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France seduces travellers with its unfalteringly familiar culture, woven around cafe terraces, village-square markets and lace-curtained bistros with their plat du jour chalked on the board.

Food is of enormous importance to the French and the daily culinary agenda takes no prisoners: breakfasting on warm croissants from the boulangerie, stopping off at Parisian bistros, and market shopping are second nature to the French – and it would be rude to refuse. But French gastronomy goes far deeper than just eating exceedingly well. Its experiential nature means there is always something tasty to observe, learn and try. Be it flipping crêpes in Brittany or chinking champagne flutes in ancient Reims cellars, the culinary opportunities are endless.

French landscape weaves a varied journey from northern France’s cliffs and sand dunes to the piercing blue sea of the French Riviera and Corsica’s green oak forests. Outdoor action is what France’s lyrical landscape demands – and there’s something for everybody. Whether you end up walking barefoot across wave-rippled sand to Mont Saint-Michel, riding a cable car to glacial panoramas above Chamonix, or cartwheeling down Europe’s highest sand dune, France does not disappoint. Its great outdoors is thrilling, with endless opportunities and the next adventure begging to be had.


The country’s most important fishing port, Boulogne-sur-Mer makes a pretty good first stop in France, especially if combined with a swing north along the Côte d’Opale. The Basse-Ville (Lower City) is a bustling but uninspiring assemblage of postwar structures, but the attractive Haute-Vill.


Although it was as early as 637 that a monk called ‘Omer’ after whom St Omer is named, was sent to evangelise Therouanne, it was not really until the 13th Century that it rose to some degree of prominence, becoming as prosperous as Bruges, another medieval town surrounded by water. The work which began…

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Bergues, Bethune

A new craze for northern France was born after the 2008 release of ‘Bienvenue chez les ch’tis’ (translated as Welcome to the Sticks; a ch’ti is a term for a northerner and a type of regional French slang). Ever since this affectionate satire, the unpretentious warmth of northerners has been a mainstay of …


River Moselle

River Moselle

France’s refreshing Nord-Pas-de-Calais has been overlooked by travellers for too long. The region has embraced the jokes about chilly weather and yokel locals while quietly transforming into a world-class destination with a daring arts scene, clutch of historic sights and irresistibly rugged charm. Here are five …


Pretty as a picture, seaside Sanary-sur-Mer is a stroller’s dream. Watch the fishers unload their catch on the quay, or admire the traditional fishing boats from one of the seafront cafes. Wednesday’s colourful market draws crowds from miles around. Shops line interior streets. …

Marseille & Château d’If

For many years, the busy port city of Marseille has suffered from a serious image problem. Dismissed for its down-at-heel reputation, urban decay and often alarming crime statistics, it’s long been the black sheep of the Provençal coastline. But while it’s gritty, and not always pretty – Cannes or St-Tropez, …


Nestled at the foot of a dramatic rocky outcrop crowned by a 14th-century château (now a hotel open only to guests), this little fishing port is all charm, hence the enormous crowds that pile into its Vieux Port with its bustling restaurants, play on its shingle beaches, visit its terraced vineyards and …

La Ciotat

All along the coast line over a distance of more than 20 kilometres La Ciotat and the sea are like an old couple. In the west you find the Calanques having the highest cliffs of Europe and their peak 394 m high Cap Canaille. The east features Golf d’Amour with its fine sandy beaches and many jetties.

Le Castellet

The village of Le Castellet is located at the peak of one of the many hills which slopes are covered with wine. The car must be parked nearby the village which must be checked out by foot inside its mideval walls and building as old. The narrow lanes grant shadow and are refreshing cool when the sun burns …


Toulon still is a special tip. It is one of the most important ports of France and it’s the head quarters of French marine. But Toulon is a charming city as well offering all the beauty of the French Riviera and cordiality of the people living there. Only offering? No. The visitor becomes part of everything and dives …