Coco Chanel once said, ‘a girl should be two things: classy and fabulous’. Coco may have been talking about fashion, but she could equally have been referring to her home country, France. Timeless, elegant and beautiful, France is a destination synonymous with good food, sophisticated locals, gorgeous stretches of coastline, and one of the most romantic cities in the world. It is a European bucket list must, which is probably why over 90 million tourists make the trip each and every year. If France is high up on your travel agenda, our France travel guide will help you decide where’s best to go…
Whoever first uttered the words ‘a bad day in Paris is still better than a good day anywhere else’, wasn’t far wrong. The city of lights (and love) is as iconic as they come, and just wandering the streets here you instantly walk a little straighter, allowing the timeless elegance and style of the city to work its magic on you. Paris is home to some of the world’s most famous attractions including the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumph and the Notre Dame Cathedral, whilst walks along the Seine or a visit to the resplendent Palace of Versailles, are both Parisian musts.
Icons ticked, you should then spend some time getting to know the culture of the city. A visit to Montmartre and its world famous Artist’s Square will have you walking in the footsteps of Lautrec and Picasso, whilst a night spent at the Moulin Rouge will get even the greatest of introverts up dancing, singing and high kicking with the best of them.
Sitting on the junction of the Rhône and Saône rivers, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Lyon boasts a history dating back over 2000 years. Medieval and renaissance architecture give the city an impressively historic feel, the centrepiece of which is the magnificent Roman Amphitheatre. Yet whilst Lyon’s grand buildings and pretty pastel facades will impress you, what you’ll remember from your time here is the food. Claiming the title ‘gourmet capital of France’ is no mean feat in a country obsessed with food, but Lyon’s vast array of imaginative restaurants and regional specialities have helped the city seal the deal.
Want to taste the very best Lyon has to offer? Opt for our ‘Beaujolais Gourmet Dinner and Old Town Discovery’ experience, which includes a scenic evening drive along the Saône River, and a mouth watering three course dinner (with local wines) cooked by a top Lyonnais chef.
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No France travel guide would be complete without mention of the eternally beautiful French Riviera. Hugging the Mediterranean, this South Easterly corner of France offers some of the best weather of the entire country, not to mention fresh seafood and a more sedate pace of life. The likes of Monaco and Nice are some of the blockbuster attractions here, but dig a little deeper (or travel with a company who pride themselves on taking you off the beaten track) and you’ll also discover how culturally rich this corner of the country is. The tiny and picturesque hilltop town of St Paul de Vence is especially worthy of a visit, known for being the laid back escape bolt hole for creatives and actors past and present.
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A destination instantly recognisable to wine connoisseurs, the Loire Valley is where to go for a delicious tipple, especially if you’re partial to a dry white. One of France’s leading wine producing regions, this lush and beautiful area is distinguished by vineyards, rolling farmland and vast chateaus. If you’re travelling with Trafalgar, you’ll be treated to an extra special Be my Guest experience at the regal Château de Villandry. Take your time roaming the exquisite Renaissance gardens that surround the estate, and try not to get lost in the maze!
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Synonymous with the D-Day landings, Normandy is a destination of huge importance not just for those with an interest in history, but for every one of us who had a family member touched by the destruction of the World Wars. It was here in 1944 that the largest seaborne invasion in history happened, and where many tragically sacrificed their lives for the freedom we get to enjoy today.
Omaha Beach is of particular importance, and it’s here you can still see the remains of German bunkers dotted along the beach. The D-Day landing zone is also fascinating, giving visitors the opportunity to learn all about how the operation was planned and executed.
Have you been to France? Which part of the country did you fall in love with? Share your France travel guide recommendations and tips in the comments below…