The Anti-Tourist

I like to beat new paths for myself.

10 Beautiful Places in France that aren't Paris

By 11:15:00 ,

If you follow me on Pinterest, you already know I have an unhealthy obsession with all things French, especially Paris. But as time goes on and my passport gains more and more miles, I've grown to love and put in my bucketlist many other French spots. So if you're over Paris but still want that little ooh-la-la in your life, read on and check out my 10 favourite spots across France! (apologies in advance for some serious wanderlust)

1. Versailles

Starting off nice and slow, Versailles is an iconic destination that's only an hour's train ride away from Paris. Although I feared it would be a huge tourist trap, the Palace and its massive gardens were a pleasure to go through and explore, and with some careful planning we even avoided a lot of the queues. You can check out my take on Versailles here.

2. Giverny

Giverny is a relatively unknown but gorgeous spot in France, also around an hour away from Paris. It's the home of Claude Monet and the place that inspired his art, and looking at the gardens, it's easy to see why. The iconic Japanese bridges and lilies can be found at the Water Garden, normally open from November through April.

3. Mont Saint Michel

This place is simply magical. A tiny island commune just off the northern coast in Lower Normandy, Mont St Michel is home to a beautiful Norman Benedictine Abbey at its very peak, and is a very well preserved microcosm of a medieval town. 

Its also rarely subject to floods, leading it to become a completely cut off island, but these instances are very rare and far between, so don't worry too much about that! What you do need to do is to travel there only by the causeway - tides change very quickly and the tracherous quicksand has claimed the lives of many! 

4. Etretat, Normandy

Credit: Huffington Post
Not too far from Mont St Michel, Etretat is one of the prettiest coastal towns in France, if not Europe. The eroded white cliffs give us the most amazing views, but don't forget to pay a visit to the town itself, with its quaint old market square and Notre Dame Church.

5. Strasbourg

This quaint city in the Alsace region is probably best known for being the seat of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, however you'd be missing out on a lot of unique charming spots if you left it at that. Located very closely to the German border, the culture and architecture is a mix of both French and German traits.

It's also a very young city, and it the city centre comes to life at night. Don't miss out on the Winter Markets and the canals at the heart of Strasbourg, and as usual, the best way of exploring the city is on foot! Check out my (sadly) brief visit here

6. Corsica

On the Mediterranean side of France, you can't miss out on Corsica, the birthplace of Napoleon and home to some splendid beaches and architectural wonders. The island is very mountainous and rocky, and the best place to see that for yourself is at Bonifacio, a town built on the very edge of a slowly eroding cliff side. Talk about living on the edge!

7. Chamonix

Although best known for its wintery white slopes, the Chamonix valley offers the best views in the French Alps throughout the year. Whether you're into winter sports, that cheese fondue in log cabins *cough cough* or spring hikes on green flowery slopes, the area is a fantastic getaway from urban life. Beware though, it's an extremely popular area, so avoid tourist traps as much as you can! Don't miss out on Mer de Glace, Mont Blanc's and France's largest glacier. Walk into its grotto and admire the glistening ice, changing colours as the light dances off it.

8. Lavender Fields, Provence

Credit: Swimming the Depths
The most beautiful and fragrant lavender fields are in full bloom from June to August in the Luberon regions. The lavender roads take you on a trip around the most scenic fields, farms and lavender museums and shops. Once you're there, check out the Notre-Dame de Senanque, a community of Cistercian Monks, whose building becomes surrounded by lavender up to its front door in the summer months. 

9. Gorges du Verdon

Just two hours away from Marseille, the Verdon Gorge is a fantastic spot in the French Riviera. Aquamarine waters and lush landscapes make it one of France's favourite landscapes. The favourite French way of enjoying the gorge is by renting out a pedalo and sailing right into the gorge, which sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day if you ask me! 

10. Loire Valley

Credit: Eurostar
The Loire Valley sounds like a dream: majestic castles and architecture, wine making and incredible food. Can I pack my bags already? The region is very proud of its wine produce, and you can easily explore the vineyards in the area and enjoy some wine tasting sessions. *Hic*

Join in the fun and follow my French shrine on Pinterest - share your own favourite French spots in the comments down below! 

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