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5 Must Visit Places in France
5 Must Visit Places in France
France is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It provides a wealth of variety for all visitors, whatever their preference and taste. Therefore finding five great places to visit is easy, but the choice of a specific five would depend on the age and special interests of the visitors concerned. We hope that you love these 5 Must Visit Places in France.
A family group may look for entertainment, a little history, some beach relaxation and perhaps good food. All of these are available in abundance. Whereas a couple wanting to walk or cycle or swim or ski during their stay, would opt for entirely different places. Fortunately France has it all, so although there is plenty of choice, limiting the choice to five, is challenging.
Paris, the capital city, is a must for all visitors. It is enough just to wander its boulevards, narrow alleys, and riverbank – to idle around local markets, peer into antique bookshops, stare in wonder at the magnificent buildings, and then relax with a coffee outside a busy café watching the world and its dog go by.
The variety in and around Paris is such that a week would not be enough to see all it has to offer. To the west is the wonderful Palace of Versailles, and further out Monet’s garden. But even without leaving the city centre there is history and art and architecture to die for. So wherever else a visitor goes, Paris must be included.
Also topping our list of 5 Must Visit Places in France is the valley of the River Loire which is relatively short drive south of Paris. Along this river are situated some of the most amazing chateaux in all of Europe. These are the summer homes, or hunting lodges, to which French nobles or royals would bring their families during part of the year, taking all their furniture with them on a caravan of carts.
The total list of Loire chateaux is enormous, but it is perhaps sufficient to mention just some of the most spectacular. For example Chambord, near Blois, lying in one of the largest private parks in France, has amazing features, such as the double helix staircases, designed by Leonardo da Vinci. It is a wonder in white stone and needs to be seen in the summer, as during winter it can be icily cold inside its bare walls.
Amboise is a splendid medieval fortress, dominating one bank of the river. It was a royal residence during part of the France’s history, and it houses some magnificent furniture.
Chenonceau is known as the chateau des dames, as it has long been protected and preserved by women. It has wonderful museums containing works by the many artists who came to visit. Its gardens are splendid, and it would be sufficient to visit simply to see the displays of flowers. The most unusual aspect of the chateau of Chenonceau is that it has been built astride the river, making it a truly unique and intriguing structure.
Cathar or Aude
Another area of France to visit for its history is the Aude department in the south west. This is now known as Cathar country, the region where those of the Cathar faith lived and worshipped before the bloodthirsty Albigensian crusade led by Simon de Montfort in the 13th century. The Aude is an area for walking, either in the hills or by the Mediterranean Sea, and visiting ancient chateaux. Unlike those of the Loire, these are often in ruins, leaving remnants of past lives and religion, in an area steeped in history and intrigue.
Carcassonne’s fortress, La Cité, is the largest in Europe, and takes most of a day to see completely. The nearby Canal du Midi, lined by magnificent plane trees, another UNESCO Heritage site along with La Cité, provides a more relaxing holiday with its boat hire facilities. Other places worth visiting are the fortress at Salses near Perpignan to the south, the ancient village of Lagrasse with its 8th century abbey, and the many local wine producers who offer tasting facilities which could keep you intrigued and intoxicated all day.
Burgundy or Bourgogne
However probably the best region to visit for food and wine is Burgundy, or Bourgogne, as the French call it. This is an area of high quality vine production and cattle farming, leading to a reputation for gastronomy which is unrivalled in France. Each local village will provide a restaurant producing wonderful food, but in the main towns like Lyon, Dijon and Beaune the choice is truly mouth watering and the cuisine is exceptional.
The fifth choice in our 5 Must Visit Places in France is the coastal area of Provence, with its famous resorts of Nice, Cannes and Antibes, and the tiny principality of Monaco. This is a rocky coast of steep headlands and sheltered, sandy beaches. Each resort provides a marina for some of the most spectacular, privately owned, sea going ships in the world.
It is undoubtedly an area of money, where many people since the 19th century have come to see and be seen. However it is a beautiful region in its own right. Up behind the coastal towns is spectacular countryside, stretching up towards the Alps, and the physical features of this landscape alone make a visit worthwhile.
In truth it is impossible to choose the best five great places in France, as there are so many and each individual will have their own preference. At least this article provides a taster of five varied regions which, in themselves, provide enough to bring visitors flocking from all over the world, as they do each year. We hope that you are inspired by these 5 Must Visit Places in France.