I have been a Francophile for as long as I can remember. I’ve visited Paris a few times now, and I have to admit: I have always enjoyed the cosmopolitan sophistication and “joie de vivre” of the city. However, it occurs to me now that there are many more destinations to discover in France. Here are my top five next destinations.
Where the Rhône and the Saône Rivers meet, Lyon is an industrial city, but also a commerce hub and a fashionable city. France’s third largest city features so many of the best elements of tourism. It’s a sophisticated cosmopolitan destination.
The cultural life is rich, the museums are historically important, and the nightlife is lit. It’s also a university town and a mecca for gourmets and gastronomist. Lyonnais cuisine is ranked as one of the best in the world.
Strasbourg is a relatively young and vibrant urban center full of museums, theatres, operas, concert halls, restaurants, historical monuments, and festivals. Everything is accessible in Strasbourg.
Strasbourg features UNESCO historical heritage sites. Much of Strasbourg is navigable by foot or bicycle. This is an added bonus for an eco-friendly tourist like myself. Some can’t-miss sites include the banks of the Ill River, Le Cathedral, Le Maison Kammerzell, Petite France, or the Ponts Couverts.
Famous for its wine, the city of Bordeaux is one of the most exciting upscale destinations for Francophile tourists. Efforts have been made to make the city pedestrian-friendly. I long to stroll through this charming city and soak in the neoclassical architecture. Take advantage of its new cutting edge public transport system.
Here’s a crazy fact: 50% of the city is UNESCO-listed. That makes Bordeaux the largest urban World Heritage site. Some newer architectural wonders include while world- Herzog & de Meuron stadium, La Cité du Vin, and Jean-Jacques Bosc bridge across the Garonne River. Speaking of the Garonne, the world’s best wine is grown and made along the banks of the regal river. Many winery tours are available year round in Bordeaux. I plan on taking more than a few, so I can discover the distinctions between left bank wine and right bank wine with my own ever-improving wine tasting skills!
Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most gorgeous sites in all of Europe. Located in Normandy, where Normandy and Brittany merge, this island in the Couesnon River is visible from a great distance. It’s a place for tourists as well as a Christian site of pilgrimage. The story goes that the Archangel Michael visited a French priest in the year 708 and commanded that a place of worship be built on the island for all to see.
After the year 966 dukes of Normandy started development of a Benedictine abbey on Mont-Saint-Michel. Monastic buildings were erected throughout the medieval ages. One cluster of such buildings, including the abbey, is called The Marvel. The abbey became a hub of learning and scholarship, one of the most famous in all of Europe. Other fine buildings went up along the steep village street, now converted into museums, hotels, restaurants and boutiques for today’s tourists. Whether you are a traveler of faith, or just a curious tourist, Mont Saint-Michel is sure to inspire.
After years of decay, negligence, and skyrocketing crime, Marseille has been going through a renaissance of late. Marseille has shed its former reputation of being too gritty. Now it’s a vibrant, sophisticated urban destination. It was named the European Capital of Culture in 2013, and since then, it has continued to improve both its substance and its image.
Marseille has added posh new museums, and the people of Marseille have been reveling in its new status as a cultural hub. France’s second biggest city, Marseille is the often-overlooked gem of France. I’m looking forward to strolling through the Old Port, a vibrant area dappled with yachts, boats, cafes, restaurants, and bars. I also plan on getting my shop on in the Quartier République. Its stylish boutiques are quickly becoming world famous.
I love the France-Voyage website because it is the most in-depth website about the country. France is a huge a country with so many things to see and do and most this places are undiscovered gems. I personally like to go to regions and provinces that are rich with history and food and I learned a lot about France while writing this article. Now I have a few trips that I need to take to France!
Thank you France-Voyage!