France is a prosperous country, rich in terrain, gastronomy, sights, and history. The landscape is some of the most varied in Europe, from the snow-capped Alps to the sun-kissed Cote d’Azur. The acclaimed wines and cheeses can seduce the toughest food critics and the quintessential cafes lining every square and plaza make for optimal people watching. All topped with an undeniably distinct culture and a savoir-faire attitude, it is no surprise that France is the most visited country in the world. Book your flight to France, and savor some of the sites outside the Capital from day trips to Giverny from Paris amongst others:
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The “sweetness of living” is what the French say in reference to places such as the Bordeaux countryside. The picturesque landscape ripples like an undulating sea with endless rows of vines laden with grapes. You’ll be raising your glass again and again while touring vineyards and sampling the revered Bordeaux-style wine. The city of Bordeaux is one that creeps upon your heart. This architectural jewel is listed as a UNESCO site due to its sumptuous and elegant classical and neoclassical designs.
Lyon is a dynamic and thriving city between two rivers, flanked by two hills. The clear gastronomic capital of France, it has no shortage of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, including a number of the famous Lyonnais bouchons, small bistros whipping up hearty, meaty dishes. Other must-try fare includes the delicate quenelle dumplings and at least one wild concoction such as calf’s brain or pig fat fried in pig fat. After you’re painfully stuffed, stroll through the traboules (covered passageways that were once used to transport silk) or catch a performance at the ancient Grand Roman Theatre.
Towering mountains, alpine valleys, chilly lakes, and glaciers comprise the region. The French Alps can hardly be discussed without mentioning Mont Blanc and the world-class ski area, Chamonix. After a day hitting the powder, warm yourself up with hot, spiced wine, Vin Chaud. In the summer, the Alps become a mountaineering mecca with vast options for hiking and climbing. Paragliders can be seen floating above the sky. Visit the nearby medieval town of Annecy, The Venice of France, and glide on a boat through the crystal blue lake.
The French Riviera is a place for sun lovers and socialites. The Cote d’Azur is a leisure paradise for the well-heeled with French holiday homes on the waterfront. Sail along the exceptional Mediterranean coastline or watch the yachts from the balmy pebble strewn beaches in Nice. Shop for perfume in Grasse or luxury wares in Monte Carlo. Come after the congested peak summer season watch locals play boules underneath the overarching plane trees in St-Tropez.
This Gothic-style Benedictine abbey is known as “The Wonder of the West.” The abbey sits atop a sea-splashed small island, only accessible from the mainland by a causeway. Depending on the tide, the island can be encircled with miles of white sand or the bay in which the island resides becomes completely submerged. The abbey is beautiful, with soaring turrets, surrounded by sturdy ramparts and battlements, crowned by a golden statue of Archangel Michael slaying a dragon. Come at night, when the crowds lessen and the abbey is illuminated with an enchanting glow.