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Our Favorite Destinations In France

Posted by Abbey Krzymowski on 11/9/23 7:30 AM

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We love time in Paris, but don't think that's the only spot to see in France! Here's a dive into the best destinations in this country to add to your itinerary.

We love Paris! Who doesn't?! Maybe tourists who don't know how to plan their trip well, I suppose (don't make that mistake, and follow our Paris guide for all the highlights). But if you head to France thinking Paris is the only destination to add to your itinerary, I beg to differ. There is SO much to see in France!

If you're looking for an introduction to the seemingly endless charming villages, remote castles, picturesque cities, and sweeping wineries fit for the magazines, we have you covered.

This post is all about the highlights in France, from the northern cities nestled near Paris to the charming southern corners — it's the perfect introduction to planning some time in France whether you're here for a long time (lucky!) or just a quick visit, and want to start picking the right spots for your trip. 

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We're oriented things really roughly by where they are in the country, so you can group cities on your wishlist together (or realize you need to head south after visiting your top spots somewhere else in France). We're also pointing out some less visited spots and easier-on-the-budget locations/activities if that's good to consider. And again, there are countless spots to consider, but we did want to just start pointing out places to consider so you can get excited about your French vacation! 

Paris + Northern Day Trips / Weekend Trips
Eastern France 
Western France 
Southern France 


With picturesque architecture, a captivating culture, and one of the most famous icons in the world (the Eiffel Tower), this French capital has a dozen and a half reasons to be one of the most visited cities in the entire world. Luckily, it's not hard to visit Paris if you're already living in Europe. It's insanely well-connected and makes for an ideal location to cross of major bucket list items off of your list (like seeing the Eiffel Tower, perhaps?) if you're visiting for a day, or more sites to see if you're here for longer.

We have a couple of resources for the world's most romantic city to help you plan your trip — you'll find restaurant recommendations, sites to see, hotels to stay in, and more. 

Your Paris City Guide 
A Perfect 4-Day Itinerary 

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A Few Day Trips + Weekend Trips From Paris

There are a lot of definitions of day trips. For this section, we're including spots that you can easily travel to and visit in a day, meaning you can just extend your stay in Paris and hop over to 1-2+ of these locations to add more to your time in Paris before moving onto a new region. Make sense?

Then, we have weekend trips. These are areas that are easy to spend 1-2 days at if you have the time. As a note, there are several weekend trip options that aren't around Paris, but trains can get you there in 2-4 hours. It can be a nice way to explore more of France by taking several weekend trips to the eastern or western cities if you have the budget for those train tickets. Just something to keep in mind when you're reading about destinations in this post and see that you can travel there in just a couple of hours! 

Palace of Versailles - Day Trip 

This is absolutely at the top of our list, and once you experience the magic and unbelievable history of this place for yourself, you'll understand why. Originally, Versailles was only a hunting lodge, built in the early 1600s by Louis XIII. It was his son, Louis the XIV, the Sun King, who took a particular liking to the estate and made himself the master architect for the numerous projects that changed Versailles into a luxurious palace. He also made it the central hub of the French court and government. The expansion of many more rooms and gardens continued through the reign of Louis XV, even though the court moved to Paris for a while.

Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette lived almost exclusively on the estate. However, when they shared the crown, Versailles and its occupants started to become very unpopular with the citizens of France due to the lavish and expensive habits of French royalty. Although Louis XVI was involved and helpful in America's Revolutionary War against England, he was not able to change the social and economic decline in his own country, which led to his downfall. However, it was because of his aid in America's fight for independence that John D. Rockefeller was inspired to donate large sums of money to the restoration of the palace in the 20th century. Today it is maintained as a museum showcasing one of the brightest periods in French history.  This palace is the epitome of history, lavish living, and French decor. It's a must-see. 

Here is a blog post with all of the info you'll need to make this an unforgettable day! 

And, as an insider tip, you can save several euros if you happen to be here during a free admission day. It's crowded but you can get in for free on certain dates

Getting Here: Although it isn't too far from the center of Paris, it will be a full-day adventure if you are planning to really experience all that Versailles has to offer. It takes about 90 minutes to get from Paris to the doors of the palace. The link above has all the transpo info you need. 

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Fontainebleau - Day Trip 

We love Versailles but if you're itching for another nearby spot filled with sprawling palaces and estates without the crowds, Fontainebleau is for you. The Château de Fontainebleau is one of the most impressive châtuax in the entire country. A peek inside gives you the lavish detail of the French Renaissance style, and a little background just adds more to the impressive building. What was once a medieval castle was soon turned into an ornate home when François I chose to make the structure his permanent residence. Cost wasn't an option when Italian architects and artists were hired to decorate the interior. The building was then home to several notable births of French royalty, and underwent another restoration after some neglect during the French Revolution, when Napoleon I came to live here. Get ticket information about the chateau here

It's a beautiful, less expensive, and less crowded option than Versailles, with lavish decorations, charming grounds to wander, and very few tourists (by comparison) which can make you feel like you have the whole estate to yourself. There rarely is a line, which we love. Plus, the huge grounds and forest in Fontainebleau means you can even escape into the trees to explore the network of hiking trails in the dense forest, which was once used for hunting and military purposes for France's kings. It can really help you feel like you can spread out and not be swarmed by crowds. 

Getting Here: It's a quick and affordable 40-minute train ride from Paris. 

Disneyland Paris - Day Trip 

Are you one of those Disney lovers who has a goal to visit every Disneyland around the world? You're definitely not the only one! If you're here for just one day, I'd recommend experiencing things you can only do in Paris (like the architecture, restaurants, sites to see, and museums). But if you're in the neighborhood with enough time to see your favorite things in and around Paris, Disneyland can be a fun change of pace to add to your itinerary. 

Some of the rides at this Disneyland are Indiana Jones, Thunder Mountain, It's A Small World and Autopia, but you can see all of them here. A one-day ticket is between $70-105 depending on which one you get, and those can be purchased here. It's a more expensive trip to avoid if you're on a tight budget. 

Getting Here: To get to Disneyland from the heart of Paris, grab a Paris Visite Pass for the RER. It costs about $30 for the day pass if you get one that includes Zones 4 & 5, where you'll find the Disney Parks. Take the metro to the Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy train station, which is just a 2-minute walk from the Disney Parks. Find more instructions here

Giverny - Day Trip (Or Weekend Trip) 

Ever seen one of the breathtaking masterpieces created by the one and only Claude Monet? His "Water Lilies And The Japanese Bridge" is one of my personal favorites. And guess what?! This beautiful house and all of its spacious gardens were actually owned by Monet and served as his inspiration for the entire Water Lilies Series. He lived here for 43 years, up until his death. Both the house and gardens are stunning exhibits of his love for color and design.

We love visiting for the day, but if you're here over the weekend you have time to visit all of the sites, like Monet's House and Gardens (where Monet lived — his furniture, Japanese prints, and china are still housed here). Then, of course, don't miss the Musée des Impressionnismes, where you'll find the artwork from Monet, and other famous impressionists. The Church of Sainte-Radegonde de Giverny is another highlight, where Monet attended church. This stunning 16th-century place of worship is also where Monet is buried. 

You can also pass through the nearby town of Vernon, found on the River Seine. It's a stunningly pretty river town home to more pieces from Monet and a picturesque old mill. It makes for a relaxing weekend especially when the flowers are in bloom in the warmer months. 

Getting Here: You can get here in 45 minutes on the fastest trains from Paris and a 2nd class ticket will only cost about 10 euros. Start your trip from a station in Paris and get off at the Vernon-Giverny station. Purchase your ticket here! From the station, you can catch the shuttle that regularly transports tourists from Vernon to Giverny, or bus #240 to the house and gardens, or just take a taxi.

Admission tickets are about 12 euros, unless you can get a student discount which would make the ticket only 8 euros. Learn more about the gardens and home, then purchase your tickets here! It makes for a more affordable ticket, especially if you want to budget for one entrance fee and admire the quaint city by just walking around. 

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Mont Saint Michel - Day Trip Or Weekend Trip 

Okay, this is one spot that could be a day trip if you really wanted it to, but if you have the time, it's better to not feel rushed and spend more like 1.5-2 days here (or even longer if you want to see the other highlights of Normandy). We'd fully recommend spending more time in western France and making a whole trip to Mont Saint Michel and Normandy, but if you're short on time and just have time for a quick visit, you could visit Mont Saint Michel as a day trip from Paris. 

This medieval commune off the coasts of Normandy and Brittany becomes an island during every high tide. It's actually been around since the early 700s (yep, so old) and was a destination for many pilgrims. It later operated as a prison and fortress. Today, visitors can enjoy its unique beauty by climbing to the Gothic abbey at the very top. Mont Saint Michel is quite small, so you won't need more than about 5 hours to really get the full experience, but it's best if you can take a leisurely pace and stay for sunset. 

Get our guide to Mont Saint Michel here. 

Getting Here: The easiest way to get to Mont Saint-Michel from Paris is to take the train from Paris to Rennes. It leaves from the station called "Paris Montparnasse" and arrives in Rennes just over 2 hours later. You can book your tickets here or when you arrive at the station. You can then catch the direct shuttle bus from Rennes to Mont Saint-Michel, and tickets are about 15€. The timetable of this shuttle is arranged so that you won't have to wait long at the Rennes station after arriving from Paris.

There is also a bus option that takes 4-5 hours but is less expensive (and isn't viable if you're trying to visit in a day). 

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Eastern France


France is teeming with some of the most delightful, stunning places in the world, making it hard to decide where exactly you want to spend your time. Obviously, I love Paris, but you should really consider spending them in the Alsace Region, where you'll find Colmar and her sister towns which are almost unbelievably charming.

This medieval town, complete with dark wood trimmings on every house, seems unreal and fabricated. Like a theme park? Or a movie set? But the buildings are original and have been standing in all of their beautiful glory for hundreds of years. And since Colmar is in France but is also very close to the borders of Germany and Switzerland, it has flavors of all three countries. Talk about quintessentially European! Grab a couple of pastries from local bakeries to get the full experience of an ideal afternoon stroll.   Oh, and if you're here during Christmas time, get ready for the most charming transformation of this quaint town. Get your guide to Colmar, here.

Oh, and don't hesitate to check out the other breath-taking towns in the Alsace Region, like Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, Ribeauvillé, Eguisheim, and even the bigger Strasbourg (more on that one below). Just looking at pictures will have you ready to pack your bags tomorrow. We can easily see spending a week or more just hopping around this part of France. 

Getting Here: Traveling from Paris means hopping on a train for a 2-3ish hour journey, or saving a few euros by traveling by bus, for a 9ish hour journey. The train is faster and more direct, but prices are pretty high (double or more of what you'd pay if you travel by bus instead). You can schedule a night bus meaning you can save money on overnight accommodation and wake up in this charming city. 

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Okay, we're not going to highlight every single one of these charming towns found in northeast France, but Strasbourg is definitely one to add to your "to-visit" list. Like Colmar, it's a charming blend of German and French influences, with tourists visiting to catch the highlights of the city. Don't miss out on the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral (you'll have to crane your neck to see the top of this massive church) before heading inside to admire the stained glass. 

Then, take a step back into the city's rich history by visiting a couple of museums. The Strasbourg Historical Museum outlines the fame of Johannes Gutenberg (who briefly worked here for a time), the role of the city in the French Revolution, and the various rebuilds after the devastation of King Louis in the 1680s and WWII. The Alastain Museum is another pull if only to walk around one of Strasbourg's oldest homes. If you're itching for more architecture, spend time admiring the buildings in the Petit France quarter, situated right on the river, and filled with shops, cafes, bakeries, and more. 

Getting Here: If you're already in Colmar, it's just an hour trip by train. If you want to start in Paris and make your way to Strasbourg first, it's a quick 2-hour train ride if you have the money (tickets can be on the pricier side depending on when you're traveling). There are also bus and night bus routes for less, but travel time is 5-8 hours. Since Colmar and Strasbourg are so close, it's highly recommended you visit both! 


We're heading into the eastern region of France, so far east we're almost in Switzerland! But if you’re into pastel buildings floating between idyllic canals, you should be heading to France, not Italy. Don’t get us wrong; we love, love, love the circle brides over the gondola-filled canals, licking gelato as you admire crumbling brick and painted villas in Venice. What we don’t love is how touristy and crowded Venice is. The hordes of tourists trying to take a good picture gets in the way of appreciating that charm you’re looking for. 

And guess what? You can get a (better) “Venice” experience — these same pretty canals, the same Euro-vibes and the same postcard pastel homes in this lesser-known city in France. If you’re even more of an adventurer, join some of the trendsetters heading to Annecy, France! This gem of a city sits in southeastern France, rather close to the border of Switzerland, and is full of castles on the canals, swans next to pastel buildings, pastry spots and crepe places, and more. I can't think of a more swoon worthy place to spend an afternoon wandering around. 

See more about Annecy, here.

Getting Here: It's about a 4-hour train ride to get to Annecy from Paris. Check prices and routes here

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We had to put a major foodie city on the list, right? France is known worldwide for its cuisine, and while many cities are known for certain dishes or unique cheeses, Lyon seems to be one of the epicenters for some of the best types of French cuisine, fine dining, famous restaurants, and more. Lyon is sometimes called France's gastronomic capital if that gives you an idea of what to expect. Plus, there is stunning architecture (just take a peek at the details and mosaics found when visiting the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière!), Roman history (visit the Gallo-Roman museum and the Roman amphitheaters), and the secret passageways found in the city. Seriously, there used to be secret alleyways used by merchants who wished to travel unseen — they're open to the public now and are a way to access courtyards, fountains, and quieter corners of the city. 

Then, it's time for food. You have your spread of small, family-owned eateries (bouchons) where you can taste local Lyonnaise dishes. Or, splurge and dine at one of the Michelin-star rated restaurants around Lyon (there are several). In any case, you'll want to come hungry! 

Getting Here: A train can get you here in about 2 hours, or you can bus (about 5 hours). Flights are also an option, though it's not a direct flight. 

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Western France


This (very large!) region of France is packed with so much. It may be most famous for the tide-turning battle in WWII, but you'll also find sweeping fields filled with dairy cows, quant villages, towering cathedrals, and more. You'll find quite a few places to spend your time while in Normandy, but here are a few highlights: 


This city has my heart — full of iconic history and dreamy architecture, the capital of the Normandy region should be on anyone's list. Situated right on the River Seine, this city has a rich artistic history if you've heard of people like Victor Huge and Gustave Flaubert. If you'd like to go back even further in history, you may be interested to know that Richard the Lionheart was crowned Duke of Normandy here. William the Conqueror was known to hold court year. And this is the city where Joan of Arc lost her life after losing her trial in Rouen. 

The Gothic architecture found in the city is also noteworthy (and a reminder of the history found in Rouen). There's no shortage of buildings to admire, but if you want a starting point, Saint-Ouen, Saint-Maclou, and Notre Dame Cathedral are a few churches to visit. The Gros Horloge astronomic clock is another splendid example of Gothic architecture. Or, step back to medieval times by visiting the medieval cemetery, Aître Saint-Maclou. 

D-Day Beaches 

Anyone interested in WWII knows the significance of these beaches, found in Normandy. If you need a reminder, hundreds of thousands of Allied troops disembarked on five French beaches (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword) on June 6, 1944 for what is now called the Battle of Normandy. The victory on this front helped turn the tide of the war. 

Mont Saint-Michel Abbey 

We wrote all about this already, up in the Paris section (it's an easy day trip from Paris if you're short on time). However, it's a fun experience to take a traveling tour around Normandy and hope around all of the famous sites, one of which is Mont Saint-Michel. 


Another spot you can easily access by Paris (and is explained in more detail above). Would be such a fun part of exploring the entire region if you want to spend more time in Normandy rather than just taking a day trip or two. 

Getting To Normandy: Remember, this area is large and the places you may want to visit could be very spread out. However, the area is rather well-connected by train and bus (and tour) so traveling between your Normandy destinations shouldn't be too difficult. As far as getting here, many of the major cities in Normandy are connected to Paris by train. Distance varies, and flights may be a better option for your budget and timetable if you're traveling between two areas like Paris and the D-Day beaches. 

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Filled with history, palaces, gardens, castles, and fortresses, Nantes is one of the largest cities in France and is worth a visit for a few reasons. Oh, and there are elephants (more on that later). It's a larger city, but doesn't feel overwhelming. Plus, things are a bit easier on your wallet than in other spots like Paris, the French Riviera, or Lyon. 

To start your exploration of Nantes, don't miss the impressive Château des Ducs de Bretagne, built in the 15th century by Francois II. If you know your French history, you know that he was one of the last of the Brittany rules, before becoming the Breton residence member for the French monarchy. The water-filled moat surrounding the fortress may trick you into believing you're stepping right back to the 15th century, especially since the castle is now home to a museum featuring the history of Nantes. 

Wandering around the maze of streets found in Old Town is also recommended (as it is in most European cities). Find the best shopping and food in the Bouffay district, or take a night out and see a show at the opera house in town. Oh, and about those elephants — we weren't kidding! There's an island in Nantes, known as Île de Nantes, home to some artsy restaurants and cafes. You're welcome to visit, but it's highly recommended you travel by elephant. A group of artists have designed a group of mechanical elephants that can take you on a tour around the area. Learn more here. 

Getting Here: It's easy by train. A fast train can get you here in less than 2 hours, but other direct trains can travel here in about 4 hours. 


Another famous French city to add to your list is Bordeaux. Both the name of the famous red wine and the city, Bordeaux is a top destination for someone looking to take a deep dive into the region's festivals, museums, architecture, and food. To best explore Bordeaux, take a walking tour to get a closer look at the sprawling squares and shopping streets. Hit highlights like the stunning spirals found on the Cathedral of Saint André and la Tour Pey Berland (the nearby bell tower), and others. 

When you get hungry, stop off at the Marché des Capucins, the largest daily market in the city. It's a covered market full of vendors selling seafood, fruit, veggies, cheese, and breads, along with little eateries serving up famous dishes from the region. 

There are a handful of notable neighborhoods in the area to explore, too — Saint Michel is one, where you can find the famous UNESCO basilica and the nearby bell tower which sports one of the best views of the city if you make the climb up to the top. Rue Saint James is another area to check out, a charming street lined with coffee shops and bookstores, along with stylish boutiques, and other shops.  If you have time, fit in a show at the city's theater, or visit the famed vineyards of Bordeaux (renting a bike to cycle to the rows and rows of grapes growing sounds too good to pass up). 

Getting Here: A high-speed train travels between Paris and Bordeaux (it's fast, just about 2 hours). Flights can sometimes be less expensive, and get you there in about 3 hours. Buses are also an option, with a 6.5-hour itinerary and the least expensive tickets. 

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Southern France


You could spend weeks traveling the Provence region of France, but if you just want a taste, head to Avignon. It's a city filled with castles, fountain-filled gardens, promenades shaded by leafy sycamore trees, and enough charming architecture to think you're not in an actual city, but a movie set for some quaint fairytale. There are many highlights of Avignon, but a few include the scenic bridges (Pont d’Avignon is quite famous). Get the best views of the bridge from the Rocher des Doms, or below on the île de la Barthelasse. Then, be utterly stunned by visiting the largest Gothic palace in the world, the Pope's Palace. Oh, and don't leave without eating your fill of foods from the local food markets and vendors around the city. 

Many people day trip to Avignon, or use it as a day trip hub (Avignon is often treated as the transportation hub of the Provence region).  There are several charming villages, historic ruins, and grottoes to explore if you'd like to spend more time exploring this part of France. 

Getting Here: A high-speed train can get you here from Paris in just over 2 hours. Or, fly to Marseilles, and take a short train to Avignon. 


Rocamadour is a city split between several levels, with medieval architecture and history clinging to the side of the dramatic cliffs Racamadour is built.  Yep, the entire city is perched almost 500 feet above the ground on a limestone cliff. The whole city is built on several levels of that sheer-drop cliff, meaning you have incredible views of the tile-roof buildings all the way up if you're admiring the city from below. You'll find gold stone houses, pedestrian-only streets, and stone gates encircling the ancient city. There are also ancient citadels topping the highest levels of the city and the curling River Alzou below.

The city itself is a tourist hot spot and a sacred stop on a pilgrimage that's been around for hundreds of years. Can you see why the entire area is a UNESCO site?  It's a very popular spot on anyone's French itinerary, with a couple of million visitors crowding the narrow streets of the city each year. 

Rocamadour is found in the Dordogne Valley, a region filled with dramatic cliffs, medieval villages, beyond beautiful towns, and expansive nature parks. Some think that this area is home to the prettiest villages in all of France if that gives you an idea of what to expect. If you like the vibes of Racamdour, you're likely to love the other villages in the area. Check on places like Autoire, Loubressec, Martel, and Carennac (also Beynac-et-Cazenac, Collonges-la-Rouge, and Sarlat-la-Canéda) ... just know there is lots to see if you have the time to explore! 

Getting Here: From Paris, you can travel to Rocamadour by train. (It's not a direct train, most routes have a transfer in Brive-la-Gaillarde, which is a very lovely area if you have time to do some exploring). All in all, it's about a 5ish-hour journey. 

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The French Riviera

There are several tourist hot spots in the French Riviera, an official-but-not-so-official region of France that encompasses the Mediterranean coastline found along the southeast corner of the country. There are multiple cities in the area but we're pulling out some of the most beautiful and picturesque.

As a heads up, please be aware that this area of France is extremely popular and has a price tag to match. It's not very budget-friendly but is big enough of a bucket list destination for some travelers to make it work. Traveling during the off-season (the winter months) can be a way to visit here on a more budget-friendly agenda, while still getting some warmer weather. Staying in Marseilles, Montpellier, or Nantes is also a way to save some money and still see a couple of spots in the French Riviera if you have the time to day trip there (it'll be more affordable to stay outside of the cities and train there instead of paying higher hotel prices in those glitzy cities). 

Getting Here: Most of the cities below are connected to Paris by train (about a 6ish-hour ride) or plane if you have the budget. Trains and buses connect most of the cities along the coastline, or you can arrive by hired car. 

Nice + Menton 

Nice is consistently a crowd favorite when you're asking about which places to visit along the French Riviera. It's a bright, vibrant, coastal city boasting a history that spans way back to 350 BC when the Greeks set up a trading post here to better access the goods in Marseille. It's now a dream destination for anyone who wants to visit a colorful city found right on the coastline, with a long promenade by the water, and restaurants galore. Between meals on the water, plan on visiting the bustling flower market, the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, and the unique architecture from the La Belle Epoque.

If you have more time, take a day trip to nearby Menton (and soak up the sun on one of the country's best beaches, Plage De Fossan or Plage De Forrigo). It may be one of the most colorful cities in all of France, with pockets of the town painted pink, orange, and yellow. It's also one of the more affordable options in this area of France. 

Cannes + Saint-Rafael 

Home to the famed film festival, Cannes is another city in southern France famous for prestige and expensive. Every May, thousands and thousands crowd the city to get a glimpse of the glitz of movie star life as new films are premiered in theaters across the city. Come in the off season to experience a less crowded version of the city —  come stroll around La Croix des Gardes Park, head for a visit to the Notre Dame d’Espérance Church, and spend time at the Medieval Musée de la Castre.  Forville Market is also a highlight as is the charm of the historic Suquet district. 

Visiting outside of the film festival still means soaking up that prestige. Yachts are consistently docked by fishing vessels, as a nod to the city's humble roots and modern-day fame. 

Or, stay in Cannes for a day before heading off to nearby Saint-Raphael where you can soak up miles and miles of gorgeous coastline. 

+ A Few More 

There are dozens and dozens of cities to consider when exploring the French Riviera. Other noteworthy ones include Saint Tropez (and nearby Ramatuelle and Grimaud), Bormes-les-Mimosas,  Villefranche-sur-Mer (don't miss the Marinieres beach), and the medieval vibes of Eze. 

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Montpellier + Nimes 

Montpellier makes this list for a couple of reasons. One, it's a great jumping off point to Nimes, which is full of Italian architecture if you're looking to visit Italy without leaving France. It's also a quieter look at life in southern France, away from the bustle and busyness you'll find in this region. Montpellier is a great place to spend a day or two wandering the old streets, visiting contemporary museums, and admiring the grand architecture. It's a slower paced visit where you can stroll down streets without being pushed on by hordes of tourists. If you're looking for a less visited gem of Southern France, this is it, a sharp contrast to the chaos of Marseilles. Plus, it's close to other favorites, like Nimes. 

We love hopping over to spend some time back in history in Nimes. Found about 30 minutes away from Montpellier, Nimes is sometimes called France's "Rome" due to the history and architecture found here. Nimes has a history that stretches back to the 6th century BC by a Celtic tribe, but its architectural fame is due to its location on the famous Via Domitia, the road that connected Spain and Italy, via France. Nimes soon became a busy city, developed by Emperor Augustus. You'll find the arènes, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. There is also the la Maison carrée, a stunning Roman temple. That's just a taste of the architecture found here! 

Plus, Nimes is a less touristy spot in Southern France which can be a fun change of pace to the crowds and prices typically found here. 

Getting Here: There is a high-speed train from Paris to Montpellier that makes this a 3-hour journey (there are less expensive longer trains to take if you'd like. Flights are also an option). 

Nimes is about 30 minutes away by train from Montpellier, or you can travel directly by train from Paris (routes are 4-7ish hours, depending on train options).  We suggest visiting both while you're in the area. 


Is a dreamy island on your vacation list? Visit Corsica and get the island experience you are looking for without ever leaving France. Found between Italy and France, Corsica is a small island boasting the bluest waters and most stunning beaches. A visit here isn't complete without some beach time on Palombaggia and Tamaricciu, two beaches found near the small town of Porto-Vecchio. Some say these beaches are some of the best in all of Europe. The walled Bonifacio Citadel is another place to explore, filled with red-tile rooftop shops, restaurants, and cafes just around the corner from the marina. If you're dying for some beach time after a few hours in the city, you can make the walk to the Petit Sperone beach (another one of the island's prettiest). 

Just don't leave without spending some time in the sun! Apart from beaches (and snorkeling), you can go hiking in the island's nature preserve or take one of the famous trails in the so-called "Bavella Needles", a wall of spike-like granite peaks. 

Getting Here: Best to fly to one of Corsica's four airports. From Paris, it's about a 3-hour trip. You're likely to find less expensive flights to other islands in Europe, but if you want to see the island side of France, you can't miss Corsica. 

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Dreaming of spending a semester in Europe?

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We are ILP, a Utah-based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We love travel so we're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time living abroad + seeing the world, and how to do it all on the tiniest budget.

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