From the beaches of Nice to the snowcapped mountains of the French Alps, from the bright lights of romantic Paris to the rustic villages of Brittany, France has something to offer every type of holiday maker, and it’s not all about the Tour de France.
Adventure tourists, families, honeymooning couples, groups of friends, backpackers, all flock to this beautiful country year after year. French cuisine is, of course, the stuff of legend, and foodies are in heaven during holidays in France as they sample the local food and wine.
For many people, France is synonymous with its capital, Paris. This vast city, known as the most romantic in the world, is famed for its chic shops, sophisticated nightlife, fine dining and – of course – landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Champs Elysee. With over 180 museums and monuments in the city, it’s impossible to get bored here, whatever type of holiday you are looking for.
Arty types can’t miss the Louvre and the Pompidou Centre, whilst beautiful Montmartre has long been a favourite haunt of artists, intellectuals and bohemians. Top class restaurants, nightclubs, bars and theatres abound in this sophisticated city, whilst travellers on a budget will find no end of traditional pavement cafes and watering holes selling good value food and drinks. The enormous city takes a few days to get to know, so it’s worth setting aside some time to expore all that Paris has to offer. Accomodation ranges from top end hotels to basic studio apartments and even youth hostels, making Paris an affordable option for all.
A cartoon image of the French is of a Breton shirted cyclist clutching a stick of French bread, and it’s true that cycling is a popular activity in France. A great way to to see the beautiful countryside is to hop on board a bicyle and travel from place to place, stopping off at local guest houses as you go. Budget travellers might want to consider camping, as there are any number of campsites dotted around the rolling hills of this beautiful country.
France is a perfect location for family holidays, particularly during the late spring and early autumn when the temperature is pleasantly warm without being stifling. Brittany, Normandy and Provence are favourite destinations for families – a popular option is to hire a cottage in a small village and enjoy the local culture. Swimming, cycling and walking are all easily available, making France a great destination for families who like to enjoy the great outdoors.
Sailing holidays and cycling holidays can also be arranged and skiing holidays in the stunning French Alps are enduringly popular thanks to great snow conditions, breathtaking views and well maintained pistes. The French Alps are also popular for summer activity holidays, with abseiling, rafting, rockclimbing, mountain biking and trekking all on offer, amid beautiful scenery.
Those who like to relax and soak up the sun will be in their element in the stunning South of France, where beautiful beaches and warm sunny weather combine to make this one of Europe’s best-loved destinations for sophisticated sun-seekers. Regions such as the Cote d’Azur are syonymous with glamour, and here you will find designer shopping, chic hotels and fine dining. However, even budget travellers can visit here without breaking the bank, thanks to an abundance of campsites and some good deals on self-catered accomodation.
The French are famous for their love of wine, and some of the world’s best known wine growing regions can be found here. As a result, wine tasting trips are hugely popular amongst travellers in France. Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace and, of course, Champagne, are all legendary among wine buffs, and a tour of the wine growing regions can be another wonderful way to explore France – just remember you don’t have to drink everything you taste!
French food is also the stuff of legend, and happily it is not necessary to spend a fortune here to eat very well. The morning trip to the bakery to pick up fresh bread and croissants, served with a bowl of coffee or hot chocolate, is a high point of each day on holiday in France, whilst the sheer array of delicious local cheeses, meats, fruit and vegetables means picnics are always a joy. In rustic villages and towns, many cafes serve just one set meal each day which is always good value and almost always delicious. One the coast, seafood lovers are spoilt for choice and the sheer range of eating options available in the bigger cities means that any preference and dietary requirement can be catered for.
Meanwhile, adventure tourists flock to France for its varied terrain – offering the potential for everything from rock climbing, paragliding and white water rafting to snowboarding. Truly a country that offers something to suit all tastes, France never goes out of fashion.