They say that variety is the spice of life. When it comes to vacations, this couldn’t be more true. After all, no one wants to go on holiday to somewhere that looks and feels exactly like their home. Many people travel for the rich experiences it brings them, and this is why it can be useful to have so many options to choose from when planning your next getaway. Unfortunately, too much choice can also be a curse as well as a blessing. After all, the world is pretty big – just where do you begin when trying to pick a vacation destination? There are so many different things to take into account – weather, food, culture, terrain etc. Whilst personal budgets can limit your hunt for your dream vacation (no three week all-inclusive trip to Bali, for example) pinpointing that dream destination still isn’t that easy. That’s why if you can narrow down your search by country, it will make your life a whole lot easier. One place that has something to offer the whole family is the European country of France. One an imposing world power in the fifteenth century, France is now a cultural hot spot for people from all across the globe. It is famed for it’s great food and wine, it’s relaxed atmosphere and a great arts scene, among many other things. But one of the truly fascinating things about France is just how diverse it is. Once you’ve honed in on France, there are so many different places to visit you might just want to go and see them all! To make things easier, here are some of our top picks.
The capital of France is a must-see destination for any keen culture-vulture. It is home to perhaps the most iconic French monument of all time: the Eiffel Tower. Alongside the Louvre and the L’arc du Triomphe, it’s safe to say there are plenty opportunities in this beautiful capital city. If you want to see all the sights, why not take a boat trip down the River Seine? Or if you fancy an excursion, visit the magnificent palace of Versailles – revered monarch Louis XIV’s proudest achievement. Whilst in Paris, you can also take the time to experience some of the local delicacies. After all, it’s not regarded as one of the gastronomic giants of the world for no reason.
The south of France
What comes to mind when you think of the south coast of France? It is a place that has long since been synonymous with glamour, celebrity and money – and in many ways this conception is still relevant today. The south of France boasts such beauties as the French Riviera, regarded as one of the most coveted vacation spots in Europe. Glamorous Cannes is home to the world famous Cannes Film Festival, and Saint-Tropez attracts Hollywood celebrities all year round. The weather is glorious, thanks to the region being blessed with a largely tropical climate. Balmy summer days allow you to take the day hour by hour and live the typically Southern-French lifestyle – indulging in good food and drink followed by a lazy afternoon on the beach. But if lazing about isn’t your thing, you’re in luck: there’s also plenty of culture and sightseeing to do in this southern region. The Gorge du Vernon in Provence is often said to be France’s very own Grand Canyon, and the Pope’s Palace in Avignon is the biggest gothic palace in Europe.
If the weather down in Southern France sounds a little too tropical for you, why not wrap up warm and head to the Alps for an action-packed vacation? Europe’s longest mountain range is also one of the most inhabited, with plenty of ski resorts and cute Alpine villages to choose from. Expect to be dazzled by some truly amazing views – Mont Blanc in particular strikes at imposing figure on the landscape, at nearly 5000 meters high. Make sure you take your camera along to snap some beautiful pictures. If you want to get a truly authentic experience, ditch the tourist-laden resorts and instead head to one of the smaller ski towns. Many of these offer traditional forms of accommodation, such as Morzine luxury chalets. Your Alpine vacation can be as relaxed or as hectic as you want it to be; despite the abundance of snow sports on offer, you can also dabble in other activities such as hiking, yoga and of course, a bit of apres-ski!
France continues to amaze with the sheer diversity of its terrain, as it is also home to many miles of beautiful countryside. In order to make the most of the warmer weather, head to the south west side of the country, around major cities such as Bordeaux and Toulouse. This area is home to many huge national parks, such as the Perigord Limousin National Park. The Loire Valley is also a popular destination, spanning 280 kilometers, and it is home to a range of quaint towns and lively cities, such as Orleans. A registered Unesco World Heritage Site, the valley runs adjacent to the Loire River and thus is one of the most fertile parts of the country, home to many types of flora and fauna. There are also plenty of vineyards, so you can be sure to try some exceptional wines during your time there. Closer to Bergerac you will find the region of the Dordogne, a densely wooded area many people say is ‘frozen in time’. Many people here still live a traditional rural life and you will find it is the perfect place to relax and escape modern life just for a bit. In order to find some of the best villages, you may need to go ‘slightly off the beaten track’ – but once you do you won’t be disappointed. There are few places that can offer the visual and cultural diversity that France does, so if you haven’t been, make sure you go this year.