While many of us think of winter as a sad, dark and slow period of the year, at My Next Memory we see it as a fantastic opportunity ! Yes, the temperatures are dropping, the days are shorter and the sky is grey….BUT, from a tourism perspective, it is a very exciting time of the year: it’s low season!
Which means: plenty of things to do for a considerably better price and with a lot less people than during peak summer season ! It also means more booking flexibility and options for travelers. Frankly speaking, none of us should really dread winter.
Especially here in France: follow us to find out what are the best things to do if you travel in the coming months! And stay tuned, because next week our “On the road” post will take you to France’s best winter destinations: Alsace!
Organizing a Burgundy wine escape from Paris
While many other French wine regions won’t appear as a great choice for winter, we think that Burgundy is actually a really good one. Not only it offers the advantage of being reasonably close to Paris within a short 3-hour drive, it’s also a wine region that hosts a good range of indoor places to check out.
On top of the classic wineries visits and tastings, which is quite exciting in winter as the wine as just started its ageing process in the new barrels, Burgundy is great to combine a deeper dive into French history.
How about exploring the Hospices de Beaunes, one of the best preserved ancient medieval hospital? Or exploring your deep self, stepping into the footsteps of the Silent Monks at the “Abbaye de Citeaux”? Founded in the 12th century as the head of the Cistercian Order, this closed monastery is still inhabited today and opens its doors to visitors a few times per day.
Time travel in Burgundy will make you appreciate even more the comfort of your warm and cozy hotel, sipping a glass of extraordinary wine
Hunting black truffles
Black truffles are known as one of the rarest and finest ingredients in Western cuisine, thanks to their very unique and fascinating taste. The “Black Diamond” is particularly found in the Southwest of France in a region called Perigord. And guess what? This winter mushroom is harvested only from November to March!
For a wonderful winter experience we recommend going to an exciting truffle hunting expedition, together with a local truffle hunter team, i.e. someone and of course their powerful smelling dogs, sniffing for the freshest truffles in the fields and forests! Afterwards, your local guide could even take your trophy to the local truffle trading market to learn how to distinguish various qualities and grades, or to learn some wonderful recipes !
Thalassotherapy, or seawater wellness treatments, is a concept coined in the mid-19th century by Frenchman Jacques de la Bonnardière. Originally a medical treatment reserved to Europe’s elites and upper classes, thalassotherapy is becoming more and more accessible nowadays through a wide range of coastal centers in the West of France. Combining seawater and spa treatments, a thalasso holiday is guaranteed relaxation, wellness and self-pampering in the delicate comfort of the indoor centers.
The leading thalasso centers of France such as Biarritz, Royan, Carnac or Saint Malo, offer a beautiful accommodation and a nice selection of programs from weight loss to relaxation, skin rejuvenation, anti-ageing, fitness, or back pain treatment. Jump from jacuzzi pools to massage tables, heated outdoor pools or high-pressure showers. Relax, recharge and forget about everything else !
Winter fun in the Alps
Winter sports are an absolute must for Europeans! Yet, booking a one-week apartment with a one-week ski pass might not be the most exciting activity for anyone not 100% fond of skiing.
Don’t worry: there are many other activities and ways to enjoy the snow paradise that is the Alps! For anyone not considering a one-week stay, the ultimate strategy is to avoid the French school holiday time: reservations will be a lot more flexible!
A first approach can be to head for a luxury ski resort town, such as Megeve, Chamonix or Meribel. It is expensive but there, you will be provided with plenty of super exclusive non-ski options: beyond the gorgeous skiing areas equipped with over-the-top facilities, such resort towns offer Michelin-starred restaurants, incredible indoor spas with views over the snow peaks, cable car rides next to the Mont Blanc etc.
Another approach would be to opt for the super niche and small traditional villages of the Alps. They don’t offer the biggest skiing slopes but they are extremely authentic. You will love discovering the beautiful villages with wooden chalets, taste the local and very cheesy local food at night, or go for a snowshoeing or a dog sledging trip in the nature with a local guide! While we love Notre-Dame de Bellecombe, ask your personal travel planner for further recommendations.
You probably did not expect this here but yes, Reunion Island tropical paradise is a French territory and for those really allergic to cold and snow, this is the most wonderful winter destination we can advise!
Located at the southern end of the Indian Ocean, Reunion Island is extremely rich and diverse in attractions AND local summer there actually spans from December to April ! Blending French and local cultures, heritage or food, Reunion is especially famous for its grand outdoors and hiking adventures! Don’t miss the Piton de la Fournaise, an active volcano in the southeastern part of the Island. Active since at least 530, 000 years, it is one of the most active volcanoes in the world !
And after your daily hiking, adventures or mountain biking fun, take the time to relax by the clear and refreshing waters of the Ocean, dazzle at the white soft beaches and tropical plants, or savor local spicy food, sipping slowly a sweet and mellow local rum, just like the locals do it !
We hope to change the way you look at winter…and we can’t wait to tell you more about those destinations!