Visiting two of France’s cultural cities

Written by Chloe Harwood

Looking for that beautiful balance of culture, cuisine, and coastal paradise? The world is your oyster, but start in France and the rest of the world comes to you. Whether you’re discovering the cosmopolitan cool of Paris’s artsy districts, or the charming joie de vivre of scenic Saint-Malo in Bretagne (Brittany), fill your heart with the magic of France, and discover what living for pleasure is all about in two of Europe’s most stunning cities.

Breton paradise

Saint-Malo is a fairytale dream: azure shores meet fortressed walls and medieval towers, and market days illuminate summer with festive fervor. Hailing as far back as pre-Roman times, its story unravels in the ancient architecture that defines the town, the birthplace of Canada’s first European discoverer, Jacques Cartier. From sacred settlement to pirate port, Saint-Malo has flourished into a beloved tourist destination. Its many architectural gems include:

  • Le Château de Saint-Malo and Musée d’Histoire (Museum of History)
  • Tour Solidor (Solidor Tower)
  • Fort National
  • Cathédrale Saint-Vincent-de-Saragosse de Saint-Malo
  • La Demeure de Corsaire (The Privateer’s House)

Alongside several other attractions, Saint-Malo exudes quintessential Breton charm in the bakeries, cafes, restaurants and portside pubs that celebrate life in coastal France. The shores of the Atlantic are a haven for nature watching and other water sports, and its spectacular vistas make it the perfect choice for an idyllic hotel stay in Brittany. With frequent ferries to and from the shore and the magnificent Mont Saint-Michel just a 45-minute drive away, getting the most out of Brittany is easier than ever.

Parisian seduction

Far from Brittany’s stormy shores lies a sprawling metropolis of a very different flavor. Paris is teeming with energy, and the world’s most romantic capital weaves nothing short of a whirlwind love affair for newcomers. From the chic boutiques of the Champs-Élysées to the grandiose galleries, theaters, and concert halls gracing its tree-lined avenues, falling in love with the City of Lights is inevitable. Savor a delectable crème brûlée on the terrace before checking out the treasures that Paris has to offer:

  • Tour Eiffel
  • Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Louvre
  • Opéra National de Paris

If Paris’s haunting exteriors fail to entice, venture below ground for the labyrinthine network of the city’s catacombs, or enjoy an atmospheric voyage on the Seine. Whether you choose to wine, dine and recline in the bustling central hub or in one of Paris’s many tranquil suburbs, you will find no shortage of places for a perfect Paris trip. With an extensive transportation network that covers all the major sites around the clock – be it train, metro, bus, or tram – the entire city awaits you.

The French experience

No trip to France is complete without experiencing the treasures of its capital, which celebrate the height of French culture, or the distinct and charming shores and towns of Brittany, such as Saint-Malo. From architecture to art, cafes to cocktails, music to mountains, and everything in between, these two cities will sweep you off your feet. Let the lure of France leave you changed forever.

About the author

Chloe Harwood