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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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Tuileries and Orangerie, Paris

There is magic in the sycamore-lined Tuileries garden between the Champs-Élysées and the Louvre. Named for the roofing-tile factory that once...more

see the Paris guide
Editors' Pick
Vaux Le Vicomte, Maincy

If you don't have time to visit the Loire Valley châteaux, this gorgeous palace an hour from Paris by commuter train will give you a sumptuous taste of...more

see the Paris guide
Editors' Pick
Vedettes du Pont Neuf, Paris

Sure, a boat ride on the river is as touristy as an Eiffel Tower hat made of foam rubber, but the fact is that you get a completely different view of Paris, and...more

see the Paris guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Vézelay and the Morvan, Burgundy

The medieval citadel of Vézelay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is celebrated for its basilica, which houses the relics of Mary Magdalene. Though the town...more

see the Burgundy guide
Editors' Pick
Wine routes, Loire Valley

Wines are said to have been cultivated in the Loire since before Roman times, but it was fourth-century Saint Martin of Tours who took time out from...more

see the Loire Valley guide
Editors' Pick
Wine Shops, Bordeaux

Two of the best places in town to pick up a bottle or two to take home are Intendant (2 Allées de Tourny; 33-5-56-39-76-53;; closed Sat...more

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

Cannes and Antibes are the centers for boat rental (and purchase). Several companies line the streets of Cannes just off the Croisette, including Locarama,...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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