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France see + do

Planning a trip to France? Whether you're a gourmand or a history buff, a sun seeker or a shopper, everything in this country seems to derive from or end up in Paris. It's the starting point for most trips, and with its world-class museums, ever-renewing neighborhoods, and cavalcade of classic and new restaurants, it'd be easy to spend your whole trip there. However, the rest of France provides an equally staggering embarrassment of riches. Hop a train south to Provence where Roman ruins sit among medieval villages and pine-covered mountains, and the Côte d'Azur, where celebs and socialites pack sunny beaches and swanky nightclubs.

Art lovers will want to reserve significant time for classics like the Louvre, Musée Rodin, and Musée d'Orsay in Paris, and then head to the many small Impressionist museums in Provence and along the coast. For architectural grandeur, explore the Gothic cathedrals in Reims, the Champagne region, and Normandy, as well as Paris's Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, and Saint-Eustache. Or head to the Loire Valley to tour (or spend the night in) the region's grand châteaux. And if you'd rather a feast for your stomach than your eyes, head to Lyon, the center of France's butter-and-cream culinary culture, or to Bordeaux, a revitalized city at the center of one of the world's most prestigious wine-growing regions. Any short visit will tend to excess, mais c'est la vie.

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Auxerre, Burgundy

Founded during the Roman Empire along the Via Agrippa consular highway, Auxerre (originally named Autessio-durum) is an atmospheric town of about 40,000...more

see the Burgundy guide
Editors' Pick
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Bastille and Eastern Paris, Paris

Over the last decade, hip Paris has been leaning farther and farther east, as mega-rehab projects transform what was a dowdy part of town. The Place de la...more

see the Paris guide
Editors' Pick
Beaches, St. Tropez

There are a few beaches on the Baie de St. Tropez, east of town, but most are along the beautiful Baie de Pampelonne, three miles southwest of town (technically...more

see the St. Tropez guide
Editors' Pick
Beaches on the Côte d'Azur

The Mediterranean is an often shockingly intense blue on the Côte d'Azur, but it takes a bit of know-how to find the right sandy or rocky spit to...more

see the Côte d'Azur guide
Editors' Pick
Boating, St. Tropez

It seems a shame to be entirely shore-bound on your trip. For full access to the coastline and to taste the salt spray on your lips, rent a boat from Suncap,...more

see the St. Tropez guide
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Canal St-Martin, Paris

Long a working-class neighborhood with an edge, the Canal St-Martin is the latest quartier to be reinvented by artists and young bohemians. Built in the early...more

see the Paris guide
Editors' Pick
Cannes, Cannes, France

A fashionable resort town since the 19th century, Cannes is one of the coast's primary shopping and party destinations. The Croisette is the big see-and-be-seen...more

see the Côte d'Azur guide
Editors' Pick
Cannes Film Festival

Arguably more glamorous than the Oscars, this ten-day mid-May schmoozefest ties up the coast's harbors with megayachts, while hotels are booked solid (at...more

see the Côte d'Azur guide
Editors' Pick
Capc Musée d'Art Contemporain, Bordeaux

One of the city's truly essential sights—as much for its collection as for the space itself. Converted from a monumental, dark-stone warehouse built in...more

see the Bordeaux guide
Editors' Pick
Casinos on the Côte d'Azur

Breaking the bank at the Monte Carlo Casino has happened once, and only once—in 1891. To give it a try, you'll need to cough up at least $14 at the door...more

see the Côte d'Azur guide
Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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