From the famed coastline running through Nice to the blessed Bordeaux wines and medieval castle towns; France offers a grand platter of possible vacation destinations beyond Paris.
Here are 3 places in France to get you started, each offering a different flavour of France.
1. Mont Saint-Michel, Caen and Bayeux
The castle on an island; Mont Saint-Michel, one of Northern Frances most famous attractions, and for very good reason.
If you time your visit right with the tides, the road leading out to the Abbey will be completely submerged, which is quite the sight to see. It’s a great day trip to wander around the inside of the walls and discover the old halls, gardens and shops and restaurants.
For a France city-break though, I’d recommend basing yourself in Caen, where you can access both Mont St Michel, and Bayeux from, of course, best known for the tapestry but well worth a stroll around.
2. Lyon and the Rhone Valley
I got to visit the Rhône Valley on a work trip, in my previous life as a restaurant manager. We were ‘researching’ wines for our wine list, and mainly getting a little tipsy thanks to having a designated driver.
The region is absolutely beautiful, with lots of little villages which are serene and still. Historic streets spill out either to the river, or the stacked wine terraces each boasting huge emblazoned names, like the Hollywood signs of the wine world.
To get to Lyon for your weekend break in France, there are plenty of flight options to Lyon Saint Exupéry airport, one of the largest in the country.
Famed for cassoulet, which is, of course, best enjoyed inside the medieval walls of the UNESCO town, Carcassone provides a weekend in France that takes you back in time.
My parents and I spent a lovely weekend break here a few years back, where food was the main order of the trip. The pretty laid back setting, surrounded by canals and greenery make it an ideal place just to enjoy the good life in France. While there is a newer part to Carcassone, you’ll likely want to spend most of your visit exploring the fortifications and watchtowers of the old citadel.
To get to Carcassone for your weekend break in France, there are a few flights into the very close by Carcassone airport.
One of the most picturesque towns in France, Colmar looks like something straight out of a fairytale.
The colourful wooden fronted houses reflect off the little Canals, and it’s easy to tell you are close to the Germany border thanks to the criss-cross of architectural styles.
To get to Colmar for your weekend break in France, your best bet is to fly into Strasbourg and then jump on a fast-train which will deliver you in under an hour.
Okay, so we’ve left France now, but this country in a country, Monaco, is the perfect addition to a weekend break in France, thanks to the proximity to Nice.
Famous for its F1 racing, tax-free status, and the casino, which, is where on a lucky spin of red I won my winnings to splurge on a helicopter back to Nice. I personally don’t think you need longer than a day here, so it makes perfect sense to tag it on to your weekend in Nice. Here’s the lowdown of that weekend in Nice with the Helicopter ride where I left everything to chance.