France is a large country, with a coastline on the North Sea, Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the mainland, it includes a number of islands around the world, including beautiful Corsica in the Mediterranean. With beautiful coastlines, immense history and some stunning architecture, remember to keep your multi USB travel adapter handy to keep your smartphone and camera charged. You don’t want to miss a thing! Take a look at our guide to the electricity system in France.
If there are two things the French are renowned for worldwide, it has to be their food and wine. Some would say they are a little pompous about it, but really, once you are away from Paris the French are so much friendlier and more relaxed.
So let’s start in Paris. The City of Love is also called the City of Light and it has so much to offer such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum (image by Alejandro on Flickr) and the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. Cutting the city in half is the lifeblood of Paris, the river Seine. Pleasure cruisers ply their trade up and down the river offering dinner cruises and party boats. There is so much to see and do in Paris, it could be a week on its own.
From Paris, head west towards the region of Normandy, with a mix of stunning sandy beaches, pretty fishing villages and sea cliffs. It was the scene of the D-Day landings of Operation Overload in World War Two and this is a draw for millions of visitors each year. Definitely worth a visit is the harbor of Honfleur, lined with town-houses from the 16th to the 18th centuries and has attracted artists such as Monet. A little further along the coast is Mont-Saint-Michel, a medieval fortified island. (Image of Honfleur by Pom on Flickr)
Keep going west and you head into Brittany, with its rugged cliffs and coastline. The region has historical sites stretching back to the 5th millennia BC, such as the Tumulus of Saint-Michel. The Breton people are fiercely independent and almost consider themselves a separate country and there is a strong historical connection the United Kingdom. Three great cities to discover are Saint-Malo, Rennes and Nantes.
The Atlantic Coast of France runs from the tip of Brittany down to the border with Spain, encompassing the Bay of Biscay, with some amazing scenery and cities. La Rochelle, Rochefort and Royan areas have beautiful sandy beaches. From Soulac-sur-Mer to Bayonne, almost in Spain is one long sandy beach that runs for almost 150 miles. We can’t be in this area and not mention Bordeaux, a beautiful city famed for its vineyards and wines. A little further south you’ll find the chic seaside resort of Biarritz, once the party town of movie stars and still popular today.
Moving east along the Pyrenees Mountains that stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separate France from Spain, there are beautiful spa towns and mountain retreats. The capital city of this area is Toulouse, home to Airbus, and a lovely city for a day trip. (Col du Tourmalet image by Tourisme Grande Tourmalet on Flickr)
At Perpignan, we hit the famed South of France coast. From here, through Montpellier to Marseille are some stunning wildlife areas and wetlands. Called the French Riviera from Toulon all the way to the French Italian border, it includes such iconic towns as Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez, and is the playground of movie stars and high-spenders, particularly when you get to Monaco.
From the French Riviera, heading north, you are very quickly into the Alps region, through Avignon, Chambery and Chamonix all the way to the border with Switzerland. With around 254 separate ski resorts in the French Alps and many more easily accessible in neighboring Switzerland and Italy, this area is of course fantastic for snow sports in the winter and hiking, biking, mountain climbing and more throughout the year.
The inner regions of France, although not so well known are still worth exploring, even if only because they are so unpopulated and often undisturbed by modern life! For example, Limoges is the capital of Limousin, a region that is sparsely populated and beautiful. There’s also many National Park in the French interior to discover.
Wherever you vacation in France, be sure to take a travel adapter in your luggage. With the majority of modern electronics now charging using USB, a multi-country travel adapter with USB connections is one of the most useful things to keep with you.