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Undiscovered France: escape Europe's tourist crowds

Calanques Provence - hidden gems in France
There has been a lot in the news lately about the problem of ‘ overtourism ’ in some of the world’s most popular tourism destinations. Not only is this an issue for the people who live in these destinations, in terms of pushing up the cost of rent, house prices, and other services, it can also be a turn-off for tourists themselves. Nowadays, travelers are seeking more authentic experiences away from the tourist traps. They want to meet the locals and explore destinations by heading off the beaten track . Luckily, we have...

EXPLORE THE BEST PREHISTORIC CAVES IN FRANCE

Padirac Chasm - prehistoric caves in France - bucket list
For travelers who are interested in geology, caves and prehistoric art, there are many prehistoric caves in France that are worth visiting. Some are the original caves and some are replicas - but both types are worth visiting. Here we list some of our favorite caves in France, any of which we can try to include in your itinerary . All of the below are located in the Dordogne and Lot region s of southwestern France, except for the Chauvet cave, which is in Provence . Lascaux Cave Of all the prehistoric caves in France, this is one of the most famous. Discovered on 8th September 1940 by 18-year...

A road trip along the Normandy cider route

Calvados and Apples - Normandy Cider Route
The Normandy Cider Route , known as La Route du Cidre in French, is a unique well-marked route introducing travelers to calvados brandy and apple cider . As we head into Fall and the leaves start to display an autumnal array of yellows, oranges and reds, it is a beautiful time of year to explore the cider route in Normandy. Enjoy some apple cider and Calvados apple brandy from Normandy (Photo: OTI Bayeux-Bessin) If you’re visiting France from further afar, you may like to include a few days in Normandy...

Things to do in Cassis, France

The Calanques Creeks
Cassis, France. Approximately 15.5 miles south-east of Marseille, Cassis is a typical colorful Mediterranean port . This stunning area offers several pretty beaches , a historical harbor , impressive landscapes , and fine wines . Although the town of Cassis attracts the tourist crowds in the high season, it is nonetheless a lovely little coastal town to visit in the south of France. The bes t beaches in Cassis c an mostly be found in the famo us calanques , or creeks, just...

Seven Wonders of France

Pont du Gard best places in France
There may only be one ancient wonder of the world left – the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt – and France does not feature among the modern wonders of the world. However, for those who are interested in discovering the most wonderful places in France, we have compiled this list, and we're calling it ' The Seven Wonders of France '. Marqueyssac Gardens in Dordogne As a nod to one of the ancient wonders of the world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon , we are starting our French Wonders list with one of the most beautiful gardens in France . The ...

How to spend a day in St Malo, Brittany

The beach at St Malo, Brittany
The lovely port city of Saint Malo is a popular tourist destination and one of the jewels of the Brittany coast. In 2018, Saint Malo Beach was named the nicest beach in France . Here we give you an overview of the history of this charming town and some things to do and see in Saint Malo if you plan to spend a day there. The History of Saint-Malo Saint Malo's position on a rock at the mouth of the Rance estuary has offered the city an excellent natural defence against invaders since pre-Roman times. Interestingly, the walled city of Saint Malo was in fact named after a Welsh...

Self-Guided Walking Tour of Montmartre

Place du Tertre - self guided walking tour of Montmartre
We think that the best way to explore a place is to see it through the eyes of the people who live (or have lived) there. Here we provide a self-guided walking tour of the Montmartre district of Paris, which has historically been known for its arts scene. You will walk in the footsteps of some of its most famous former inhabitants . Some of Montmartre's most famous inhabitants French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was active in the late 19th century (during La Belle Époque ) and became famous for his paintings and posters depicting life and...

The Hidden Gems of the French Riviera

Villefranche sur Mer
I grew up in the Loire Valley, so my family didn't venture as far as the French Riviera for our summer beach vacation. We tended to head to the expansive sandy beaches of the Normandy coast, or to the beautiful Saint-Malo in Brittany. I was actually in my late 20s and seven months pregnant the first time I visited the Côte d'Azur. Guillaume and I had just started France Just For You and we wanted to visit the regions in France that we hadn't been to before. It was a long but scenic road trip through the winding mountain roads as we headed to the warmth of the Mediterranean. Truth be told, my...

Things to do in Les Baux-de-Provence

From Les Baux de Provence Castle
On our self-guided tours , we take pride in sending our travelers off the beaten track. However, there are some places that, in spite of being very touristy, we recommend visiting nonetheless. Les Baux de Provence is a case in point. One of the most beautiful villages in France , this immense and superb stone fortress is without doubt one of the must-sees on the Provencal tourist trail. The village has been painstakingly restored over recent years and is now one of the most popular attractions in Provence. Its spectacular location upon a rocky outcrop means...

After the Fire: Notre Dame de Paris will rise again

Inside Notre Dame de paris before the fire
As I write this post, I join the rest of France and millions of people around the world who remain in shock following the fire that started on April 15th, 2019. For us, Notre Dame is more than a landmark and a place of worship. It is a work of art that has born witness to our history for the greater part of the last millennium. It is a symbol of human accomplishment and endurance across many generations. “It’s the very soul of Paris, but it’s not just for French people. For all humanity, it’s one of the great monuments to the best of civilisation,” said Barbara Drake Boehm, senior curator at...

Current and Upcoming Paris Exhibitions [Updated October 2019]

Musée de l'Orangerie Paris Exhibitions 2019 and 2020 Places to visit in Paris
This post is updated periodically to include current and upcoming Paris exhibitons and events. If you're planning to visit Paris in 2019 or 2020, you will surely be interested in finding out about the essential Paris exhibitions to check out this year. Here we have put together a comprehensive list of exhibitions we think people should include in their Paris itinerary, depending on the date of their visit and their specific interests. If you are doing a tour with us, be sure to let us know if you...

Menton Lemon Festival 2020

Menton Lemon Festival on the French Riviera
In 2019, the 86th annual Lemon Festival in Menton, known locally as la Fête du Citron , adopted the theme ‘Fantastic Worlds’ ( Des Mondes Fantastiques) . As soon as we know the theme for the 2020 festival, we will update this post. See below to check the dates for the events planned for the Menton Lemon Festival 2020. Video highlights: in 2019, the festival's theme was ' Fantastic Worlds' In this post, we will tell you a bit about the town of Menton, the most ‘Italian’ city in France and one of France’s prettiest hidden gems. Then we will list...

The Best Day Trips from Paris

Rouen - best day trips from Paris
If you're planning to spend a week or more in Paris, you may want to escape the city for a day during your trip. Here we suggest ten possible day trips from Paris. Bear in mind that it is better to have more than a day in some of these places. Normally we would recommend staying in B&B accommodation nearby so that you can arrive before or leave after the tourist crowds on day tours from Paris. Nonetheless, here are our top recommendations! Palace of Versailles The Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles ( Myrabella / Wikimedia...

Where to stay in the Loire Valley

Loire Valley chateaux - where to stay in the Loire Valley
The Loire Valley region spans 175 miles, so naturally the first question on many travelers' minds will be where to stay in the Loire Valley. This post looks at some of the most central and popular locations in the Loire Valley, as well as locations which are a bit more remote or farther afield. We explain the pros and the cons of each location and their position in relation to some of the Loire Valley's main attractions. We hope this will help you to decide which area would suit you best during your stay in the Loire. To travel to the Loire Valley is to experience 'the good life' in France...

Things to do in Honfleur, Normandy

Things to do in Honfleur, Normandy
If you're planning to spend a day in Normandy , the gorgeous little harbor town of Honfleur on Normandy's coast is a great option. The best of Honfleur can be seen in half a day, though you may like to stay longer and relax on Butin beach (la Plage du Butin) about a mile and a half from downtown. We found quite a nice short video that gives an overview of the lovely old town and the harbor. Video: Videoframe Vlog, YouTube Where is Honfleur? On the Normandy coast, Honfleur is located on the estuary where the River Seine meets the English Channel. It is just across from Le...

Essential French Phrases for your France Road Trip

French conversation - Essential French Phrases for your French road trip
If you've never studied French before, or your high school French is a little rusty, it’s helpful to learn a few essential French phrases before traveling to France. This will give you more confidence finding your way around in France. You will know how to greet people politely before asking if they speak English, and it shows you're willing to make the effort, and French people will appreciate that. It might also help you make friends! Although many French people can understand some English, they tend to find it harder to speak, so they will feel more at ease if you show your willingness to...

7 beautiful French villages for your travel bucket list

Beautiful French Villages
Les Plus Beaux Villages de France Association consists of 155 of the most beautiful villages in France, worthy of any travel bucket list. These villages want visitors to experience the best of French culture and heritage beyond the most popular tourist sites. Most of these villages only have a population of a few hundred people, offering tourists a more intimate and authentic experience of our wonderful country. Here are seven of our favourite French villages. Gourdon, Provence The drive from Tourrettes-sur-Loup to the little French village of Gourdon offers some magnificent...

Hidden beauty on the French Riviera: The Lérins Islands

Lérins Islands Saint Honorat Abbey
We visited the Lérins Islands on our first research trip of the French Riviera , during the early days of France Just For You. We knew that we would include this region in our self-drive tours of France, so it was essential that we knew it inside out. Our first port of call on the French Riviera was Nice, and the crowded pebble beach there was nothing to write home about, though I did enjoy our swim under the stars that night. Only in the French Riviera is the sea warm enough to bathe in at night in October! However, after a couple of days in this southern...

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