Guide to best regions of France


With its rich culture, cuisine, ancient architecture and beautiful countryside, France is one of best travel destinations in world.

Each corner of this picturesque country has its own unique character and charm that will influence your final decision on where to go and how to spend your time. Put puzzle together with our introduction to the best regions in France to visit.

Guide to best regions of France

Walking streets of Paris is one of best ways to immerse yourself in Parisian culture.

Stroll monumental streets and magnificent gardens of Paris.

The French capital can become one of most memorable memories of France. Landmarks in Paris include glowing Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe on Champs-Elysées and pinnacle of Basilica of Sacred Heart in Montmartre, as well as famous museums such as Louvre and Musée d'Orsay Impressionists. The Carnavale Museum, housed in a mansion, brings history of city to life.

Parisian boulevards and back streets are made for fanerie (walking without a specific destination) and are filled with terraced cafes, cocktail bars, jazz clubs and cinemas, specialty boutiques, street art and innovative cultural spaces. Parisian parks, such as maroon Luxembourg Gardens, offer oases of tranquility.

The surroundings of Ile-de-France, picturesque castles (Versailles, Fontainebleau, Chantilly, etc.) and family-favorite Disneyland Paris are all within a day trip.

Immerse yourself in sparkling cities and vineyards of Champagne.

The world's finest sparkling wine is produced in beautiful Champagne region east of Paris, home to famous Champagne houses, cellar tours and tastings, specialty museums and vineyard and village walks Champagne Route.

In center of Champagne viticulture lies elegant Epernay. The largest city in region, Reims, with its magnificent Gothic Notre Dame cathedral, is famous for its gastronomy. The treasure of medieval city of Troyes has a magical half-timbered center. Renoir drew his artistic inspiration from vineyards surrounding beautiful Essois.

Immerse yourself in charm of Alsace and Lorraine

East of Champagne, Lorraine is famous for its quiche of same name. Be sure to try it if you're here. In addition to World War I battlefields of Verdun, charming cities include Metz, showcasing modern art at striking Center Pompidou Metz, and sophisticated Nancy.

East again Alsace stretches along border with Germany to Switzerland in south. This fabulous land of mountains, forests and chocolate boxes, beautiful half-timbered buildings overgrown with geraniums in summer, retains a Germanic influence in its hearty dishes such as choukrut garni (sauerkraut with charcuterie) and white wine, best known at Alsace wine tastings. route. Medieval buildings are well preserved in cities of Strasbourg and Colmar.

Visit battlefields, beaches and beautiful cities of northern France.

To north of Paris is Upper France. Its opal fields framed by chalk cliffs, its beaches and wildlife-rich estuary of Baie de Somme, and Somme's sobering World War I monuments are worth exploring.

Lille, located on border with Belgium, has become an industrial design center and is largest city with beautifulmuseums (one of them is even located in an art deco swimming pool), a historic center and a beer favorite. local dishes such as Welsh (cheese melted in beer, ham on toast). Small towns such as Arras and Amiens hold Gothic treasures, while Napoleon III's Second Empire ruled Compiègne.

Guide to best regions of France

Normandy is a paradise for history buffs. There are monuments here such as Normandy American Cemetery and a memorial dedicated to American soldiers who died fighting in Europe during World War II.

Immerse yourself in centuries-old history of Normandy.

Normandy, northwest of Paris, has a rich history: Bayeux tapestry combines story of William Conqueror's invasion of England in 1066, former Giverny houses and flowering gardens, and captivating D-Day beaches near Caen with their magnificent Chateau 11th century.

The Normandy coastline feeds region's seafood (idyllically dine in boat-laden Honfleur), while lush pastures of hinterland produce butter, cream and cheese, including village of Camembert, and orchards produce Calvados cider and cork cider.

Contact with Celtic culture in Brittany

West of Normandy, Brittany separates from Atlantic Ocean. Its earliest Neolithic tribes left what is now world's largest concentration of megalithic standing stones around Karnak, followed by Celts.

The Celtic influence persists in Breton language, music and identity. Brittany retains a sense of mystical land, from castle of Josselin with towers in woods to its bustling capital Rennes. In walled port city of Saint Malo, along a coastline dotted with lighthouses, in remote Finistère and on islands like Belle Île scattered along coast, seafood is excellent (especially little Bouquet of Cancale, Rittagnon shrimp and oysters). But region is known for its savory squares and sweet pancakes paired with salted caramel and local Breton cider.

Guide to best regions of France

Chambord - most impressive castle in Loire Valley

Admire majestic castles of Loire Valley

France's longest river flows through fertile Loire Valley southwest of Paris, where royalty and aristocrats built magnificent fortified castles and palaces, and entire region is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From Orléans (saved by Joan of Arc in 1429), Loire flows west with its magnificent castles, including Chambord, Royal Château de Blois, Chaumont-sur-Loire, accessed via a drawbridge, Gaillard in style of Italian Renaissance, and Chenonceau through an arched bridge. Passing university city of Tours, castle includes majestic gardens of Villandry, Azay-le-Rideau with its moat, famous equestrian Saumur and medieval Angers. The valley's vineyards produce fine wines (especially whites) for fine dining.

Further west, river enters Atlantic near Nantes, former capital of Brittany (heritage includes castle of Dukes of Brittany and rich pancakes) and now France's most creative city.

Taste flavors of Burgundy and its famous abbeys

Southeast of Paris, Burgundy is a patchwork of stone-walled vineyards, medieval towns and villages, and remarkable ecclesiastical sites, including Cluny, once greatest abbey in Christendom, and former Roman fortress of Autun. The huge medieval Cathedral of Vézelay, Fontenay Abbey of early 12th century, and Vézelay Cathedral at top of hill.

In Dijon, atmospheric capital of Burgundy, Palace of Dukes of Burgundy is now a museum of fine arts, while Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin (International City of Gastronomy and Wine) offers culinary delights to visitors. (such as spicy mustard, garlic snails and rich bœuf bourguignon red wine) and its highly prized wines. The Grand Cru country of Beaune has an underground labyrinth of wine cellars and medieval architectural gems topped with colorful glazed tiles.

Guide to best regions of France

In summer, ski lifts in popular ski town of Chamonix provide access to exciting hiking and biking trails

Climbing peaks of French Alps and Jura

East of Burgundy, subalpine Jura Mountains on border with Switzerland formed during Jurassic period (hence name). The area is ripe for mountain cheeses and wines, including characteristic golden yellow color. The cultural center of city includes Besançon, guarded by citadel.

Follow south of Lake Geneva, to higher and majestic French Alps, to top of Mont Blanc. Exciting Chamonix, Val d'Isère and world's largest ski area Les 3 Vallées attract with snowy winter sports and high altitude summer hikes paired with melted cheese dishes like foamy fondue.

Food and outdoor activities in Rhone Valley

Lyon, third largest city in France, is located south of Burgundy, at confluence of rivers Saone and Rhone. Gorgeous sites, great museums, and longstanding traditions, including holiday bouchons (bistros serving rustic Lyon cuisine), lure visitors to stay longer than planned.

As Rhone flows south, famous ribbon of vineyards spans valley. Along way, Gallo-Roman ruins of Vienna include a Corinthian temple. Canoeing is best way to see stunning scenery of the Ardèche Gorges and natural stone bridges.

Guide to best regions of France

The Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park offers endless hiking, biking and skiing opportunities

Rejuvenate in Auvergne volcanic landscape and resorts.

In central France, west of Rhone River lies Auvergne region. Nature's heavy machinery is still visible in ash cones of Auvergne Regional Natural Park of Volcanoes, and a 10th-century church stands on a lava peak in pilgrimage town of Le Puy-en-Velay.

Black lava stone is used in architectural structures, including magnificent cathedral in largest city of Clermont-Ferrand, home to tire and tourism giant Michelin (and an interesting museum). Natural springs include those in Vichy Belle Epoque spa town. Auvergne specialties, including Le Puy lentils and some excellent cheeses, support hikes in one of France's least explored regions.

Explore different sides of southwestern France.

The southwest of France covers a wide corner of country. Along Atlantic coast, it stretches south of Nantes, past sunny Ile de Ré and historic port of La Rochelle, to wine country around Bordeaux and Biarritz, surfing mecca of Basque Country in France. Here is order. a day for pintxos (bite-sized Basque snacks).

In interior of country flows Limousin River, where city of Limoges is located, famous for its porcelain. Visit Dordogne (aka Périgord), where caves in Weser Valley hide cave paintings, truffles hide under forest canopy, and medieval market in Sarlat-la-Caneda sells local products including goose, pâtés, walnuts, wine and cheese. The plot flows through charming villages and beautiful town of Cahors. Toulouse, further south, is fourth largest city in France with its pink buildings and vibrant student population. South of Toulouse, Pyrenees rise to border with Spain.

Guide to best regions of France

Relax on pristine dunes of Montpellier's white sandy beaches

Explore Roman ruins and sandy beaches of Languedoc-Roussillon

The southern region of Roussillon, also known as French Catalonia, is close to border with Spain, especially around Mediterranean resort towns such as Collioure. Perpignan is main city here.

The Languedoc Hinterland is a wild highland area of ​​the Grands Cos et Cévennes. Walled Carcassonne has witch hat towers and restaurants serving local white bean dishes and stew casseroles. A marvel of engineering, Canal du Midi stretches 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Toulouse to Étang de Thau lagoon, next to Languedoc fishing port of Sète.

The coast attracts with historical center of Montpellier and wide beaches. Roman Nîmes has a well-preserved amphitheater and easy access to Pont du Gard, a huge aqueduct.

Journey through romantic landscapes of Provence

Honey-coloured stone villages in Provence descend from hillsides to lavender-strewn plateaus. Olive groves and rosé vineyards, markets with fresh tomatoes, melons, cherries and other seasonal produce, and translucent turquoise coves along rocky Mediterranean coastline are all postcard-worthy.

In addition to its rural charm, Provence has rich cities such as walled Avignon with its famous bridges, art festivals and papal history, elegant Aix-en-Provence with its fountains and treetops and famous paintings. In contrast, Marseille, largest city in Provence (and second largest in France), is a charming multicultural metropolis around its old Veux Port, with superb museums and restaurants specializing in famous fish broth.

Seeking bliss by sea on French Riviera

The French Riviera in southeast of Provence is known in France as Côte d'Azur because of azure Mediterranean Sea that sparkles in bright sun.

Glamorous beach resorts strung with gems along coastline, from quaint former fishing villages to sizzling clubs of Saint-Tropez, famous Cannes famous for its film festivals, Picasso's unique residence of Antibes, colorful seaside city of Nice with its wide boardwalks and pebbly beaches with sun loungers, lovely little port of Villefranche-sur-Mer and – through Principality of Monaco, home to Formula 1 Grand Prix and sophisticated Monte Carlo Casino – Italian Old World border of Menton. hinterland, Grasse grows fragrant flowers for French perfume shops.

Departure to Corsica

Wild, rugged and mountainous, Mediterranean island of Corsica is an open-air paradise with great hiking trails. Linked to mainland France by ferries (and flights), it has been part of France for over two centuries but has retained a strong independence in terms of language, culturess and cuisines, including bread made from ground chestnut flour, cold meats (such as seasonal chestnut-smoked liverwurst and wild boar pâté) and unique cheeses (many of which are grown on island's steep slopes made from goat's milk).

Astounding sights stretch around coastline of Corsica, from winding roads of Cape Corsica peninsula in north to flaming cliffs of Le Calanque de Piana, Napoleon Bonaparte's exquisite hometown of Ajaccio, and at southern tip of island are fortifications of Bonifacio. breathtaking white limestone cliffs that plunge into sea.