Have you been in Paris for a few days, had your fill of the Moulin Rouge, swapped smiles with the enigmatic Mona Lisa, ridden the mini-train around the Montmartre and then found yourself wondering what else you can do?
Well for a change of scene, why not consider some of the amazing attractions outside of France’s capital city?
Some of the most picturesque areas of France, on canvas and off, are just a short drive away from Paris.
1. Giverny and Monet’s House
Visit the home of famous French artist, Claude Monet, on an Independent Giverny and Monet’s House Tour. After exploring the beautifully maintained house, which he left as a legacy for the public to enjoy, stroll at leisure through the lush grounds. Discover how Monet immortalized the surrounding landscapes of Giverny in his impressionistic paintings and while in the house’s extensive gardens, spot some of the subjects he converted into priceless works of art.
Enjoy some time in Monet’s garden before visiting the medieval cathedral town of Rouen
|Giverny & Versailles Small Group Day Trip
Take the morning with Monet and the afternoon in the palaces of Versailles.
2.Normandy D-Day Battlefields
While in the Normandy region of France many visitors will take time out to pay their respects at the memorials erected in honor of the fallen of World War II. Take a tour of the beaches where the troops landed on the D-Day battlefields, then make a poignant visit to the Omaha Beach Memorial and contemplate the devastation of war as you view the field of symmetrically aligned white crosses.
Visit the D-Day beaches, the Operation Overlord Museum and end the day with a tasting of Normandy cider.
|Day Trip to Vimy Ridge & Arras WW1 Battlefields
With a professional guide, explore the memorial park which was once a WW I battlefield.
3.Normandy Food Tour From Paris
As surprising as it may be, Paris doesn’t have the monopoly on good food and wine. Normandy, just a short drive away from the city, is renowned for its quality agricultural products and on a Normandy Food Tour you’ll discover the most popular, Calvados, a rich apple brandy and Camembert, the ultimate cheese for baking.
If that thick, creamy oozing cheese has given you a taste for French food, washed down with a glass of good wine of course, this next tour will be just what you’re looking for.
4. Loire Valley Winery
The Loire Valley is a fertile stretch of France which, as well as having chateaus as beautiful as fairy tale castles, grows some of the best vines in Europe. Visit Leonardo de Vinci’s tomb in the chapel of the Chateau d’Amboise then enjoy some wine tasting in an underground cave at a Loire Valley Winery.
5. Palace of Versailles & Fountain Show
There is nothing more opulent and grandiose than French royalty of bygone days. When names such as Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV are mentioned the first things which come to mind are billowing ballgowns, ruffled shirts and gilt, lots and lots of gilt. Gold was their favorite adornment and the Palace of Versailles is trimmed to the hilt with it in a truly decadent fashion.
Explore the sumptuous surroundings, reflect on the Hall of Mirrors, then be entertained by the magic of fountains dancing in time to some rousing classical music. It’s a pure extravaganza.
6. Champagne Tour
If all those spurting fountains remind you of corks popping from bottles of fizz, it could well be because you’re not far from the beautiful Champagne region of France. On a Champagne Tour, discover the Gothic charms of the areas unofficial capital, Reims, with its magnificent cathedral before delving deep into the cellars of one of the most prestigious producers of champagne and indulging in a tasting of some of their excellent sparkling wines.
7. Mont St Michel Island
France is full of elaborate chateaus, but none is quite as impressive as the Benedictine Abbey on the island of Mont St Michel. From a distance you could be forgiven for thinking this was the home of the Marvel gods which had dropped down out of the sky from Asgard and landed on the beach in Normandy.
The Abbey is surrounded by as much myth as it is water at high tide and on a tour of Mont St Michel a qualified guide will give you all the in-depth insights into the castle’s history before letting you loose to explore the streets of the medieval village beneath it.
If all the towering turrets at Mont St Michel have given you a taste to see some more of France’s iconic buildings, try this next tour.
8. Loire Valley Castles
The Loire Valley is home to some of France’s most famous chateaus. On a tour of the Loire Valley Castles, you’ll be able to visit three of the most impressive, Chenonceau Castle, Chateau de Cheverny and the Chateau de Chambord. All distinctly unique, you’ll be able to steep your senses in the fascinating history of the Renaissance period while enjoying the monumental architecture.
9. Bruges, Belgium
Popping over to Belgium from Paris isn’t as complicated as it may seem. Take a full day out on a Paris to Bruges Tour to give you a taste of a different country. The wonderful Flemish town of Bruges, nicknamed the Venice of the North, has an extensive canal system. Cruise around the tranquil waterways on an open top barge or stroll around the central historic quarter, but whatever you do, don’t forget to buy some of that amazing Belgian chocolate to take home as a souvenir.
After traipsing round all the French castles and chateaus which have, over the years, served for inspiration to the Walt Disney animation artists it would be impossible to be so close and not experience Disney in all its glory for yourself. You don’t need to be a kid to marvel at the life size figures, thrill on the attractions or be enchanted by the magic of the parades, but you might want to leave your mature side at home and just let your imagination come alive.
Have you visited any of these magical places in France? We’d love to hear about your experience and see the photos too.