When thinking of France, most travellers look to Paris or the south coast. They imagine the Eiffel Tower and the glamorous casinos of Monte Carlo. Sure, France is famous for these magnificent cities and bright lights. It is one of the most romantic places in the world. But, we think there is far more to explore in this fascinating country. As travellers, we always love to get off the beaten track and explore the real heart of a country. We prefer to escape the traditional tourist haunts and discover the soul and culture of each place. That’s why we’ve listed five fantastic countryside spots in France. Visit these and you’ll get closer to the real French way of life.
Lyon and the Rhone Alps
Many consider Lyon to be the food capital of France. Forget Paris, you’ll find all the best restaurants and traditional chefs here in Lyon. The city is a wonderful mix of traditional and modern. It has retained the architecture and culture of old boutiques, and you’ll find remnants of the traditional silk industry. But, you’ll also discover modern galleries and museums that slot perfectly into its history.
Head east of Lyon and you’ll find yourself in the magnificent French Alps. It’s the ultimate destination for hikers, skiers, and explorers. The mountains hold countless opportunities for adventure. If you’re a climber, cyclist, or snow sports enthusiast, you’ll love it. The Alps are famous around the world because of their sheer scale and jagged nature. No other mountain range on the planet is so steep and angular. It makes for incredible skiing and unmissable views.
The Loire Valley is a wine lover’s paradise. Here you’ll discover vineyards as far as the eye can see. The first thing you’ll notice is the smell. The entire region is bubbling with the smell of fresh grapes and fermentation. It’s quite something! The Loire Valley is also famous for its impressive châteaus. The stately castles are a remnant of the past and hold some of the country’s biggest historical secrets. Leonardo da Vinci is buried here and there are medieval abbeys to visit too.
On the west side of the country, the Pyrenees mountains stretch down to the Spanish border. It boasts a quintessential Catalan heritage and the unique culture is evident. The Pyrenees mountains are not as commanding and magnificent as the Alps! However, they are still perfect for long hikes and stunning views. The region is dotted with medieval towns and villages to break up your long walks.
Most French natives will tell you that Burgundy is the heart and soul of French cuisine. We like to find traditional villas on QualityVillas.com and experience this region as a the French would. By doing this, you can immerse yourself in the French way of life. One particular highlight is the ancient town of Dijon. Famous for its mustard, it is a quaint old place with lots of cultural heritage.
The real heart of France is found outside the major tourist attractions. Head off the beaten track and discover the true beauty of the country.