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Top 10 Places To Visit In France Outside Of Paris

Top 10 Places To Visit In France Outside Of Paris

France is a country renowned for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. While Paris may be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a trip to France, there are numerous other captivating places to explore outside of the capital city. From charming coastal towns to picturesque countryside villages, here are the top 10 places to visit in France outside of Paris.

1. Nice

Nestled on the French Riviera, Nice is a city that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions. With its stunning beaches, vibrant markets, and charming old town, Nice is a must-visit destination. Take a leisurely stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, explore the colorful streets of the Vieille Ville, and indulge in delicious local cuisine.

2. Bordeaux

Bordeaux, located in southwestern France, is renowned for its world-class wines and beautiful architecture. The city is home to over 350 classified wine estates and offers numerous wine tasting tours. Explore the historic city center, visit the impressive Place de la Bourse, and enjoy a leisurely walk along the Garonne River.

3. Lyon

Lyon, often referred to as the gastronomic capital of France, is a city that delights food lovers with its culinary delights. Explore the vibrant food markets, indulge in traditional Lyonnaise dishes such as coq au vin and quenelles, and visit the famous Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, a food market named after the renowned French chef.

4. Marseille

Marseille, the second-largest city in France, is a vibrant and multicultural destination. Explore the historic Vieux-Port, visit the iconic Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica, and take a boat trip to the stunning Calanques National Park. Marseille also offers a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries and museums to explore.

5. Strasbourg

Located on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg is a city that showcases a unique blend of French and German influences. The city’s historic center, Grande Île, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to the stunning Strasbourg Cathedral. Explore the charming Petite France neighborhood, known for its picturesque canals and half-timbered houses.

6. Annecy

Known as the “Venice of the Alps,” Annecy is a picturesque town located in the French Alps. The town is famous for its stunning lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Explore the charming old town, visit the impressive Château d’Annecy, and take a boat ride on Lake Annecy to admire the breathtaking scenery.

7. Avignon

Avignon, located in the Provence region of France, is a city steeped in history and culture. The city is best known for the Palais des Papes, a grand palace that served as the residence of the popes in the 14th century. Explore the narrow streets of the old town, visit the famous Pont d’Avignon, and immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene.

8. Saint-Malo

Situated on the Brittany coast, Saint-Malo is a fortified city that offers a glimpse into France’s maritime history. Explore the ancient city walls, visit the impressive Saint-Malo Cathedral, and take a walk along the beautiful beaches. Saint-Malo is also a great base for exploring the nearby Mont Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

9. Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a medieval fortress city located in the Languedoc region of France. The city is famous for its well-preserved medieval walls and castle. Explore the narrow cobbled streets, visit the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire, and take a walk along the city walls for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

10. Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence, located in the Provence region of France, is a city known for its charming streets, beautiful architecture, and vibrant arts scene. Explore the elegant Cours Mirabeau, visit the stunning Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur, and immerse yourself in the city’s rich cultural heritage. Aix-en-Provence is also a great base for exploring the nearby lavender fields and picturesque villages.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the best time to visit France?

The best time to visit France depends on your preferences and the regions you plan to explore. The summer months of June to August are popular for coastal destinations and outdoor activities. Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Winter (December to February) is ideal for skiing in the French Alps.

2. How can I travel between these destinations?

France has an extensive and efficient transportation network, making it easy to travel between cities. You can choose to travel by train, which offers comfortable and scenic journeys. Alternatively, domestic flights and buses are also available for longer distances. Renting a car is a great option if you prefer more flexibility and want to explore the countryside.

3. Are English speakers widely understood in France?

While French is the official language in France, many people, especially in tourist areas, can understand and speak English to some extent. However, it is always helpful to learn a few basic French phrases and greetings to enhance your travel experience and show respect for the local culture.

4. Are these destinations family-friendly?

Yes, these destinations are family-friendly and offer a range of activities suitable for all ages. From exploring historic sites to enjoying outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone. Many cities also have parks, playgrounds, and family-friendly attractions to keep children entertained.

5. What are some must-try dishes in France?

France is renowned for its culinary delights. Some must-try dishes include escargots (snails), coq au vin (chicken cooked in red wine), bouillabaisse (fish stew), and crème brûlée (burnt cream). Each region in France also has its own specialties, so be sure to try the local cuisine wherever you go.

6. Are these destinations expensive to visit?

While some destinations in France can be expensive, there are also plenty of budget-friendly options available. Accommodation, dining, and transportation costs can vary depending on the location and season. Consider staying in smaller towns or opting for local eateries to save money. Additionally, planning and booking in advance can help you find the best deals.