France is blessed with vineyards across the who country – many regions have outstanding wines. Bordeaux from the Aquitaine, Chablis and Burgundy (from yes Burgundy), Vouvray in the Centre, and Châteauneuf du Pape from the Rhone-Alpes and the list goes on!
Not only is the wine outstanding but the vineyard landscapes are stunning too!
Let’s start with Châteauneuf du Pape from the Rhone-Alpes
Further west are the famous vineyards around the magnificent city of Bordeaux (well worth a visit too)
Let’s move further north into the Loire Valley and visit the Sancerre vineyards
On this video tour we are exploring the chateau in the Loire Valley of France. The Loire Valley was added to the list of Unesco World Heritage sites in 2000, and consequently has become a centre of tourism. The accommodation in this area is very diverse from chateau rooms, to hotels and B&Bs.
Perhaps the most famous is the Chenonceau chateau but there are many splendid chateau to discover. See the map of Map of Loire Chateaux below. Tourism is very important to the area, and there are sorts of tours – not just to the castles. There are bike tours, wine tours, balloon rides down the valley, and even tours by canoe – for more click here. Whilst in the area visit many famous Loire Valley towns: Blois, Chinon, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours.
Map of Loire Valley Chateaux
So where is the Loire Valley? The Loire Valley is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. Its area comprises about 800 square kilometres. It is often referred to as the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards. This map shows the chateaux du Loire . You can scroll left and right to see other locations.
Rick Steves has produced some great travelogues across Europe – he has many videos about France and especially Paris.
In the first one Rick says: In Paris, amidst all of its grandeur, the little joys of life are still embraced. In this first of two episodes on Paris, we’ll cruise the Seine River, visit Napoleon’s tomb, and take in the Louvre. Then we’ll feel the pulse of Paris — shopping in village-like neighborhoods, attending church in a grand pipe organ loft, and celebrating the mother of all revolutions with a big, patriotic Bastille Day bang.
In part 2 Rick embraces the art across Paris – in Rick’s words: we’ll ride a unicorn into the Middle Ages at the Cluny Museum, take a midnight Paris joyride in a classic car, get an extremely close-up look at heavenly stained glass in Sainte-Chapelle, go on a tombstone pilgrimage at Père Lachaise Cemetery, and savor the Parisian café scene. Few cites are so confident in their expertise in good living — and as travelers, we get to share in that uniquely Parisian “joie de vivre.”
There are lots of contenders for this title – you will probably get a diverse opinions for sure!
If you love rural France, then perhaps you can judge by the number of most beautiful villages in France (Les plus beaux villages de France) per region. The winner on that count is the Midi-Pyrenees. There are over 30 villages in the Midi-Pyrenees with that accreditation.
Here are some of the villages featured:
Perched on a promontory that offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Dordogne valley and the surrounding castles, Loubressac invites visitors to discover its charming medieval houses built of ochre stone and capped with pointed roofs. The church of Saint Jean Baptiste and the château, a manor dating back to the 15C and 18C, are worth the short climb it takes to reach them.
In this former stopping place on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, by the banks of the Aveyron, stone-built houses and roofs tiled with “lauzes” stone slabs rise in tiers at the foot of the fortified castle that was remarkably well restored in the late 1970s by architect Fernand Pouillon.
Najac is built along a rocky ridge, overlooked by a fortress that was once the envy of Kings of France and England. Its “lauze” stone-slab-roofed houses stretch out above the wild gorges of the Aveyron. Take the rampart walk and you will get an amazing view of the wild open spaces around you.
One of the big influences on lifestyle in France is Wine and Gastronomy.
You may remember Oz Clarke’s and James May’s TV series tour of France. In these videos you will learn about the French regional wines, and “science” of wine-making, and how to enjoy wines – sorry James!
Episode 1 Content in 4 parts – covering Bordeaux and Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Explore the Coast in video – France is lucky to have the Channel coast to the north, the Atlantic on the West coast, and the glorious Mediterranean to the South.
The Northern coast is approximately 1,130 km long from Brittany to Nord Pas de Calais. The western coastline of France stretches along the Atlantic coast from the Brittany peninsula to the Gironde. Irregular in shape, its is approximately 1,390 km in length. Finally you have the Mediterranean coast, which is about 620 km long and offers some of the best natural harbours.
Perhaps the most famous stretch of coast is the French Riviera or Cote d’Azur which extend from the Italian border in the east to Saint-Tropez, Hyères, Toulon, or Cassis in the west.
But here is our list of Top 10 Towns in France:
1. Paris – obviously
2. Loire Valley Towns: Amboise, Blois, Chambord – for chateaux!
3. Mont St Michel, St Malo and Normandy Beaches
4. Bordeaux – plus visit the wine districts
5. French Riviera Towns: Nice, Cannes (sandy beaches), Monte Carlo
6. Avignon – especially the Pope’s Place
7. Strasbourg (home of European Union)
8. Nancy – prettiest square in France?
9. Aix en Provence – wealthy town with beautiful boulevards
10. Rouen – old town and cathedral
If you have time check check out Troyes, Metz, Reims, La Rochelle, Toulouse, Rennes, Grenoble …..