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World-class cuisine and spectacular wine, rich culture and timeless artwork, tree-lined Parisian boulevards and the lavender fields of Provence – France is a diverse destination unmatched by any other.
France is home to some of the finest cities in the world. Packed with incredible museums, architectural landmarks, spectacular food, and a nightlife worth staying up for, French cities are as eclectic as they are electric. Sip fine wine in Bordeaux, admire the pink architecture of Toulouse at sunset, stroll along Nice’s famous seaside promenade, or fall under the spell of Paris at night as the Eiffel Tower twinkles.
Looking for a ski holiday? From December to April, the French Alps are coated in snow and ski resorts like Chamonix and Val-d’Isère offer an array of snow parks, winter sports and ski runs. When you hang up your skis, a lively après-ski scene ensures your hard work on the slopes is rewarded.
The beaches aren’t bad, either. From historic Normandy and the wild Atlantic Coast to the Mediterranean south coast and the island of Corsica, beach holidays in France always deliver. Scour rock pools on the kid-friendly beaches of Brittany, go surfing around Biarritz, or soak up the sun and glamour of the French Riviera.
Then there’s the food, which needs no introduction. Wherever you go, you’ll discover something delicious. Each region has its gastronomic specialities to try: visit chocolatiers – expect a few free samples – in Bayonne, head to the Loire vineyards to find your new favourite wine and delve into the delights of foodie capital Lyon.
Paris neighbourhoods Le Marais and the Latin Quarter are perfect for a city break, giving you easy access to big attractions like the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre. Both areas have streets lined with art galleries and terraced cafes.
With the Mediterranean climate and warm sea, Nice is ideal for a sunny weekend. Visit colourful markets and restaurants serving local dishes, such as salade niçoise and socca, a tasty pancake made from chickpeas. Stay in an art déco hotel along the Promenade des Anglais for coastal views and the full Nice experience. Magnifique.
The Dordogne is an excellent pick for a family holiday, with medieval towns, prehistoric caves, and gentle rivers for canoeing and wild swimming. Picnic on the banks of the Limeuil and take kids on the electric train into the Grotte de Rouffignac.
The French Alps is where kid-friendly ski resorts turn into summer playgrounds. Lakes and mountains around Morzine and Tignes are bustling with summer adventure sports. In winter, Avoriaz is a car-free ski resort with the indoor aquatic playground Aquariaz nearby.
The French Riviera coastline has long stretches of soft sand with colourful resort towns. Head to the famous beach resorts of Cannes, Monaco, and St Tropez for luxury, or choose more affordable seaside towns such as Cassis and Villefranche-sur-Mer.
On the island of Corsica, there are more than 200 beaches, many of which are protected from overdevelopment. Stay between Bonifacio and Porto Vecchio for beachside and harbour hotels near white-sand beaches such as Palombaggia and Santa Giulia. Whether you’re looking for a cheap package holiday or an all-inclusive beach break, you’ll find it in France.
Easy to get to by ferry or car, Brittany is an affordable destination for budget travellers with charming towns, ancient history – be sure to visit the neolithic Carnac Stones – and lots of beaches dotted between fishing harbours. Stay around Vannes for a wide choice of budget accommodation.
The Loire Valley also has affordable independent hotels along its beautiful river. Tours and Amboise are good bases for exploring the region and there’s a flat network of safe cycle lanes between towns, villages, and castles.
Famous for its bouchons – small bistros serving traditional cuisine – Lyon is considered to be France’s food capital. Head to the old silk lanes of Vieux Lyon for hearty plates of andouillette tripe sausages and pink praline tarts.
On the Garonne River, the city of Bordeaux is ideal for wine lovers. Visit the Cité du Vin wine museum and the medieval St Pierre district, which has plenty of bars and restaurants where you can try the local tipple.
Saint Tropez is a glittering party town popular with international jetsetters. Start at the Pampelonne beach for trendy beach bars, then head to courtyard restaurants and rooftop bars around the Port de St Tropez.
Nearby Marseille has an excellent nightlife scene around Vieux Port, a bustling mix of live music, lounge bars and nightclubs open till dawn. Cours Julien is the city’s creative neighbourhood with plenty of cafés, bars, and hotels.
Stay in Normandy and explore the villages, museums, and beaches that tell the stories of World War II. Normandy’s coastal landscape inspired the impressionist movement too, and you can visit Monet’s house in Giverny.
For medieval history, stop by the fortified city of Carcassonne in the south to explore the ramparts and wander the cobbled alleys. There are some hotels within the walled city, but plenty more options outside it.
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