Thursday, November 7, 2013

Top 15 Amazing Places to see in France

Welcome to our next monthly installment of 'Finding France'

What’s the France-ination? 
15 Amazing Places to Visit in 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.

When people think of France they think of fine wine and cuisine, extraordinary scenery and a laid back lifestyle that is the envy of the world. The gorgeous diverse landscape – inspiring centuries of influential writers, artists and poets – include huge mountain ranges, acres of green countryside and long stretches of sparkling coastline. Paris aside, here is L’Apartments 15 beautiful chosen places to visit in France. As FEATURED in the Gold Coast Bulletin Newspaper last weekend! 

1.  Mont St-Michel - Second to the Eiffel Tower, France’s best-loved landmark is a rocky, peaked island connected by a causeway to NW France. It’s an imposing sight sitting amid sandbanks and powerful tides, celebrated for its Gothic-style Benedictine abbey up top and medieval village below.

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.

8.    Moustiers Saint-Marie, Alpes Provence - A lovely medieval village in near the Gorges sitting astride a rushing mountain stream that divides the two halves with a narrow rocky canyon. The view of this mini-gorge is beautiful.

9.   Verdon Georges – Near Moustiers, this river canyon is considered one of Europes most beautiful with its startling turquoise-green colour.

10. VersaillesMost 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.

11. Livarot, Normandy - For the ‘cheese’, if not the beautiful scenery. The pungent Livarot is considered one of the great cheeses of Normandy. Exploring Normandy, find lush green landscapes dry-stone farmhouses, chalk-white cliffs, half-timbered buildings and other examples of picturesque architecture. The historically site of the Normandy Landing beaches and Bayeux for the famous Bayeux tapestries.

12. Hornfleur Normandy – for beautiful seaside and seafood. Hornfleur is ‘THE’ city to visit in Normandy. Be enchanted by this lovely port, which has inspired so many artists who found its changing light and picturesque quays irresistible. Enjoy typical festivals, attractions and romantic restaurants.

13. Dordognelocated 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.

Also consider, the tranquil countryside of the wine region Burgundy, the chic coastal cities and sunny shores of Corsica (pictured below), the world heritage cities of Lyon and Bordeaux, the picturesque villages and high mountains of the Mid Pyrenees and the low-key traditional wine region of Languedoc. A whole world of France is waiting to be found!

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.


  1. What an awesome list. I've been lucky enough to visit a few of these places and the rest are definitely on my bucket list. You've definitely given me lots of French inspiration .... as if I needed it :)

  2. Oh MERCI Carolyn, Im so happy you like the list. I could have easily made it a top 30 list there are so many beautiful places. and how lucky you are to have seen many of these already. I hope you make it back soon to see the rest and more... :) Merci lovely day to you xx