Exploring France

Travel is one of my true passions, and I have been lucky enough to have visited a wide range of destinations across the world. However, you don’t always have to travel thousands of miles away from home to find a destination you can truly appreciate. After all, Europe is just on our doorstep.

Over the last few days, particularly with limited holiday from work, I have taken to falling a little bit in love with short breaks to cities across Europe. Not only do you only have to take 1 or 2 days annual leave, if you work it smartly enough, but you don’t have to spend 10+ hours on a plane – or face any jet lag!

It’s really surprised me how many destinations there are to visit across the continent, and how vastly different each of them are too. What’s more, many of them are super affordable which is even more incentive to visit several in one year. No more needing to save up thousands of pounds for one holiday, I can often manage a 4-5 day break including flights and a hotel for under £400. That’s staying in luxury accommodation too!

One place I really want to explore further, however, is France. So, I decided to put together a wish list of Luxury France vacations I would like to embark upon over the next few years.

Whilst I have visited Paris and Monaco there is so much more to the country that I feel I am missing out on! A close friend visits France regularly and the tales of a weekend spent drinking red wine and eating cheese sound too good to miss out on – plus it’s just a hop over the channel, what could be more convenient.

From the rolling hills of the countryside, to areas such as Nice and Marseilles. There are so many different sides to the country that I imagine you could spend years visiting and enjoying different areas – though I am not sure my liver or stomach would thank me!

Marseille

Marseille is in fact the oldest city in France!

A location I have heard much about from those that have previously visited. A port city in the South of France, it was evidently founded by the Greeks around 600 BC – so a truly historic place, I am sure you would agree. Lined along the Old Port, at the heart of Marseille, is where fishmongers line up to sell their catch of the day along a boat-lined quay. How idyllic.

Champagne

Let’s guess my primary reason for wanting to visit the Champagne region of France? Naturally, its due to my love of the bubbly stuff – and where best to try it at its finest?

Home to numerous vineyards and cellars full of delicious wine, some of the most extravagant champagne houses are here – with hidden cavernous vaults between them, storing kilometres of bottles.

Épernay is a small town set within the Champagne region, and here you will be tempted by champagne maisons where you can enjoy a luxurious “pub crawl” type experience.

Montreuil-sur-Mer

What I found interesting about Montreuil-sur-Mer is that it was originally a French port – despite now being stranded 13km inland! This was after the River Canche drying up and leaving the town landlocked instead. On a hilltop and surrounding by picturesque ancient walls, the views are meant to be spectacular and the compact town is perfect for roaming without becoming too exhausted. The true selling point for me? Much of the action in Les Misérables featured here!

Two heavily damaged Gothic churches grace the main square: the church of St-Saulve and a tiny wood-panelled chapelle are additionally tucked into the side of the red-brick hospital.

St-Omer

A popular old Flemish town, featuring yellow bricked houses, St-Omer is just 44km from Calais and so super easy to reach with a ferry from Calais. Being able to drive directly to your destination makes it much easier to get around, and also means there is no fuss with airports.

Boasting many architectural delights, alongside simplistic but stylish building, there is much to see here. I can envisage myself sitting near the public gardens with a glass of wine in hand, enjoying some of the famous and delicious French cuisine.

One of my true passions and interests is learning about World War II, and so with an outstanding museum in La Coupole – just a short distance away – there would be plenty to do here for a short break of a day or two.

Brittany

Archeologically, Brittany is among the richest sites in the world – the alignments at Carnac rival Stonehenge. It first appeared in history as the “Little Britain” of Arthurian legend and was naturally popular when sea travel was at its peak – particularly due to its close distance to the UK, just across the water. In fact, not only is it close to the UK but Welsh and Irish missionary saints founded many of the settlements across Brittany.

Côte d’Azur aside, Brittany is France’s most popular resort area – with the French visiting as much as any tourist. With white-sand beaches, offshore islands and towering cliffs it is easy to see the attraction – and imagine the short journey to relaxation, no flight involved!

Have you visited France, or is there a region on you bucket list of places to explore? I am really looking forward to exploring the destination a little bit more – and sampling from French delights whilst I am there.

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