Although it is celebrated for its rich cultural and historical heritage, flavorful cuisine, and excellent wines, France is often underrated for its natural beauty and countryside charms. From the Pyrenees in the southwest and the northern shores of Normandy to the marvelous city of Paris and the legendary French Riviera, France has something to offer travelers of all tastes and budgets and consistently ranks as the world's single most popular vacation destination.
If you're visiting France, here are some ideas for your itinerary:
-Paris: The City of Light is home to the nation's most iconic sites, including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees and the Louvre. Paris is one of the world's most romantic and popular cities, offering outstanding food, pleasant scenery, and surprisingly rich diversity.
-The Palace of Versailles: Located outside of Paris, the storied Palace of Versailles was the seat of French royalty in bygone eras. Perfectly preserved with enchantingly landscaped gardens and opulent palatial interiors, the Palace of Versailles is well worth a day trip if you're in the Ile-de-France area.
-The Cote d'Azur: The French Riviera is one of Europe's most popular vacation hotspots. With warm weather throughout the year, the Riviera's beaches and cities are a delight to visit if you're seeking some Mediterranean flavor, and the area boasts some of the best camping in France.
-Bordeaux: Southwestern France isn't as celebrated as the French Riviera, but it is equally inviting. Home to miles of beaches and the historic city of Bordeaux, this is an ideal destination if you want to enjoy France's legendary joie de vivre in a less crowded and touristy environment.
-Central France: For a French countryside experience, this is one of the most scenic and pleasant places to visit. Largely agricultural and filled with vineyards, Central France offers a quiet, relaxed pace of life and plenty of time to enjoy the quaint towns and serene pastoral views. This is an excellent place to go cycling in France.
While the summer is high season for tourism, winter offers the ideal opportunity for skiing holidays in France. The country boasts several spectacular alpine regions, including the Alps, shared with Switzerland and Italy, and the Pyrenees that separate it from Spain. If you are traveling with children, they will love Disneyland France, located near Paris.
Vacation rentals are widely available in every part of France, both urban and rural. These accommodations, which include everything from mountain cabins and quaint country homes to luxury apartments downtown, offer guests much more space and privacy than traditional hotels. Since options are plentiful in all price ranges, vacation rentals are ideal for couples, groups, and families alike.
France shares borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Andorra, making it easy for you to explore more of Western Europe. The United Kingdom is also just across the English Channel, and is accessible by rail, sea, and air.