Welcome to our next monthly installment of 'Finding France'
L’Apartment is a new Australian website offering Australian + French owned holiday homes throughout France to Australian travellers plus French regional advice and information. L’Apartment is the sister site of Petite Paris, French B&B apartments for Australian Travellers.
2. Loire Valley - An area of outstanding natural beauty, spanning 280km in the middle of the Loire River, central France. Filled with culturally and historically important architecture earning its world heritage site status and collection of fairytale-esque chateaux and mansions, beautiful landscapes and most striking river in Europe the Loire is a gentle but most definitely bourgeois paradise.
3. Abbey Senque Provence – Cisterian monks grew lavender here. In general Provence deserves its own mention. In Luberon, the heart of the region, find typical scenes of rural Provence, endless lavender fields, lush olive groves, rolling vineyards and ancient hilltop villages with shutter-board houses. Also picturesque villages of Baux-de-Provence, St. Rémy and the dazzling walled city of Avignon.
4. Colmar, Alsace – charming well-preserved old towns don’t get better than this. Colourful, decorative and flowery, the Alsatian half-timbered house is part of the local landscape evoking images from a fairy-tale book.
5. Giverny – is a riverside rural idyll on the borders of Normandy. It was Claude Monet’s country retreat and now his pink shutter-board house and photogenic country gardens are open to the public. Planted by Monet the walled water garden (that inspired many of his paintings) features white and purple wisterias, water lilies, weeping willows, bamboo and the iconic green Japanese bridge.
6. Saint Cecil Cathedral Albi – The most important religious building in Albi built in the 13th century in the heart of Cathar country, this is the largest brick building in the world, perched high on a hill above the River Tarn.
7. Cote d’Azur - The Mediterranean coastline of SE France, the French Riviera, though expensive and over-developed to some, has miles of gorgeous coastline and azure waters and is still one of the most beautiful places to visit. The sun-drenched area has attracted many royalty and celebrity visitors including artists Picasso and Matisse. Famous stylish coastal cities include Nice, Cannes, St-Tropez and Marseilles, the second largest city in France after Paris.
10. Versailles – Most famous for its chateau, the grand and ornate Palace of Versailles (once housing the kings of France including the ill-fated Louis XVI and wife Marie Antoinette) is perfectly preserved with extraordinary manicured gardens. It offers an insight into the lives of 18thC French royalty before the start of the French Revolution.
13. Dordogne – located in the SW, Dordogne is an exceptionally beautiful region impressing even the most discerning travellers. Roads and rivers wind through lush agricultural pastures and spectacular prehistoric landscapes of caves and gorges, interspersed with charming medieval towns and villages of historical heritage. Visit the sacred pilgrim’s monuments en route to Santiago de Compostela, sample local wines and explore ancient fortified towns like the striking Beynac-et-Cazenac.
14. Annecy - The French Alps are best known for their up-market ski resorts, but the region is also home to some very attractive towns which are great to visit, summer or winter. Annecy is the stand out. Built around a 14th century Chateau the whole town is interspersed with small canals. With its unusual centre and backdrop of snowy mountains, Annecy is one of the most photogenic towns in France.
15. Champagne - in addition to the miles of Champagne Routes, this region has plenty of scenic countryside, medieval chateaux and vineyards as far as the eye can see. Visit the capital ‘Troyes’ for impressive art and architecture and Reims for its famous Notre Dame Cathedral and acres of underground wine cellars. French Kings were crowned at Notre Dame and the structure is fittingly majestic.