France is a country that once you visit, you never want to leave. From its gorgeous natural landscapes to the decadent food and wine and sophisticated culture and language, it’s a country with pastoral charm as well as a chic city vibe. Everyone knows that Paris is the top place to visit for city sophistication in France, so here are a list of 5 beautiful places around the rest of the country:
Legendary countryside landscapes dominate the southeastern-most region of France. Lavender fields, rolling hills and ancient hilltop villages make it a picturesque rural paradise. Visit Saint Rémy de Provence to discover the authentic Provencal style of country houses and living. It’s also the place that inspired much of Van Gogh’s artwork! Try the culinary specialties of this region of France at the outdoor market in this village, where you’ll find fresh fruit, baguettes, cheese and wine.
This rocky island in the north of France is famous for the Benedictine abbey perched majestically on its top. A great way to reach this island is by car, so you can enjoy the scenery of northern France along the way. There’s a causeway you can drive on to reach the island, which gives you great views of the bay along the drive. Explore the medieval village at the base of the island and make sure to see the abbey when it’s lit up at night; it’s a breathtaking sight.
Monet chose Giverny as his cherished retreat out in the countryside of France, so it’s no wonder that a visit here will make you feel as though you’ve stepped right into one of his paintings. Visit the pink shutterboard houses and gardens along the River Seine that inspired Monet’s impressionist style. You can go on French River cruises or just explore the area by foot. Relax in the water garden where weeping willows bow over the reflective pond filled with lilies and let the sounds of nature soak through you.
It’s hardly a true summer holiday in France without a visit to the French Riviera! The miles of coastline bordering the Mediterranean along the south of France draw in visitors from the world over every year. The region is actually named for the gorgeous blue waters along its coastline. Visit the glamorous cities like Monaco, Nice and Cannes for shopping and celebrity-sightings, or enjoy a more laid-back holiday exploring some of the smaller towns along the coast. Rent a car to visit the Cote d’Azur at your own pace.
The Loire Valley is nicknamed the “garden of France,” because it really does feel like a medieval garden here. Its lush and green landscape is sprinkled with castles and mansions right out of a fairytale. Here, you can forget about the modern world and imagine you’re back into the time of the Renaissance. Don’t miss a visit to Château de Chenonceau, a gorgeous castle that majestically bridges the Cher River.