The following article was written by Tom Mcloughlin. Read more about Tom in the author’s bio at the bottom of this post.
There are so many more amazing places to visit in France than just Paris and the Eiffel Tower. There are some other excellent regions to visit such as Provence, Alsace, Burgundy, Normandy, Bordeaux, Brittany and the French Alps. In these regions you’ll find numerous activities to enjoy to keep you busy and we’ve listed five of the best below.
Do a Cycling Tour
You don’t need to enter the famous Tour de France bike race to explore the nation’s magnificent scenery on two wheels.
There are plenty of tour companies in France (I recommend LeveloVoyageur) that will take you on guided cycling tours of the French countryside and you can also take matters into your own hands by simply exploring things on your own.
If you decide to take a tour with or without a guide they can be customized to suit your biking experience, fitness level, time, appetite and interests. You can also tour the countryside by yourself as a family couple or with a group of friends. Many tours will enable you to travel at your own pace as you discover wonderful French cuisine, culture, history and people.
Brittany is a great place to plan a cycle tour. From the ancient streets of St.Malo, to the canals of Rennes, you can explore many places in this region by bicycle. One favourite itinerary is the 110km ride from the Breton Capital of Rennes, to St.Malo following the tranquil green way stopping at historic sites like Dinan and Dinard. Peddling through the vibrant green countryside in this part of France is relaxing and exilherating all at the same time.
To get to Brittany from the UK, check out Brittany Ferries. They offer Channel ferries to France, with the widest choice of ferry crossings available anywhere. If you’re in the UK, you can depart from Portsmouth, Plymouth or Poole and travel to Cherbourg, St Malo, Caen, Le Havre or Roscoff for a direct Channel crossing to France.
Hiking and Camping
If your boots are made for walking you might prefer to explore fabulous France on your two feet rather than two wheels. This will allow you to enjoy hiking and camping in the remarkable countryside. The nation is home to well over 100,000 miles of walking and hiking trails with the rugged Alps and Pyrenees regions being among the favourites with lovers of the outdoors.
Campers and hikers will be able to enjoy the many national parks and campgrounds that are located around the country. Some of the most popular French national parks for hiking include Cevennes, Vanoise, Mercantour, Ecrins, Parc naturel regional d’Armorique, and the Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park.
Go on a Ski Trip
Skiing and France go hand in hand as there are several excellent resorts for weekend getaways and longer trips. There are plenty of options for skiers and snowboarders including resorts such as the Avoriaz which can be found in the famous Portes du Soleil ski region in the French Alps.
There’s no need to worry if you’re a beginner or lack experience since ski and snowboard schools are quite easy to find for skiers of all skill levels. You can find some fantastic ski chalets in Meribel (check out consensiochalets.co.uk for listings) as well as in Serre Chevalier, Val d’sere, Tignes, St Martin-de-Belleville, Courchevel and Les Gets.
You’ll be able to find something to suit your needs whether you’re planning a family, partying, or romantic ski trip.
Take a River Cruise
Another way to soak in the beauty of France is to take a cruise down one of its remarkable rivers such as the Seine, Rhone, Garonne, Dordogne, and Loire. There are numerous top-notch cruise lines which travel these scenic river routes throughout most of the year with all of them making key historic stops.
These exceptional waterways will offer travelers a unique perspective on a variety of sites such as medieval towns, stunning landscapes, vineyards, and gardens along with charming villages, fabled castles, churches, abbeys, chateaus, cathedrals and monasteries.
A French river cruise will provide visitors with a unique insight into the traditions, heritage and culture of those who live alongside it.
Take a Walking Tour of Paris
One of the best ways to see everything Paris has to offer is to take a walking tour with one of the city’s natives. There are dozens of walking tours available in the City of Light with many of them being of the free variety.
A guided tour ensures you’ll see most of the major landmarks and learn about the history and tales behind them. You don’t want to visit Paris and miss out on such destinations as the Eiffel Tower, the Musee du Louvre, the Musee d’ Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Moulin Rouge etc.
While you’re in Paris, I recommend staying in an Airbnb. They’re often cheaper than hotels and have a funky, local vibe. Having a local Airbnb host can really make your trip as many of them will even show you around their neighbourhood! Check out our post of the Best Airbnbs In Paris for more info!