Paris, the cosmopolitan capital of France, is the centre-north of the country on the river Seine, and has the reputation of being the most beautiful and romantic of all cities, brimming with historic associations and remaining vastly influential in the realms of culture, art, fashion, food and design. Dubbed the City of Light and Capital of Fashion, it is home to some of the world’s finest and most luxurious fashion designers and cosmetics, such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent, Guerlain, Lancôme, L’Oréal, and Clarins. A large part of the city, including the banks of the Seine, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and contains numerous iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame de Paris, the Louvre, the Moulin Rouge and the Basilique du Sacré Cœur. If you are lucky and do not care about nose up to the sky rude people, Paris can live up to its hype. No matter where you are, be sure to pop into a sidewalk cafe, sip a glass of wine, and people watch—it’s the way to get a taste of true Parisian culture.
Villefranche Sur Mer
Villefranche-sur-Mer is a must-visit on the French Riviera, in the heart of the Cote d’Azur. Villefranche is less known on this coastline at the edge of Cap Ferrat, so it’s far less crowded than its neighbors Monaco (10 minutes away) or just over the hill from Nice (5 minutes away). Every little corner of this seaside town is stunning, from the old town and the deep blue sea to the dense green hills behind. The beauty is certainly in the details: cobbled stairways, colorfully painted houses with shutters, and potted flowers that hang from the walls. Villefranche may not be big, but it’s perfectly formed, and it’s the perfect place to go on a day trip from Nice. Colorful houses are everywhere, complemented by the gorgeous deep blue Mediterranean water. In fact, it’s so beautiful that Villefranche-sur-Mer has been featured in many famous films. The old town is the heart of Villefranche-sur-Mer and the most wonderful part of the town. Most buildings are from the 12th or 13th century and have been beautifully preserved. What’s more, all the houses are painted in rainbow colors with shutters, plants, and flowers to match. Check out the Rue Obscure… an ancient 13th-century tunnel that goes under the old town.
Nice & Cannes
Discover the French Riviera / Cote d’Azur from Nice and Cannes, favored by the rich and famous, there are only 20 miles between the two and yet, each city has its own unique charm. Nice boasts a rich history with strong Italian influences, reflected in its colorful architecture and laid-back culture. Meanwhile, Cannes is a smaller, more contemporary city with a worldwide reputation for luxury and glamour. Nice is believed to have been founded by the Ancient Greeks in 350 BC, who named it “Nikaia” after Nike, their goddess of victory. Cannes is a glamorous town that has been an exclusive hideaway for celebrities and royalty since the 19th century and today for the annual Cannes Film Festival which has been running since 1946. Cannes is a great option for those looking for a luxury getaway, sandy beaches and a thriving nightlife. On the other hand, Nice is a great choice for those looking for a laid-back option that is a bit more family and budget-friendly.
Saint-Tropez is a town in the French Riviera. In the 1920s the town attracted some famous French characters, including haute couture superstar Coco Chanel. Later in 1950 it gained an international popularity and has been a hot destination for the rich and famous.
Annecy, in the north of the French Alps, is called “the Venice of Savoie”. The medieval town centre built around a 14th-century chateau is dissected by small canals and streams running out of Lac Annecy, which is clean, fresh and a wonderful azure colour.
St. Nazaire / Nantes
While it’s not one of France’s most attractive cities, St-Nazaire makes a fascinating destination for boat and plane enthusiasts as well as fans of World War II history. The beaches along its coastline are some of the best in the Loire-Atlantique department; one was immortalised on film. Street art and murals can be found on the walls across the city which is best known for its shipbuilding industry, which began in the 19th century. In 1862 the port became the departure and arrival point for France’s first transatlantic crossings to South America thus, Saint-Nazaire became a centre for building ocean liners; the Celebrity Constellation was built here in 2002. Queen Mary II was built here in 2003. Saint-Nazaire became a major target for the Allies who destroyed the shipyards during Operation Chariot in 1942 followed by the rest of the city via a bombing raid in 1943. Saint-Nazaire is also home to one of Europe’s Airbus factories where the main fuselage sections are assembled and tested for all the company’s planes.
Nantes is the capital of Pays de la Loire region in northwest France. Historically it was part of Brittany, whose dukes built up its castle and made the medieval old town their capital. It was also a major port on the River Loire which is navigable by shallow-draught boats for 140 km upstream. By the time the railway arrived in 1851, larger ships struggled to come this far upriver, and trade moved downstream to Saint-Nazaire. The writer Jules Verne, born here in 1828. Its airport services St. Nazaire.
Calais & Dunkirk
Calais is a city at the closest point on the European mainland to England; Dover lies across the English Channel just 32 km (20 miles) away. The town has a major cross-Channel ferry port, and the French entrance to the Channel Tunnel is nearby.
Dunkirk is a historic resort, 10 km from the border with Belgium, featuring historic beaches famous as the site of the Dunkirk Evacuation during World War II, when, over eight days, a fleet of British, Canadian and French Navy and a huge assortment of civilian vessels — 900 boats in all — evacuated 338,000 British and French soldiers who had been encircled on land by German armies.