10 Places to Visit in France (That Aren’t Paris) • The Blonde Abroad


I jumped at the opportunity to take my first trip to Paris. From The Eiffel Tower to the Louvre to Champs Elysees, there are iconic sites everywhere that you look.

An indisputable bucket list destination, Paris is a must during any French sojourn. However, as much as I adore Paris, you’ve got to get out of town to fully appreciate the richness of French culture and the beauty of this diverse country.

From the turquoise shores of the French Riviera to the lavender fields of Provence, every region has its own treasures.

Here are 10 incredible places to visit in France, that aren’t Paris!

French Riviera

When it comes to the best road trips in the world, the south of France is a dream destination. Live the luxe life as you sip local vintages at the picture-perfect beaches dotting the Provence and Côte d’Azur coastline.

Rent a car to explore Cannes, Nice, Saint-Tropez, and beyond on a dream coastal road trip.

Lyon

You probably already know that France has some of the best food in the world. But, where do the French foodies go for the ultimate indulgence? Lyon, of course, the food capital of France. While there are many reasons to visit Lyon, Lyonnaise food tops the list for me. From freshly baked praline pies to cervelle de canut, they’re operating on a whole other level here.

Brittany

Hike the dramatic coastline then cut into the lush forest on your way to the countless medieval towns of this Breton region. Fill up on the fresh catch that local fishermen bring in every morning. It feels like a completely different place when compared to the hustle and bustle of Paris.

This rugged peninsula of France’s northwesternmost is well worth the trip.

Château de Chambord, Chambord

Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is one of the top destinations in the French countryside for its chic chateaus and cool castles.

At the meeting ground of the distinctly different regions of northern and southern France, you can explore a true fairy tale setting. With its truly unique culture, the entire Loire Valley is actually a Unesco World Heritage Site. Wander the opulent estates, sample the local wines, then dive into city life in Orléans, Blois, Tours, and Angers.

Normandy

Explore the complex history and quiet medieval old cities in this northern French region.

An absolute must for WWII history buffs, the gorgeous countryside offers a look into the quiet towns of the northern region.

A world away from the posh international scene of the south, Normandy will give you a deeper look at authentic French culture.

Marseille

On the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, I had an incredible 48 hours in Marseille. This port town is one of Europe’s oldest cities. For generations, it has been a melting pot. It’s a world away from the polished records of Cannes or St Tropez, and that can be a very good thing.

If you’re looking to leave resort life behind, add Marseille to your list.

 

Bordeaux

My fellow wine lovers already have this region at the very top of their bucket lists.

You’ll find countless tours that will bring you around the best vineyards in the Left Bank and the Right Bank. You’ll be spoilt for choice at every stop, but don’t be so quick to leave town!

The town of Bordeaux has an impressive array of things to do so plan at least a day or two to explore before you pop the cork.

Strasbourg

The biggest city in the Grand Est region of eastern France, Strasbourg sits just beside the German border.

This proximity has created a dynamic cultural fusion that gives you the best of both worlds. Visit the astronomical clock then take in the stunning views of the Rhine River.

From Strasbourg, hop over to the nearby Colmar. Wander the cobblestone streets and take in the unique medieval and early Renaissance architecture.

Provence

On a mission to find sunflower and lavender fields in Provence, I fell in love with this colorful region.

The heady aromas and radiant colors of the local flowers and herbs that dominate the landscape are truly captivating. While you will find plenty to do here, you could literally spend your entire trip just wander the fields.

Flower hunting aside, one of my highlights was visiting Verdon Gorge. The dramatic limestone cliffs part to create this beautiful gorge that was made for lazy days under the sun.

Biarritz

While Spain’s famous Basque Country tends to steal the show, France’s Basque coast is equally worth exploring. A popular haunt for nineteenth-century royals, this place has an old-school charm.

Wander around the elegant seaside cafes, boutiques, and restaurants then grab your hiking shoes. Take the footbridge over to Rocher de la Vierge for a view of the Bay of Biscay you’ll never forget.

Setting off on the first sojourn? Grab my 10 tips for your first time in France.



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