Elsewhere in France

Outside of the main cities, France has something to satisfy your every interest. Like history? Rural France is full of it – all the way to the dawn of man. Like food? Rural France is the breadbasket and inspiration for all of France’s culinary renown. Just want to get away from it all? Rural France is the best place anywhere to chill and relax.

Saint-Chely-du-Tarn

Saint-Chely-du-Tarn

One of the most fairytale-like villages in the Gorges du Tarn would have to be Saint-Chely-du-Tarn. Nestled on the steep banks of the Tarn river in southern France, clinging onto and between the rocky outcrops of the gorge, Saint-Chely-du-Tarn has all the charm and melancholy of a French village hundreds of years old with all the modern amenities required by the modern tourist.

Gorges du Tarn, southern France

Gorges du Tarn

If a quiet afternoon drive in southern France, exploring a peaceful, winding river through a stunning natural gorge sounds like your idea of a relaxing break, then then Gorges du Tarn may just be the ticket. For those with an historical bent, there are countless ruins to see, including castles, villas, and other buildings. For those that prefer to get a little more physical, the Gorges du Tarn is one of the most popular places in France for hiking, kayaking, climbing and abseiling.

Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard

Some of the best reminders of the scope, grandeur and brilliance of the Roman Empire are in France, and the Pont du Gard (Bridge of the Gard) is one of the best (and most intact) remaining examples of Roman architectural engineering anywhere in the world.

Pont Ambroix

Pont Ambroix

About half way between Nimes and Montpellier in southern France is the old Roman fortified town of Ambrussum, which today is an archeological site in the middle of French farmland. A mere one hundred metres east of the northern end of the fortified wall lie the remains of Pont Ambroix – an arched Roman bridge across the small Vidourle River.

Carcassonne

Carcassonne

Of all the medieval and fortified towns throughout southern Europe, the Languedoc town of Carcassonne is easily one of the most famous. While officially founded in the fifth century there remains evidence of Roman occupation even now under the main buildings. Recalled for its pivotal role in the Albigensian crusades and the history of the Cathars, today the old fortified town is one of the biggest and most unique tourist drawcards in France.

Monet’s Garden, Giverny

Not many people could claim to have arguably the most famous garden in the world, but one look at the idyllic lily pond and you know you recognise this scene. You can thank the brilliant French impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926), who not only painted this gorgeous garden scores of times, but  also built the garden very nearly from nothing.

Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Thirty kilometres north-west (as the crow flies) of Montpellier, nestled between two rocky ridges deep in the Hérault Gorges alongside the Verdus stream, rests one of the oldest, most picturesque French villages: Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. It can take a little getting to, but with more than twelve centuries of history, including a UNESCO world-heritage listed abbey, this quaint little village is a must-see for any student (or just admirer) of medieval French or european history.

Tourettes-sur-Loup

Tourettes-sur-Loup

When it comes to small, mostly intact hilltop medieval villages in France, there are a handful (like St Paul de Vence) that grab all the glory, all the headlines, and the lion’s share of visitors. Then there are the equally impressive, but less recognised and less visited villages. Tourettes-sur-Loup fits quietly, and quite comfortably,  into that second category.

Cannes

Hotel Majestic, Cannes

The seaside resort city of Cannes is world famous for two things: its iconic movie festival and its sandy mediterranean beaches. It’s really only because of those two things that the big retail labels, the big Casino and the luxury apartments followed. And even though it was a beautiful, sunny, summers day when Teddy visited, Teddy was left wondering what Cannes would have to offer without either of those two items.

St Paul de Vence

St Paul de Vence

Amongst the many acclaimed medieval hill-top walled villages in southern France, St Paul de Vence enjoys an esteemed place. Increasingly popular not only amongst international travellers, this quaint and mostly intact stone settlement is also adoringly frequented by the natives of south-east France. Today it is the most visited medieval village in France.