France and the most populous. It is world renowned as a center for art, fashion, food, and culture. The city is split into two parts by the Seine and is divided into 20 arrondissements. It is home to some of the most famous landmarks in the world such as the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and Sacré-Cœur Basilica, just to name a few.
Versailles is about an hour by train or by car from Paris and should be on your must list if you have a few days in this region. It was the principal royal residence of France for over 100 years until the French Revolution and is quite literally covered in gold. You could spend a full day wandering around the gardens alone, not to mention the sprawling inside.
After visiting the French Riviera, I am now fully aware of why this area is for known as a vacation spot for jetsetters. This region is filled with tiny cities just waiting to be explored. If you venture to the south of France, make a point of taking a tour of a few of the seaside towns that line the coast. Each has a different look, feel, and tradition of its own and all are rich in cuisine and culture.
Nice is a wonderful city to make your “homebase” when travelling here. Home to the major airport of the south of France, it also has a major train station that services this region from other parts of the country. Nice sits in the midst of some of the prettiest and most well-known coastal cities in the world such as Cannes, Monaco, and Antibes. It is also a short distance to Saint-Tropez, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille.
However, if you venture to the French Riviera, the smaller cities should not be missed! Exploring Menton, Èze, Villefranche-sur-Mer, and Saint-Paul-De-Vence provide some breathtaking views and were some of the highlights of my trip here!
Image via Cosmo Consult
This southeastern region of France is perfect for a traveler who wants a bit of everything. With its proximity to the Alps, you could spend days indulging in winter sports or eating raclette in the mountains. If a city break is more your style, make your way to Lyon for cuisine as fantastique as the views. Filled with rich culture and beautiful artitecture, the city has also been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If drinking decadent French wine is on your bucket list, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes home to three major wine growing regions in France – Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, and Savoie – making it a top wine destination in the country.
Image via National Geographic
Located in France’s northwest region, Brittany boasts a beautiful landscape with cliffs facing the Atlantic Ocean, medieval villages, and lush greenery. It is known for galettes and fresh-pressed cider, which can be found throughout the region.
Rennes, the capital city of Brittany, is quite metropolitan with lots of shopping, beautiful parks, dozens of museums, and wonderful food. It is known for its music and arts scene as well as the many festivals throughout the year. Brittany is also home to St. Malo, a walled coastal city just off the English Channel filled with cobblestone streets and medieval architecture.
Image via Michelin Travel
Next to Brittany, Normandy shares the same dramatic coastline and is a region filled with rich history. Rouen, the capital city, has picturesque medieval-style architecture throughout. It is well-known for Vieux-Marché square, where Joan of Arc was burned in 1431.
Normandy is also home to Omaha Beach, a landing area used by Allied forces during the World War II D-Day invasion. Just ten minutes away, you can tour the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, a breathtaking landmark that honors American troops who died during World War II.
Just off the coast, Mont-Saint-Michel is an island topped with a medieval monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, there is a walking bridge connecting the mainland to Mont-Saint-Michel, but this is still one of Europe’s major pilgrimages known as the crossing of the bay.
Have you been to France? What’s your favorite spot?