Published on January 4th, 2017 | by Sun Gold Soap0
Touring France’s Best Cities
Touring France is a wish for many, but where should one head for first? From Brittany and Normandy in the north to Provence in the south, each region is distinct and unique, so getting a taste of France in the space of a couple of weeks is a challenge.
Below is a list of some of France’s best cities, each special in their own way – be it the cuisine, nightlife, sights or architecture. Stay in bed and breakfasts and tour the country after a great night’s sleep and a hearty French breakfast.
France’s capital is one of the most visited cities in all of Europe and is packed with landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame. Use Paris as a base to visit some of France’s top attractions – including Disneyland – or simply soak up the unique atmosphere of this stylish city by enjoying a Parisian lunch in a small, atmospheric bistro or a romantic stroll along the river Seine. Getting here is easy, especially from the UK, with train and road connections with the rest of France as well as Europe.
A glamorous resort on France’s Mediterranean coast, Nice is also a lively city with both casinos and bars and a delightful old town packed with bustling markets and squares. Nice’s history as a spa retreat and artists’ colony dates back over a century, and the cultural legacy is apparent in the many museums. The largest city on the French Riviera, you could use Nice as an inexpensive base to tour the other resorts along this coast, including Cannes, Antibes, Saint Tropez and Monte Carlo.
The ancient, walled city of Avignon in Provence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visitors can experience history, art and architecture around every one of its narrow street corners. Overshadowing it all is the massive papal palace Palais des Papes, an immense Gothic fortress. Go shopping in the small boutiques along cobbled streets or simply enjoy a coffee in a romantic square; come in July for the annual performing arts festival.
The ideal city for the wine lover, Bordeaux is situated in one of France’s top wine-producing regions. An important port not far from the Atlantic Ocean, this historic city has much more to offer, such as elegant architecture, great shopping opportunities and a lively cultural scene. Tour the city’s stores and restaurants, or use Bordeaux as a base for exploring the picturesque villages, châteaux and vineyards of the surrounding area.
The capital city of the Alsace region straddles the French-German border, and after a history that has seen it in the hands of both countries, Strasbourg is today an important seat of the European Parliament. Visit in November or December to experience France’s oldest Christmas market, or come at any time of year for its mouthwatering cuisine; Strasbourg is the birthplace of the national delicacy, foie gras. A tour of Strasbourg’s historic center, Grande Île, should be top of your tour list.
Where to stay
Touring is made easier by the simplicity of booking a hotel in France. Even the budget hotels will offer great breakfasts and a uniquely French hospitality. To experience real character, there are many B&B options.