Top 10 Things to Do in France
(Travel outside Paris to really experience the French culture!)
1. Paris – bien sûr!
There just too many cool places in Paris to mention here. Buy a guide-book (we recommend Rick Steves) and enjoy the garden city.
2. Mont Saint Michel – on the north coast, worth the trip!
We all thought that this cathedral citadel was impressive. It is off the beaten path for many tourists, but worth the trip. Tie it in with a trip to Normandy!
This is one of the most moving and memorable experiences we have had in our travels. I highly recommend that you see it. It is a solemn reminder to the sacrifices of thousands who we all owe an unrepayable debt to.
4. Nancy – possible the most beautiful city square in all Europe
This quaint small city in eastern France is particularly beautiful. The city center is one of the most impressive in Europe. There is a neat market with fresh produce, meats, cheeses, breads and more as well as plenty of unique boutiques showcasing the latest French fashions and other stuff.
5. Versailles – way over the top opulent
This is the palace of palaces! The resources that went into building it are proof of the decadence of the era. Today, no one could afford to build it. The grounds are equally impressive. Give yourself a few hours here.
6. Mont Blanc – not for those fearful of heights
Wow! Not for the faint of heart. I cannot describe it well enough, you need to see the pictures (or better yet, go yourself). Imagine taking a cable car up the steep side of a mountain from bottom to top in just 20 minutes.The Aiguille du Midi cable car leaves from the town of Chamonix. The journey consists of two stages. The first brings visitors to the Plan de l’Aiguille at 7,546 feet. The second stage traverses Les Pelerins glacier before rising up the North Face of the Aiguille du Midi at 12, 605 feet. The view of the Alps is incredible.
The top station of the Aiguille du Midi has several terraces where visitors can take in the spectacular views of the Swiss, French and Italian Alps. On a clear day it is possible to see the Matterhorn, Monta Rosa and the Grand Combin. An elevator inside the rock rises the final 138 feet to the top terrace. This is the closest you can get to the top of Mont Blanc without climbing.
7. Reims – where Joan of Arc consecrated Charles VII and General Eisenhower accepted Nazi Germany’s surrender
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims is where all of the French kings were crowned. It is also the heart and largest city of the Champagne region.
The Loire Valley is considered by many to be the prettiest countryside France has to offer. It is referred to as the Cradle of the French Language, and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards. It also has many beautiful castles and chateaus like Château d’Amboise, Château de Chambord, Château de Chinon, Château du Rivau, Château d’Ussé, Château de Villandry and Chenonceau.
9. Saint Tropez Beaches – sadly, we never made it here
We cannot personally comment on this area (yet).
Being right on the French-German border, Strasbourg has a unique blend of the two cultures. Not quite French, but definitely not German either. It is the seat of the European Parliament and the capital of the Alsace Region.