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The Best of France

My Best Places to Visit in Normandy

Normandy countryside with apple orchard and cows
By Laura Crotet, Senior Trip Planner at France Just For You Normandy has so much to offer, it is difficult to decide the best places to visit. I used to live in Evreux, which is located towards the eastern edge of Normandy, about 1-1/2 hours outside of Paris. My family and I loved living there, and we even lived in a 200-year-old typical half-timbered thatched roof house called a chaumière . The Crotet family Chaumière, ©Laura Crotet We enjoyed discovering the region, and it is a large one. Running along the English Channel , from Dieppe...

The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa and Gardens

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild from garden
Step back into the glamour of the Belle Epoque Riviera with a visit to the beautiful Ephrussi de Rothschild villa and surrounding gardens – the jewel of the Côte d’Azur . The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and some fountains, © Max Pixel The History of the villa and its creator Béatrice de Rothschild , daughter of the famous banker and art collector Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, was born in 1864. She was intelligent and charming, and enjoyed living in some of the most opulent homes from that time in Paris and around Paris. She married Maurice Ephrussi in 1883...

Biking in the Loire Valley

View of Blois from the bike path
I know that for a lot of people, the idea of biking in the French countryside, through the romantic rolling vineyards, just to luckily happen upon a cute little outdoor market in a picturesque village is the stuff that travel dreams are made of. For me, it means a sore behind and legs, bugs in my face and thinking all the time “why didn’t I just drive”? Well, I wanted to test a new itinerary for biking in the Loire Valley , in the Blois – Château de Chambord area. They announced beautiful weather for the week, my daughter Célestine was ready and willing, so we did it. And I must admit, I was...

Things to do in Bordeaux

Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux
The area around the city of Bordeaux is a rich and wonderful spot to visit. And the city itself, France’s 5th largest, is an exciting and dynamic place to spend a few days. Over about the last 25 years, the city has come a long way with a very successful regeneration program launched by former prime minister and Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé. In the 90’s, the buildings were black from pollution, the riverbanks were lined with abandoned warehouses, and the city seemed closed into itself. Things quickly changed, and in 2007, Bordeaux was listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site , making it the...

21 Reasons to Visit France in 2021

As 2021 begins, international travel is not yet possible. But we do know that this situation isn't forever. With the vaccine campaigns started across the globe, we're hopeful that it won't be too long before people feel confident and safe enough to travel again in the near future. And when that time comes, France is the place to be. As if you need any convincing, here are 21 reasons to visit France in 2021: 1. THE BEAUTY OF THE LANGUAGE It may have been a while since you learned French, but just hearing it is enough to get the memory flowing. The language of love, of art and literature, of...

How we celebrate Christmas in France

Christmas in France
If you would like to know more about how Christmas is normally celebrated in France, we have put together this Q&A with Emilie Thyebaut, Founder of France Just For You. If there's anything we haven't answered, please contact us with your question! Which day does France just for you normally celebrate Christmas? The Thyebaut family normally celebrates with one side of the family on the 25th, and then with the other side of the family on another day. In terms of exchanging gifts, some families in the north of France do this on 6th December (St Nicholas’ Day), many on...

Chanel exhibition: an icon of French Fashion

Chanel store
At the time of writing, the City of Paris Fashion Museum , also known as the Palais Galliera , has just finished extension work. It has re-opened with a new exhibition on the life and work of one of the world’s most renowned and remarkable fashion designers: Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883-1971). Chanel Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2011-2012, Fashion Show at the Grand Palais in Paris (Photo: Haute Couture News, CC-BY SA 3.0 ) In this post, we look at her rise to fame and fortune, and suggest how you can explore and emulate Chanel by...

The Camargue: A world of its own in Southern France

Flamingos in the Camargue France
By Kaya Lemaire When I was 18, I didn’t know anything about France beyond the Eiffel Tower and baguette with brie. I wouldn’t have dreamed of travelling to the South, because I thought that the quintessential French experience lay in the streets of Paris. What I didn’t realize is that France is a mosaic of cultural nuances, landscapes, wildlife, and cuisine. In fact, lying nestled in between Montpellier and Marseille is one of the country's truly unique regions. A road trip to a magical place in the South of France Was I in for a surprise when we found ourselves hurtling...

Visit our favorite markets in Provence

Farmers market in Aix en Provence
At the time of writing, we’re in the midst of the grape harvest! Farmers markets all over France are bustling all year round as locals continue to prefer fresh produce over the grocery store chains. And this is even more true during the fall harvest season, with its abondance of new winter vegetables. In this post, we spend a week exploring markets in Provence in southern France. As well as farmers’ markets, we’re including antiques, handicrafts, textiles and other markets that are wonderful for buying authentic French souvenirs . So make sure you keep this list handy the...

The Best Things to Do in Biarritz, France

Best things to do in Biarritz, Basque Country, France
Biarritz is part of the Basque Country and lies on the Atlantic coast in the southwest of France, not far from the Spanish border. It was once a small whaling town on the Atlantic coast. Then Napoleon III ’s wife, the Empress Eugénie de Montijo, discovered it in the 1850s and ordered the construction of a luxurious vacation home on the sand dunes. This later became the luxury Hôtel du Palais. And thus Biarritz became one of the preferred holiday destinations for the French nobility. Nowadays it still has its glamor, but also has a hippy surfer vibe, and it'...

Our Post-Quarantine Road Trip Through Provence

Pont du Gard on our road trip through Provence
One of the reasons we're able to offer unique experiences and visits to hidden gems as part of our self-drive tours is because we’re often on the road researching and looking for ways to continually improve our tours. After eight weeks under lockdown during the pandemic, we were of course itching to get back out on the road again. Of course, we never tire of exploring our beautiful country. But we also wanted to check how the pandemic had affected travel in France, our favorite sites to send travelers to, and our partners at the Bed & Breakfasts we work with. So we decided to take a road...

Exploring Le Marais district in Paris

Place Sainte Catherine in Le Marais, Paris
Many of our travelers want to spend a few days in Paris during their self-guided tour of France . In Paris, we work with a charming family-run boutique hotel in the fashionable yet quaint Marais district in the 4th arrondissement. TIP: There are a lot of different metro stations around Le Marais district. Decide which place you would like to visit first, and then see which stations are near. Also check which metro line will be most convenient from where you’re starting. Le Marais - our favorite district in Paris, full of charm and antiquity A cafe in Le Marais in Paris (Photo© Borya CC...

Is it safe to travel to France in 2020? [Covid-19 update July 2020]

lavender fields in the luberon, provence
We understand that travelers will be worried about the risks of traveling while the coronavirus pandemic continues across the globe. We will update this post with the latest information about France regarding travel, safety measures and the benefits of traveling in late 2020 and 2021. In June 2020, after lockdown had ended, we hit the road and left our home in the Loire Valley to visit some of our favorite parts of France. We felt very safe at every attraction, B&B and restaurant we visited. People are still being careful about observing the social distancing rules. And apart from seeing...

Interview: life as a winemaker in the Loire Valley

purple grapes with fall colors
This month we are dedicating our blog to one of our favorite themes - Wine! Living in the Loire Valley, we are lucky to have plenty of vineyards and wineries within close proximity. One of our favorites belongs to one of my high school friends, Clothilde Pain. She is a fantastic winemaker and makes delicious and very innovative wines . Her father is also a winemaker. In fact, my father used to buy wine from her father; and now I buy wine from her. It has become a family tradition! The key to success, she says, when it comes to making wines lies in obtaining optimal maturity...

Monet at the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris

Monet's water lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris
By Naomi Dalton As many visitors to France are only in Paris for a few days, they arrive with a ‘bucket-list’ of attractions they want to see. The most popular include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, The Musée D’Orsay , Notre Dame Cathedral and one or two places that are more specialized, relating to their interests, such as the Centre Pompidou Modern Art museum , or the Paris Botanical Gardens. One museum that is really worth a visit is the Musée de l’Orangerie . It’s only a 15-minute walk through the Tuilerie Gardens from the Louvre, so it’s convenient to visit...

France's wine regions and our favorite wineries

France's wine country, south of France vineyard
Many of our travelers ask to include a wine tour , wine-tasting or vineyard tour in their self-drive trips. Therefore, we wanted to write a post on some of the famous French wine regions, including some top tips on the best wineries and wines. Bordeaux Bordeaux , in the French region of Aquitaine, is one of the most famous French wine regions, along with Champagne and Burgundy. This is partly due to Bordeaux being next to the coast, which led to it becoming a major wine exporting region for centuries. Bordeaux became the main wine supplying region to...

Places to Visit in France during the Fall

Many of you will have had to cancel the vacations you had planned for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Like us, you probably can’t wait for life to return to something close to normality so you can enjoy doing the things you love - seeing friends, going out for dinner, and starting to make travel plans again. In this post, we’re going to fast-forward to offer you some inspiration for future Fall vacations. Depending on where you want to go and what you want to do, the fall can be an ideal time to visit France. September is often still warm but not as overwhelmingly hot...

Your France Road Trip Playlist

A fun way to prepare for your road trip around France is to compile a playlist of French music to listen to on your drives between stops. You can also listen to these before you travel, and choose your favorite songs. Immerse yourself in the French lyrics, melodies and rhythms, as you look forward to your vacation! Search for the following songs on iTunes, Spotify, and Deezer. You can also listen to them on YouTube, just to see if you like the style! Oldies Yves Montand A Bicyclette Edith Piaf Edith Piaf was one of France's most famous international starts of all time. A...

10 French series to watch on Netflix

watch french series on netflix
At the time of writing this post, 1.5 billion people around the world are in some form of enforced confinement due to the Covid-19 epidemic. As many of our readers had plans to travel to France this year, we want to help keep your travel dreams alive. Our wishes for all our readers and travelers is for you to be immersed in French culture, and really understand what it means to be French - from the humor, to the food, to the sceneries and our traditions. Here we have selected a variety of French-language series of diverse genres. We have tried to include something for everyone, and many of...

Travelers' story: our love affair with France

Roscoff France self drive tour
Last month, Ben and Jane Lintott from South West England, UK, reached out to us to share their France Just For You travel story in our newsletter. As they have such a lovely story about their relationship with France and their travels through the country over many years, we wanted to share it here on our blog. As told by Ben and Jane Lintott, UK From childhood caravan/RV holidays to buying a house in Dordogne, we really have come full circle in our love affair with France! Childhood holidays in France Before our trip with France Just...

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