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Holidaymakers love affair with France is a tale as old as time. Fit to burst with glamorous beaches, hilltop hamlets and landscapes of lavender, this tourist treasure has a certain je ne sais quoi. Wooing visitors with effortless ease, say 'bonjour' to the dreamy destination right on your doorstep.
Traveller's come from far and wide to witness these magical lands for themselves. Teeming with natural wonders, iconic landmarks and world-famous cities, no one is impervious to France's elegance and charm. Gaze upon legendary works of art, or simply swoon over the landscapes that inspired them. Whether you're seeking a rural retreat in picturesque Provence, glitz and glamour on the Côte d'Azur or a slice of laid-back island life on Corsica – fairy tales are reality for this bucket list beauty.
Topping the charts across the board on 'best of' compilations, France is a jack of all trades. None more so than the sensational south, where a honeypot of captivating countryside, time-honoured towns, chic seaside resorts and fantastic food awaits. The sheer amount of diversity is staggering! UNESCO World Heritage Sites are peppered generously between its borders, vineyards carpet luscious lowlands and gorgeous ravines are carved out by rushing rivers. Weaving seamlessly from dazzling cities to sleepy stone villages and jaw-dropping chateaux, you'll find it all under one roof on a holiday to France.
Basking in the Mediterranean sun, the South of France's warmer climes call to beach bums and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Treating its travellers to hot summers and mild winters, the region reimagines its revered scenery with every season. Days start heating up in April and May, when the countryside becomes a kaleidoscope of colour thanks to spring blooms. Those on the lookout for iconic lavender fields and full-faced sunflowers should time their visit for mid-June onwards, when flowering is in full swing.
July and August bring the hottest weather, with average temperatures touching 30°C without even breaking a sweat (although you might be!) Summer means days full of sunshine and balmy evenings perfect for relaxing outside with a glass of rosé. Waters along the Riviera are blissfully warm and welcoming, with the sea at a toasty 24°C. September starts cooling down, making it a shoo-in for explorations and sightseeing.
The cinematic scenes of the South of France are truly a sight to behold. Beloved by all, variety is the spice of life for this vacation veteran. Whether you're a nature lover, cultural connoisseur, sand-seeker, foodie fanatic or simply want to taste everything that's on offer – itineraries will be bursting at the seams, much like your favourite pair of trousers…
Picture-perfect Provence is every bit as elegant and enchanting as you'd imagine. Showered in swoon-worthy wonders and quintessential quirks, it's no surprise that artistic legends were drawn to these luscious lands. Beautiful inside and out, you'll be living the rustic good life before you know it! Whether that comes with sea views or inland valley vistas, the region's sophisticated simplicity is infectious. For many travellers, impossibly perched Provençal towns are the first port of call. From mountain communities to ancient sun-soaked settlements, there's no more authentic way to see France than wandering its cobblestone streets, visiting cosy cafés and soaking in the irresistible atmosphere. Brimming with historic heritage, medieval monuments and relics of Roman rule, each village is more stunning than the next. With an overwhelming amount to choose from, it's hard to whittle them down!
Man-made masterpieces and artist trails are one of Provence's most prominent trademarks. Well and truly earning the right to name drop, creative bigwigs like Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh found inspiration in the golden sunlight and idyllic landscapes. Hitting the mark with both quality and quantity, acclaimed works of art are celebrated in gallery collections across the region. Once you've witnessed the creative stylings of France's most beloved painters, it's only natural to want to feast your eyes on the places that influenced them. From towering peaks to the gorgeous Verdon Gorge and rugged beauty of the Calanques National park, outdoor lovers will have a field day! The pièce de résistance to Provence's already impressive mile-long list of must-sees, adventure your way around bucket list backdrops and admire nature's own handiwork.
Achingly stylish and seductive, the sparkle of the Côte d'Azur shines brighter than ever. Glitz and glamour is an understatement for this voguish hotspot, where star-studded shores and sun-soaked sands are a staple. The jewel in France's coastal crown, swanky seaside resorts replace rural retreats for 75 magnificent miles. With countless claims to fame, the celebrities who grace its shores are only part of the A-list appeal. Whether you have a full-time passion for the finer things in life, or you're long overdue an extravagant escape, the revered Riviera needs little introduction…
Beyond its bronzed beaches and sparkling seas, the dreamy destination is a playground for day-trip devotees and cultured, coastal quirks. World-famous hangouts roll out the red carpet for holidaymakers, with iconic cities like Monaco, Marseille and Nice all throwing their names in for consideration. City sightseeing gets you up close and personal with the crème de la crème of Riviera royalty. Why not wander the luxury strip of La Croisette in Cannes or see how many Hollywood heart throbs you can spot in celebrity-riddled Saint Tropez? Colourful Menton deserves a special mention too, the closest town to Italy's borders, it boasts beautiful botanical gardens, marvellous museums and amazing ancient fortifications. Paradise doesn't get much more prestigious than this!
As you might expect, the Côte d'Azur keeps its calendar full. Jam-packed with carnivals, festivals and countless concerts – it even hosts an International film festival. Holiday hedonism at its finest, there's plenty of trendy bars, cocktail lounges, beach clubs and boat cruises to give you a snapshot of the enviable events up and down the coast if you can't make the real deal.
Next time you're craving the exotic beauty of the Caribbean, look no further than the idyllic island of Corsica. A stone's throw from the French mainland and kissing distance from Sardinia, the Ile de beauté is just over two hours from the UK. This one-of-a-kind oasis has all the heavenly hallmarks of an unforgettable holiday, with 200 beaches and 1000 kilometres of coast – there's no denying Corsica plays its beach cards beautifully. If you think sandy escapes are all the sweeter when strange rock formations are stealing the show, then set your sights on Scandola Nature Reserve. Red-tinted sea stacks soar towards the sky from turquoise waters, setting the tone of this UNESCO protected park. A mind-blowing collection of craggy cliffs, grottoes, islets, jagged headlands and breathtaking natural colour palettes lure visitors to its lovely landscapes.
Corsica is a one stop shop for lovers of the great outdoors. Towering peaks, plunging valleys, luscious forests and wild meadows are made for back-to-nature adventures. Try your hand at hiking, canyoning, cycling, snorkelling, mountain climbing – the list is endless! With something for all ability levels, there's no excuse for missing the natural marvels of this Mediterranean masterpiece.
Despite dabbling in Italian influences and ties to 'le continent', Corsicans cherish their unique identity and are proud of their heritage. Traces of a turbulent past are echoed from clifftop citadels to mountaintop towns and seaside settlements. History hunters are in for a treat with all manner of museums, Genoese fortresses, ancient architecture and medieval monuments. Following in France's footsteps, holidays here are dazzlingly diverse. Go from mountain ridges to coastal cities in no time, where action-packed activities and relaxed explorations are available in abundance. And don't forget, Provence isn't the only place to pack a punch when it comes to charming villages!
The ultimate holiday cocktail has always featured a high dosage of sun, sand and sea – even in the wine capital of the world. There's few powerhouse names that carry as much weight as Saint Tropez or Cannes, so it's no surprise that sun-seekers flock to their glittering seafronts. Treat yourself to a sunbathing session at a swanky beach club and unleash you're A-list aspirations. The height of holiday sophistication, rub shoulders with the jet-set elite while sipping on a glass of rosé. The gorgeous, golden rays won't be the only thing you'll be soaking in!
Between hidden hideaways and renowned Riviera hotspots, France's beaches are some of its best features. Crowned in coastal royalty, chic cities and revered resorts are just as famous as the celebrities who sail in on their luxury yachts. Blue Flags and voguish villages accessorise the azure coast, while Mother Nature adds her own special touch in the form of idyllic inlets and craggy coves. Gems of an already star-studded stretch of shoreline, take your pick of secret treasures, bustling beach towns and swoon-worthy natural beauty.
Wine and dine your way through mouth-watering menus and speciality eats influenced by the seasons. Birthplace of the Michelin star, it's only fitting the respected rating originated in a country known for its spectacular gastro-scene. Geography and local ingredients have a lot to do with France's award-winning culinary creations, with the sought-after south whipping up unique dishes and delicacies just asking to be devoured. Both Ratatouille and Bouillabaisse found their beginnings in the French Riviera, with the latter being one of the most iconic tastes of the Côte d'Azur. Perfect for a summer's day, the fish soup is a firm foodie favourite. Dreamt up by a fishermen from Marseille, his concoction only grows more popular! Be sure to treat your taste buds to a bowl on your next France holiday. Bon appétit!
If croissants are France's gift to the world, then wine is its gift to the universe! You may have heard it through the grape vine… the French know a thing or two about cultivating a good vintage. Verdant vineyards stretch out across ever-changing landscapes, where a whole host of wine festivals and tasting tours can be enjoyed.
It's been well established that France is a diverse destination, so it's only natural that should extend to its shopping! Whether you're lured in by the sights and smells of a local market, or splurging on luxury brands is your holiday rite of passage – retail therapy comes in all shapes and sizes. From quality design houses to craftsmanship that's been passed down through the generations, France's products will tick a lot of shopper's boxes. Hunt down quintessential keepsakes and quirky souvenirs in boutique-lined backstreets. Spoil yourself with a shopping spree Riviera style, hitting up the likes of Cannes and Saint Tropez! Prestigious fashion icons like Versace, Gucci and Armani are perfectly positioned for their glitterati clientele. Provençal charms are in strong supply too. Local industries include perfume and lavender based goods, as well as sweet-scented soaps and traditional linens. Antiquing is a popular pastime, with travellers foraging for authentic trinkets and distinctive homeware finds.
Four wheels will set sight-seers free in France! From mountaintop stop-offs to coastal view points and everything in between, the journey alone is worth it when you're exploring these world-class driving routes. Taking you from A to B with effortless ease, roll down your window and relax as the smell of beautiful summer blooms waft in. Cruising along country lanes and through luscious lowlands you'll soon see there's no better way to get to grips with France's unforgettable natural beauty. With so many bucket list villages and wanderlust wonders, how else are you going to pack it all in?
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