Why is France known to be such a romantic destination? At My Next Memory, we would say that the beauty and diversity offered by its many gorgeous little towns makes it all! This month, we take you to our 10 favorite ones and we’ll tell you what is so great about them. Check it out!
No big surprise in there for you? Wait for our out-of-the-beaten-track selection next month
When it comes to French towns, many people first and foremost think of the Annecy, known as the Balcony to the Alps. And yes, no visitor to Annecy would miss the colorful bridges of the old city and its little canals.
But we actually love Annecy also for its eye-catching lake and scenery. Offering a perfect and romantic reflection of the surrounding Alp Mountains, the Annecy Lake shows different colors and views all year round. From snow-capped peaks to autumn colored leaves and joyful summer, the Lake scenery will always fill you with peace and inspiration to go explore the surrounding mountain region!
Colmar, in Alsace (Northeast France) hosts an incredible charm ! A perfect human-sized little town where French and German architectures meet, you’ll be transported to a world of fairy tale and ancient, yet colorful wooden houses.
The reason we love Colmar is because the city offers the perfect mix of attractions with great restaurants, beautiful sightseeing, shopping options and the region’s best museum. It’s also a very convenient base to explore Alsace and its famous vineyards.
You may choose to visit in the winter to discover the thrilling Christmas markets or in Spring when flowers bring romance to the city.
Rouen is a must-stop when visiting Normandy region and was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in medieval Europe. Spending time in Rouen, the City of 100 bell towers, will take you back to the Middle Ages. Don’t miss the exquisite landmarks such as the Cathedral Notre Dame, which has Europe’s highest bell tower and has inspired the world-famous paintings by Monet, when he would sit across the square and depict the monument at different times of the day.
Wander the narrow paved streets of the City to contemplate the unique Gros Horloge, the fun and quirky wooden houses learn about Joan of Arc who ended her days here.
4. Saint Malo
Saint-Malo is the gate way to Brittany and often a great combination to a visit to the Mont-Saint-Michel, only 1 hour drive away. The typical fortress architecture and rebellious sea breeze bring a feeling of rough freedom to the town. While the houses show the characteristic grey stones of Brittany, you want to visit Saint Malo for its amazing sea views, its low-tide fun explorations to neighboring islands, its thalasso centers (sea water spa treatments) but above all for its amazing seafood and pastries!
Bordeaux is the wine capital of the world. With more than 9,000 large and small wineries in the region, it is France largest vineyard and you will for sure want to explore the area, whether you are a wine amateur or curious to discover what it’s all about.
But the City of Bordeaux has been coming to the very front of the French urban scene lately. Accessible by a short 2-hours high-speed train ride from Paris, Bordeaux is worth spending one or two days, discovering the stunningly beautiful 19th century city center listed as UNESCO World heritage, full of pedestrian streets filled with exciting shops and wine bars. The newly open Wine City should also not be missed, offering a great interactive museum experience to learn everything you want about wine, and available in 8 languages!
Avignon is one of France’s historical and cultural highlights. While the City center has a typical, laid back south of France atmosphere, you mostly come to Avignon to visit the Pope’s Palace. The Palais des Papes, also UNESCO World Heritage, is one of the most important gothic palaces in Europe It hosts a precious collection from personal items to decorative paintings during the pope’s settlement in Avignon. But it’s really the grand architecture that will make you feel how powerful of a rule was once exerted from this place. The Pont d’Avignon is another famous attraction: the bridge was originally connected across the Rhone to the left bank of Avignon but after a massive flood in 1668, most of the 22 bridge arches were destroyed. The only remaining 4 arches now give an artistic and nostalgic feeling to visitors.
If you happen to visit the City in July, you will find it all livened up again thanks to France national theatre festival where teams from all around the country come to showcase their best acting and plays!
Amboise is one of our favorite places in France because it definitely is the best base to a Loire Valley vacation. Not only does the City have the perfect location in the center of the Valley, it also by itself deserves to be explored and discovered! The Amboise castle hosts an amazing French royal background and flowing Italian Renaissance art. But did you know that Amboise also welcomed Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci for a few years? You can still visit his home, workplace or meditate his achievements on his grave.
You think we would not need to present Southern France most famous beach vacation town? But the simple evocation of Nice’s name, and you can already feel the warm sunshine on your skin, imagine the deep blue water and the glamorous Cote d’Azur relaxed yet posh atmosphere.
Did you know that Old Nice city center actually showcases some of the finest architecture in the South of France and is home to some its best museums?
But of course, our favorite reason to love Nice is that it is the perfect base to explore Provence, its flower fields, perfume workshops, olive trees landscape, contemporary arts foundations and the amazing coastline from the Calanques to Monaco!
Located in the southwest of France and facing the Spanish border across the Pyrenees, Carcassonne was once a military fortress and is probably one of the best preserved medieval high places in France and Europe. With a history as old as 2,500 years, the fortress is a fascinating place to visit: by walking on the city walls and inside the town, discover how military bases were organized like mini cities with their own churches, shops, and houses, but all with incredibly smart defense systems
Lesser known, is that Carcassonne is also a great place to start a journey on the Canal du Midi, an artificial river that was once build for goods transportation and now offers a great cruising option to relax and enjoy the peaceful scenery.
While Biarritz doesn’t really display as much heritage as our other Top 10 Cities, you will definitely have fun discovering Europe’s surfing capital! Nested between the Pyrenees and the Atlantic Ocean, Biarritz is all about lifestyle!
Leisurely walk around the center, check out the mouth-watering fresh market, the local chocolate shops or simply laze around the 6-kilometer-long golden beach and watch the surfers ride the waves!
End your day with a beautiful sunset and a seafood meal at the beachside restaurant. Biarritz is one of France’s most relaxed towns.
Did we convince you that French cities offer amazing options of vacations for every person, style and taste? Treat yourself and contact us to build your next dream vacation!