Must see and do – France

Like much of Europe, France has so much to offer the visitor. Apart from the obvious attractions (food, wine, and the obvious tourist destinations), there is something to be found around every corner. Just as Italy is managed to retain so much from its empire days, and Germany and Austria have well preserved buildings and sites from the last few centuries, France has some of the best preserved medieval settlements in Europe.

On top of that, the natural beauty of the landscape and the (general) friendliness and helpfulness of the people make exploring France’s many attractions an absolute joy.

Here are some of Teddy’s favourite things to see and do in France.

  • Notre-Dame de Paris Notre-Dame de Paris - One of the oldest, grandest and most famous cathedrals in the world, Notre-Dame de Paris ("Our Lady of Paris") recently celebrated it's 850th birthday, and has been a pivotal element of the character of Paris throughout its history. Situated on the Île de la Cité, arguably the oldest part of Paris with a history of settlement going back to the 2nd century BC, construction of Notre Dame began in 1163 and the building replaced an even older cathedral that dated <Read more>
  • 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. With only one way in and out, across a tall stone arched bridge and through a single <Read more>
  • Gorges du Tarn Gorges du Tarn, southern France - 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, <Read more>
  • 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. Built in the 1st century AD as part of the 50km long Nîmes aqueduct, the Pont du Gard is the highest of all Roman aqueduct bridges and is the best preserved after the Aqueduct of <Read more>
  • 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. Originally, the bridge is said to have had eleven arches, and it was still in use in the middle ages. <Read more>
  • 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. While many mistakenly consider the fortified town to be one <Read more>
  • Jardin du Luxembourg - Parisians love their gardens, they love relaxing outdoors, and they love mingling. It's no wonder then that the Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) are so popular with the locals. Marie de Medici was in a very powerful position in 1611. As the widow of Henry IV and Regent for the new king Louis XIII, she was effectively ruler of France. She took full advantage of the situation and decided to build her own palace. She purchased the hotel du Luxembourg (today <Read more>
  • 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. A little over an hour's drive from central Paris, the small village of Giverny is generally unremarkable. It sits on <Read more>
  • 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. And it doesn't take long to realise why. As soon as you enter the main gate - past “Place Charles de Gaulle” where the locals, as in <Read more>

 

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