Coiled between lake and mountains, Annecy deserves its nickname of "Venice of the Alps". This harmonious city allows you to travel through time, from prehistory to the present day, before following in the tracks of the Princes of Savoy and eating next to the purest lake of Europe, while enjoying the numerous festivals and cultural animations. The city is also turned towards sports: the ski resorts are near the city and accessible by bus, and a biking trail goes all around the lake and lets you explore the shores.
FranceThe world’s most visited country has plenty to show for its indisputable appeal. The vivid lavender fields of lyrical Provence, the swanky French Riviera (Côte d'Azur), the rocky heights of the north and the romantic charm of its city streets have all captured myriad imaginations – and rightfully so. With its internationally renowned wines and a cuisine that was the first to become part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, it’s no wonder France remains a potent magnet for even those travelers who have already summited the Eiffel Tower.
Bergerac, in the heart of the Périgord Dordogne region, is an ancient and compact city, characterised by its elegant medieval and Renaissance buildings. Gourmet restaurants, street entertainment and the fact that the whole city can be explored on foot are all part of its charm. Bergerac is renowned for its wine, and a short trip to the outskirts of the city reveals a landscape of vineyards that produce some of the world’s finest vintages.
They all used to come here, from Napoleon III to Frank Sinatra – Biarritz used to be the Monte Carlo of the Atlantic coast but with the time, the glamour faded. Thanks to windsurfing and other water sports, however, the city has rejuvenated. It now is the perfect destination for a relaxing weekend break, completed by some of the best food around. And there is no need to rush: the city is fairly small and you can easily see everything around, even during a short visit. One thing worth to set aside time for is the morning market in Les Halles: try the city’s own mamia, fresh curd sheep’s milk.
Bonifacio is set in the extreme south of Corsica, only a few kilometres across the water from Italy. This beautiful city is full of secrets and history. The shining sea and the "maquis", as well as the fierce white limestone, create a wildly beautiful natural landscape. The warmth of the climate is also tangible in the warmth of the inhabitants; much like thousands of visitors every year, you will likely be drawn back to Bonifacio.
Bordeaux is the ultimate city for those who enjoy the good life. Celebrating wine, gastronomy, arts and culture, the city represents the very essence of the French spirit. With its broad pedestrian boulevards and gorgeous squares, modern buildings and historical architecture, Bordeaux is a bright city on the Garonne River, casting its charms around the region.
Welcome to Brest - the city with over a thousand years of history. Located on the tip of the French region of Brittany, Brest has been one of the key cities in countless numbers of battles and is currently home to one of France’s three naval bases. Take a tour and discover a city that is known for its breathtaking landscapes and scenic coastal areas. Take a boat ride to the nearby seahorse-shaped islands of Ouessant and Molene for an unforgettable experience.
Located in South of France, Carcassonne is situated at the crossing of two major routes: from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean coast and from the heart of France to Spain, both used since antiquity. The medieval fortified Cité is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. No wonder that Carcassone is home to a unique historical and cultural past. If you add the local traditional dishes, the hospitality of its inhabitants and some of the best vineyards in the south of France, your stay holds promise of being a most memorable one.
A historical and cultural hub, Clermont-Ferrand houses architectural beauties and glorious cathedrals with a clear Gothic accent. Nestled at the foot of a chain of volcanoes, the ancient city is the capital of "Massif Central", the rural and mountainous Auvergne region. The city is the gateway to the Natural Volcano Park, which shifts from mountains to valleys, providing breathtaking views over unspoiled landscapes.
Often called the 21st arrondissement of Paris, Deauville has been the go-to destination for the upper crust of French society for decades. Today it is a spectacular seaside resort town sporting grand promenades, glamorous casinos, a pair of thoroughbred horse race tracks and plenty of chic visitors.
Dinard, set on the dramatic coastline of Brittany in northern France, has long been a fashionable destination for holidaying French urbanites. Characterised by its long and wide, tree-lined boulevards that converge on elegant squares full of chic restaurants and creperies, the city juts out seawards and is, therefore, surrounded on three sides by beaches and the sea. For sailing, water sport and beach enthusiasts, it means that the coast is always within easy walking distance.
Grenoble is the gateway to the Alps and a geographic crossing where the rivers Isère and Drac meet. With Switzerland to the north, Italy to the east and Provence to the south, the city is surrounded by three mountain chains. It is a cosmopolitan city with cafés, museums and restaurants. Best of all, you can see the Alps from almost every street corner.
La Rochelle is more than just a seaport on the Atlantic Ocean. The city is an inevitable place to visit on the coast as one of the largest French harbour cities in terms of business and tourism. With its 1,000 years of history, it is also one of the best-kept secrets in the region. You will be surprised by its architectural heritage, its unique atmosphere, the diversity of its museums and its eclectic nightlife. The area is quite warm thanks to the Gulf Stream, on a par with the French Riviera!
Destination Cap d'Agde Mediterranean Cape of Agde Mediterranean Alliance between land and sea Cap of Agde Mediterranean is located In the south of France, in Occitania, a region that enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year; everyone agrees that it is a great holiday destination. It is made up of 3 complimentary seaside resorts:Cape of Agde, Vias and Portiragnes, with fine sand and volcanic beaches, beaches bordered by pine forests, and an authentic hinterland with towns and villages with a well kep heritage, with living tradtions and varied arts and crafts professions. Featuring Pézenas, the town of Molière, Agde, the Ancient Phocaean trading post or Montagnac, the great mediaeval fair town. The Canal du Midi is the backbone of the Cap d'Agde Mediterranean passing through it from one end to the other. There are so many entertainment and cultural events on offer that you’ll keep wanting to come back throughout the year. It also offers 20km of coastline, partly wild and partly developed fine sandy beaches, a natural environment made up of parks, pine forests, closely protected marine areas, historical monuments, astonishing heritage, top quality sporting facilities and is a permanent whirl of activity.
The title of European Capital of Culture awarded to Lille over a decade ago was not the height of its ability, but rather a humble beginning, for in the years to follow Lille has grown to become a cultural hub second to none in northern France – and, some would argue, even beyond. There is a strong Flemish flavour in Lille, which manifests itself literally, through Lillois cuisine, and figuratively, through the ornate buildings of the charming old town (Vieux Lille).
Overlooking a river among green hills, Limoges has long been synonymous with the finest porcelain, while its tradition of enamelware goes back even further. Many sights and attractions are centered around this proud history. Those industries brought immense wealth to the town, which reflects in many of the town's impressive medieval buildings built of local rose-tinted granite. The air of prosperity and style with good shops and restaurants, plenty to do and always more to discover.
Lyon is usually called the capital city of gastronomy. For a long time, this was equated with sauces and a petit-bourgeois small town complex. But then the TGV high speed train linked Lyon with Paris and Marseille, Olympique de Lyon started to win League Championship after League Championship, and a new Lyon was suddenly filled with daring architecture, crowded cafés and avant-garde exhibitions.
Marseille is the undiscovered jewel in the crown of France’s Mediterranean coastline. The rocky hills of Provence look down onto the ancient port and the thousands of boats docked in its clear blue waters. Countless artists have been seduced by the sunny climate and the hustle-and-bustle of the town. France’s second city has all you could ask for - beautiful beaches, ancient buildings, thriving arts, and a dynamic nightlife. Welcome to a place fiercely proud of its unique cultural heritage, dubbed "Planet Mars" by its youthful population.
Montpellier has become one of Europe’s newest holiday destinations. This is due to the combination of its proximity to the Mediterranean, its beautiful medieval city core and a vibrant nightlife (a quarter of its citizens are students). It is also a good destination for adventure seekers – the mountains of Cévennes are only an hour’s drive away.
Playful and creative, vibrant and young, Nantes has been literally turned upside down by art! Located in the south of Brittany, it is just 45 minutes away from the Atlantic Ocean. Visit its magnificent castle of the Dukes of Brittany, follow the footsteps of Jules Verne (born in Nantes) and ride on the Grand Elephant at Les Machines de l’île. Stroll in the medieval quarter, enjoy a collection of 30 contemporary artworks displayed in the city and along the Estuary of the Loire !
The Greeks and Romans did it, as did rich lords, film stars, artists and thousands of tourists. They were just going to pass by, but instead remained in Nice and along the Riviera. Some for just a few weeks, others for months and years. They were too captivated by the light, enchanted by the scents and charmed by the taste of olives, wine and succulent vegetables. All this with a chance to dabble their toes in a turquoise sea! In addition to this, a Nice Nouveau has evolved – a sassy Mediterranean metropolis with pulsating nightlife, new avant-garde hotels and daring art galleries. The most fashionable street, the Promenade des Anglais, is the Champs-Elysées of the whole Riviera. Have you already bought your return ticket?
Nîmes is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is also the city of spring, named after the Roman God Nemausus. In recent years Nîmes has been rediscovered as a weekend destination, thanks to, in large part, its beauty, rich architectural heritage and proximity to both the Mediterranean and Provence. There are also many exciting restaurants in the city, including Aux Plaisirs des Halles by Nîmes’ large indoor food market.
Few cities match the iconic status that Paris boasts in the imagination of travellers. In fashion, gastronomy, the arts, she is queen. As you visit the different 'quartiers' of the City of Lights her moods shift from gritty to sophisticated, Haute Couture to punk. There is always something new to discover in Paris beyond the legendary sights and museums we all know so well. This fabled city has a way of getting under your skin and feeling instantly familiar to all who wander her hypnotic streets and linger at her inviting cafes.
Nestled in the corner of rural south-west France stands Pau, the capital of the Béarn province, a bastion of history and culture. The town occupies a unique geographical position in the foothills of the Pyrenées. With its awe-inspiring views of the mountain range, Pau is only a few hundred kilometres from the major towns of Bordeaux and Toulouse, and even closer to Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. A springboard to sunny beaches or snow-capped mountains, Pau’s pretty streets and excellent gastronomy are enough to ensure leaving will be difficult.
Located in the deep south of France, Perpignan is the capital of the Pyrénées Orientales. Its geographical and cultural identity is turned naturally to Spanish Catalonia since it's a border city, looking out onto the Mediterranean coast and the highest mountains of the French Pyrenees at once. Perpignan is a busy place greatly influenced by Mediterranean cultures and benefiting from 2500 hours of sun per year – no wonder Salvador Dali saw it as the “Centre of the World”.
With 2000 years of history, dozens of monuments, impressive medieval streets and beautiful boulevards, Poitiers boasts a rich and fascinating heritage. But the city has more to offer than just memories: trendy cafes and cool bars to a lively student crowd keep it young and vibrant.
Reims is one of France's most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities. It offers visitors a great choice of fine restaurants, brasseries and shops, lively nightlife, concerts, festivals and cultural events, and of course, world-famous Champagne houses to visit and sample the local nectar. With tree-lined avenues, elegant squares and a magnificent Gothic style cathedral that played host to the coronation of several kings of France.
Located at the foot of the Massif Central and less than a two-hour drive from the Mediterranean, Rodez is the capital of the Aveyron Region. This picturesque region is one of the best kept secrets of France, offering more attractions than you would expect. Rodez is surrounded by several village communities, all rich in cultural and historical assets, which contribute to making the town a prime tourist destination.
If you like food, art and architecture you will feel right at home in Rouen. You can find this historical capital right in the heart of Upper Normandy. Being located on the banks of the beautiful Seine River, Rouen is an easy launch pad for exploring the French countryside, and picturesque areas like Connelles and Val-de-Reuil can be found just around the corner. Walking through Rouen is like walking through history. This is a city with an abundance of historic buildings, markets and shops.
Birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte and home to some awe-inspiring natural landscapes, Southern Corsica (or Corse-du-Sud) entices with outdoor pursuits, remnants of prehistoric settlements, and a stunningly diverse scenery. From the dramatic white cliffs of Bonifacio, to whimsical rock formations of Piana, to the uninhabited Lavezzi Islands and white-sand beaches, Southern Corsica has plenty to capture imaginations with.
With the tiny rivers and narrow alleys, extraordinarily varied architecture and the poetry which emerges from the magnificent historical centre, the Alsatian capital is simply delightful. A rich cuisine, a plentiful cultural life and position in the heart of Europe are also important parts of this city. Both in winter and summer, Strasbourg, which is classified as a world heritage site by the United Nations, is one of France’s most attractive and romantic destinations.
Toulon is a genuine incarnation of Provence, as it is not one of those garishly painted souvenir shops some other Riviera towns have turned into, smelling of synthetic lavender and selling unauthentic goods. This area features wonderful smells for real: of real lavender and thyme in the market places, of salty sea breeze that wafts the whole coastline, and of a vibrant yet relaxing atmosphere that attracts locals and people alike.
Toulouse can only be evoked with emotion and excitement. The city seduces and amazes the visitor with its cultural dynamism and its youth shining a new light over an otherwise traditional and typically French town. It resolutely is a charming and vibrant city, where tourists and locals alike can enjoy a certain nonchalance, while following the river from one activity to the other. Tinted in pink and lighten up by the Southern sun, Toulouse is a true gem in the French province.
The bright, lively capital of the Loire Valley region is nestled between two rivers: the Loire and the Cher, with the picturesque Vieux Tours old quarter lying on the long, narrow peninsula. Brilliant modern architecture contrasts against an array of historic buildings, with an added bonus of fine food and wine famed all over France.
The small Mediterranean island of Corsica encompasses a bewildering diversity of landscapes, experiences and delicacies. Though its southern counterpart often steals the spotlight, the region of Upper Corsica lacks for nothing in terms of entertainment, character and natural beauty, and savvy travellers would do well not to ignore its unmistakable allure, from the peak of Monte Cinto to the island's numerous picture perfect coastal and hilltop villages.