France is one of my most favourite places on the planet! There is no place like it! There are so many different areas to explore, with so many regions that are so unalike you wouldn’t even know it was the same country. I know a lot of French people very rarely actually leave the country because, their country is so rich in things to do and places to see! For example live in the mountains? Brilliant you can go on holiday to the amazing beach; choose from the Mediterranean, Cote d’Azur or the Atlantic coast (My favourite place is here at Mont St Michel) Live by the beach go to the Alps and ski! So many different options.
A place up to your eyeballs in culture and history.
Really there is no place to start here, France has so much history; from the Bayeux, where believe it or not the Bayeux tapestry is kept. (lets not mention the amazing cakes at the patisserie) I do genuinely love this little town it is so picturesque and a perfect example of a northern French town. The Bayeux tapestry I have seen a few times now and every time we go back I still enjoy seeing it, it’s so huge! It takes up massive hall, normally with entrance to this you normally get the offer of seeing some of the war museums too. I am a massive world war one and world war two enthusiast. That makes me sound like I enjoy it, which also makes me sound like a bit of a sadist; I can promise you I’m not honestly. I like the world wars because I find the stories that have come from that era some of the most heart breaking and humbling. In history I feel that we repeat mistakes again and again, i.e. countries electing bigot racists into power *cough cough*, I feel like it gives me a jump back down to earth when I can read these stories and realise (at least for myself) the issues that lead to these wars. It opens my eyes and helps solidify my own beliefs.
Most of France has these odd places scattered around that you walk through or happen to glance at that give you instant heartbreak; one particular place being Ouradour- Sur-Glane, which when you hear the name, makes you think of some medieval town in a fantasy novel. In reality it is something much more somber, a stark reminder of some of the awful things that do happen to real people. I have written more in depth about this place in another post so wont go into more detail here.
Other places of great culture and history include Mont St Michel, which is one of my favourite places ever. This looks like a fairy tale castle, no lie. It is absolutely beautiful and we go almost every time we visit France. During the day it is full of tourists but it is so worth paying a little extra to stay there overnight and spend the evening and early morning exploring when nobody is there. The tiny cobble stone streets wind around and around all the way up to the monastery at the top, where you get the best views.
Next I would like to point out Carcassonne, the new town, is a lovely town in its self, there always seems to be a lot of summer festivals going off here, (whenever we have been) the best bit about Carcassonne is the old town which you can visit. Here it seems like the medieval Carcassonne has just been left, like everyone got up and left and now it’s just there mostly the way it was once upon a time. The whole are of Pays D’oc is amazing, there’s a Mediterranean climate in land which leave some fantastic views. If you are a fan of Kate Mosse, a lot of her books are based in this region and lead for a good tour of Pays D’oc. One place I loved from her books was Renne le Bains, which is a tiny little town set into a gorge, its absolutely beautiful. We actually found, in hindsight, an amazing camp site nearby. At the time due to the time of the week we stayed, we were the only people on site (I convinced myself we were going to be murdered in our sleep by the mad axe man, so it was far less of a comfortable experience than it should have been…)
Then further down close to the Pyrenees Lourdes, where people have seen apparitions of the Virgin Mary, which is an unbelievable place, there are very few places I have witnessed that are similar. It is a highly religious little town, with blessings and holy water sold on every street. A very odd combination of retail and religion, set in the midst of the Pyrenees Mountains.
And Obviously Paris which is one of the historical hubs of Europe. I have to say I still have Paris on my bucket list, I think I have put it so high on a pedestal, it will have to be the perfect trip for me to be happy going. When I do I will be doing a while guide to Paris.
Need I say more? France is very famous for the wine, if you are a wine tourist let me point you to my favourite region of France. Aquitaine, specifically Bordeaux and the region close by. My friends live in this area so I am very familiar with it and the wine there, but having travel through a few different regions of France, including Loire Valley; I would still recommend the Bordeaux wines first. Though not to say Loire Valley isn’t worth a visit, because it definitely is! My favourite place to stay would be around the town of Montandre. Places I have been to and recommend are either the Gites at Sousmouslins or Chatenet.
Its more than just the places you can visit though, France is just so relaxed (maybe not as chilled out in the centre of city’s) Driving through the lazy sunflower fields, sitting in a Gite in the middle of nowhere drinking the fantastic Bordeaux red wine; starring at the stars, as there is no light pollution. It is truly a romantic place to visit.
Personally one reason I find France so welcoming is because, I feel that there is a very small language barrier, they are very willing to help you with your French or chat in English to you, at least 90% of the people I have met in France spoke English well enough for me to have a good conversation with them. I only wish my French was better (which it is getting better) The people are incredibly friendly and accommodating, it just makes for such an easy going holiday.