A Tourists’ Delight: France
The first travel destination that comes in the mind of youngsters is France. No wonder why it is the dream destination of many. With art, history, fashion, cuisine, modernness all blended together, it definitely tops the list of “Top 10 Places To Go Before You Die”. France has a lot more to offer than what we see in our smart phone screens.
There’s not a soul alive on this planet who has not dreamed of Paris and the view of that glowing Eiffel Tower from their hotel room. A wonderful start of the day would be to visit the Eiffel Tower around six A.M in the morning to catch the early sunrise. It’s a win win situation as not only does one get the stunning view but also the place to oneself since the crowd is not there at that time. People’s favourite building, Sacre Coere, is dauntingly beautiful. The steps may blow one’s mind but the view is worth it. The 270 more steps to the top of the Basilica offers an even better view. One may finish one’s phone and camera memory clicking thousands of pictures of Paris. But if one really wants to know the most photogenic places of Paris, the one that are not crowded and not yet up on social media, then arranging a photo tour is the best idea. Comfortable shoes, clothes and a picture clicking equipment, that’s all for an album full of memories! One suggestion the locals always give is to keep one’s eyes peeled, for example, people don’t notice the creative graffiti walls which are really artistic. Dotted all around Paris are pretty little cafes with a few tables inside. When it’s summer, the tables are taken outside and it’s an amazing place to have a cup or two of coffee. The street musicians are another thing one needs to soak in. One will be astounded by the fact that how good they really are. A relaxing walk down the river of Seine with a number of pop-up bars, live music and festival vibes, is the perfect idea for spending the evening time. The French cuisine is world famous and going back without having a cheese tasting experience will be a decision one will regret. To finish off the trip to Paris, watching the sunset from Louvre is the perfect closure. There’s never really a bad timing to visit the Louvre but when the sun hits the glass, the vibe is unparalleled to anywhere else in Paris.
The Loire Valley
If it’s French splendour and glory one seeks, then the Loire Valley is sure to exceed the expectations. It’s a short train ride or autoroute from Paris. It held a great importance once upon a time. It’s well known for its outstanding range of wines and lively, sophisticated cities. The entire area does justice to why it’s the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Loire Valley is home to French Renaissance architecture. Topping the list is Chateau de Chambord. With 426 rooms, 282 fireplaces and 77 staircases, it’s one of the most visited chateau in the Loire Valley. France’s most elegant chateaux is Chenonceau. One cannot resist the glorious setting inside. Mixed with an air of sophistication and relaxed contentment, Saumur is a gorgeous spot. It’s renowned for its national riding school and cave dwellings. Top sights in Saumur are Ecole Nationale d’Equitation, Musee des Blindes, Chateau de Saumur, Musee du Champignon and Langlois-Chateau.
Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau is celebrated for its magnificent turrets, delicate windows and steep roofs. Built on a natural island in the middle of the Indre River, it’s one of the most loveliest castles of the Loire Valley.
Marseille has a different kind of dynamism and colour to it. Marseille’s massive Old Port is a district on its own. Marseille’s suburbs brush up the areas of exceptional natural beauty. The Calanques are limestone cliffs reaching great heights and descending sharply to the sea. The largest urban history museum in France, Musee d’Histoire de Marseilli, is worth half a day being spent at by history buffs. Filled with quirky little neighbourhoods, La Corniche is a long balcony next to the Mediterranean sea. The district of Le Panier consists of ochre coloured walls, stone stairwaysand long corridor like streets emerging on sun kissed squares. The history of Marseille’s is so rich, one museum is not enough to cover it. The Musee des Docks Romains, located north side of Old Port, were discovered after the war. The dolia, massive ceramic jugs as tall as a walking human figure will blow one’s mind.
Nice is one of those places in France one won’t struggle to find reasons for a visit. Capital of French Riviera, there’s absolutely no shortage of beaches. Arguably, Castel Plague is one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire region. The crystal white sands and turquoise blue water give a feeling of splashing in the water. The next best stop is Castle Hill. It rises 92 meters above sea level and is the highest altitude in the city. The ruins, destruction by Louis X1V of the once active military citadel, are worth checking out but the best part is the viewpoint which overlooks the Bay of Nice. If one’s into music and history both, then Lascaris Palace is the place to be. There’s a huge collection of musical instruments with a gorgeous decor and architecture as one wanders through the hallways. It’s open from 10 A.M – 6 P.M daily except Tuesday and major holidays; admission is free! One of the most important things to do in Nice is visiting the Nice Cathedral. With lavishly designed interiors and fantastic details, this is surely something one shouldn’t miss. Parc Phoenix is another delightful experience for children and adults alike. It features a wide variety of plants, flowers and trees. For those who are into faunas more, there are plenty of animals to check out too. Place Massena is the centre of Nice. It’s a bustling city square which one might find landing on without even planning to. A walk amongst the gardens and fountains, Place Massena is a wonderful spot for sitting quietly and watching people go by, preferably with a glass of wine in hand. It’s also a great place for shopping. The iconic symbol of Nice is the Promenade des Anglais. One cannot leave Nice without taking a stroll alongside the idyllic beach.
It’s best known as a wine lover’s paradise. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a quintessential town worth the explore. A venture out of the the main town to go on a wine tour is the best thing to do. Wandering through Saint Emilion to discover the Roman aged vineyards and taking a stroll through the village is a wonderful way of spending some peaceful time with oneself. The largest sand dune of Europe, Dune de Pyla, is located an hour outside Bordeaux. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Other things to see and do in France :-
- D-Day beaches, Normandy
- The Palace of Versailles
- Exploring history in Lyon
- Visiting St. Tropez
- Wandering through Parc de la Villette
- Exploring Roman ruins
- Visiting the Medieval Town of Carcassonne
- Skiing on French Alps
How to get in France :-
- By Air: Scheduled flights from/to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
- By Road: Buses, shuttles, cars, taxis and bicycles run between France and other European countries.
- By Rail: Dedicated railway service between France and other European countries.
Best time to go :-
From April to June and September to November. One may find cheaper flights from US and the rates of hotel are lower. The summer crowds and wait in lines are less. The busiest time of the year in France is summer (June to August).
Being one of the most open and forward thinking societies, France began trailblazing way back in history. With picturesque views found in every almost every turn, France is a spellbinding trip, one will find difficult to forget.