It’s the setting of a thousand films and the inspiration behind a million songs, but there is more to France than Paris. Sure, the nation’s capital is home to some of the best restaurants on the planet and has landmarks known the world over, but there is more to see. France has so much to offer whether you’re looking for jaw-dropping scenery, romantic getaways, or a place to take the whole family, France has something to suit everyone’s needs. Let’s take a look at some of the best French destinations outside of Paris.
Palace of Versailles
It was once the home of the French Royal Family before things soured for them during the French Revolution of 1789. The importance of this site goes back to the 1500s, but the Palace of Versailles didn’t become the official residence of royalty until 1682. The famous Hall of Mirrors was constructed during that time and has been redeveloped regularly down the years. The site also hosted the signing of the end of the First World War.
Since then, the Palace of Versailles has become something of a tourist hotspot. Today, it is the second most popular tourist destination in Paris behind the Louvre. Located just 12 miles from the centre of Paris, Versailles boasts lovely architecture and a fascinating glimpse into France’s past.
It may have Paris in the title, but it feels unfair to claim that Disneyland Paris lies inside the city. Located at least an hour away from the city centre, Disneyland Paris is a hugely popular destination for kids and adults alike. Whether it’s with white knuckle rides like Star Wards Hyperspace Mountain or the meet and greets with Disney’s most famous characters, Disneyland Paris has something to entertain everyone.
Auvergne is a region in France which is an area of quite incredible natural beauty. Located in the centre of the country, Auvergne has long been an area of interest to nature observers the world over. It is home to a range of volcanoes called the Chaîne des Puys which have affected the local land and wildlife.
Peaceful volcanic lakes have formed over the last few thousand years, and the region has established nature parks which play host to unique wildlife and plant life. But don’t worry, there hasn’t been a volcanic eruption for over six thousand years. Although some might argue that an eruption is overdue…
Although technically a Principality of France, Monaco is still a must-see destination for those visiting the region. The historic city is the second-smallest state in the world and is known for its rather wealthy inhabitants. Around 30% of the state’s permanent residents are millionaires thanks, in part, to softened tax laws and an opportunity to spend big.
Indeed, Monaco is an excellent place to be to spend money. The nation is filled with luxury hotels and exclusive parties and, of course, no night in Monaco is complete without a trip to the historic casino. The Casino de Monte Carlo has hosted everyone from royalty to James Bond on numerous occasions. Just be sure to brush up on your blackjack skills at an online casino like Betway beforehand. Or, if betting isn’t your thing, then you can always just rent a yacht on a site such as Yacht Charter Fleet.
South of Bordeaux, in the south-west of the country, lays the commune of Hossegor. This small seaside resort is just north of the Spanish border and has the beaches to match the popular tourist destination. Hossegor is the home of French water sports in any form. With high waves for surfing and oceans to swim in, Hossegor is the place to be if you feel most comfortable out on your board and clad in a wetsuit.
Wine & Champagne Country
For centuries, France has had a reputation as one of the best producers of wine in the world. It is a well-deserved title, but the sheer choice of wine available in France is impressive. There are regions and vineyards across the country, all offering different styles and tastes from Bordeaux to Rhone and Provence.
There is also the small matter of Champagne. Naturally, the bubbly stuff comes from the Champagne region of the country, which is situated 100 miles east of Paris. Sites like Grape Escapes offer a range of tours across the famed region to suit every taste and budget.
Of course, a large portion of The Alps is located in France, which makes the country an ideal location for skiing and snowboarding. Alpe d’Huez is a year-round resort which has a range of downhill slopes suitable for almost every skill level.
Nicknamed ‘l’Isle du Soleil’ or The Island of Sun, Alpe d’Huez boasts more days of sun in a year than almost any other skiing destination on the planet at 300. But it’s not just about skiing and snowboarding, the destination becomes a playground for cyclists in the summer months and regularly hosts the world’s best in the Tour de France.